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Stewart to succeed Warren as collaborative executive director

For 10 years Wendy Warren has served ScrevenCounty as the Community Collaborative executive director, but her successor, whose first official day will be July 1 also is quite well known.

Ramona Stewart, a county fire department employee, a fast-pitch softball coach and co-owner of a downtown Sylvania business, in a week will assume the head role of the collaborative, which is a community-based initiative that addresses barriers in families. Those obstacles may include economic, educational, living or parenting setbacks.

“I am very excited about the chance to work with this board and team,” said Stewart after she was announced at a board meeting Tuesday at the county’s health department. “They have done a lot in the past.”

Stewart said the collaborative members have been “very positive” and she wants to add to that quality outlook.

“They are go-getters,” she said.

Stewart said does not want to completely step away from one of her loves. She plans to continue to be a volunteer firefighter, something she has done for 25-plus years.

“I feel this is a positive step for me, but I had a wonderful time working for the ScrevenCounty fire department. The board of commissioners has been very supportive of us,” Stewart said. “I believe my work with the fire department has prepared me to take on this new challenge.”

Stewart, who admitted she was flattered and honored just to be called in for an interview out of all those who applied, is married to Terry Stewart, who operates Terry’s T’s on North Main Street.

“We are looking forward to great things from her,” executive board member Dorothy Glisson told the members at the June 23 meeting.

“Wendy is leaving a big pair of shoes to fill,” Stewart said of Warren, who chose to step down to spend more time with her family.

For her 10 years of service as executive director, Warren received a plaque for her work.

“I have truly enjoyed working with the community and the board,” Warren said. “It was a heartfelt and difficult decision.

“The good Lord works it out,” she said. “The good Lord knows what you need and when you need it.”

Warren, the mother of three boys, is married to ScrevenCountyHigh School principal Brett Warren, who also has a demanding schedule. The Warrens’ youngest son will enter school this year and her oldest recently was injured during summer workouts for high school football.

“I would like to continue to work with the collaborative. I have always said I would be a ‘worker bee,’” said Warren, whose last day will be June 30. “I just needed some free time.”

Warren said change is good for lots of jobs, including collaborative executive director.

Like other state agencies, the collaborative will need to thrifty with its use of funding during this time of cutbacks.

“We want to do the best with our monies,” Glisson said.

In mid-May when Warren announced her decision to step down, she explained some of the overall responsibilities of an executive director.

“For this job, it takes somebody who is outgoing, who works well with different groups of people and who has knowledge of grants and being a non-profit agency,” Warren said last month.

The position, according to the advertisement that was published in the Sylvania Telephone, required a person with strong leadership skills in coordinating community collaboration and devising inter-agency strategies. A successful candidate, the job listing read, must possess good verbal and written communication skills, write grants, be able to assume fiscal responsibility for administration of grants and have a strong commitment to improving the lives of families and children in ScrevenCounty.

The job, Warren said, is demanding, but also rewarding. The director works with Communities In Schools, youth development and workforce initiatives.