Dear Partners, Donors, and Friends,

The purpose of this letter is to tell you about upcoming changes at the Graduate Marietta Student Success Center impacting me personally while building sustainability for the future.

In recent months, the Center has captured the attention of legislators and the media —like the frontpage of the AJC on graduation Saturday. Additionally, over 200 schools and agencies have come to tour, leaving with one very clear message: “Every school needs a place like this.”  This summer, I’ll be speaking before several national audiences that will almost certainly increase the interest by other school districts eager to learn more about our work in Marietta. In short, our innovative and collaborative work has all the makings of a national movement.

The increased attention and recognition of our work has re-defined my position into three increasingly time-consuming roles: managing day-to-day operations, fundraising for the future development of our Center, and external consulting to hundreds of organizations requesting assistance in replicating our model. Moving forward, it is no longer sustainable for one person to meet the demands of these three duties.

Working in close partnership with Marietta City Schools and the Marietta Schools Foundation, I’ve decided to focus on the fundraising, partner engagement, and external consultancy roles and retire as Director of the Center on June 30th.  Marietta City Schools will hire a new director to manage the day-to-day operations of the Center and exclusively focus on serving our students and families. I am excited for this opportunity to showcase the great work of this community to other schools and districts, support the Foundation in its mission, and simultaneously raise funds for the Center.

My heart remains in Marietta, and I have no intention of separating myself from you, our students, our community, or our mission. As such, I have been working hand-in-hand with the district’s new leadership team to determine a sustainable model for the advancement of the Center, one that assures our students and families will remain the primary focus of the Center’s work.  I am both confident and excited about the direction of our school district led by the Board and Dr. Rivera, and I am heartened by the district’s support for the Center and for my continued involvement. As a volunteer with the Marietta Schools Foundation and an advocate for the Center, I will spearhead donor and partner relations. The Marietta Schools Foundation will create a designated fund to support the programming of the Center.  Beginning July 1, my email contact information will transition to leighcolburn@mariettaschoolsfoundation.com.

At the Center, we have big goals for 2017-2018: adding a full-time recovery counselor, expanding and deepening our relationships with our faith-based partners, adding a part-time staff member from the Center for Family Resources to connect our families with housing options, and hiring a Clinical Director to oversee our therapeutic partnerships and caseloads.  As we build toward these 2017-2018 goals and launch other longterm planning activities, I hope you will continue to support our students and our mission as the Center continues to evolve. We know we are making a positive difference for our students and our community.

I will be in touch in the days and weeks ahead. Thank you for all the support you provide our families and me personally.      In continued partnership and friendship,

Leigh Colburn

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