Board and Staff


Pensacola Opera is a non-profit, professional company serving Northwest Florida through
mainstage opera performances and a variety of innovative education and community
outreach programs.

Officers and Executive Committee

Ralph Peterson


Karen Huang

Vice Chair

Tracy Clark


Martha Richard


Buzz Ritchie


Barbara Jackson

Immediate Past Chair

Ruth Orth


Malcolm Ballinger


Trustees Emeriti

Don H. Partington

Jan R. Miller

Dr. Nell Potter


Diane Appleyard
Allan Benton
Paula Brasch
John Brannan
Karen Burke
Mark Chastain
Donovan Chau
Dr. Juliet DeCampos
Bobby Dunn

Karen Emmons
Nan Harper
Lyndi Kessler
Philomena Madden
Helen McDaniel
Lisa Minshew
Clair Montgomery
Curt Morse

Jenny Noonan
Diane Peterson
Scott Sallis
Ed Siegel
Justine Simoni
Lynne Tobin
Phil Webb
Laura Juliet Wood

Chandra McKern Executive Director

Chandra McKern joined Pensacola Opera in 2015 as the Managing Director and was named Executive Director in 2018. Previously, Chandra served as the Director of Education and Outreach at Nashville Opera since 2012 where she was responsible for all aspects of the Education and Outreach Programs including the Mary Ragland Young Artist Program. Prior to Nashville Opera, Chandra was the Education Director at Pensacola Opera from 2010-2012 and spent four years working for Goldman Sachs and two years at Rockefeller University in New York. Before transitioning to arts administration, Chandra had an extensive performing career working with opera companies including Tulsa Opera, Opera Birmingham, Nevada Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Central City Opera. Chandra holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master of Music from Indiana University. Chandra is a member of the Leadership Pensacola Class of 2017 and was a member of the 2016 OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive Training Program.

Jerome Shannon Artistic Director, Music Director, Principal Conductor

Praised for his “skill and verve” (New York Times), Shannon celebrates nearly 30 years as a professional operatic pianist, vocal coach, conductor and administrator. During this time, Maestro Shannon has held leadership positions with Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston (Artistic Administrator, Assistant Conductor, Conductor), Virginia Opera (Artistic Administrator, Associate Artistic Director, Conductor), Pensacola Opera (Music Director and Principal Conductor), Shreveport Opera (Music Director and Principal Conductor), Mobile Opera (General and Artistic Director, Principal Conductor) and the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center (Resident Conductor and Vocal Coach).

Don Ruth Director of Development

Don joined Pensacola Opera as Director of Development in June of 2018.  A native of Ohio, he earned his Bachelor’s from Wright State University in Dayton. Prior to this position, Don served 14 years as the Marketing and Communications Director for a large non-profit health care organization in Pensacola. As Director of Development, Don is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all of Pensacola Opera’s fundraising including major gifts, annual fund, planned giving, special events, and capital campaigns.

Cody Martin Director of Education, Director of Artists in Residence Program

Cody joined Pensacola Opera in 2017 from professional engagements with Des Moines Metro Opera, Arizona Opera, Hubbard Hall Opera, Florida State Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, Virginia Opera, Janiec Opera Company, and the Brevard Music Center. An active pianist, coach, and conductor, Cody holds a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from Florida State University and a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance from Murray State University. In addition to the oversight and administration of Pensacola Opera’s programs dedicated to in-school arts education, Cody will also directly oversee the training of the members of the Artists in Residence Program.

Meg Burke Director of Marketing & Communications

Meg joined the Pensacola Opera in March 2020. Originally from a small town north of Boston, MA, Meg earned her Bachelor’s in Music Performance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her Master’s in Arts Administration from Florida State University. Previously, Meg has served as an Arts Consultant for the Division of Cultural Affairs managing state arts grants as well as Patron Development and Communications Director at the Pensacola Symphony. She’s the primary photographer and owner of Meg Burke Photography and spent 3 years as the Pensacola Opera’s season photographer. As Director of Marketing at Pensacola Opera, she is responsible for all marketing and public relations efforts, including program advertisements and sponsorship opportunities.

Kirstin Norris Patron Services Manager

​Kirstin joined the Pensacola Opera as Patron Services Manager in February 2017. She began her career in Pensacola’s arts community in 2014, at the Pensacola Children’s Chorus where she worked as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator as well as Production Coordinator. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Management. In the role of Patron Services Manager, Kirstin manages all ticket sales, donations, and office administration.

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