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Heather Nessler named Executive Director of SPARK

Rochester, Minn. (March 16, 2022) The Board of Directors of SPARK is pleased to announce Heather Nessler has been named as the organization’s new Executive Director effective April 18th. Heather joins the team at SPARK with an extensive background in leadership, marketing and communications with over 20 years of experience in various environments, including Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.


Heather Nessler

“I am beyond excited and humbled to be joining the team at SPARK. My passion for children, our future generation, coupled with my desire to expand on the strong mission and vision of the museum fuels me. I am eager to join the team this spring.”

For the past nine years, Heather served in a senior leadership role at Rochester Public Schools. During this tenure, her work focused on supporting the District's universal goals of access and equity, student achievement, and accountability. Heather has a strong passion for empowering people, building relationships, and growing brands. She played a key role in the successful passage of an operating referendum in 2015 and Rochester's largest bond referendum in the city's history in 2019.


Heather Nessler pictured (middle) with SPARK Interim Director, Melissa Brinkman (left) and SPARK Board Chair, Shelley Henry (right)

Shelley Henry, board chair stated “We are thrilled to have Heather join our team as our new Executive Director. As a dynamic leader and experienced strategist who is committed to innovation, she will be a tremendous asset to SPARK. The Board looks forward to partnering with Heather to grow SPARK and positively impact the families we serve in the greater Rochester community.”


Heather has lived in Rochester, MN for 14 years with her husband, two daughters, two adopted dogs, and hundreds of plants. If she is not at the athletic fields watching her daughters, you'll find her outdoors working with plants or enjoying Minnesota's lakes and rivers.



SPARK is a non-profit children’s museum and opened its current location at Apache Mall in August 2020. SPARK was formerly known as the Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester (MCMR) and rebranded when it spun off from the Minnesota Children’s Museum in July 2020 and became its own 501c3. SPARK’s Mission is to enrich the lives of young learners by creating shared, interactive experiences that engage people of all ages in the joy of play, the power of learning, and a sense of community. SPARK has welcomed over 85,000 visitors since opening its doors in August 2020.




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