Cecilia Rokusek will be the next President and CEO of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the museum announced Thursday.
Rokusek, currently the Provost and Chief Executive Officer at Larkin University in Miami, will take over on Sept. 1 from retiring CEO and President Gail Naughton, who has been with the museum since 2002.
The museum’s board selected Rokusek after a national search. Fluent in the Czech and Slovak languages, she has been the Slovak Honorary Consul for Florida for the past 10 years.
“This is the pinnacle of my career,” Rokusek told The Gazette. “I’ve really become so involved in our culture.”
She said she wants to help market the museum and library on the national and international scene and bring visitors from across the region, state and from around the world.
“There are large Czech and Slovak communities in South Dakota, Texas, Chicago, and many don’t know about it. And Czechs traveling internationally to the United States often don’t know about the museum and library. We want to bring them in,” she said.
She said she also wants to help expand on the museum’s strategic goals, which include becoming further embedded in the community.
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“We want to focus on the cultural gem that it is, not only for Czechs and Slovaks but for all nationalities,” she said.
The museum will be a move out of a career in academia for Rokusek. Before Larkin University, Rokusek was Assistant Dean for Research and Innovation at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, was a dean and professor at Winona State University in Minnesota, Florida Gulf Coast University and Governors State University in Illinois, was Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Director of Dietetics at Mount Marty College in South Dakota.
“The search committee was immediately impressed with Cecilia’s application, and this impression was magnified when we had the opportunity to talk with her at length about her passions and skills and the museum’s direction and future,” said NCSML board of trustees member Tom DeBoom in a media release. “It’s a tremendous match. We especially value her experience in strategic planning and implementation, which will be crucial for us moving forward.”
Museum spokesperson Forrest Meyer declined to give Rokusek’s salary. Naughton was paid $117,921 as well as an additional $3,208 in other compensation in 2014, according to the museum’s Form 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
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