Partnership names new agency chief
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 7, 2010 1:46 PM
Patty Huffman, interim director at the Partnership for Children of Wayne County since late July, has been named executive director at the agency.
Her predecessor, Don Magoon, executive director since 2002, accepted a position at Wayne Community College as chief of administrative support services.
The Partnership board developed a search committee and advertised widely for a replacement, receiving about 19 applications before narrowing the field down, Mrs. Huffman said Monday.
She was notified of the promotion late last week.
"I have been serving as interim for the last 60 days and that has helped, I think, making the transition smoother," she said, crediting Partnership staff with creating a good working environment throughout.
Mrs. Huffman joined the local partnership in 2005. She initially served as community services coordinator and in 2007 became program coordination and evaluation director.
From 2000 to 2005, she was evaluation director for the Scotland County Partnership for Children and Families. Before that, she was executive director of Craven County Council on Women in New Bern, a non-profit group with committees that worked to establish Smart Start in that area.
As with other agencies around the state, funding remains high on the list of priorities to keep programs afloat.
"The budget issues are always at the forefront," Mrs. Huffman said. "As things keep changing, we will try to use our dollars in the best, effective way we can. That will be the challenge for this year and next year.
"One of the goals is to get our staff back up to full staff -- we still have a few vacancies that will be filled over the next couple of months."
She also plans to place more emphasis on board and staff development.
"We want to get our board more involved," she said. "This will be an important year with a lot of new staff. We want to make sure the board is participatory and engaged."
The Partnership, which primarily targets children from birth to age 5, including efforts to assist parents with managing their role, has also had a good track record working with child care providers toward obtaining additional education.
Mrs. Huffman said she hopes to continue building on the successes and keeping the Partnership strong in the community.
"We would also like to focus on some of the prevalent issues facing youth, like childhood obesity," she added. "We're always looking for ways to do more about special needs.
"And we would like to re-implement our dental varnish program because that's on hold right now until we can get funding, but that's one of our priorities."
The biggest challenge is anticipating budget allotments and a turn in the economic tide, Mrs. Huffman said.
"We're still in a holding pattern waiting to really know," she said. "Our board has some goals and priorities of what they want us to pursue. Right now we're just waiting."