DAVENPORT -- The Putnam Museum & Science Center has picked a new leader.
After an extensive search, the Putnam board of directors announced Thursday that community leader and education advocate Rachael Mullins Steiner will become president/CEO of the Putnam effective July 1.
"The Putnam is a community icon that preserves and celebrates our heritage and fosters curiosity, engagement and learning for all ages,” Steiner said in a Thursday release. “I am excited to bring my love of the arts and humanities, my background in education and non-profit leadership as well as my passion for promoting the Quad-Cities as a destination to serve Putnam’s mission and strategic vision."
Steiner most recently served as the assistant to the superintendent for community relations and partnerships at Davenport Community Schools. She will replace Kim Findlay, who decided to retire from the Putnam after more than a decade of service.
“Rachael’s strong relationships with many community partners and leaders – as well as her experience with not-for-profit administration and her passion for education – make her the right person to work with the Putnam board and staff to advance the Putnam’s mission and vision vigorously in the coming years,” Findlay said. “As it happens, I’ve worked with Rachael on a number of community initiatives, and I believe she is an excellent fit for the Putnam’s successful future.”
Steiner’s career has focused on nonprofit work as well as education management.
During her 17 years with Davenport Community Schools, Steiner advanced progressive education initiatives, including expansion of early childhood services, the release said.
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She was instrumental in establishing the Stepping Stones after-school and summer programs as well as the launch of Mid City High School, the Creative Arts Academy of the Quad Cities, and West High’s career academies. She has raised tens of millions of dollars supporting public schools and ongoing legislative advocacy for early childhood services and funding equality.
Her community leadership includes roles in the arts and humanities, education, transportation, downtown and riverfront revitalization and tourism. Steiner led cultural tourism planning with the then Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, and participated in the founding of several local arts organizations, from the grassroots Kanga Arts Cooperative in the late 1990s to some of today’s most iconic local arts institutions.
Steiner served on the River Music Experience (RME) project management team and was a founding board member. She led artist participation in the initial program design for the Figge Art Museum. She also had a primary leadership role with MidCoast Fine Arts for more than two decades, including the creation of the Bucktown Center for the Arts.
Steiner has held various advisory positions at the state level in Iowa and Illinois and founded many local events, including Gallery Hop in the Rock Island Arts and Entertainment District and Venus Envy Quad Cities, an all-female arts celebration across various arts disciplines.
In 2015, Steiner led the redesign of Davenport Sister Cities, promoting the Q-C as an international model, advancing cultural tourism, hosting visiting delegations and exploring best practices in community development from around the world.
Steiner earned her master's in business administration from University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management and an additional fine-arts degree specialization from St. Ambrose University.
“The Putnam Museum & Science Center board of directors set its sights on finding the best new leader for the Putnam,” said Putnam board chairman Frank Clark. “Our extensive search met that goal in the selection of Rachael. She is skilled, approachable, competent and knowledgeable. She will be an asset to the Putnam and the entire community in her new role.”