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Wednesday, 13 April 2011 14:29

Cole leaves Great Plain College, joins Southwest Crisis Services

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Teresa Cole has left one love of her life to join another.

After working at Great Plains College for the last 11 years, Cole, who served as interim CEO since Mark Frison left the college, decided to leave the school to become the executive director for Southwest Crisis Services.

Leaving the college weighed heavily on Cole’s mind. Wanting a new challenge in her career, Cole spent a lot of time during the Christmas holidays debating what she wanted to do with her life.

Cole, who has been a student, a volunteer english as an additional language tutor, instructor, program co-ordinator, director and eventually interim CEO at the college, came to the conclusion she wasn’t interested in becoming the school’s president and it was time for a change.

“For me, it’s just really a personal decision,” she said. “I enjoy doing things like Swift Current Little Theatre and the Kiwanis Club here in the community and I found over the short time that I was interim president that I couldn’t be as connected to those things as I wanted to be.

“That, ultimately, is an important part of my life. It brings me balance and it certainly would have been an interesting career opportunity, there’s no doubt about that, but at the same time, we didn’t have a shortage of candidates who were interested in taking that piece on.”

An emotional Cole left the college a month ago, leaving a “president-by-committee” to run the school.

On April 11, it was announced Cole will be the new executive director of Southwest Crisis Services, a non-profit charitable organization which runs outreach programs for women, men and children as well as a Safe Shelter and a 24-hour crisis line.

It was an easy decision for Cole, who will start in her new position May 1, to join Southwest Crisis Services.

The organization has always been close to her heart and she served on the board for five years, including a stint as the board’s president.

“It feels to me like it’s one of those things that was meant to be just because of the timing and the way things worked out. I’m looking forward to an opportunity to lead an organization that I was heavily involved with before,” she said.

“I have a good sense of the range of programs and services Southwest Crisis Services does offer and I don’t think there’s any disputing those are pretty important services for the community.”

Cole still has to have some meetings with Southwest Crisis Services’ board of directors to finalize the direction they want to take the organization, but there are a few things she thinks will happen in the near future.

Based on early conversations she has had, Cole believes Southwest Crisis Services will hire a new children’s outreach worker to work with children who come into the safe shelter and to do school presentations.

She is also focused on educating people to lessen the need for resources if they get caught in the cycle of violence.

Although Cole found it gut-wrenching to leave the college, she’s happy with the decision she has made to go to another organization she loves and work for Southwest Crisis Services.

“There are a lot of parallels that I see (between the two organizations),” she said. “The services are certainly different, but there’s certainly the educational aspect that’s similar in both organizations. There are a lot of similar issues with funding issues, maintaining the organization, accountability issues. There are a lot of parallels that I see and both things are very close to my heart.”

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