Kari Collins Assumes Leadership of Red Bird Mission
Ms. Kari Collins assumed the leadership of Red Bird Mission, Inc., Red Bird Clinic, Inc., and Red Bird Housing, Inc., after being named Executive Director last Thursday by the governing boards of these three nonprofit organizations that touch the lives of almost 10,000 residents living in Bell, Clay and Leslie Counties in southeastern Kentucky. Ms. Lois J. Smith, Interim Executive Director, appointed after the sudden passing of Dr. O. Taylor Collins in January, provided exemplary leadership for the Red Bird family since February giving adequate time for consideration of candidates for the permanent filling of the position.
Board President, Clifford Berry, Jr., states, “After an extensive search, much discussion, and prayer, the Board confirmed and named Ms. Collins as our new Executive Director. We know she will do a great job. We are excited and looking forward to working with Ms. Collins as we advance and improve all our ministries at Red Bird.”
Ms. Collins brings a broad range of management experience to Red Bird that includes nine years of previous service as social worker at Red Bird Hospital and Clinic and Red Bird Settlement School (now Red Bird Christian School). After completing her master’s degree in social work from the University of Kentucky, she served nearly 20 years as director of child, adolescent and family services at a community mental health center in 8 counties of southeast Kentucky. She left that position to serve as the Adolescent Substance Abuse Services Coordinator, worked with the State Interagency Advisory Council, and then served as the Policy Advisor to the Commissioner of Kentucky’s Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and Manager for the Outcome Transformation and Education Branch within the Department where she led statewide system change efforts. She retired from the State in 2014.
In addition to her professional experience, she brings a unique perspective to the vision and direction of Red Bird Mission, Red Bird Clinic and Red Bird Housing that her husband, Taylor Collins, had established since returning to Red Bird in 2010. Classes were suspended due to lack of financial support when he returned, but Dr. Collins managed to reopen school that summer and took it to new heights that included remodeling and reopening of the dormitory last year, admission of international students for the first time in Red Bird’s history, and enlisting broader financial support that was also historical raising over $560,000 at homecoming last October made possible by the a generous matching gift from Bonnie and Leonard Lawson. Ms. Collins, although not officially involved up to this point, supported and encouraged the progress at Red Bird and is well equipped to continue the growth of Red Bird Christian School and the diverse outreach ministries of Red Bird Mission and Red Bird Clinic.
As she began her duties, Ms. Collins stated, “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve as Executive Director of Red Bird Mission. I am looking forward to working with the dedicated and talented staff and volunteers, from the community and across the country, as we continue to move forward with the vision of the Board of Directors and honor God’s plan for Red Bird Mission.