Greetings and Happy New Year!
First, I want to recognize those who are leaving their positions with the Society. After 16 years as Executive Director, Phyllis Silber retired at the end of December. I wish to extend thanks and recognition to her for all her many accomplishments and years of dedicated service. She led the Society to unprecedented growth in both membership and scope of activities. In 2016 alone, the Old Stone Jail restoration was completed, with the ribbon cutting in the fall. However, the Courthouse Green Project continues with work on the Old Clerk’s Office. Also, 2016 saw the publication of Phyllis’s book UNDER
EVERY TREE: A Guide to Finding Your Roots in Virginia which has been well received by the genealogy community. While we will certainly miss Phyllis, we wish her the very best in her retirement.
Bonnie Stamm left her part-time position as Office Manager in November for a full-time position at another non-profit in the Richmond area. While we will miss Bonnie’s friendly attitude and excellent technology skills, we wish her the greatest success in her new employment.
A search for a new Executive Director and Office Manager will get underway shortly. In the meantime, Christina Dunn has agreed to serve as Interim Executive Director and Ginny Olsen as Office Manager; both are members of the Board and current volunteers. With extra hours of assistance by our dedicated volunteers, the Society’s office hours will remain the same and all services, publications, and member activities and events will continue as usual.
We welcome the two newest members of the Board of Directors: Alan Crouch, Assistant Dean of the School of Business at Reynold’s Community College and William Quarles, former Chairman of the Goochland County Board of Supervisors. Thank you to those who have agreed to continue to serve on the Board of Directors, on our various committees, and as volunteers.
As an organization, we have been highly dependent on member support for our successes over the years. As a result we have had an impressive record of accomplishing ambitious projects and doing so in a timely and professional manner. The Courthouse Green Project is the latest of these. Plans for 2017 include turning the Old Clerk’s Office into a small museum and visitor center; and installing another section of the commemorative pavers on the central walk, as well as interpretive signs in strategic locations on the Green. Bruce Venter, First Vice President, is arranging for speakers of the highest quality for our membership meetings, lectures and book signings; the Publications Committee is already working on the 2017 magazine and the 2018 calendar; and I am working with the YMCA to plan new History Walks.
These accomplishments are made possible through the collective efforts of the Society’s officers, Board of Directors, committee members, volunteers, and staff, but, most importantly, it is you, the members, who are the heart of the organization. I strongly encourage you to continue your interest, keep informed of and participate in the Society’s activities, and make your recommendations and suggestions known to the officers, Board, and staff. We want to hear from you and we need to hear from you. While we have a strong organization, there is always room for improvement and new direction. We believe 2017 will be an exciting year for the Society.
C. Scott Johnson, President