03/05/12 — Staffing changes at local agency

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Staffing changes at local agency

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 5, 2012 1:46 PM

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Pictured at The Partnership for Children are, from left, Valerie Wallace, Whitney Jansta and Charlie Ivey. Mrs. Jansta, community service coordinator, is a recent hire and Ms. Wallace, assistant executive director, just received a promotion to her position. Ivey is the executive director of the organization.

Two personnel changes have been announced at The Partnership for Children of Wayne County.

Valerie Wallace has been named assistant executive director.

She has been with the Partnership nearly 11 years, starting as school readiness director before moving into the role of early care and education director. She will continue to oversee such programs as N.C. Pre-K, Incredible Years and the Knapsack program.

"The board felt that having someone with Valerie's experience and longevity and knowledge, to have them be a second-in-command, and of course she has been a tremendous asset and assistance to me coming on board," said Charles Ivey, executive director of the Partnership.

Ivey, principal at Spring Creek Elementary School for its first 12 years, retired from Wayne County Public Schools in June, taking over duties at the Partnership one month later.

In the four-week transition prior to his arrival to replace Patty Huffman, whose husband, Joe, former city manager, accepted a city manager job in Mississippi, Ms. Wallace had served as interim executive director.

A new hire is Whitney Jansta as community services coordinator, replacing Kimberly Best, who became the city's first public information officer in February.

For the past two and one-half years, Mrs. Jansta was community engagement manager for United Way.

Originally from Indiana, she holds a communications degree from Purdue University, where she met husband, John, now stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

"We love it here. We have put down roots, bought a house, joined a church," she said. "We plan on making Wayne County our home as long as we can."

Likewise, Ivey said he is pleased to welcome Mrs. Jansta to the role.

"I feel like she can offer a fresh perspective, fresh ideas," he said. "Our biggest challenge is to make people aware of what we do and the wonderful services that the Partnership provides. That's going to be her major role.

"She will probably handle a lot of publicity, brochures, community events, presentations to local organizations, just generally (be there) for folks that want to find out what we do."

Especially during these economic and political times -- when the threat of cuts to funding and programs looms large -- Ivey said it is important to get the word out about all the things the Partnership offers for families of young children.

"For a non-profit, we're also responsible for raising some of our own funding and working with organizations and groups that are interested in contributing," he said. "Even though she will not directly write grants, that's something we're interested in doing."

Mrs. Jansta said she is enjoying being part of the Partnership team.

"Just in the short time that I have been here, it's opened up my eyes to all the different things that they do," she said. "It's a big challenge but I'm really looking forward to it."

One area of particular importance will be to enhance its use of social media, Ivey said.

"We have had that but we want to make more of a impression, working with young families, that's where we are," he said.

"Everything from events all the way to things about the advocacy piece, really the beauty about social media is it's so quick and direct," Mrs. Jansta added. "The Partnership is so relevant to parents today. This is a way to communicate with them sort of ASAP."