05/30/11 — Ivey is named Partnership for Children director

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Ivey is named Partnership for Children director

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 30, 2011 1:46 PM

Charles Ivey III

A veteran educator has been named executive director for the Partnership for Children of Wayne County, which also manages Smart Start.

Charles Ivey III, principal at Spring Creek Elementary School since it opened 12 years ago, will take over the position being vacated by Patty Huffman.

The board of directors made the announcement on Friday.

"We are excited that Mr. Ivey has accepted the (job)," said Sissy Lee-Elmore, chairman of the board. "He brings a wealth of knowledge about children and we look forward to working with him.

"We are really sorry to lose Patty Huffman as executive director, but we wish her success in her future endeavors. She has been with the Partnership for over five years and her contributions have been exceptional."

Mrs. Huffman initially joined the Partnership in 2005 as community services coordinator.

She took over as interim director in late July, when her predecessor, Don Magoon, accepted a position at Wayne Community College. In October, she was named executive director.

Less than four months into the role, she gave notice that she would be leaving Wayne County in early June, as her husband, former city manager Joe Huffman, had accepted the city manager job in Pascagoula, Miss.

Ivey, a 35-year educator, will retire from Wayne County Public Schools in late June and will step into the new role effective July 11.

He has been at Spring Creek Elementary School for 23 years, first when it was a kindergarten through ninth grade school and then at the new elementary school.

In addition to his career as an administrator, Ivey has worked closely with the Partnership, as his school had two More at Four classrooms. He also served on the Partnership board of directors for the last five years and has firsthand knowledge of the importance of quality early childhood education and services.

Ivey said he is excited about the new challenge, but even more so because of his belief that building a strong educational foundation early on is critical.

"Being the principal of an elementary school, I have seen firsthand the benefits of good preschool experiences and child care," he said. "This gives me an opportunity to help make that possible.

"I think the Smart Start and More at Four programs have done wonderful things for our young people."

Ivey admitted that he is concerned about the current climate for education, particularly with the economy and the state budget.

"It's a critical time in the history of early childhood programs and I hope to help promote quality child care in Wayne County because I do see the benefits of that," he said. "You pay up front or you pay later. I think investing in our kids up front is the way to go."

In the four-week transition period between Mrs. Huffman's departure and Ivey's arrival, Valerie Wallace, Partnership early care and education director, will serve as interim executive director.