Press Release

A Step Beyond Names James Wright as New Executive Director

For Immediate Release
June 30, 2020

Contact Jeff Segall
Member, ASB Board of Directors

A Step Beyond CEO, James K. Wright

Escondido, California – The Board of Directors of A Step Beyond (ASB) announced today that James K. Wright will be joining the Creative Youth Development non-profit organization on July 13 as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director, following the retirement of current CEO and Executive Director Frank Foster, according to Board Chair Steve Gosselin.

“After months of going through an extensive recruitment and interviewing process, our Board identified James as an exceptional fit for A Step Beyond,” Gosselin said. “As our new CEO and Executive Director, James will bring his extensive experience of helping underserved youth in San Diego take hold of their dreams for college and a career.”

Wright has served as CEO of San Diego’s Classroom of the Future Foundation (CFF) since December of 2015. At the non-profit organization, he restored fiscal sustainability, developed a diversified fundraising model, and built a five-year strategic plan for their model college and career readiness program for K-12 grade students.

Prior to joining Classroom of the Future, Wright served as Director of Development and Marketing for Feeding San Diego (FSD). He joined FSD in August of 2011. FSD is one of San Diego’s leading hunger-relief organizations providing nutritious meals for those in need.

Wright explained his reason for accepting the offer to come to ASB. “ASB is an amazing organization,” he said, “because it provides young people with the vision and skills they need to succeed. The ongoing arts, educational and social service programs, and individualized mentoring, that ASB provides, are exactly what young people need, and I know of no other organization that provides all of these services as well as ASB does,” he added. “On top of that, ASB commits to working with and helping these kids for ten years, until they get their high school diploma!”

Wright believes that ASB’s mission and programs are more critical than ever before, with many families impacted by increased hardships caused by the pandemic and the likely cuts to public  education this Fall.

Wright has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Washington University in Washington D.C., where he graduated cum laude in 2009 following studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain for six months. He received his Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego (USD) in 2014 and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt through USD.

A Step Beyond was formed in 2014 as a vision of Frank and Jan Foster, and a group of community leaders, who made a commitment to establishing the non-profit organization to help underserved youth following his retirement as CEO of Fieldstone Homes. Since its inception, Foster has served as the organization’s CEO and Executive Director, because he wanted to help young people learn to fulfill their dreams and succeed in a career. As he leaves ASB, he will complete his second career retirement. He, along with his wife, Jan, will remain on ASB’s Board of Directors.

“I am absolutely thrilled that James will be helping bring A Step Beyond to the next level of serving our kids, their families, and this community,” Foster said. “He has a passion for helping the underserved in our community, and his experience in education, fundraising, and leading teams will serve A Step Beyond well.”

Based at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, ASB brings in third-grade students from Escondido and San Marcos and commits to mentoring them through graduating high school and pursuing college or a career. In almost every case, ASB students will be the first in their families to attend college. ASB uses dance as the mechanism for recruiting their students. “Teaching dance enhances our students’ cognitive skills and helps them focus on the arts and music,” Foster said. “Usually these types of programs are the first to be cut in public schools when budgets are reduced. Our program picks up for that.”

Once students are recruited to ASB, they also receive extensive academic support including hands on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities in ASB’s MakerSpace lab and college preparatory assistance. They also have access to certified social service counselors who work with students individually or in groups, as well as with students’ families. Wright lives in Vista with his wife, Samantha, and their two children, Fox and Indy.

In his spare time, James teaches tennis and golf for Southern California Special Olympics and serves on the Board of Directors of Resounding Joy, a non-profit that provides music therapy to children, seniors, veterans and individuals facing hardships. He also is a volunteer grant writer for Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad.

Download the Press Release.pdf

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obrARCHITECTURE Arts Auction Benefits A Step Beyond

If you haven’t done so already, let us know that you are joining us by contacting

We have over 15 artworks for Auction this year! Below is a sneak peak of Bid Items #01-17. If you are persuaded to Bid early or are not able to make the event but want to Bid, please see below and let us know before 1:00pm Wednesday! We look forward to seeing you!


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A Step Beyond Dance Auditions

Download: 2017 A Step Beyond Auditions Flyer (English y Español)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

It is time for our Annual Auditions!

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Save the Date!


A Step Beyond Annual Performance

Thursday & Friday, May 12 & 13, 2016
7:30 p.m. Concert
Center Theater, California Center for the Arts, Escondido,
340 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido CA

Celebrate with us! This year’s performance will feature seventy of our first and second year students. Reserve your seat today!

A Step Beyond serves youth from low-income families in the cities of San Marcos and Escondido. The programs at A Step Beyond are proven to help these students gain the skills and self-confidence necessary to graduate high school, attend college, and choose a career. We do this through a unique approach that combines rigorous, professional dance training complemented by academic and family counseling services. Students begin with our program in third grade and continue through high school graduation and beyond. With the help of A Step Beyond, our students will reach their potential and inspire others in their communities to do the same.

R.S.V.P. to Karla Navarro at

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More Than A Number

A Recent Article Written by A Step Beyond’s Artistic Director, Jennifer Oliver and published by Americans for the Arts

“I believe strongly that developing young artists is of great value and not just because an arts education will improve academic scores.  Tapping into the arts offers a pathway for students to access their deepest and most authentic selves and provides them with a creative outlet for expression and reflection.  While helping students improve their academic scores and increasing student graduation rates is a goal of my work, it is not the core value.  Academic achievement does not define their value as individuals and should not define the value of my program.”

– See more at:  More Than A Number


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2015 ASB Annual Auditions!

A Step Beyond will be holding our annual auditions this Saturday, October 17th!

Registration begins at 8:30AM and we will continue to see students until we have seen everyone.  The gates will close at 12 PM, so make sure to arrive before then.

We will be at The California Center for the Performing Arts Escondido, there will be signs and volunteers to help you find your way.  Bring shade from the heat, water and nutrition.  It could be a long wait.  Parents must remain with their children and will be asked to fill out a questionnaire for more information.

1. The child must be 8, 9, or 10 years old on the date of the audition
2. The child’s family meets the income requirements
3. The child loves to dance and wants to learn!

Click below to download the 2015 Audition Flyer for more information.



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