Norrie Thompson: Box Office Manager & Graphic Designer

A deeply rooted Maine native, Norrie left the state just long enough to earn her degree in film and video production. Upon graduation, she returned home where she spent several years honing her photography skills, winning awards for her work in the process. Having, for the time being, retired her camera, and in addition to her role as the Box Office Manager, Norrie enjoys focusing her creative energy as the Strand’s graphic designer.

When not tucked away in her lair, deep within the belly of the Strand, creating her next design masterpiece, you might spot Norrie paddle boarding down the river toward her family's farm where she spends her free time tending the gardens and putting up jars of canned goods for the long Maine winter.


Dave Dailey: Digital Media Manager & Advertising Sales

Dave was born in Camden and raised in Rockland. He spent 13 years working in the photography industry in the early 90's and moving on to California in 1998 where he became a manager for Sharpshooter Spectrum at their Disneyland Venue in Anaheim. Upon returning to Maine, he occupied the labs at Maine Coast Photo in Camden for almost a decade. Dave is now the digital media manager here at the Strand.



Liz McLeod: House Manager & Chief Projectionist

House Manager Liz McLeod is a fourth-generation native of Midcoast Maine, and came to the Strand in 2006 after a fifteen-year career in broadcast journalism. Away from the Strand, she is best known as an author and historian of 20th Century American popular culture, whom you may have seen or heard on BBC radio, NPR, and PBS television’s “History Detectives.”  She has a longtime family connection to the motion picture business – her uncle was a projectionist from the 1950s thru the 1970s, and once managed the former Rockland Drive-In Theatre.


Jessica Ripley: Membership Coordinator & Office Manager

Membership Coordinator and Business Office Manager, Jessica Ripley, comes to the Strand with 8 years of experience in the print and online news industry working at VillageSoup -- most recently in the IT Customer Support department.

Away from her work at the Strand, Jessica spends her time following her daughter Autumn’s athletic endeavors, from court to field and back again, with her husband Adam and toddler Chase. When they’re not busy cheering from the sidelines, the Ripley’s enjoy spending time by the lake with their friends and family.


Jana Herbener: Marketing and Community Relations Manager

Jana worked in the film and theater industry for 10 years, at Compass Light Film Productions, the Camden Opera House, and the Camden International Film Festival, before joining the Strand Theatre’s administrative team.

She grew up in the Midwest, where she received an Advertising Degree from the University of Kentucky and began a career in video production. Eventually she “heard the call of the sea” and went sailing for 10 years, finally throwing out the anchor in Maine and returning to the public relations work that she loves. Jana also is currently the sponsorships coordinator for PechaKucha Midcoast Maine and serves on the Library and Planning Boards in the town of Searsmont, where she lives with her husband and two teenage sons.


Brittany Parker: Education Program Coordinator

Brittany is an artist and educator who focuses on making theatre and music for family audiences. After having performed on the Strand stage with several family productions and the glitter-filled Rocky Horror Show, she is excited to join the administrative team to help further the education initiatives of the organization. She has a decade of experience in making and performing work for family audiences, as well as developing arts education programs for young people. Originally from Florida, Brittany has made her way up the East Coast, performing in New York City for six years before moving to Maine. She served as Producing Artistic Director of the Barn Arts Collective in Bass Harbor for four years, and is delighted to be making a home here in the Midcoast area. She enjoys playing music with both of her bands – Bee Parks and the Hornets and the Blake Rosso Band – and is still learning about what types of snow you can and can’t walk on.


William Zall: Assistant House Manager

William is a lifetime Knox county resident, born in Warren and raised in Rockland. A love of the movies and the theatre has always been in his nature; often joking that it was destined since his parents first met at a film festival many years ago.

A graduate of University of Maine at Augusta, he has worked as a student teacher for classes on film at the URock campus, as well as giving talks at the Rockland Library and local media conventions on varied aspects of film in popular culture.

When not at the Strand, he is an avid traveler who believes in seeing as much of the world as one can, whether on the road or vicariously through a theater screen. As a lover of movies, he sees them first and foremost as a way of experiencing the world through the eyes of others.


Jessie Davis: Executive Director

With a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic, a PC in Documentary Filmmaking from Rockport College, and certified as a Building Analyst through The Building Performance Institute, Jessie’s professional life has been as varied as her academic study.  Joining the Strand team in the spring of 2014, Jessie was excited to return to the cultural arts fold, after a very full seven year stint as new mother AND energy efficiency engineer with Evergreen Home Performance. Before the birth of her daughter, Jessie was the manager, programmer, projectionist, popcorn maker, and chief ticket taker at the Bayview Street Cinema in Camden, Maine.  In May 2007, while selling tickets for a 7pm showing of AVENUE MONTAIGNE, her water broke. After starting the show, and re-focusing the film on her way out the door, Jessie birthed her way in to retirement from the Bayview.

Today, Jessie and her family – Dan, Scout, and dogs Dinah and Flash – love the ready access of Rockland living – from sea and sand to park and playground, and, of course, having the Strand Theatre just a few blocks from home!




Jo Dondis: Board Chair

Jo Dondis is a Maine native and the granddaughter of Joseph and Ida Dondis who built the Strand Theatre in 1923. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.S. in Communications from Boston University. Jo spent twenty-four years in Los Angeles working as a television news producer at CNN, ABC, CBS and KCET, a PBS station where she won a Peabody Award for her work on the show A Place of Our Own. In 2010 she returned to her roots when she moved back to Maine with her husband and spearheaded the effort to transition the Strand to a non-profit.  Jo has also served on the boards of Emerge Maine and Adas Yoshuron Synagogue in Rockland.

She looks forward to the day when her grandson Nathaniel is old enough to see his first movie at the Strand. 


 Roy Hitchings, Jr.: Board Treasurer

Roy A. Hitchings, Jr. recently retired after a 30-year career in healthcare management. He served from 1998-2012 as the president and chief executive officer of Pen Bay Healthcare (PBH) and Pen Bay Medical Center (PBMC), a community not-for-profit healthcare system in Rockport, Maine. A 1969 cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College, Roy earned his Master of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Mr. Hitchings currently serves on the board of the Maine Health Access Foundation, is Chairman of the board of the Mid Coast Community Chorus, and is a member of the Rockland Rotary. He is  past chairman of Maine Hospital Association’s Board of Directors, was a founding board member of the Knox County Health Clinic, former member of the United Mid Coast Charities board and past president of George’s River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. 

Mr. Hitchings and his wife Debbi live in Camden and have two children and a grandson.  Roy enjoys fly-fishing, singing, kayaking and exercise and is active in his church.


John Bird 

John Bird grew up in Rockland, Maine.  John received his A.B. degree from Bowdoin College (1959) and an M.A. from George Washington University (1965).  Following his marriage to Mary Alice Hocker in 1960, John began a 29- year career in independent education, the last 19 as the head of three different schools in Illinois, Oklahoma and Missouri respectively.  

In 1989 John joined the consulting firm of Educators' Collaborative, LLC (EC) and returned to Maine.  He served as the 10-member firm’s president from 2001 until he retired in 2007.  He now holds the title of president emeritus. John has also served as a trustee and board chair of several non-profit boards in the fields of education, health care (e.g., chaired both Pen Bay Healthcare and the Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation boards), the environment (e.g., chair emeritus of the Island Institute board), the arts (e.g., member of Farnsworth Art Museum board and, of course, the Strand), and religion and recently began a four-year term on the seven-member Maine Charter School Commission. He has been active in the Episcopal Church since 1970, including serving as senior warden of parishes in Oklahoma and St. Peter’s in Rockland.

John and Mary Alice have lived on Rackliff Island in Spruce Head, Maine, since 1990.  The Birds have three grown children (one of whom is an Episcopal priest) and six grandchildren.


Ellen Seidman: Board Vice Chair        

Ellen Seidman is a resident of Washington DC and Spruce Head.  She is a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, focusing on housing finance, community development and consumer finance.  From 1997 through 2001, she was the Director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, and concurrently served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and as Chair of the Board for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.  Ms. Seidman has also been a Visiting Scholar in the Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2012-14), held various senior positions at ShoreBank Corporation and its affiliates (2002-2010), served as Senior Counsel to the Democratic Staff, House Financial Services Committee (2001-02) and Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (1993-1997). From 2012 to 2016 she was a member of the inaugural Consumer Advisory Board of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  She has been a member of the board of Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI), based in Brunswick, since 2007, and is currently Board Chair.  She also chairs the board of Aeris Insight, and is a member of the board of City First Bank of DC.  Ms. Seidman received her M.B.A. in Finance and Investments from George Washington University, her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and her A.B. from Radcliffe College.


William C. Black

After first practicing law in Camden in the late 1970s, Bill Black moved to Portland.  He has recently retired from thirty years of serving as General Counsel and Deputy Public Advocate in the Public Advocate Office.  Bill continues to represent public-interest concerns before public utilities commissions in northern New England and the Eastern Caribbean and is active on the Advisory Council to the Maine Telecommunications Relay Service.  He is a long-time board member of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, and serves as co-chair of the annual Edmund H. Muskie Award Dinner, which raises funds for Maine six legal services organizations.  Before moving to Maine, Bill graduated from Stanford University, received an MAT from Reed College, and graduated from the Boston University School of Law.

Bill lives in Portland with his wife, Jackie Potter, and maintains his ties to family in Rockport and Lincolnville.  He is proud to have watched two documentaries shown at the Strand that were produced by his son Sam.


Norman Thomas 

Norman Thomas does part time technical and management consulting with the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.  A career Naval Officer he graduated from Princeton University in 1963 with a degree in Electrical Engineering and the Naval Postgraduate School in 1967 with an MSEE; he also has a certificate in Management from the University of Virginia.  After retiring from the Navy he has worked for Western Union, Norden Systems and Northrop Grumman developing electronic systems for the military.

Norman married Susan Allen in Rockland in 1964, and after 45 years they built a house in Owls Head and returned to her home.  They have both been active in local government and community affairs wherever they have lived and are continuing that service on the Mid-Coast.  They have seen and enjoyed the Strand as it has gone through its many lives as the entertainment heart of Rockland, and are especially pleased to see both returned to their original glory.

Norman and Susan have two daughters and four granddaughters who all share their love of Maine.


Ariel Hall 

Ariel Hall grew up in Hope. She left Maine at 16, returning in her early thirties after years in New York City. Ariel is a multi-disciplinary artist working mainly in performance and installation. She has shown her work at La MaMa, Panoply Performance Lab, the Culture Project, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Steel House, and in the streets of New York City and São Paulo, among other locales and venues. In her last stint in New York, Ariel assisted curators at the Museum of Modern Art, helping them better execute performative and interactive artworks in the museum’s galleries; she also performed and facilitated the production of these artworks. Ariel holds a BA in art, psychology, and feminist theory, and an MA in Performance Studies, both from NYU. Most recently, Ariel opened Periscope, a modern design shop focused on interiors, with her partner, Jan Leth. They live in Spruce Head with their baby daughter. 


Elysa Rose Coster 

Elysa Rose Coster received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University.  She worked as an art director in New York in advertising and promotion until she and her husband Paul moved to India and then Singapore. While in India, Elysa worked with battered women designing and producing patchwork quilts. The Coster family moved back from Asia in 2000 and spent 18 years in Lloyd Harbor, NY before relocating to Rockland in 2016 and buying the co-working and making facility Steel House.

While raising her two daughters, who now are in college, Elysa was active in her local community and worked with organizations that promote education, the arts, and healthy living. She is currently teaching Iyengar Yoga and starting a pottery studio at Steel House South.


Elisse B. Walter 

Elisse was a Commissioner of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission from 2008 to 2013 and Chair of that body from 2012 to 2013. Prior to that, she served as Senior Executive Vice President, Regulatory Policy & Programs, for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). She held the comparable position at NASD before its 2007 consolidation with NYSE Member Regulation. Elisse graduated from Yale University with a B.A., cum laude, in mathematics and received her J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Elisse is a member of the Board of Directors of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the National Women’s Law Center and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. She also serves as a member of FINRA’s Board of Governors. Elisse resides in Owls Head and in Bethesda, MD with her husband, Ronald Alan Stern. She has two children and two grandchildren.


Joanne Billington

Awarded “Community Person of the Year” by the local Chamber of Commerce, Joanne Billington is well known for her volunteer work with the City of Rockland and Coastal Healthcare Alliance, the parent organization of Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital. Joanne is chair of the Pen Bay Waldo Healthcare Foundation and a board member of Coastal Healthcare Alliance. She also chairs the City of Rockland’s personnel board.
As a commercial insurance producer with Allen Insurance and Financial of Camden, Joanne works with clients across Maine, specializing in insurance for municipalities, non-profits and technology-based businesses.
An active gardener, Joanne is a native of Long Island, NY and has lived in the midcoast since 1986. She and her husband Glenn live in Rockland and spend time with their three grandsons whenever they can.

Candace Shedd Vancko

Candace Shedd Vancko moved to Maine in 2016 after more than forty-two years in higher education.  From 1999-2016 she served as President of The State University of New York (SUNY) at Delhi.  She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Speech from The Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Ohio University.  She also served as an enrollment management consultant to more than thirty colleges nation-wide. She has authored a number of professional articles and co-authored a book.

She currently serves as President of The Board of Trustees of The First Universalist Church in Rockland and President of HOA Board for the Village at Rockport.  She has three children and eight grandchildren and moved to Maine to be closer to her younger daughter’s family.  She is an avid reader and enjoys cooking, walking and singing in the church choir.

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