Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Challenge of History--Welcome New HIPPY USA Executive Director

I had the priviledge of being part of the HIPPY USA Executive Director Interview Committee earlier this year. We had the opportunity to interview three really really good candidates. I walked away knowing that, regardless of who was selected, HIPPY USA would be in good hands. I was pleased with the final selection of Marvin Schwartz who I believe has a great combination of skills and experiences and will help us take HIPPY to the next level nationally. One of the things that impressed me about Marvin was the research and legwork he did BEFORE the interview. He went on multiple visits to HIPPY programs and obviously did a lot of homework on our organization. Even I, a 20 year veteran in HIPPY, learned something new about HIPPY during the interview process. This revelation (the Hebrew translation of our original program name) was later shared in a letter from Marvin to the field, which is excerpted below: "I bring to HIPPY a diverse professional background in communications and development for the nonprofit sector. I also place great value on understanding history, and I urge each HIPPY program to preserve its unique heritage. Our program origins offer an inspirational example in this area. Many of you know that HIPPY was created in Israel by Avima Lombard in 1969. But, do you know that the translation of the program’s original Hebrew name (Ha Etgar) is THE CHALLENGE? Forty years ago, an innovative educator was challenged with the task of preparing immigrant children for educational success. Today, that challenge is repeated thousands of times every day as HIPPY program administrators balance the complex demands of funding, staffing, accountability, and much more. I am very anxious to meet you, to hear about the experiences you face on a daily basis, and to help all sites share the ‘lessons learned’ that have made HIPPY such a successful program. Together, we will continue to make history, and together we will bring HIPPY into the national prominence it so rightly deserves!"

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