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Gartland announces retirement from Boys & Girls Clubs

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield Inc. leader Pat Gartland signaled his retirement plans, resulting in the hiring of a new CEO.

Brandy Harris, the nonprofit’s director of programs and Sertoma Unit, is slated to start in the top role April 1. Gartland is retiring after 17 years with Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield and 40 years with the organization, previously working as executive director for 16 years of the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Cook County in the Chicago area, he said.

“I feel proud of the work we’ve done,” Gartland said this morning about his tenure in Springfield. “We’ve had three brand new buildings and one redesigned building. We did a lot of good things in the community. I’m all for the club going on to bigger and better things.”

In retirement, Gartland said he’s planning to travel and stay active in the Heart of the Ozarks Sertoma Club.

Gartland said Harris was selected from around 100 applicants who were solicited through a national search conducted via the entire Boys & Girls Clubs organization and on recruiting websites. Harris said there were two finalists.

“We’re going to spend the next couple months getting her up to speed,” Gartland said. “She’s a leader. She’s got strategic vision.”

Harris will be in charge of the nonprofit with a $3.3 million budget and 103 employees, including part-time staff, Gartland said.

“I am incredibly excited, capable and ready to lead the Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield,” Harris said via email. “My passion is to make the world a better place for kids. The club is the perfect venue to connect my passion and purpose. I am a fierce, collaborative, energetic leader and look forward to ensuring great futures for our kids.”

Harris has worked at Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield since 2013. She previously was a unit director and program leader at Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Kansas, as well as a special education paraprofessional for Lawrence Public Schools, a teacher at Springfield Public Schools and speech communication consultant at Drury University, according to her LinkedIn profile.

An independent panel of judges recently chose Harris as one of Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 class members in 2019. She’s scheduled to be honored at a March 21 event.

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