Vision. Mission. Values.
A native of Michigan, Rhonda Buckley moved to Washington, DC in 1992 to work at Good Shepherd Ministries, an organization co-founded by Patricia M. Sitar that served children and families living in low-income community. As a professional musician, Rhonda believed that music and music education enhanced and ultimately directed her life. She began introducing the children at Good Shepherd to musical instruments and Rhonda’s vision for a multidisciplinary community arts education center soon emerged. Encouraged by Pat Sitar to pursue this dream, Rhonda launched an arts education organization, named for her mentor Pat. Under her direction, Sitar Arts Center grew from serving 50 kids in a humble basement space to serving 300 students in a state-of-the-art facility designed for optimal arts education. Rhonda holds masters degrees in both music and nonprofit management from Michigan State University and the University of Maryland University College respectively.
For her visionary leadership, Rhonda received the 2006 Meyer Foundation Exponent Award and the Center for Non Profit Advancement’s Gelman, Rosenberg and Freedman EXCEL award and was a member of the 2006 class of Leadership Greater Washington. Rhonda left Sitar in 2007 to become the Associate Dean for Outreach and Engagement at the Michigan State University College of Music, where she brought music into the lives of inner-city young people through intensive outreach efforts in Detroit, Lansing and East Lansing Michigan. In 2014, Rhonda returned to Washington, DC and served as the Interim Executive Director of the International Society for Performance Improvement and Co-Chair of Sitar’s Leadership Council.
Rhonda’s talent, commitment, and love for children and the arts have touched countless lives, and her legacy and footprint at the Sitar Arts Center will be forever lasting.