Chermera McGhee’s first week as the new executive director of Family Promise of Blount County has been filled with hugs, excitement and enough training to make her head spin.
McGhee predicts that her transition into the role will be stressful at times - but the type of friction she refers to as “positive stress.”
“I love social service and that’s where my experience lies. But having a management role will definitely be a positive challenge for me,” McGhee said. “In fact, my No. 1 challenge will be getting used to the role and responsibilities of an executive director versus those of a case worker.”
McGhee has more than four years of social service experience. She most recently worked as a children’s service worker for the State of Missouri’s Department of Social Services. McGhee also held case management positions at the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families, Child and Family Tennessee in Knoxville and Peninsula’s outpatient facility in Maryville.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Missouri State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from Knoxville’s Strayer University.
“The board is very excited about Chermera accepting the position and challenge to continue building the network in Blount County,” Susan Hughes, chairperson of the Family Promise Board of Directors, said. “Her education and experience will empower her to do great things for the families we serve. She brings much passion and confidence in helping those in need and we are so fortunate to have her on board.”
McGhee’s first week on the job was spent becoming acquainted with the program through training sessions with leaders from the national Family Promise organization, through meetings with volunteer coordinators and spending time with former director, Mandy Stinnett Adkins.
McGhee was named Family Promise’s new executive director after Adkins resigned to pursue a career opportunity with The Alliance for Youth Achievement.
“Family Promise is fortunate to have Chermera taking the reins as the new Executive Director. Her experience and enthusiasm make her the ideal candidate for leading Family Promise as it continues to serve families in our community,” Adkins said.
“This is a time of celebration at Family Promise. Walking down the halls of the Family Day Center at Green Meadow UMC, seeing that our list of partner churches has grown to 27, witnessing hundreds of volunteers from across the community come together to provide support to families in need - it makes me very thankful to have been part of the birth of this program in Blount County.
“At the heart of all of our progress are the homeless children and their families that we are now able to support in the Family Promise network. They are a constant reminder of why we are here and why we need to continue to support programs that serve people in need,” Adkins added.
Adkins will be serving as the executive director of The Alliance for Youth Achievement (AYA), which is a Maryville-based, non-profit whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the poorest and most vulnerable children in Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa.
McGhee and her husband, Robert McGhee, live in Maryville with their 17-month-old daughter.