Board appoints Rayanne Darensbourg as Chief Executive Officer
HOUSTON (Feb. 8, 2023) – Children’s Museum Houston Board of Directors appoints Rayanne Darensbourg as the Museum’s new CEO. Darensbourg brings more than 20 years of experience in the non-profit and education sectors to her new role, including her most recent position as Chief Operating Officer of the Neuhaus Education Center. She succeeds Executive Director Tammie Kahn who will retire at the end of the month after 28 years of service.
"I am thrilled to serve as CEO of Children's Museum Houston. The Children's Museum opens a world of opportunity and experiences, which can be a great equalizer for many children and families in Houston. I look forward to building on the success of the Children's Museum to inspire new generations of parents and children. Our ability to remain innovative and forever curious about how best children learn through exploration and creativity means we are part of the solution to some of our greatest challenges in Houston today,” said Darensbourg.
Darensbourg, who is a Pearland resident, shares a rich and diverse background as do many Houstonians. She’s a mother, an immigrant, and a first-generation college graduate. In 1980, her family migrated from Guyana to New Orleans where she grew up and received a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of New Orleans. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Old Dominion University, a Certificate in Legislative Studies from Georgetown University and is a Senior Fellow of American Leadership Forum, Community Development Class 1.
Darensbourg earned her professional experience as a special education teacher, and has managed and implemented programming for the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Children’s Cabinet under the Office of the Governor of the State of Louisiana. She and her husband moved to Houston in 2007 where she has served as Director of Development of the American Leadership Forum and the Director of Programs and Interim Executive Director of the Houston YWCA. She will become the Museum’s first CEO of color and is strongly committed to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the organization and delivering on the Museum’s mission to transform communities through innovative, child-centered learning that improves the trajectories of all children.
“We are excited to have Rayanne join us as the next leader of Children’s Museum Houston,” said Children’s Museum Houston Board President Jason Endecott. “Her long-term commitment to children, education and community will ensure that the Museum continues to be a leader in serving Houston’s children and families. She also has a passion for working with strong teams and community partners which will be essential as we embark on our next five-year strategic plan.”
ABOUT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM HOUSTON
Serving 1.3 million people annually, the Museum carries out its mission by engaging audiences with educational exhibits and bilingual programs that provoke curiosity and inspiration for children ages birth to 12 years.
Founded in 1980 by a group of Houston parents who hoped to elevate early childhood development to a community-wide priority, Children's Museum Houston addresses the following community needs:
- Provides experiential, child-centered learning experiences that are valued by families.
- Supports parents’ confidence and skills as children’s first teachers.
- Advances children’s learning to further grade-level readiness.
- Builds partnerships to increase educational equity and reduce opportunity gaps.
- Furthers trust across communities through diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
- Engages with children to broaden their future career interests and options.
The Museum features 13 exhibits, the Parent Resource Library (an operating branch of Houston Public Library), and programming that changes daily with facilitation in our galleries provided by a team of 14 full-time educators. The Museum also owns and operates the Fort Bend Children’s Discovery Center in Sugar Land. Programming is facilitated in bilingual (English/Spanish) formats, providing translation in additional languages needed. Resource development is guided by Building Blocks objectives created by Museum educators to ensure strategic connections with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills(TEKS) standards and 21st century workplace skills. Free admission is provided to 34% of visitors via weekly Free Family Nights and the distribution of Open Doors admission passes to low-income families by community partners at more than 1,200locations across Greater Houston. The racial/ethnic demographics of Museum visitors mirror those of the community, with 42% of visitors of Hispanic/Latino descent, followed by African Americans(25%), Anglos (25%) and Asian Americans (8%).
Community-based outreach programs prioritize under-resourced, predominantly BIPOC neighborhoods with 100% of outreach programming provided free of charge to participants in multiple languages. Seven evidence-based parent engagement programs increase the ability of parents to serve as their children’s first and most influential teachers. Seven afterschool and summer programs engage children in hands-on, inquiry-based activities aligned with TEKS standards. Within the 500-square miles inside Beltway 8,every family lives within two-miles of a community partner that hosts our outreach programs and/or distributes our Open Doors family admission passes.
Winner of Good Housekeeping’s “2023 Best Family Travel Award,” Let’s Roam’s 2021 “Top Things To do in Houston,” Houston Chronicle’s 2021 Best of the Best “Best Children’s Activity in Houston,” listed among Forbes, LA Times and USAToday’s “Best Children’s Museums in the U.S.,” TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence “Hall of Fame,” The Culture Trip’s “Top Museum and Landmark to Visit in Houston” and one of “Houston’s Must-See Museums” by Travel Channel, Children’s Museum Houston is a Playground for Your Mind™. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) organization. Can your mind come out to play? ™