Departures & Arrivals
Recently we have had a couple of long tenured highly respected folks retire and subsequently be replaced with new but familiar faces. I thought it worthwhile to share a bit more about these departures and new arrivals.
Those in Need
For several years Carol Tuning has served the homeless population in our city, most recently as the Human Services Administrator with the Social Services Department. In her role, Carol oversaw the City’s efforts at preventing homelessness and helping those who were homeless secure housing. She did this by leading the area’s Continuum of Care - recognized as the area’s primary tool in addressing homelessness with a focus on monitoring the needs of the homeless, identifying strategies that will best utilize available resources and monitoring progress. Initiatives associated with these efforts include the homeless management information system, the homeless assistance team and the point in time count of homeless within the community. Carol was instrumental in initiating the first memorial service to honor homeless members of our community that had passed away in the preceding year - a tradition that continues 20 years later. In addition to her “day job”, Carol served on the Boards of United Way, Restoration Housing, and the Governor’s Coordinating Council on Homelessness, to name just a few. I think you can begin to see why Carol and her dedication will be so missed.
Enter Matt Crookshank - a new but familiar person to homelessness advocates. Matt has for more than eight years led the homelessness efforts at the Council for Community Services, most recently as its Director of Homeless Services. Matt’s long-time involvement with the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Roanoke Regional Housing Network, the Blue Ridge Community Assistance Network and the Community Housing Resource Center makes him the ideal person to pick up where Carol left off and continue to advance the community’s progress on addressing homelessness. I am very excited that Matt has joined us and look forward to many great successes in the future.
A City Beautiful
Susan Jennings, a longtime supporter of the arts in our community, retired from her position as Arts and Culture Coordinator, a position she held for more than 13 years. In her role, Susan oversaw the implementation of the City’s Public Art Plan, it’s Percent for the Arts efforts and assisted in managing and maintaining the City’s public art collection. Susan was instrumental in a variety of initiatives including the Art By Bus, Writer By Bus, the Gateway and Wasena Murals, and the Inlet Art project to name just a few. Most significantly Susan was committed to ensuring art in the community was available to all, driving her pursuit of creative ways to make art accessible and available to as many in the community as possible. Susan literally created the position she held for more than a decade and her influence over and advocacy for art and culture in our community will be greatly missed - though she will remain involved in the community art scene.
Arriving in Susan’s place, another familiar individual- Doug Jackson, a long-serving member of the Roanoke Arts Commission and Founder of Book City - Roanoke. Doug brings a wealth of experience in arts and culture having worked with communities all across Virginia in improving their organizational capacity and vitality of their main streets. Doug is an avid book lover and writer, having earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Doug’s stated purpose of his Book City initiative - Equity and Engagement at the Intersection of Books and Place, so well sums up the value he brings to this important position. I could not be more excited about Doug joining us and know that he will carry forward the great legacy Susan started!
More to Follow
These are but a few of the recent departures and arrivals - we are in the season of retirements as one generation passes its responsibilities to the next. Additional retirements that have or will soon occur include our Police Chief, the city’s Learning & Development Manager, and both Assistant City Managers. Each of these have (and thankfully continue) contributed greatly to the success of our organization and to the quality of life we all experience here in Roanoke. These two most recent hires provide me with great confidence that even as we miss the contributions of those retiring we are able to welcome new faces who will pick up and continue to advance our work. For that I am truly grateful.
— Bob Cowell