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Folly executive director

Folly executive director

The Körner’s Folly Foundation has selected Suzanna Ritz Malliett as their new executive director after Dale Pennington announced that she was stepping down from the position in early December 2022.
Malliet is from Greensboro and has been working at Körner’s Folly as their operations & programs manager since 2018.
“My initial reaction was excitement for the opportunity to be a part of the Folly’s next chapter,” she said. “I also felt very grateful for the confidence and the trust that the Board of Directors has placed in me, as well as humbled by the incredible work that has been done by previous directors, staff, volunteers and citizens.”
Malliet is currently in the transition phase of taking on this new role.
“Dale Pennington, the outgoing executive director, did an excellent job preparing for the new hire” Malliet said. “I cannot say for certain exactly how long the transition phase will last, but I am looking forward to finding a new operations & programs manager as soon as possible to help the Foundation prepare for a busy year ahead.”
One specific vision that she has as the new executive director is to continue the work towards construction of a new Visitors Center, which will be built later this year, Malliet said. The capital campaign for this project began in 2018.
“As the new executive director, it’s important that my vision aligns with that of the organization, which is to be a place of connection between the past and the future, between the arts and industry, and among people who share a common appreciation for new ways of thinking,” Malliet said. “My personal vision is also in alignment with the Foundation’s strategic plan. This plan addresses the need for increased accessibility to the historic house for people with disabilities, to develop opportunities for deeper engagement with local history, and to keep growing in a sustainable way.”
Malliet obtained her bachelors degree in history for Salem University and then her masters degree in arts administration from the University of New Orleans. She has experience at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, MUSE Winston-Salem and a museum educator for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.
What intrigued Malliet most about Körner’s Folly was the architecture of the house.
“I think that the unusual architecture of the historic house itself drew me in initially,” she said. “Jule Körner’s vision of providing world-class interior design in what was back then a small town really helped people access newly-available goods and services during the Victorian era, as well as new ways of thinking and creating.”
Körner’s Folly is important to Kernersville because many people who live in Kernersville value the historic home and legacy, she said.
“The fact that the citizens of Kernersville have come together to first save from demolition, then protect, and finally, restore and open this remarkable historic house to the public is an inspiration to me,” Malliet said. “From my formal and informal conversations with visitors and program participants at Körner’s Folly, it is clear that many people value the home’s interpretation of local history and the arts, its unique position as a landmark for Kernersville, and their own experiences of the whimsical structure itself. The reputation of hospitality that Jule and his wife Polly Alice originally created in their home is an important legacy that serves as a guidepost for all the organization’s activities today.”
Although Körner’s Folly is an important economic resource for Kernersville that brings people from out of town to visit the notable home, it is also an important leaning opportunity, she said.
“I believe that the Körner’s Folly Foundation provides valuable access to information at the intersection of history and the arts, and helps people of all ages understand how much can change over time, while some things remain surprisingly consistent,” Malliet explained.
For 2023, the Körner’s Folly Foundation has many events planned, including Victorian Valentine’s Day on Feb. 11, Homeschool Day on March 6, the 5th annual Spring Vintage Market on March 25 and Girl Scout Day: Patch Party on April 22.
For more information about Malliet, events or to request a visit, go to

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