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

Barbara Jackson


Ralph Peterson

Vice Chair

Diane Peterson


Martha Richard


Buzz Ritchie


Lois Benson

Immediate Past Chair

Ruth Orth


Karen Huang


Trustees Emeriti

Don H. Partington

Jan R. Miller

Dr. Nell Potter


Malcolm Ballinger
Allan Benton
Karen Burke
Donovan Chau
Tracy Clark
David Dear
Bobby Dunn
Karen Emmons

Nan Harper
​Dick Hooton​
Lyndi Kessler
Philomena Madden
Helen McDaniel
Lisa Minshew
Clair Montgomery
Howard Reddy
Betty Roberts

Scott Sallis
Ed Siegel
Justine Simoni
​Stephen Simpson
Lynne Tobin​
​Phil Webb​
Germaine Weldon
​Rene West
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.

Kristen Stotz Director of Marketing

Kristen joined Pensacola Opera in April 2016. Originally a native of Pennsylvania, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Penn State University and moved to Washington, DC to begin her professional career. Prior to this position, Kristen spent four years working for a military non-profit association as Marketing Manager, analyzing membership data and trends and creating marketing collateral. 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.

Peter Steenblik Pensacola Opera Chorus Master

Dr. Peter Steenblik is the newly appointed Director of Choral Activities at the University of West Florida.  Prior to coming to the gulf coast, he was the director of the Women’s Chorus and Assistant to the Director of Choral Studies while working on a doctoral degree in conducting at the University of North Texas.  Originally from Utah, he was Director of Choral Music at Jordan High School for 10 years.  He holds a master’s degree in choral conducting and a bachelor’s in choral music education from the University of Utah.

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