Special to the Bulletin

COLEMAN — Conquering new challenges is the reason Executive Director Merridee McClatchy cited in deciding to resign from Central Texas Opportunities Inc.

“While I will miss everyone, I am excited to take on the challenge as the executive director of Holistic Resource Management of Texas, a statewide organization that I have been a member of for four years,” McClatchy said.

She said the organization is dedicated to transforming people’s relationship to the land through awareness of its impact on every aspect of life, using the power of holistic management to change the way people relate to the land.

“It is with both joy and regret that we say goodbye to our Executive/Head Start Director Merridee McClatchy,” Betty Tabor, interim executive director, said. “We are happy for her as she begins a new chapter in her life as she moves on to her new position. However, we are sad to say goodbye to someone who has been our advocate and friend for over eight years.”

Tabor, the assistant executive director/ financial manager, has been an employee of Central Texas Opportunities Inc. for 18 years. She will serve as acting executive director during the recruitment process of filling the vacant position.

“Merridee has been a strong leader as executive director and has led the agency through some extreme crises,” Tabor said. “One of the greatest of these was the devastating fire of July 7, 2001, during which the entire administrative office and the two Coleman Head Start classrooms were destroyed.

“ During this trying time, she provided strong leadership, dedication, and encouragement to our employees and clients and helped ensure a minimum of service interruption. She has helped Central Texas Opportunities Inc. to make many great strides. Her leadership has brought stabilization of funding, staff wages and benefits, and a vision to move forward to some strategic planning for greater accomplishments to benefit our staff, children, families, and the communities which we serve. She will truly be missed.”

During her tenure with the agency, McClatchy said her pride is in the progress that Central Texas Opportunities Inc. has made. She said she considers herself privileged to have served as the executive director. She thanked the staff and community partners in the seven-county service area and acknowledged their help in improving the lives of thousands of children and families. McClatchy expressed confidence that the future holds great things for the agency and her personally.

“People have teased me about going to greener pastures. In this case, it is literally true,” she said.