EPIC Names New Executive Director

BUFFALO, NY – On Friday, June 8, Pamela Johnson, Chair of the EPIC – Every Person Influences Children Board of Directors and Search Committee announced that Tara N. Burgess has been appointed as the new Executive Director of Buffalo’s leading parenting and family engagement organization. She succeeds Michelle Urbanczyk who held the post from 2015 to 2018 before being tapped to head Explore and More Children’s Museum. Ms. Burgess steps-up to this leadership role as a six-year EPIC veteran, where she has served as Chief Program Officer and Director of Operations and Family Engagement.


EPIC’s mission is to help families, schools, and communities raise children to become responsible and successful adults. Ms. Burgess brings 20 years of experience working with families and non-profit organizations. In addition to her ten years at the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, her career at EPIC has provided her with cornerstone knowledge of all facets of the organization.


Dr. Johnson comments, “Tara’s collaborative approach to leadership, community partnerships, and staff engagement will bring new ideas to life, and help shape and guide the next leg of EPIC’s journey.  She will bring tremendous energy, enthusiasm, fresh thinking, and trusted care and capacity to EPIC’s vision for a world in which every child has a strong start and a promising future.”


Ms. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies from SUNY Empire State College.  She is a Six-Sigma Yellow Belt and serves on multiple community committees including the NYS Family Engagement Coalition and the Service Innovation and Impact Initiative.


Susan Barlow, Executive Director of Parent Network and long-time EPIC partner commented, “I am thrilled to be able to continue working with Tara, strengthening the EPIC/Parent Network collaboration and the expansion of our family-centered relationships in the Western New York Community.”

The Executive Search Committee was led by Pamela Johnson, former head of education at WNED and currently at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; former Board Chair, William V. Gillmore, retired from Rich Products; Val Cooley, retired from Child Care Resource Network; Melissa Biersbach, LocalEdge; Mary Gresham, retired from the University at Buffalo; Eileen Morgan, Delaware North; and Fred Zwierlein, Freed Maxick.