McKinney center in Jonesborough left with one worker

Sue Guinn Legg • Sep 18, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Jonesborough’s McKinney Cultural Arts Center at Booker T. Washington School is in need of a director.

Bridgette Ward, who began work as the center’s interim executive director this spring, resigned Friday because of health issues.

Ward’s departure came two months after the resignation of Kathleen Buttolph, the center’s interim director of arts education who left the part-time position in July, also citing personal reasons.

Ward and Buttolph’s resignations have left one part-time interim employee on staff, Jules Corriere, outreach director for the center’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts.

With a grand opening pending and a roster of art, drama, music and dance classes under way at the center and off-site locations, Town Administrator Bob Browning said filling the director’s position is a priority.

Discussions of combining the director and arts education director positions and redefining Corriere’s position are being discussed and will be finalized by the end of the week so the director’s job can be advertised this weekend or early next week, Browning said.

“These were all interim positions because of the unknowns of a new center and a new program. So we’re looking at how to define the (director’s) position. We’ll decide probably by the end of the week and put some packets together for the board.”

In the meantime, Browning said, Rachel Conger, director of Jonesborough’s Park and Recreation Department which oversees the McKinney Center, Corriere and other town staff members are picking up the slack.

“We have a competent staff to fill in. We’re still moving along and we’re doing everything we want to do,” he said. “It’s harder when you have people picking up the slack who are working hard anyway. So we’re moving everything along as fast as we can.”

Browning said the two unfilled positions are very important to the McKinney Center and expressed regret for the loss of Ward and Buttolph.

“They both were excellent people. We’ve been very fortunate. But these things happen and you play the cards you have,” he said.

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