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Kennedy takes over as chair of ISC’s Board

A local physician and historic preservationist has been named chairman of the International Storytelling Center’s Board of Governors.
Dr. William Kennedy, of Jonesborough, has been chosen to lead the ISC board during one of the organization’s most pivotal times – its search for a new CEO.
The ISC has been without a top executive since founder Jimmy Neil Smith stepped down in 2011.
The organization’s top position has remained unfilled since Smith was removed as the ISC leader and given the title of president emeritus when the ISC began its work to reorganize and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Smith then retired at the end of last year.
Susan O’Connor, director of programs, and Sandy Reaves, director of finance, have been serving in transitional leadership roles.
However, the ISC is getting closer to finding a CEO, Kennedy said. A search committee has been formed and a job description is nearly complete.
“We’ve come out of this (Chapter 11) a much stronger organization,” Kennedy said. “It wouldn’t have been anything that I would have hoped for us to go through, but the result is a much stronger organization and I’m happy about that.”
The Search Committee members are spread across the country. Chairman of the group is Lorna Stengel, a member of the ISC Board of Governors and a storyteller from Brunswick, Maine. She is joined by fellow board members Thelma Kidd, entrepreneur and life coach, of Nashville; and Terry Countermine, Jonesborough vice mayor and department chair for the Computer and Information Sciences Department at East Tennessee State University.
Other Search Committee members include Kim Weitkamp, a storyteller from Christiansburg, Va.; Jay Stailey, a storyteller from Houston, Texas; and O’Connor and Reaves from the ISC staff.
“The search committee is very, very capable,” Kennedy said. “It’s an excellent group.”
A lot of time and effort will go into the search, which will be advertised nationwide, Kennedy said.
O’Connor, who is working closely with Stengel to develop the job posting, said the advertisement for the position should be ready for publication by mid-April.
That will give the ISC several months, Kennedy said, to execute a thorough search for new leadership.
“We are hoping by the fall — October or November — to have someone on board,” Kennedy said. “We are just taking more time to make sure we do it right.”
Kennedy said the posting will go on various websites across the country.
“Once the application process has concluded, we will narrow the candidates and then conduct interviews by telephone or by Skype,” he said. “Then we’ll decide which candidates we want to bring to Jonesborough for an interview.
“We don’t have any pre-conceived numbers of candidates. We want to work with all the qualified candidates.”
In addition to Kennedy, Stengel, Kidd and Countermine, the current ISC board includes Sonia King, a former financial manager from Johnson City; Jim Reel, immediate past-chairman and co-founder of International Computer Marketing Corp.; and Steve Johnson of Erwin, who is the artist relations manager for MerleFest.