Arboretum Director Steps Down



FOR:                      Reeves-Reed Arboretum

                                165 Hobart Ave.

                                Summit, NJ 07901


CONTACT:           Andy Gottesman

                             President, Board of Trustees

                             Reeves-Reed Arboretum




Arboretum Director Stepping Down

Summit, NJ…Reeves-Reed Arboretum’s Executive Director, Gayle Petty-Johnson, recently announced her intent to step down effective the end of March 2012.  Ms Petty-Johnson became the Executive Director in July 2009 at a critical time for the organization.  It was in the midst of a strategic planning process and board restructuring.   “It is a dramatically different organization than it was in 2006, and Gayle deserves much of the credit for this with what she has accomplished,” stated Scott Hayward, Vice President of the Board of Trustees. 

Under her tenure the Board of Trustees has grown from 12 members to 16 and it has been able to implement key strategic directions.  Over the past three years, more than $230,000 in capital improvements has been completed with an additional $125,000 to be completed in the first half of 2012.  All of these projects have been funded through private donations and grants.  “Gayle is an accomplished fundraiser and has been able to articulate the Arboretum’s mission to donors,” said Board President Andy Gottesman.

“It just feels like the right time to go in a new direction professionally and personally.   I want to continue to give back to the community, but in a different capacity.   I also want some extra time for my family, especially with my husband Darrell and our granddaughter,” Petty-Johnson explained.

Ms. Petty-Johnson has nearly 30 years of cultural management experience.  She has served in leadership positions with the Please Touch Museum, the Library Company, and Elfreth’s Alley, which are all Philadelphia organizations.  She was also CEO of the York County Pennsylvania Heritage Trust.  Prior to joining the Arboretum’s staff she was living and working in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast where she was a consultant to the National World War II Museum for special projects and board development and Executive Director of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.  She has served on boards of several cultural organizations including the Philadelphia Museum Council, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the Mississippi Museum Association.  In addition she has been on several foundation grant panels including the prestigious visual arts grant panel of National Endowment for the Arts.

The Board of Trustees has engaged Professionals for Nonprofits to conduct the search for a new Executive Director with the goal of hiring this individual by the end of March 2012. For a complete job description, please visit the website at

Reeves-Reed Arboretum is the only public garden and one of the largest green spaces in the City of Summit. It is the only arboretum in Union County.  The Arboretum seeks to engage, educate and enrich its visitors so they may become better stewards of nature and the environment. This mission is achieved through the care and utilization of an historic estate and gardens. Reeves-Reed Arboretum is listed on both the National and New Jersey Historic Registries.  For more information, please visit the website at