The Henderson County Education Foundation has hired Henderson County native Summer Stipe to lead the 30-year-old nonprofit as its new executive director.
Stipe, 33, a former Henderson County Schools teacher assistant, spent the last eight years working for the Children and Family Resource Center in a variety of management roles. She has managed the Family Education and Support Center, which serves teenage parents in the Adolescent Parent Program and has helped launch and supervise a number of other initiatives that support families and children. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stipe earned a BA in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication in 2005 after graduating from West Henderson High School in 2001.
A search committee comprised of HCEF board members selected Stipe from an impressive pool of candidates, said Dan Poeta, HCEF Board Chair and president of Horizon Heating and Air Conditioning. Stipe stood out because of her extensive relationships in the community and her successful experience in grant writing, running events and fund raising, he added.
“Summer brings a wealth of talents to the job,” Poeta said. “Her energy and enthusiasm will ignite a very positive era. Our board is excited and energized to start working with Summer, who we know will help guide the Education Foundation to new heights.”
The HCEF was founded in October 1986 to provide additional financial resources for Henderson County’s schools and scholarships for students. Stipe follows retiring executive director Dr. Paul Knott, former director of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies in Asheville, who took over in December 2014.
“We are grateful to Dr. Knott for helping us redefine priorities, enhance our fund raisers and rebrand the Foundation with a new logo,” Poeta said. “We hope Dr. Knott and his wife will enjoy a long, happy retirement.”
Knott followed long-time director Don Jones, who retired in May 2014. During Jones’ tenure, the Foundation launched the Henderson County Education Hall of Fame in 2003 to honor former teachers, administrators and staff. Over the years HCEF has given out thousands of dollars in scholarships to graduating high school students and supported public schools through sponsorships and fundraisers.
Stipe, who is married to husband Derek Stipe and is mother to two young boys, will take over at HCEF later this month.