After serving more than two decades with the South Carolina Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (SCAHPERD), Lander University professor Kym Kirby will officially become the organization's new executive director on July 1.
Dr. Kirby's new position came after a search committee and interview process this past spring, and marks 21 years since she joined SCAHPERD to help promote health, physical activity and wellness throughout the state.
"Kym's new position is very big news for Lander and for our Physical Education and Exercise Studies (PEES) program," said Dr. Gina Barton, PEES department chair. "Each time she meets with various individuals and groups, she will not only be the face of our program, but indirectly represent Lander."
Since joining SCAHPERD in 1996, Kirby has held many elected and appointed positions, including president, parliamentarian, and adviser for the S.C. Association of Future Professionals.
Her new position will mean meeting and partnering with key stakeholders in different capacities concerning the betterment of quality physical educations programs throughout the state.
For example, in light of Kirby's new position, the South Carolina Department of Education has asked PEES faculty to host professional in-service meetings for teachers.
These meetings will allow teachers to see the Lander campus firsthand and become familiar with the university's programs, offerings, faculty, and its standing in the Greenwood community, which will be a great recruiting tool.
"Many of these teachers are probably parents of children who are, or will be, searching for colleges to attend one day," Barton said. "So having Kym represent us in this way is just one example of how she will be in the public eye as a Lander representative."
This first-line representation is exactly what led Kirby to seek her new position. Going forward, she is anticipating a much greater collaboration between PEES and SCAHPERD.
"The PEES faculty have been active members of SCAHPERD for years," said Kirby, who came to Lander in 2006. "My new role will allow me to work more closely with professionals across the state, and to provide quality professional development, support research efforts, professional networking, advocacy and working with partnerships."
When asked to name one outcome she hopes her new role will bring about, Kirby said she expects to "continue to form strong coalitions with other organizations in an effort to have a stronger voice in advocating for positive health and education policies that influence the daily lives of SC citizens as well as our p-12 students."
"This new position is a huge privilege and responsibility," she said. "And, I believe SCAHPERD can be an agent of change when it comes to impacting and promoting the health, physical activity and well-being of students and citizens across our state."