YUMA, AZ, February 10 –The Children’s Museum of Yuma County is delighted to announce MELISSA RUSHIN IRR will be the organization’s next executive director. Irr is an educator with over 26 years of professional experience as a classroom teacher, consultant and private tutor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Master of Education. Irr most recently operated an extended-day tutoring program for homeschooling families.

“I have been a science and art advocate long before the current push for STEM and STEAM education,” said Irr. “I have found that this works well for kids because that is the way they interact with the world.”

Irr comes from a long line of Yumans; In the 1930s, her grandparents settled in Yuma. Irr was born and raised here. She is a 1986 graduate of Kofa High School. “Both of my parents were in education and very dedicated to community service. They drove that in me as well. They taught me that the best thing I could do is give back to the community. Working for CMYC is a new way for me to do exactly that.”

Irr’s biggest hope for Children’s Museum of Yuma County is to create a place where children and families can have fun, interact with each other, and create opportunities for life-long learning. “I want to really build the community’s ownership of the museum. This is a place for everybody. No matter where you live, no matter what your background, this is a place for all families to come explore, learn, and be kids again.”

“The Board is thrilled that Melissa will be leading our growth as an organization,” said Kevin Burge, president of the CMYC board. “We look forward to tying Melissa’s skills to our continued development. CMYC believes in informal education of young minds, and Melissa’s passion for early childhood development will make an immeasurable difference in the success of CMYC.”

Quick quips from Melissa Rushin Irr:

  • Favorite bookA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I love the book’s sense of wonder about the world around, and taking opportunities that are put in your path – even if you don’t know where those will lead you in the end. It also focuses on love for family and friends.
  • Favorite ice cream – my mom’s homemade vanilla ice cream. Any time I eat my mom’s ice cream, it reminds me of how much she loves me and how much she takes care of me. It also reminds me to enjoy the sweet things in life.
  • Favorite part of CMYC – seeing others enjoy the work the museum does. The comments of others have encouraged me. This museum is a good fit for all of Yuma County.

Irr was the top candidate after an extensive search that resulted in more than 30 applications. The executive director job is a three-year grant funded position paid for through a charitable contribution from the Gowan Company.  Irr’s first day on the job is March 1, 2017.


  1. Congratulations Melissa! Your guidance will be so appreciated by all of us in Yuma and especially by our children.

  2. Congratulations to Melissa…this is an exciting endeavor!

  3. Leda Casillas-Harvey

    Congratulations Melissa, this is the next chapter in your career and I hope it’s a great ride:)

  4. CONGRATULATION MELISSA , WE WILL SUPPORT YOU AS MUCH AS WE CAN AT Crossroads Mission. Our children at the family shelter will be at your events. Thank you again for all you do.

    • Thank you, Barbara. Our community is a much better place because of everything you do at Crossroads Mission. We’re looking forward to seeing the kids from the family shelter.

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