Children’s Center Congratulates New Director from Safe Distance
Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:37am | By: Courtney Tesh
It wasn’t exactly the congratulations party they envisioned – driving by their new director’s house, honking horns, holding up signs, throwing beads on the lawn (that then must be sanitized before entering the home). The party may have taken on a different format, as so many things have as of late, but the sentiment behind it remained unchanged.
The staff at The Children’s Center gathered (at a safe distance) to celebrate the fact that their Interim Director, Sarah Myers, was officially appointed to Director. Their determination to come together to congratulate their new leader in whatever way possible was proof of the team’s excitement at the knowledge that Myers would continue to lead, guide, and inspire them into the future as she has over the past eleven months as Interim Director. And it was proof of their confidence in the fact that she will continue to see the wellbeing of the Center, its families, and staff, as the top priority and main motivation in the work she does through this role.
Myers has been interim director of The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at USM, a non-profit that provides cost-free services for children age 0-5 with complex disabilities, for nearly a year. But in truth, she’s been helping to lead the team and working to change little lives for much longer than that. She officially joined the team as a Speech Language Pathologist in 2010, immediately following a 5-year stint as a volunteer and then graduate assistant for the Center. In addition to her roles as SLP and Lead Therapist, Myers was promoted to Assistant Director in 2016. In other words, she trained with the Center as a student and hasn’t looked back since.
“I’ve loved The Children’s Center since the moment I stepped in the door as an undergraduate volunteer 15 years ago,” said Myers. “Without a doubt, this place and these people have helped shape who I am today, and the thought that I now have the opportunity to help shape the future of this organization is both exciting and humbling.”
“The experience I have gained while serving as Assistant Director for 4 years and then as Interim Director for the past year has given me invaluable insight into the inner workings of this organization, time to establish incredible connections, and the ability to know when and how to reach out for support and guidance for the benefit of this program. More than anything, I’ve gained a clear understanding and deep appreciation of the vast nature of the Center’s support network. It’s incredible to think of how many people and businesses have supported The Children’s Center over the years, in so many ways. It’s because of them that we can continue doing what we do.”
Certainly, when Myers accepted the position of Interim Director, she had no way of knowing that she’d be at the helm of the Center during a national pandemic, helping guide its families and staff into and through uncharted territories, shifting its services to virtual platforms and once again making important decisions centered around the needs of The Children’s Center’s families and staff.
“She’s led us through one of the most difficult periods that anyone could imagine, and she’s continuing to do it with grace, patience, diligence, and determination,” said Lori Burgess, Speech Language Pathologist and Lead Therapist at The Children’s Center.
And the Center staff are not the only ones thankful for Myers’s leadership and hopeful for the future of the Center with her in this role. Advisory board co-chairs and long supporters of the Center, Terri Daniels and Jennifer Johnson said, “Sarah has a rare combination of clinical excellence, compassion for families and a progressive vision for the Center's future. The days ahead are bright for the Center with Sarah Myers as the Director, along with such an excellent team of pediatric therapists and talented staff members. We are especially optimistic for the hundreds of children and families throughout South Mississippi who benefit from services through The Center.”
“The School of Speech and Hearing Sciences is very fortunate to have Ms. Sarah Myers as the new Director, The Children’s Center for Communication and Development,” said Dr. Ed Goshorn, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director of the School of Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Associate Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “She has served well as Interim Director, and I am confident she will provide the leadership that is needed during these tumultuous times.
Congratulations Sarah, and welcome aboard.”
Myers knows well the long legacy of The Children’s Center and is looking forward, with gratitude and respect for the past. “I’m excited to see what is in store for this place that has served so many young children with disabilities since its inception in 1974,” says Myers. “I am so honored to get the opportunity to lead my team at The Children’s Center into the future!”
About The Children’s Center for Communication and Development
The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi is a non-profit that provides cost-free communicative and developmental transdisciplinary services to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers while educating, training and supporting families, university students and professionals. For more information, visit www.usm.edu/childrenscenter.