This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. If you continue using our website, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website and you agree to our Privacy Policy.

I Accept
calendar icon


All Posts

New Ballet Ensemble & School welcomes alumnus Matthew Best as executive director

Founding CEO Katie Smythe will spearhead strategic planning and development efforts. 

Memphis, Tenn., March 14, 2024Local nonprofit arts education organization, New Ballet Ensemble & School, has appointed 2007 alumnus Matthew Best as executive director. In this newly formed position, Best will oversee day-to-day operations. He will partner with founder and CEO Katie Smythe and the New Ballet Board of Directors on the organization’s development and expansion plans. Best assumed the executive director role on March 1, 2024.

“I’m honored to return to New Ballet and contribute to its legacy,” said Best. “Our rising youth need artistic expression to flourish, and providing equitable access to such outlets is paramount. I look forward to collaborating with the dedicated staff and my fellow alumni on this next phase of growth.”

Best is deeply connected to New Ballet, having been part of one of the first “NutRemix” casts in 2005. He most recently served as executive director at the Change Center in Knoxville, a recreation space for teens and young adults to feel safe and nurtured by their community while gaining access to leadership development and job opportunities. Best’s experience working within the nonprofit industry is vast, including co-founding the Austin-East Community Foundation in 2021.

With the appointment of Best, Smythe will spearhead strategic planning and development efforts for New Ballet, while Best focuses on overall programmatic growth, strengthening the apprenticeship program, introducing new classes and expanding the Pathways program – New Ballet’s tuition-free, in-school residency program established in collaboration with Memphis-Shelby County Schools.

“This is an exciting time for New Ballet,” said Smythe. “Welcoming Matthew, an esteemed alumni ingrained in our mission, is vital to deepening our impact in Memphis. As we expand, and as Memphis nonprofits rally to address the needs of our youth, we will rely on smart young leaders representing the diversity and uniqueness of our city. It’s important to have exceptional leadership partners during this growth phase. I have full confidence in Matthew’s vision and our plan for New Ballet’s future.”

New Ballet is no stranger to having alumni return to invest in Memphis. Maxx Reed, who officially joined in 2023 as Creative Director, was previously living and working in New York City, performing on Broadway, among other notable achievements. Reed oversees direction and choreography for annual productions NutRemix, Springloaded and SummerDance. 

Enjoy Matthew and Katie on WMC’s Bluff City Life discussing what’s to come for New Ballet.

Posted by Addison Hare at March 14, 2024