Stephen R. McDow II Joins BlackRock Center Team Returning Home To The Arts

[REPOST From BlackRock Center For The Arts]

CONTACT: Amanda Russell Bradley: 240-912-1060;

Original Release


GERMANTOWN, MD- BlackRock Center for the Arts, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate, and engage in the arts, announces new leadership, CEO, Katie Hecklinger and Board Chair, Stacey Terry Ormsby. Further, the Board of Trustees welcomes media specialist Rebecca Castillo to the Board and Stephen McDow to the Leadership Team as the Community Engagement and Development Director. BlackRock continues to strengthen its leadership team with these additions, all of whom bring their skills and commitment to BlackRock’s mission of providing access to the arts for all. These changes will take effect immediately

BlackRock Center for the Arts acknowledges the incredible shoulders of leadership upon which we stand in our 20th year due to Lynn Andreas Arndt. Her vision and foresight not only sustained BlackRock but also established The UpCounty Hub. Arndt led through the pandemic with grace while encouraging us to still come together as a community safely and effectively. BlackRock would not be the same organization today without her guidance. 

Chief Executive Officer, Katie Hecklinger

Katie Hecklinger joined BlackRock in 2019 as Director of Education after more than 22 years as an educator, consulting teacher, curriculum developer, and Assistant Principal in the Montgomery County Public Schools. Katie’s significant contributions to MCPS included the creation of arts integration in “Curriculum 2.0,” serving on the equity and diversity task force, and ending her service with four years as Assistant Principal of Chevy Chase Elementary School. Katie joined BlackRock and immediately revitalized its educational programming, including the “BlackRock in a Box” program that delivered virtual arts education and supplies during the early days of the pandemic – reaching students with arts integrated literacy and well-being best practices. Katie has built strong partnerships with arts organizations to combine efforts in reaching a broader community, understanding that the arts are essential. Katie became Chief Program Officer in January of 2021 to oversee all gallery, educational, and performing arts programming at BlackRock. Katie looks forward to furthering BlackRock’s mission to make arts and art education accessible to all and to establishing BlackRock as a truly inclusive community resource in the region.

Katie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from University of Maryland College Park, a Master of Science degree in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University, and a Certification in Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University. Katie recently completed the year-long Leadership Montgomery CORE program and has deep ties in the area, including being among the first graduating class at Quince Orchard High School. Katie serves on the Board of Trustees for two local communities, Darnestown Swim and Raquet Club, as well as the Barnesville School of Arts and Sciences. Katie is an accomplished classical voice performer, and sang with the Master Chorale of Washington, a symphonic choral ensemble in Washington, D.C. for 10 years. 

Board Chair, Stacey Terry Ormbsy

Stacey T. Ormsby is the Assistant General Counsel for Transactions for Montgomery County Public Schools. She is responsible for drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a wide variety of commercial agreements including licensing and technology agreements with a strong emphasis on data privacy, software licenses, and SaaS/Hosted/Cloud-based services. Stacey provides astute counsel to and in alignment with other MCPS departments with respect to assessing legal and strategic risks arising out of contemplated transactions. Prior to joining MCPS, she successfully operated a private law practice serving clients in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and made great strides in two international law firms.

Always dedicated to serving and building stronger communities, Stacey is a recent Leadership Montgomery graduate and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.. She has served multiple terms as Commissioner for the Montgomery County Commission on Human Rights and volunteered as a Girl Scout troop leader, and performed in the woodwind section of the Montgomery Village Community Band. 

Community Engagement and Development Director, Stephen McDow

Stephen R. McDow II has over 15 years’ experience managing and leading stakeholder and public relations, community outreach, program development, and event management services to small businesses, start-ups, non-profits, and trade associations. His body of work delivers programs, education, outreach, and advocacy to rural and urban producers, innovators, and community leaders from diverse backgrounds. Stephen is an international speaker who advocates for economic justice for marginalized rural and urban communities. 

Stephen’s collaborative and creative spirit, along with his business acumen, has proven to be key components in his success with elevating membership and outreach programs. The arts community is home as he is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Great-Great Nephew of renowned artist Delilah W. Pierce, son of SAG/AFTRA actress Wanda L. Spence, and a former actor in Ed Bullins’ Black Theater Arts Group at Northeastern University. In his free-time, he works as lead archivist and spokesperson for the Delilah W. Pierce Collection, produces and co-hosts Bi-Polar Girl Podcast, and sits on the board of a social and economic justice non-profit (CooperationWorks!).  

Board Member, Rebecca Castillo

Rebecca Castillo is a leader in the Latinx community and a media journalist. Her vision for BlackRock is to make it a staple building in the community and have it grow into a nationally-recognized organization. Rebecca Castillo is  an owner, producer, and host of a radio station by the name of RADIO EXITOS INOLVIDABLES. She also produces, edits, and hosts Celebrating the Arts, an interview series that invites artists from all around the world to not only share their stories and experiences, but also share their contributions to the importance of the arts in their communities. 

Says Board Chair, Stacey T. Ormsby, Esq., “I’m so very excited that on the cusp of our 20th Anniversary, BlackRock is embarking on a new journey with its leadership. When I think about the future of BlackRock and the arts community, it is important that leadership represents and reflects the people in the community, which is why I am proud to serve in this capacity. I’m very eager to see what we can accomplish together.”  

For more information about BlackRock’s upcoming season, special events, exhibits, classes, and more, visit our website, or call us at (301)528-2260.


Located in Germantown, MD, BlackRock Center for the Arts brings inspiring performing and visual arts experiences to diverse audiences in a welcoming and intimate setting, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate, and engage in the arts.


Published by McDow International E/Stephen McDow II

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