June 9, 2011
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Mary Jordan, whose name is synonymous with the Spencer-Penn Centre, is retiring as executive director of the facility.
Jordan is resigning as the full-time volunteer director because “my husband is in bad health,” she said, adding that she wants to be home more with Bill, her husband.
If she isn’t doing a good job at home, she can’t do a good job at work, she said.
Jordan said that she will not fully retire until the right candidate is found to take over as executive director. “I can’t leave until she (the center) is in good hands,” she said.
After she retires, Jordan said she still will volunteer at the center when needed. “I will still clip bushes,” she laughed.
She said that she has loved volunteering at the center, despite the fact that that it was a lot of work and a learning experience when it came time to renovating the building.
During her time at the center, “I’ve met an incredible number of people. I’ve worked with a group here (the center) that I’ve grown to love and I love what they’ve done for the center,” Jordan said.
About seven years ago when the elementary school was closed, the community began planning to buy the property for a community center. Jordan, who taught at the school for 32 years, was involved from the start.
If the community had not taken control and bought the property, it would have been left to waste away, she said.
“We have done a lot,” she said.
Center volunteers have repainted and reconfigured some of the areas in the building, refurbished doors and installed new heating and air conditioning units, rest rooms and handicapped accessible ramps.
Another project added a community kitchen, which serves as a cannery for residents and a space for small food businesses to operate.
While at the center, Jordan also served as president of the Spencer-Penn School Preservation Organization for four years.
She has received many accolades over the years for her work at the Spencer-Penn. The Association of Professional Volunteer Administrators (APVA) Preservation Virginia presented an award for Outstanding Service in Community Preservation to her and the Spencer-Penn School Preservation Organization. Also, the United Way dedicated the “Mary Jordan Family Fun Zone” in her honor.
Jordan was named nonprofit leader of the year from the Nonprofit Leadership Network in 2008, and in 2009, she received the Jack Dalton Community Service Award from the Henry County Board of Supervisors.
Jordan said her biggest accomplishments was when the Spencer-Penn Centre was named to the State and National Historic Landmark Registers and when the community was able to pay off its $20,000 loan for the property in one year, she said.
“I’m proud. We have a good group of volunteers that have persevered,” Jordan said.
Looking forward, she hopes the center will increase its number of space rentals, which she feels will happen, she said.
Jordan said that the new director will have to share her sentiment that the job at Spencer-Penn is “a labor of love,” she said.
The Spencer-Penn Centre will soon be advertising for a new executive director, which is a volunteer position. Jordan said the application will be available on the center’s website, www.thecentreatspencerpenn.com.
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