Meet our new Executive Director!

Dear Opening Act Community,

It is with tremendous joy that we announce the appointment of Zareta Ricks as Opening Act’s new Executive Director beginning February 10, 2020. After a rigorous search involving members of our Board of Directors, Staff, Teaching Artists, and Opening Act Alums, Zareta was selected for her demonstrated experience as an exceptional and collaborative leader, capable of inspiring our extraordinary community as we embark upon our next act.

Headshot of Zareta Ricks, new Executive Director Opening Act

Zareta Ricks, incoming Executive Director

Zareta, a native New Yorker, has a deep knowledge of and passion for public education and its ability to provide opportunities for young people to realize their potential and actualize their dreams. Her relentless commitment to creating environments that provide youth with educational equity, meaningful opportunities, and intentional experiences has impacted the lives of thousands of students across the city.

Zareta comes to Opening Act from Change for Kids, where she served as the Senior Director of Programs and Innovation responsible for leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of their full portfolio of programs. During her tenure, Zareta served in various leadership roles and was a key contributor to the organization’s unprecedented growth and deepening of its capacity to deliver exemplary programs with an innovative approach. Under her direct leadership, programs expanded to include Graduating to Greatness – a program to prepare students for middle school and a corporate social responsibility volunteer model to create symbiotic partnerships between their partner schools and corporations throughout NYC. 

Having attended public school all of her life, Zareta vividly remembers the joy of being introduced to arts education while in elementary school. When she is not trailblazing the youth development path, Zareta loves spending time with her three children and using them as “prototypes” for all of her program ideas.

Zareta studied Organizational Management at Mercy College in NYC, holds a professional certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership and Management from Fordham University, and is a member of the American Express Leadership Academy cohort for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders.

During this exciting 20th Anniversary Year, I couldn’t hope for a more dynamic and accomplished leader to champion our work, guide our incredible team, and steward our growth. We’re thrilled and so very honored to welcome Zareta to the Opening Act family.Please join us at our 20th Anniversary Play Reading Gala on April 6th to meet Zareta in person!

Most sincerely,



Suzy and Opening Act