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Oct. 7, 2011/For Release Upon Receipt
Media Contact: Marla Carpenter, 336-770-3337, carpem@uncsa.edu


WINSTON-SALEM – The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) Foundation has appointed three local residents to its board of directors. Lee LaVallee, Dawn Opel and Michael Ryden will serve three-year terms on the board.

Lee LaVallee is president of LaVallee Properties and has 25 years of experience in the Winston-Salem residential real estate market. As a former relocation director, she is adept at providing community orientation tours, trailing spouse job assistance and other settling-in services, in addition to typical exclusive buyer/seller real estate services.

LaVallee was the recipient of the 2001 President’s Award for Outstanding Service from the Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors. She is a former director of Triad Regional Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Winston-Salem Regional MLS, and has served on several committees for the local organization. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and has sales training with IBM and Entre Corp.

Lee LaVallee  Michael Ryden

Active in the community, LaVallee is a member of Piedmont Craftsmen and the N.C. Museum of Art, and is a former Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) docent. She and her husband, Michael J. LaVallee, have four children. Their son, Aaron LaVallee, is a violinist and a graduate of both the high school and college programs at UNCSA.

LaVallee is an avid arts aficionado who loves promoting the arts in Winston-Salem, the City of the Arts and Innovation!

Dawn Opel is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of North Carolina School of Law. An attorney, violinist, and arts advocate, she has served as a board member of several nonprofit arts organizations in Winston-Salem. She currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Winston-Salem Symphony Youth Orchestras Council and has served on the board of directors of Piedmont Opera, its volunteer organization, the Piedmont OPERAtors, and the Reynolda House Museum Docent-Volunteer Council.

She is married to Ryan Opel, who is also a violinist, arts advocate, and attorney in Winston-Salem.  They have one son, Ian, who plays the violin through the UNCSA Community Music School.

Michael Ryden is a partner in Leonard Ryden Burr Real Estate and has 25 years of experience in the Winston-Salem marketplace. He received a Bachelor of Arts in 1980 from Roanoke College. His academic interests in art history, architecture and design have been an important influence on his real estate career. Ryden specializes in the marketing and promotion of architecturally significant homes. He has been supportive and committed to historic preservation and the revitalization of Winston-Salem's downtown and urban neighborhoods. He has been the marketing agent for adaptive reuse and new infill developments from the ground up including One Park Vista, the Charles Building, the Piedmont Leaf Lofts, Albert Hall, and the 851 Condominiums.

Ryden resides in the Washington Park historic district and is active in the neighborhood association. He is a member of Preservation North Carolina and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He supports the local arts scene and has served on the boards of the Little Theatre, Carolina Chamber Symphony, and Magnolia Baroque Festival.

The new members replace Pat Shore Clark and Jean Adams, who are retiring from the board after serving two terms each, and John McGuire, Jr., who relocated after serving one term.

The UNCSA Foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit entity that fosters and promotes the school’s general welfare. The Foundation is the main recipient of gifts, endowments, and grants for UNCSA. Its endowment of more than $15 million assists the school with scholarships, guest artists and other programs that enhance the educational experience for students.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.