President, Wardrobe Supervisor, Website Coordinator
Meghann (Oakes) Rust has over 30 years of dance experience, particularly in ballet. She grew up in the Walnut Creek area, dancing under the Artistic Direction of Richard Cammack and Zola Dishong Cammack. She was a member of the Contra Costa Ballet’s pre-professional Company for 5 years. During her dancing career, she performed in Balanchine’s Serenade and Stars and Stripes, as well as prominent roles in The Story of the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Paquita, Etudes, as well as works by Charles Anderson. Meghann also trained with a variety of instructors, including Suki Schorer of SAB, Michael Smuin, and Pascale Leroy.
Meghann graduated from the University of California, Irvine, where she earned a BA in Dance and a minor in Education. During her final year at Irvine, she trained under Diane Diefenderfer and received her Pilates Certification from Studio du Corps, Pilates Center of Orange County. She then graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine where she earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Meghann now works as a dancemedicine physical therapist in Walnut Creek, CA and specializes in combining the principles of movement system impairment syndromes (MSI) with Pilates-based physical therapy to treat young athletes, particularly dancers, to aid in their return to sport. She lives in Pleasant Hill with her husband and 2 dogs.
Meghann joined the Vacaville Ballet Company Board of Directors in 2013 and assumed the role of President in 2016.
Kristen (Suihkonen) Pucher was one of the original company members when the Vacaville Ballet Company was founded in 1994 continuing throughout high school and even returned to perform with the Company her senior year in college.
After graduating from Vacaville High School, Kristen attended UC Irvine where she received a BA in Dance & Economics and minored in accounting. Kristen then put her minor to good use and, following in her parents’ footsteps, became a CPA. She is currently a senior tax manager at a business management firm in Sherman Oaks and lives in Burbank, CA with her husband (Mike), son (Teddy) and poodle (Penny).
Kristen is thrilled to be on the Board of Directors for the Vacaville Ballet Company and give to the community that was such an important part of her life.
Marcella Mackes has served on the board since 2013. She brings over 30 years bookkeeping and administrative experience and currently serves as the Finance Manager at Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center in Vacaville. She also works as an Administrative Assistant at C&C Consulting Service, a local tax and bookkeeping firm.
Marcella has extensive experience in event planning and has organized several fundraising and promotional events for the Vacaville Ballet Company – Harvest Festivals, Opening Night Galas and Tea Parties, to name a few. She is passionate about community awareness and dedicated to moving the Company forward into the future.
In addition to her work experience, she is commissioned by the State of California as a Notary Public.
Director of Marketing and Outreach
Jean (De La Torre) Elias was raised in Vacaville and performed as a VBC Soloist during the 1994 – 1995 season. After graduating from Will C. Wood, Jean attended Stanford University where she earned her BA in economics and performed with the Stanford Ballet. During her time at Stanford, Jean expanded her dance education to encompass modern, ballroom and Afro-Brazilian disciplines as well as choreography coursework.
Jean is currently the VP of Marketing of a non-profit credit counseling agency focused on assisting consumers facing an array of financial difficulties. She is happy to serve on the Board of Directors and bring her digital marketing background to promote VBC productions through online media.
After living over a decade on the East Coast Jean returned to Vacaville with her husband, Bassem to raise their two children. She also serves on the Cambridge Elementary School PTA Board as Art Reflections Chair to promote involvement in the arts.
Director, Backstage SupervisorShannon Gover’s dedication to children’s education and the arts begins over 20 years ago. At that time, Shannon served as President of her church’s children’s worship and social groups, where she would coordinate the curriculum, teacher’s schedules, and hold regular activities for 100-150 children, ages 18 months to 12 years old. She has served her local congregations in this capacity for just over 6 years in both Maryland and California. Interspersed between these assignments, Shannon has worked in the Vacaville School District as an Art Docent, Garden Docent, in the Parent-Teacher Organization, the School Site Council, and as a classroom-parent volunteer.
Her art training is in Cosmetology, earning credentials in Canada, and a teaching credential in the United States. She maintains active licenses in two countries. Shannon is currently also the President of her church’s women’s organization, of 200 women in Vacaville. She is the wife of an active duty US Air Force officer, and mother of 3 children.
She has served on the Vacaville Ballet Company Board of Directors since January 2014, but has been intimately involved in Vacaville Ballet Company productions since 2005.
Director, SMAT CoordinatorComing soon
Director of Fundraising, Prop Supervisor
Katie Long joined the VBC Board in 2016 bringing with her over a decade of experience serving on non-profit boards within the Vacaville Community including the Brown’s Valley PTO and the Jepson Music Boosters.
A highly-experienced fundraiser, Katie has organized and executed charitable events such as triathlons, harvest festivals and a USO Style show at Willis Jepson Middle School. In her work with VBC, she has successfully spearheaded innovative fundraising events such as “VBC Egged My House”.
Katie is a graduate of UC Davis holds a BS in Human Development along with a multi-subject teaching credentials. She taught math at Orinda Intermediate school prior to having children.