Our Family

Board of Directors

Jessica Lark
Founder | President | Executive Director

Founder of The Elysian Sanctuary, Lark is a noted fine art and intimate portrait artist, whose hopeless romantic tendencies, and love of all things nostalgic led her to the abandoned boarding school they are now trying to make home for Elysian.

Like all artists she can be a bit eccentric, and her team supports, problem solves, and occasionally reins her grandiose imagination in.  

Lark is now an award winning photographer, a highly sought after educator and speaker in the arts, business, and personal development, an internationally-published author, and a philanthropist focused on humanitarian aid for creatives, children, and sustainability efforts. 

Elysian Sanctuary has been her dream since she was 7 years old, and manifesting it is her life’s work. 

Melissa Thurman
Director of Arts Education

Melissa is a graduate of Tyler School of Art. 

She specializes in Printmaking, Drawing and Painting, and works in a variety mediums, always finding joy in experimenting with art.  She brings that to life for others through Engage Art Studio in Schwenksville PA.

Her experience and success in bringing a love for art to creatives of all ages through art classes, workshops, events, and community festivals, at her personal studio had her heavily sought after for the Board of Directors here, so she could bring the same joy, exploration, and unique atmosphere to arts education for Elysian Sanctuary.

Beth Specker
Director of the Board

Beth holds a B.A. in Psychology from Villanova University and an M.A. in Non Profit Management from Eastern University. 

Beth was Director of Civics Education with the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and served as Chief of Staff to the former First Lady of Pennsylvania, Judge Marjorie Rendell.  In this capacity, she worked with schools across the commonwealth and nationally with organizations such as iCivics, the American Bar Association and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.

Beth also served as the Vice President of Education for 17 years at the Freedoms Foundation, where she designed and conducted 45 youth conferences a year for students from across the United States and abroad, and ran graduate credit programs for teachers.


Advisory Board

Denise & Joe Paulicivic
Director of Healing & Wellness

Barbara Montgomery
Director of Music & Wellness


Tommy Carroll
Head of Maintenance/Audio Visual

Eileen Hasty
Director of Agriculture & Sustainability

Eugene Wong
Director of Culture & Community

Cadence Lark
Kitten Library Cat Tamer