LIVINGSTON, NJ - Following an extensive search that saw more than 130 applicants, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges has named seasoned YMCA leader Cheryl Tuturice as the new head of its West Essex YMCA branch, succeeding former Executive Director Helen Flores. 

Under the title of District Executive Director, Tuturice will manage the day-to-day operations and staff at the West Essex YMCA and provide oversight to the Wayne YMCA. Both branches are part of the Metro Y association.

Brian Sheafer, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Metro YMCAs, has been serving as Interim Executive Director at the West Essex Y since Flores’ retirement in December of 2019. 

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When Tuturice begins her new role on March 23, she’ll provide leadership and direction to both the West Essex and Wayne branches, a district with an operating budget of $14 million, 15,000 members and program participants, and more than 75 staff and volunteers. She’ll be tasked with driving community engagement, growing the Y’s programs and fundraising opportunities, and overseeing any potential expansion or renovation projects.

A New Jersey native and current Easton, Pa. resident, Tuturice has worked for the YMCA since 1994. She currently serves as Executive Director for the Soundview Family YMCA Branch in Branford, Conn. Prior to that, she was Executive Director at the Somerset Hills Y in Basking Ridge, NJ and has served several Pennsylvania branches in various director-level positions. 

"Cheryl comes to us with more than 20 years of YMCA experience and over eight years’ experience as a YMCA Executive Director. Additionally, she has had experience in leading child care and is passionate about helping staff achieve their full potential,” said Ed Philipp, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. “I am excited to work with Cheryl as we continue to pursue excellence in our community and future growth opportunities."

“Cheryl has a proven track record as a results-driven leader who is committed to the YMCA’s cause. Her solid experience in addressing the needs of diverse communities while advancing the Y’s mission of healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility will help us to serve more people at our West Essex and Wayne branches,” said Richard K. Gorab, president and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges. 

Tuturice said she plans to build on the current partnerships and relationships that have been established, particularly at the West Essex Y, where Flores worked to significantly expand the Y’s reach. 

“My major goal is to really sustain what Helen has started (at West Essex) and maintain her legacy, and remain relevant to the community to continue the Y’s impact,” said Tuturice. “I am excited to work with a new team and get to know the community.”

Tuturice views community engagement as a key ingredient in the success of a branch, and she brings an extensive history of establishing partnerships in her own career to help advance the Y’s mission. 

On both a professional and personal level, Tuturice understands the magnitude of the Y’s impact, especially for people who rely on its programs and services in their daily lives. Throughout her career, she’s worked in diverse communities, including those where the Y’s Financial Assistance program was critical in helping low-income families access Y services.

A former kindergarten teacher who has both her master’s and bachelor’s degree in education, Tuturice was instrumental in expanding early childhood learning opportunities to support an identified community need for at risk youth - opening four early childhood facilities servicing 500 children within an eight-year period in towns served by the Greater Valley YMCA in eastern Pennsylvania. There, she secured $2 million to support start up and renovation expenses, and a $500,000 annual grant to work with the local school administration and partners to offer free, subsidized preschool to families.

Personally, she discovered just how impactful the Y can be when the organization became a support system for her family when both of Tuturice’s parents died of cancer just five months apart. The staff became “second parents,” providing a sense of normalcy for her four kids during a difficult time, she said.

“The experience showed me a different side of the Y. It was something I was impacted by and will carry on and do the same for others,” she said.

When she’s not at the Y, Tuturice can be found in her garden, on a ski slope, or visiting her kids at their colleges in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Most of all, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her husband Joseph; sons Alex, 26, Conor, 22, and Bailey, 21; daughter Emily, 19; and 14-year-old dog, a Bischon named Lily. 

Her children also grew up “in the Y,” taking swim lessons and attending summer camp. Two of her sons have been lifeguards and pool manager, and her daughter, an outdoor pool registrar, at their local Y branches.

ABOUT THE Y

Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges invests in its diverse communities to promote wellness, safety and quality of life for children, adults and seniors. Its seven branches in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hackensack, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility through an array of programs. Some 35,000 people belong to the Metro Y, which awards more than $2.8 million annually in direct and indirect financial assistance.