Born and raised in Sacramento, Alyssa was immersed in the arts beginning in early childhood. She attended her first ballet class at the age of seven at the Crockett Dance Studio under the tutelage of the Sacramento Ballet’s Founding Artistic Director Barbara Crockett, and continued training with Crockett and at the San Francisco Ballet School until she joined the Sacramento Ballet Company in 1982. Alyssa danced with the company for seven years under the direction of Crockett, and with Artistic Director Ron Cunningham during his first season with the Ballet. Her fondest memories include realizing her childhood dream of performing the role of Clara in The Nutcracker at the Community Center Theater, and meeting sixteen of her biggest idols from the American Ballet Theater, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, when the Sacramento Ballet co-sponsored them in 1985. This momentous year also marked the inception of the Sacramento Ballet’s Outreach Program, which allowed Alyssa and fellow company members to extend the Ballet’s reach into schools and communities which otherwise would not have had the opportunity to experience the joy of dance.

Alyssa graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in Mammalian Physiology and Neuroscience, and a minor in Theater Literature and an emphasis in Art History. She worked as a Senior Research Technician and Lab Manager at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. She continued to earn a certification in Clinical Trials Administration from UC San Diego, and worked as a Clinical Trials Manager and Regional Development Director for a North Carolina-based company.

After joining the Sacramento Ballet Board in February of 2017, Alyssa is extremely honored to now serve as President for an organization so dear to her heart. Alyssa’s family has been a supporter and patron of the Sacramento Ballet for over four decades.

Alyssa resides in Carmichael, California with her husband and two children.

“Usefulness, whatever form it may take, is the price we should pay for the air we breathe, and the food we eat, and the privilege of being alive.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Ballet has always held a fascination for me with its physical power disguised as grace and beauty, its amazingly creative choreography, and its use of all music genres. What’s not to love! I‘ve been a patron and supporter of the Sacramento Ballet for over 20 years. Being useful in any way I can to continue the vitality of the company and to encourage more people of all ages and backgrounds to experience this amazing art form is a privilege.

As co-owner of the cultural resource firm Far Western Anthropological Research Group over the past three decades, I helped document and advocate for the history and prehistory of hundreds of archaeological sites in the western United States. We were also very successful in sharing our most intriguing findings with the public through booklets, videos, signage, and curriculum, working closely with Native Americans. During this time and currently, I feel particularly “useful” as chair of the James. A. Bennyhoff Memorial Fund, supporting pioneering archaeological research. I also served as a volunteer First Responder for 17 years, driving engines and dealing with fires, sickness, and vehicle accidents at all hours. Perhaps my most cherished useful time has focused on helping animals in need by fostering, adopting, and working with horses, dogs, and cats to provide them with the best lives possible. I also make myself useful at the UC Davis Raptor Center, Yolo County Animal Shelter, and fire-evacuation facilities.

Partner, Hurst Brooks Espinosa, LLC

Jean Kinney Hurst brings unique and varied policy expertise in complex state and local fiscal matters to HBE clients. As a founding partner of Hurst Brooks Espinosa, LLC, Jean assists public and private sector clients with legislative issues associated with state and local finance, state budget, governance, elections, and revenue and taxation, among others.

During her 15 years as a legislative representative for the California State Association of Counties, she has developed a reputation as a tenacious problem-solver, respected advocate, and effective strategist. She has been intimately involved in all aspects of major local government fiscal policy changes, including negotiation of the securitization of $1.2 billion in “borrowed” local agency property taxes in 2009 and negotiation of the constitutional protections for 2011 realignment contained in Proposition 30 (2012).

Additionally, Jean has worked on four statewide ballot measure campaigns from pre-campaign activities – including polling, focus groups, language development, and legal and fiscal analyses – to campaigns, including fundraising, media strategy, and voter outreach. Jean also has extensive experience working with national, state, and local media, including print, television, and radio.

Jean holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento, in addition to a Bachelor of Science With Honors from the University of California, Davis.

Jean grew up in Fresno County and married her high school sweetheart. She has three daughters and resides in Yolo County.

Scott Motley has an association with and a love for Sacramento Ballet that runs deep. His mother was once the President of the former Sacramento Ballet Guild, as well as a longstanding Guild volunteer. He is the brother of three sisters who all danced for Sacramento Ballet. His older sister got her start at the Crockett Dance Studio and, while dancing with Sacramento Ballet, was a contemporary of former Artistic Director Amy Seiwert. As a young lad, Scott was even a “Party Boy” for two seasons of The Nutcracker. The ballet was intertwined in the fabric of his adolescence, which started an affinity for the performing art, a love which still burns bright today.

Scott believes that the arts are vital to the culture of a community. He serves on the Board of Directors to help preserve Sacramento Ballet for generations to come.

Professionally, Scott is a financial planner and investment manager with Merrill Lynch, a Vice President and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC ©) who has been practicing his craft since 2004. He helps his clients design, implement, and monitor tailored strategies centered on the priorities of their lives. The hallmark of his philosophy is to approach his profession the way he would hope for, should his role be reversed. His clients receive the benefits of his investment discipline and in having a trusted partner for life. He frequently guides professionals, educators, retirees, and families with special needs through all aspects of their financial lives. He feels a deep sense of stewardship and a passion for delivering genuine value.

Scott earned his B.S. degree in Finance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with an emphasis in Investments and Financial Services.

Scott is a Sacramento native who now lives in Rocklin with his wife and four sons.


Matt Donaldson, a licensed physical therapist, is an ardent supporter of the Sacramento arts scene. He joined the board in September 2017.

Jennifer Hemmer of Hemmer & Barr is a family law specialist practicing in Sacramento and surrounding counties since 2009.  She and her law partner, Jill Barr, are passionate about helping people through a difficult time in their lives, dealing with divorce, custody, property division and support issues.  Prior to attending law school, Jennifer had a 15-year career in sports and entertainment marketing, working for the U.S. Soccer Federation, the NBA/WNBA, and Visa.

Additionally, Jennifer has been an avid patron and supporter of the performing arts and theater in New York City, San Francisco/Berkeley, and Sacramento for over three decades.  She is very excited to be involved with the Sacramento Ballet and believes that the organization has an important role to play in education and entertainment in the Sacramento region.

Jennifer has a B.A. from UC Berkeley, a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University, and a J.D. from McGeorge School of Law.  She is married to a German broadcast journalist and they have two college-aged children.

Pamela Maxwell joined U.S. Bank in July of 2010 and currently works as the Community Affairs Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility at U.S. Bank. Ms. Maxwell is responsible for the development, coordination and management of community relations and development activities within the Sacramento area, Northern California and Northern Nevada. She collaborates with community groups focusing on affordable housing, small business development, capacity building and financial education. The primary focus of her work is serving community needs within low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and meeting corporate CRA objectives. In addition, she manages the corporate giving budget for Sacramento, Northern California and Northern Nevada.

Pam has been working in the banking industry for over 28 years. She previously worked for Wells Fargo in Retail Banking for 19 years. She is a board member of Junior Achievement of Sacramento, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Sacramento Steps Forward, El Dorado Community Foundation, El Dorado County Opportunity Knocks and The Sacramento Ballet. She serves on the Program Committee of Sacramento Self Help Housing, on the Advisory Council of Assistance League Sierra Foothills, and on the Placerville Steering Committee for Hands4Hope.

She resides in Shingle Springs with her husband and two daughters.

Ken Fry joined the Board of Directors in 2017 and currently holds the position of Endowment Committee Chair. He also contributes as a member of the Finance Committee.

Over the years, Ken has developed a profound appreciation for ballet, specifically emphasizing the preservation and celebration of our local institution. With a legacy spanning 70 years, Ken recognizes the Sacramento Ballet as an indispensable thread in the community’s fabric. The ballet not only strives to captivate a diverse audience but also undertakes crucial outreach endeavors.

Professionally, Ken founded Genesee Scientific Corporation in 1995, which emerged as a leader in the life science research supply sector. After guiding Genesee for 27 years, Ken stepped down as CEO and presently serves on Genesee’s Board of Directors while engaging in other business endeavors.

When not involved in supporting the Sacramento Ballet, Ken can be found working on his family truffle farm, practicing yoga, or beekeeping.

Advisory Committee

Suzanne has been interested in dance and movement since early childhood, studying ballet and other systems of movement most of her life. Currently, her passion for this art is expressed through GYROTONIC®, which she practices and teaches as a hobby. As a result of this passion, she has long been a patron of the dance arts. Following many years of attending Sacramento Ballet performances, Suzanne wanted to do more to support and connect with the organization. Because she earns a living as a transactional business and intellectual property lawyer, she thought she could offer the organization a relevant legal perspective through a position on the Board.

Having completed nine years as a board member, 3 of those years as co-president, Suzanne has stepped down from the board but has agreed to continue on the advisory committee. She is proud of the progress the organization has made and thrilled about its plans for a bright future. She feels privileged to have served among so many exceptionally talented and bright Board members who are dedicated to seeing the very gifted and studied dancers and staff succeed.

As the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for Western Health Advantage, Rita Ruecker has provided financial and operational leadership since 1997. Rita’s insightful direction has led Western Health Advantage to grow substantially over the past 20-plus years.

Ms. Ruecker has over 30 years of experience in healthcare. Before Western Health Advantage, she worked in public accounting in the healthcare division servicing health plans, hospital systems and various healthcare companies.

Ms. Ruecker was honored as Sacramento’s CFO of the Year in 2011 by the Sacramento Business Journal. She is proud to continue on the advisory committee after having served on the board of Sacramento Ballet in many capacities. She is an avid supporter of Sacramento Ballet and continues to see as many performances as she can.

Ms. Ruecker is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

Founding Director

Founding Artistic Director of the Sacramento Ballet
Barbara Crockett, dancer and teacher extraordinaire, joined the San Francisco Ballet, the first ballet company in the United States, in 1936. Her husband and two daughters also danced with the San Francisco Ballet. In 1945, the Crockett family moved to Sacramento to begin a dance school and ballet company in our state’s capital. Hence, the Crockett Dance Studio and Sacramento Ballet were born.

Crockett is respected internationally for her legendary teaching prowess and was also awarded a California State Senate Resolution under Senator Darrell Steinberg for her achievements and contributions to the arts in Sacramento. Crockett was also instrumental in establishing the Regional Dance in America (RDA), Pacific Region which now boasts twenty member companies. RDA provides pre-professional dancers and budding choreographers, including many in areas not served by professional dance companies, training and scholarship opportunities necessary to develop their talents into international stature.

Crockett’s students have gone on to dance in companies all over the world including The Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theater. Crockett continues to remain an inspiration to dancers worldwide.