Jacqui Leader, who has spent 30 years as the creative director of the East End Special Players, was honored by State Senator Anthony Palumbo in Albany last week as his district’s Woman of Distinction.
“Jacqui is an extraordinary woman whose brilliance, resilience, and boundless spirit have carved a path of empowerment and inspiration for all,” Mr. Palumbo said in a statement.
Ms. Leader, who lives on Shelter Island, leads a popular theater program for adults with varied abilities and skills, based at the Southampton Arts Center. She also heads the program’s Explorers group, whose members visit public places — gardens, art museums, yoga studios, wildlife refuges — to learn from and interact with community members.
Paul Rogers, president of the board of the East End Special Players, nominated Ms. Leader for the award. She said by phone this week that it had been a moving experience. “It was very sweet. At first, I said ‘I’m sure there are other people who do much more serious things than I do,’ but it was really nice. I met some really, really, interesting women. It was so great to be included.”