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South County Senior Center names new director

  • New South County Senior Center Director Christina Johnson. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon—



Recorder Staff
Friday, July 13, 2018

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The new director of the South County Senior Center is getting settled into her position, as she juggles learning the ropes, assessing an underfunded budget and tackling, eventually, the big question of what a future building will look like.

A Northampton native, Christina Johnson brings years of experience to the job, most recently working as the operations manager of a home health company in Northampton.

The oversight board for the senior center voted her in as the new director, following a comprehensive search process that included bringing in the former director of Bernardston’s senior center to advise.

“Now that we have a director, we’re now in a position, we have the staffing to make the center a bigger, better, faster, stronger place,” Whately Selectman and member of the oversight board Jonathan Edwards said.

Edwards and Deerfield Selectman Trevor McDaniel met with Johnson Wednesday afternoon to officially welcome her into the position and, while at it, go over a few budget items.

Consultant Diane Cornwell has assisted, too, leading the way with most of the budget queries. She has been leading the senior center since March, when Marlene Johnson left after a few years on the job.

Cornwell told the two selectmen the towns underfunded the senior center and it’ll likely take special town meetings to adjust the funds. The leaders will now consider establishing a revolving fund to better handle the budget of the senior center.

“We’re having the conversations because we just want to get better at what we do,” Edwards said. “For years now, it’s been an incredibly well run organization. If it wasn’t there, there wouldn’t be this many people coming.”

One of the main strengths of hiring Johnson was her experience as a business manager, McDaniel said.

When she met with the seniors during her interviews just over a month ago, McDaniel said they raved about her.

As for where the seniors will be in the years to come, Johnson said she hasn’t gotten to that point yet because she is still learning about everything.

McDaniel said he is a “hundred percent committed to getting something moving,” whether it be moving into a new building or working with the current one in South Deerfield. “One way or the other, we will have a good space for the seniors and the community.”

To meet Johnson, seniors can attend a “Sundae Social” today at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center or on Wednesday, July 18 at 10:45 a.m. at Senior Express.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264