REGIONAL- It’s not only teachers, children and parents who are looking forward to the start of a new school year next Tuesday. Volunteer tutors and school coordinators with the multi-district …
REGIONAL- It’s not only teachers, children and parents who are looking forward to the start of a new school year next Tuesday. Volunteer tutors and school coordinators with the multi-district Volunteers in Education (VinE) program are also anticipating getting back to work doing what they love, helping children learn.
But for the first time in about six years, they’ll be getting started without the familiar face of Executive Director Cassandra Hainey at the helm. Hainey is leaving the part-time position at the end of the month in order to pursue a full-time opportunity, board chairperson Bailey Conger said.
“I think she felt it was time to move on,” Conger said. “She’s just been the rock of the group because she’s such a self-starter and has such a passion for tutoring in the public schools. We love her and her work, but we know new blood is good. We’re willing to take the time to find a really good fit.”
However, Hainey’s absence won’t hamper things in the short run. VinE has coordinators at each of the schools where it places tutors, so matching with students and getting tutoring underway can proceed, although there’s still some uncertainty about what that will look like, due to the ongoing pandemic.
“We don’t know their comfort level of going back into the school,” Conger said about VinE’s volunteer tutors. “There’s a certain comfort level and safety level we want for everybody involved. I believe in all the districts, masks are recommended but not required, and so what does that really mean?”
Conger said that their experience using technology last year for tutoring services may be of benefit in certain situations.
The role of a new executive director will become more important moving into the fall, Conger said, as they not only need to provide ongoing support to coordinators but also must process their paychecks. It’s also a time when applications for external funding begin coming due.
“The executive director did a lot of work with nonprofits, with grant writing and things like that,” board member Tim Johnson said.
“We cannot afford to lose those opportunities,” Conger said. “I think we’re pretty good to start the year. My concern is as the year goes on.”
The executive director position averages about 20 hours a week, but there’s flexibility built in to accommodate the varying responsibilities as the year goes on, Conger said. Much of the work could be accomplished working from a home office, she said, while other responsibilities require the executive director to be out in the schools and the public promoting the program.
“You may have to show up at a Lions Club meeting and talk about our program, or a group at a local church may call on you,” Conger said. “But once things are in place, you have free time and the day is yours. And oftentimes, like in July, that is a time where we all take a break.”
A full position description is available on the VinE website at vine-mn.org. Cover letters and resumes, as well as questions, should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.