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Mukilteo woman named new executive director of Gene Nastri School

Founder Carol Harkins retires


Last updated 7/8/2020 at 12:22pm

Julie Buetow

Julie Buetow is the new executive director of the Gene Nastri Community School of the Arts.

Buetow, a resident of Mukilteo, takes over for founder/director Carol Harkins, who retired in June. Buetow has been on the music faculty and a board member since the fall of 2018.

Her prior experience includes 35 years as clarinetist with various amateur and professional arts organizations in the Seattle area, stints as board member with two of those organizations, and 11 years at Boeing as a technical aide, documentation specialist, and database developer.

Buetow also has a passion for music education, having taught beginning to intermediate clarinet students and volunteered in local schools assisting music teachers with recorder and beginning band classes. She and her husband Clint have three children in the Mukilteo School District, who all play musical instruments. 

The school was founded in 1984. When the Everett School District discontinued its string program, Harkins saw a local need for quality string instruction, so she and a board of volunteers with the blessing of Gene Nastri, Everett’s Mr. Strings, founded the Gene Nastri Community School of the Arts.

Originally a two-week multi-arts summer camp at Forest Park, co-sponsored by Everett Parks and Recreation, the school began operating year-round in the fall of 1993. In 1995, the school relocated to the old Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo. When the old community center was torn down, the school found its current home in a remodeled split level home at 8616 Mukilteo Speedway.   

Under Harkins’ direction, Gene Nastri Community School co-sponsored many events including:

• A multi-arts summer program at Forest Park for 17 years with Everett Parks and Recreation – started in 1984.

• The Rosehill Revue, an all-city talent show, and the Rosehill Haunted House with the City of Mukilteo for 16 years. 

• A Point Elliott Treaty Commemoration Ceremony at Rosehill with the City of Mukilteo and the Tulalip Tribes in 2000.

• The Cebreros Festival of Strings in Spain with the City of Cebreros in June 2001

• Remodeled the second floor of the old Taylor’s landing commissary above the Mongrain Glass Studio into the Point Elliott Art Center, which exhibited the works of local professional artists and provided a home for a number of art studios from 2003-2005.

• The co-founding of the Mukilteo Community Orchestra with Terry Preshaw in 1997.

“Thirty-six years at the helm of Gene Nastri School has provided me with a lifetime of community involvement, the opportunity to know and work with some of the finest musicians and artists of our time, and to bring exciting, new events to the Snohomish County area,” Harkins said.

“It has provided a constant and steep learning curve. I’m confident that I’m turning the school over to a superbly qualified new director and a competent and committed board of directors. I want to express my gratitude to all of the citizens of the greater Mukilteo and Everett areas who have believed in the School and provided us with generous support as students, parents, volunteers, donors and program participants. The list is long.” 

GNS is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but faculty and students continue lessons online. New students are always welcome. 

Contact [email protected] for more information. The lack of in-house activity provides the board and new director with the opportunity to review the organization, engage new faculty, and prepare for an exciting future of community artistic pursuits.


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