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Story published: 11-27-2012 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Countermine, others named to ISC Board of Governors

By Lynn J. Richardson
Publisher

When the Board of Governors of the International Storytelling Center meets in Jonesborough in December, it will welcome three new members, bid farewell to three others and begin its work to find a new leader for the organization.

ISC Board Chairman Jim Reel says now that the ISC has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the board will move forward with its search for a new president and CEO for the organization.

The position hasn’t been advertised yet, Reel said, and no job description for the post has been written.

“That is something the ISC Board of Governors will work on at their next meeting on Dec. 17,” Reel said. “It’s on the agenda. We will be deciding on what we’re looking for, what characteristics.”

There is no time frame in place for the hiring process at this point.

“We would rather take longer to find the right person instead of a shorter time and make a mistake,” Reel explained. “We are progressing slowly.”

The ISC has been without a president or CEO since Jan. 1, when Jimmy Neil Smith, who founded the organization and formerly served in that capacity, was given a new role as founder and president emeritus.

The change in Smith’s status was part of the ISC’s strategic plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Reel said.

While Smith has continued to serve as a consultant to the ISC Board of Governors, he is not a member of the board nor does he have any fiscal responsibilities within the organization.

Three new board members will join the Board of Governors next month, one of which is Jonesborough Vice Mayor Terry Countermine.

“We are very happy to have Terry,” Reel said. “He has been very interested in storytelling for years and we’re glad to have him aboard.”

Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe is also pleased with Countermine’s appointment.

“Obviously it’s in the town’s and ISC’s best interest for the relationship to remain stable and very close,” Wolfe said.

“Alderman Countermine is a person who loves his town and has been involved for many years in storytelling. I think he’s a great pick, and I know he’ll pay attention to what matters while serving on the ISC Board.”

“I said ‘yes’ to becoming a board member,” Countermine said, “because I hope that I can just be a positive and good member.”

Countermine said his good relationship with staff members of the ISC and the tellers - many of which he and his wife, Sandy, have hosted during many National Storytelling Festivals - and his work with the Town of Jonesborough are all factors in his decision to serve.

“Storytelling is so important to the town,” Countermine said.

“I hope that I can help make some good decisions and be helpful during this time of change.”

Countermine said his appointment is as an individual and not as a town official.

Reel also said he will remain on the board for one more year and will serve as chairman until new officers are elected at the December meeting.

“We haven’t changed officers in a while because the attorneys didn’t want us to make any changes during the bankruptcy process,” Reel said. “Normally we elect officers every year.”

The ISC has continued its operations led by a team including Smith; Sandy Reaves, director of finance; and Susan O’Connor, director of programs.

Three members of the board – Dr. Susan Williams, professor of management at Belmont University in Nashville; Dr. Andy Czuchry, AFG Industries chair in business at East Tennessee State University; and Stephanie Norby, director of the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies in Washington D.C., will no longer be on the board, according to Reel.

The three new members will include Countermine, who is the department chair for the Computer and Information Sciences Department at ETSU; Thelma Kidd, a life balance coach and co-founder of Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville; and Erwin resident Steve Johnson, artist relations manager for MerleFest.

They will join current board members Lorna Stengel, performing storyteller in Brunswick, Maine; Sonia King, a former financial manager from Johnson City; Dr. William Kennedy, of Hankins, Kennedy and Associates of Jonesborough; and Reel.