Welcome Matt McCarty …and thank you, Jenny Wohlleb
By Brad Hughes
KSBA Director of Member Support/Communications Services
Kentucky School Advocate
Whether it involves the superintendent or a teacher, a principal or a custodian, a clerk or a coach, a change in personnel evokes myriad emotions.
Sometimes the situation at work hasn’t been the best it could be and the change is welcomed by all parties. Other times, an altered set of personal circumstances or the opportunity for a career advancement is cause for a mix of joy and sadness.
Such is the case as KSBA and the Kentucky School Advocate team bid a fond farewell to our longtime partner, Jenny Wohlleb, and greet a new colleague, Matt McCarty.
While we look forward to a long association with Matt, there’s no question that the KSBA staff, our members and the readers of this publication owe an enthusiastic chorus of appreciation to Jenny.
Growth, visual and otherwise
In September 2000, Jenny became publications coordinator for KSBA, which encompasses this magazine. Her first Advocate story was on the loss of 700 years of school leadership after nearly 90 board members opted not to seek re-election. In a touch of irony, the first edition of the magazine she laid out included an In Conversation With feature with new Commissioner of Education Gene Wilhoit. Now her last edition has a similar interview with retiring Commissioner Terry Holliday.
Side by side, the look of this magazine then and now is dramatically different. Just a few areas immediately obvious are the use of artwork, pictures, color, shading, shaping, white space and – yes – creativity of design. You see her byline only on stories she wrote, but her fingerprints literally are on every inch of every page. And they are also present as you read the content online.
But to limit Jenny’s contributions to this magazine would do her a disservice.
You see her craftsmanship in the programs at our conferences, in most of the brochures on display in our lobby or at our exhibit booths. She was a player in the team that helped develop the online look of the magazine.
For the more than 20 districts honored in recent years with KSBA’s PEAK Award, she oversaw the judging and worked with district staff to plan the presentation celebration that includes students and teachers demonstrating the initiatives that earned the honor.
If this is a tad on the personal side for a professional column, so be it. I’ve been a team leader in different jobs for four decades, but I’ve never lost a partner I’ve worked with as long as 15 years. Yes, it’s personal and Jenny will be missed.
Sometimes when you do a job vacancy search, you get lucky. We feel that way as we bring Matt McCarty into the fold to assume many of the roles Jenny played so well for so long.
Matt’s background includes working for too many Kentucky newspapers to mention them all, but they stretch from his hometown Paintsville Herald to newspapers in Clay City, Elizabethtown, Lexington and Richmond. For the past 16 years, he filled a boatload of roles – writing, editing, design, photography to name some – as production manager for the Lexington-based Cats’ Pause magazine. A Johnson Central High and Eastern Kentucky University graduate, Matt’s value to the Cats’ Pause was summed up by his boss when called for a job reference: “You can’t have him.”
Matt joins Advocate editor Madelynn Coldiron, who has been with KSBA for 18 years, in maintaining a commitment to provide insightful, thought-provoking coverage of K-12 issues from as many school districts as possible every year. You may just see his byline, but you’ll see his handiwork throughout the magazine starting next month.
The Last Word
In Raymond Chandler’s novel, The Long Goodbye, he coined the phrase “To say goodbye is to die a little.” We choose to say goodbye with a celebration of Jenny Wohlleb’s gifts given and Matt McCarty’s contributions yet to be.
The names on the articles and the staff list on Page 5 will change, but our goal is that the readers don’t notice a thing.
And that’s a message worth getting out.