Debbie Komanski has been Executive Director of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens since January, 2004. She received her degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. As a native of Winter Park and graduate of Winter Park High School, she brings a deep knowledge of the cultural arts and history of the area to the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and the City of Winter Park.
Over the past 30+ years, Komanski has served as president of a number of organizations including the UCF Alumni Association, Volunteer Center of Central Florida, Town and Gown Council as well as held other key leadership positions on multiple Boards of Directors for non-profit organizations and schools in the community.
• President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Winter Park
• Leadership Winter Park, Alumni Council representing Class XVII
• University of Central Florida Foundation, Board of Directors
• Florida Executive Women, Board of Directors
• Town and Gown Council of the University of Central Florida, Board of Directors
• International Committee for the Woodrow Wilson Monument in Prague, Czech Republic
• Chairman of the Board of YingExpo: Dr. Nelson Ying Science and Engineering Expo (aka Orange County Science and Engineering Fair)
• The Winter Park Cultural Collaboration.
Among her honors and awards Ms. Komanski received the highest honor presented by the University of Central Florida Alumni Association, the 1987 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. Additionally, she was the recipient of the esteemed University of Central Florida 1998 President’s Award bestowed by President John Hitt in recognition of a lifetime of service to the University; 2008 Jefferson Award for Lifetime Excellence of Public Service and the Orlando Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Community Service of the Year Award.
Hailing from New York, Michelle Martino earned her B.A. in Government and French from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and went on to receive a Masters in Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Michelle brings to The Polasek broad experience in the field of nonprofit development, including areas such as grant writing, charitable giving campaigns, donor relations and other advancement strategies. Before relocating to Florida, Michelle worked in resource development at the United Way of New York City and most recently served as the Annual Fund Officer at Harbor House of Central Florida.
Director of Museum Operations
Ponsonby received her A.A. degree in Graphic Design from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellen, Illinois. Assistant to the Executive Director in operational matters, she has coordinated the graphic and publication needs of the Polasek Museum for over twelve years. Organizations she is currently active with include the Florida Association of Museums, American Association of Museums, American Association of State and Local History.
Ms. Frisby received her Bachelor’s degree in Art History with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin Superior. Subsequently, she earned her Masters in Museum Studies from the University of Kansas with a chosen emphasis on American History. Her curatorial experience includes “Czech Prints” at the University of Wisconsin; student shows at the Kruk Art Gallery and the Mt. Hood Museum in Government Camp, Oregon. She has worked for several years as the collections specialist for the University of Kansas’ Archive of Recorded Sound and has been trained as a laboratory technician for the Stannard Conservation Laboratory in Lawrence, Kansas. Most recently, Ms. Frisby has served as the lead teacher for a Kansas City, Missouri, nonprofit, the historic Whatsoever Community Center.
Mrs. Funchess received her B.S. in Event Management from the University of Central Florida, Rosen School of Hospitality. She oversees all Museum events and private special event bookings.
Noel received her B.S. in Accounting in 1982 and her M.A. in School Counseling in 2004, both from the University of Central Florida. She maintains the accounting records for the museum on a part time basis while serving as full time grandmother/caregiver to her granddaughter. Noel is currently on the board of Ten Thousand Villages of Orlando, Inc. and is active with several fundraising events for non-profit organizations each year.
Petra Hays graduated with a B.A. in German and French from the University of Central Florida and with an M.A. in German Literature from the University of Florida. She is the museum’s in-house editor, docent trainer and lead docent, regularly conducting tours of the property in English, German and French.
Ms. Furno graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in History and a Certificate in Judaic Studies, with a concentration on the Holocaust era. She is the Museum’s researcher, serves as a docent and docent trainer, and regularly writes articles on sculpture and its historical significance. She has served as a Mentor for the Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools and is currently a member of the Oviedo Historical Society.