Brimfield resident has familial connections to local institution
📸 Hitchcock Free Academy’s retired executive director Sue Gregory and the new executive director Cynthia Skowyra. (Courtesy photo)
BRIMFIELD — The Trustees of Hitchcock Free Academy announced the hiring of Cynthia Skowyra as the new Executive Director of the Academy.
Skowyra takes over from Sue Gregory, who retires from the position on February 29 after a tenure of over 30 years. Skowyra enjoys significant personal history with the Academy and said, “Hitchcock Academy has long held a special place in my heart. For many years I attended Girl Scout meetings, which is where I first learned about community and serving others, and I participated in the summer recreation program, learning tennis, which became an integral part of my own high school experience.”
“I was even the recipient of a Hitchcock Academy Scholarship,” Skowyra added.
She comes to the position with considerable community, marketing, strategic planning and program development experience having previously worked as the Director of Programs and Events for the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and as the Vice President of Community Relations for Bank of America in Worcester. Skowyra also created, launched, and led the Worcester Women’s Leadership Conference, which grew at a pace of 225 percent in four years under her stewardship.
Skowyra, a Brimfield resident, says of Hitchcock: “Its history is part of my history. My parents, aunts and uncles and many lifelong family friends attended high school and most graduated from HFA.”
She noted that she “grew up hearing the stories” surrounding Principal Bruce and teachers who became HFA legends.
In addition to her professional activities Skowyra maintains a busy local volunteer life. She is very active at St. Christopher Church in Brimfield, serving on its pastoral council and in the Womens Club. Skowyra also sings in the choir and chairs the annual Craft Fair. She has been a member of the Brimfield Memorial Day Committee since 2014 and now chairs it. She also currently leads Rebuilding Together Worcester an organization that provides free repairs on low income seniors homes in Worcester. She volunteers for the Worcester Healthcare Softball League, and is on the board of the Webster Square Business Association. She has received a United Way of Central Mass Day of Caring Volunteer Award and she has been recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as one of its “40 Under 40.” She also writes celebrant services for the Beers and Story Funeral Home.
Skowrya, who spent the last two weeks of February training with Gregory, says she understands the significance of Hitchcock Academy’s historic position as a community center for Brimfield and the surrounding towns.
“I appreciate Hitchcock Academy for what it was, for what it is and what is can be.”
Skowyra said she is “thrilled to be chosen as the new Executive Director. I loved growing up in Brimfield. My family has deep roots here. I want people to know the door is open. I invite everyone to my new ‘home.’ I’d love to hear ideas and what it is people want and need from their community center.”
She added: “I really hope some of my old friends and tennis buddies stop by.”