Cyrus Parker-Jeannette, who has served as dean of Cal State Long Beach’s College of the Arts since 2014, has announced her retirement from the University, effective August 16.
During a recent vacation, Cyrus’ husband experienced some health issues. The experience made her and her husband evaluate things a bit, and she realized that it is important for her to spend more time with her family. Although she knows this is the right thing to do personally, she does find it hard to leave one of the most fulfilling jobs she has ever had.
Cyrus, who previously served as an associate dean of the college, became the first woman to head the college as a full-time dean since the 1970s. She began her educational career in California, studying theatre and dance at Cal State Fullerton. She later received her Master of Fine Arts degree from UC Irvine, going on to serve as the chair of Chapman University’s Theatre and Dance Department. In 2006, she joined CSULB as full professor and chair of the Department of Dance.
In addition to her work in academia, Cyrus has been a professional dancer and choreographer whose work spans concert dance, movement for theatre, gallery, and site-specific performances. She taught internationally and received several leadership and teaching awards during her career.
Cyrus plans to remain active as an arts advocate with an emphasis in civic and community engagement. She is a mayor-appointed commissioner on the City of Long Beach Economic Development Commission, serves on the board of directors of Rancho Los Alamitos, and is committee chair of Creative Long Beach, which is part of the Arts Council of Long Beach’s program supporting student internships in the arts.
In the interim, Associate Dean Margaret Black will serve as acting dean and Professor Lorin Johnson of the Department of Dance will serve as acting associate dean for the coming year. A national search for Parker-Jeanette’s permanent replacement is expected to begin this spring.