TSD021619UnitedWay-2

United Way of Pettis County Executive Director Staci Harrison, second from left, stands with Paul Dick, Gardner Denver director of operations, Stacy Brown, Gardner Denver HR generalist, and Randy Lee, Gardner Denver HR manager, during the 2019 UWPC awards ceremony. Harrison is resigning as UWPC executive director to take a teaching position this fall with Smithton R-VI School District.

United Way of Pettis County Executive Director Staci Harrison has resigned her position and will begin a “new chapter” this fall with the Smithton R-VI School District.  

Harrison, who has served as the UWPC executive director for 5.5 years, said by phone Wednesday her decision was based on wanting to spend more time with her children and her family. She added she wanted to offer a “word of thanks” to the community for supporting United Way and said she was “very grateful for the opportunity to serve Pettis County.”

“It was a very difficult decision to make,” she noted. “Because I truly love the work that I do with United Way and the people that I have the opportunity to work with.”

Harrison said it’s been a pleasure to “work with and learn from” the United Way network, her board, the campaign cabinet, volunteers, UWPC funded partners, community members and donors.

“I just have a desire to spend more time with my children,” she added. “So, teaching provides this opportunity to mirror my schedule with their schedule.

“(My children) are growing up quickly and I wanted to be part of their life more,” Harrison continued. “This was a decision I made with my family.”

Harrison will take the position of fifth and sixth grade science teacher at Smithton R-VI this fall. Her children Patrick, 9, and Olivia, 13, will also attend school at Smithton.

She noted UWPC is looking for a new executive director.

“We are recruiting for the position,” she said. “And, I’m going to be staying on as long as I can to help the next executive director transition into this role.

“There’s a lot of great opportunities to be part of the community of Pettis County in this role,” she continued. “We are working on so many different initiatives right now. United Way has such a place for times like this because the purpose of the United Way is being able to bring the community together …”

UWPC President Megan Hartman said the board is sad to see Harrison go.

“She’s done so much work with the United Way of Pettis County and her heart has always been in it,” Hartman added. “She is so passionate about her community. It’s big shoes to fill, but we have started the process … the job is posted on our website and it’s available on LinkedIn.

“We are looking for somebody who is passionate about the community,” she continued. “(Who) is willing to jump in and learn everything about the United Way, support our initiatives for working through and generate funds.”

Hartman added Harrison was a pleasure to work with and said she has a “big throbbing heart.”

“She is passionate about everybody she meets, she will be missed,” Hartman noted. “I know that she’ll continue to support us when she can. The board wishes her nothing but the best.”

Hartman said they are looking to hire someone for the position as soon as possible. A hiring committee has been formed and is accepting resumes. Hartman said she would like to start the interview process the week of June 8.

“There’s a lot to learn and a lot of connections that need to be made,” she noted. “So, we want to get them in quick because our campaign starts in September. We’ll definitely want somebody in and ready to hit the ground running for that.”

Harrison added whoever fills the position will have the support of the whole UWPC team.

“There’s a very strong board of directors, they’re invested in the work of United Way for Pettis County,” she noted. “There’s also a very strong campaign cabinet and a part-time employee. So, they won’t be coming into this role alone.”  

For more information, visit www.spcuw.org or the United Way of Pettis County Facebook page.

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Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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