The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

June 13, 2014

Whitley reflects on time at Partnership

Thursday, June 12, 2014 — After more than 12 years with Stanly County Partnership for Children, Executive Director Barbara Whitley will retire June 30. Whitley began as the executive director in 2002, but she had been involved with the organization since its inception in 1993.

Smart Start

Whitley was a member of the group that was responsible for writing the grant that established funding for Smart Start, an innovative statewide program designed to promote quality care and education for young children.

“We were one of the first counties to receive Smart Start funding,” Whitley said.

The North Carolina Partnership for Children was developed to lead Smart Start and 77 local partnerships now exist to serve all 100 counties. Each partnership is guided by a board of directors.

At the time Stanly County Partnership for Children was established, Whitley was serving as director of Stanly County Department of Social Services. As a result, she also served as a member of the board for SCPC. She retired in September 2000 after a 33-year career with DSS.

“I was part of the [SCPC] board from the beginning. Even when I retired from DSS, I stayed on as a community member,” Whitley said, adding that she was involved in the committee responsible for hiring former partnership director Timothy Moose.

It wasn’t until after Moose stepped down as director that Whitley decided to come out of retirement to take on more of a leadership position with SCPC. She was hired as executive director April 1, 2002.

“I am thankful to have had this opportunity to serve the young people in Stanly County,” Whitley said.

“I feel so blessed to have been able to do what I love.”

Much of her time as executive director was spent reshaping the programs that the partnership has to offer, which according to Whitley was due in large part because of a reduction in funding.

“We have had to readjust and reinvent how we do things,” Whitley said, adding that she feels Stanly County has benefited from the changes.

One of those benefits comes in the form of improved daycare facilities. Through the partnership’s More at Four program, qualifying 4 year olds can be enrolled in pre-K programs. However, each available site must employ a birth to kindergarten (B-K) licensed teacher or a teacher with a four-year degree who is working toward achieving his or her B-K licensure.

“Because these sites have to have these specific licenses, it has brought up the quality of the facility,” she said.

“Studies have shown that teachers with a higher level of education provides a higher quality education to the children, especially when those teachers have a background in childhood development.”

Enjoying

Retirement

Whitley said she plans to “start a third career as executive director of managing a more leisurely schedule.”

She intends to spend time with family after retirement, especially with her grandchildren. She has two grandchildren living in Atlanta, Ga., and a third on the way in Columbia, S.C. Her hope is to spend time at the beach, traveling or even taking up golf, but she plans to stay involved in her community, alongside her husband of 24 years, Chris.

“We’re both concerned with our community and we’re both community minded,” Whitley said, adding that she especially loves being active in Stanly County as this is where she was born and raised and where she calls home.

“We’ve always had an interest in helping people who are in need.”

She has served on the Albemarle Rotary Club and scholarship committee, as well as Stanly County Chamber of Commerce, the local Wells Fargo Advisory Board, Cooperative Extension Advisory Board, Home Health Advisory Board and others.

She is a 1964 graduate of West Stanly High School. Whitley then went on to receive her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University, where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology. She then earned her graduate degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as a social worker in Mecklenburg County for seven years before returning to Stanly County to serve in the same capacity for many years. She then moved through the ranks to become director. She served as DSS director for 14 years.

Taking The Reins

Following Whitley’s retirement, Tammy Albertson will take over as executive director. Albertson has worked with SCPC for nearly 12 years.

Whitley said she is excited for Albertson to be taking the reins.

“She is an excellent person, and I’m very proud of her,” Whitley said.

“She is going to do a fantastic job. She knows the community and she knows the job. She’s been very involved in this community for a long time.”

Albertson will begin in her new role on July 1.

Tiffany Thompson is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.

 

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