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PISD board president named CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star has named Plano ISD School Board President Tammy Richards as its chief executive officer.
Richards will replace Charles Pierson, who was named CEO of the organization's national office last year, effective October. She has served as PISD's board president since May 2010 and is the associate dean of engineering at SMU's Lyle School of Engineering.
"I felt so honored to be selected by their board of directors," Richards said. "For me, it was a nice culmination of all the things I've done throughout my career, and so I feel very honored to participate in an organization like this, that is so mission-driven to help children, that has such a fabulous reputation. So I really consider it the pinnacle of a career that was building in this direction."
Richards said she hopes to use her experience in education to help the organization work closer with school districts and other entities that serve youth.
The organization currently serves 10,000 children across the state of Texas and is looking to grow, she said.
"We'd love to serve 20,000 children, and so the goal is, how can we continue to grow to serve more children?" she said. "Right now, we have thousands of kids on our waiting list, so it's a matter of finding more wonderful adult mentors who can participate with the kids, and then also getting generous donations from the community so we can pay for the services to make that professionally managed mentoring work."
Richard Kilgust, chair of the board's search committee, said Richards fulfills the core qualities the board was seeking in a CEO -- superior management and people skills, strategic thinking, and for-profit business experience.
"We believe she's an extraordinarily good leader," he said. "I think she's proven over the course of her career that she has outstanding management and people skills. She's got a wide breadth of skills and talents. ... She also has a real passion for youth and education, and I think that exhibits itself clearly."
Kilgust said Richards' experience in schools makes her a perfect fit for the organization's mission to help children be more successful in school by making a shift toward a more curriculum-based program.
"Someone comes in like Tammy, with her skills and her background, and she can absolutely hit the ground running and help us grow that program exponentially," he said.
Nancy Humphrey, vice president and Place 7 trustee for the PISD school board, said Richards' work with the school board has demonstrated her to be an articulate leader who doesn't mind standing up for a cause.
"She always wants to do the right thing and is always looking out for how to improve our students' lives, so I'm sure she will bring that same philosophy to her position with Big Brothers and Big Sisters," she said.
Prior to working for SMU, Richards worked for Texas Instruments in marketing and management. She has served on the boards of the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Head Start of Greater Dallas, where she was board president. She received her bachelor's degree in engineering from Texas A&M University.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity, and this is such a well-run organization that has served kids for such a long time, and I think we just want to continue to build on that fabulous legacy," she said. "I'm excited to be able to do both that and continue my service on the school board, because that's just another way of helping the children."