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Gleason stepping down as TIPAF/Clayton Opera House director

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CLAYTON — The Thousand Islands Performing Arts Fund at the Clayton Opera House is losing its popular leader, Joseph M. Gleason Jr.

Mr. Gleason, TIPAF’s executive director since February 2012, soon will be moving back to New Hampshire, where he landed a new job as the assistant director of the Lebanon Opera House.

“I know I’m really going to miss this, but my wife and son live in New Hampshire, and family is important to me. It’s a dilemma,” said Mr. Gleason, who moved to Clayton from Weare, N.H., almost two years ago. “Honestly, I’m going to miss the people in the community the most.”

His wife, Charlene, is a special-education teacher in New Hampshire. They have two grown children —elder son Aric and daughter Alyssa — who have moved out of the house, but the youngest, Ian, attends high school back home in New Hampshire.

Mr. Gleason starts his new role at the Lebanon Opera House on Jan. 2 and will be helping TIPAF’s interim director Andrew T. Wood — a Clayton resident and former executive director of the Thousand Islands Land Trust — with the transition beginning Dec. 2.

“Everybody has been so supportive up in Clayton,” he said, but this job offer was a “rare opportunity” that he just couldn’t pass up.

“I definitely will be coming back to Clayton in the summers,” Mr. Gleason said.

TIPAF’s board of directors will immediately start searching for Mr. Gleason’s successor, who would advance the arts fund’s mission to attract quality performances to the area, further boosting Clayton’s status as a cultural center of the St. Lawrence River community.

TIPAF runs the 110-year-old opera house, which underwent a $3.2 million renovation project that was completed in 2007. “The building facility is a gem,” Mr. Gleason said in March.

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