Youth and Family Services YMCA has named Valerie Kissell as its new executive director, and the Santa Barbara Family YMCA has appointed Craig Prentice as its executive director.
Kissell is an accomplished executive director with over 20 years of executive leadership and partnership building in the nonprofit and public sector.
Youth and Family Services YMCA is a branch of the Channel Islands YMCA, focused on the safety, health and well-being of youth in high-risk environments.
“We are thrilled to welcome Valerie to her new role,” said Sal Cisneros, president and CEO of the Channel Islands YMCA. “She brings leadership and a deep commitment to those who are vulnerable, especially the community’s children and youth that Youth and Family Services YMCA programs serve.”
Kissell’s public sector experience includes serving as a district manager and as director of operations in the transportation industry, with extensive responsibility for management, planning, budgeting and marketing.
Her nonprofit experience was as executive director of an urban transit authority in which she worked with 21 regional municipalities and managed an $8 million dollar operating budget and was responsible for securing local, state and federal grants.
Kissell was also sole proprietor of a local consulting company, Sustainable Solutions, serving the nonprofit sector and specializing in services to vulnerable populations, such as veterans, youth, disabled individuals and elderly.
“It is a privilege to join a team so dedicated to supporting young people through circumstances that no one should have to experience at any age,” said Kissell. “This team extends beyond our wonderful staff, to a full roster of volunteers, supporters and partners who care deeply and generously.”
Kissell is active in the community and volunteers for a number of organizations. She has served as the chairperson of the Safeguard the Children program at a local parish and as a member of the USC Center for Innovation and Research – Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative.
She is also well known in the Y, having served on the Montecito Family YMCA board of managers for the past three years.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ohio University.
Prentice joined the YMCA family straight out of college in 1993 as a program director at Crescenta-Canada Family YMCA in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif. He later served as the senior program director, program department head and association executive director.
Prentice came to the Channel Islands YMCA in 2012, where he served as the executive director at the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA in Santa Ynez.
During his time at the Stuart C. Gildred YMCA, Prentice worked with the board, staff and community to strategically position the branch for growth. His efforts resulted in a 56 percent increase in both membership and programs over four years.
“We are excited to welcome Craig as our new executive director,” said Vince Iuculano, Santa Barbara Family YMCA associate executive director. “His leadership and partnership experience will be an asset to the team.”
Prentice received a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He is also a certified YMCA Organizational Leader.
— Berlin Galvan is a publicist representing Youth and Family Services YMCA.