NORWALK, Conn. – The newly named South Norwalk Community Center interim executive director is eagerly looking forward to making a difference.
“I think the Center has so much potential; it could be so much,” Kelly Robertson said Tuesday afternoon.
Robertson’s appointment was announced Monday, one week after former interim Executive Director Pat Ferrandino was fired by the board. Ferrandino had replaced his wife, Marina Forero Ferrandino, who served as executive director for more than a year before being dismissed.
Robertson currently works in the Center as a supervisor for the Salvation Army, which has operated there for the past year, she said. That proximity to the SoNoCC board members apparently paid off when they approached Roberton about the position.
“I was very interested,” she said, “and I welcome the opportunity to work with Warren Peña and the whole organization. I want to help them in moving forward.”
Peña is on leave as board chairman while he runs for state representative in the 140th District.
Robertson will work 15 to 20 hours a week for about 90 days, according to interim Chairman of the Board Ed Camacho. That period will cover the renovations planned to make the Center suitable for the Norwalk Public Schools After the Bell program.
While the Ferrandinos worked on a volunteer basis, Robertson will be paid about $2,000 for the 90-day period. At the end of the contract, the board will decide if she will be kept on, and try to come up with the resources to make that happen, Camacho said.
Robertson brings extensive credentials to the position. According to a press release sent by Camacho, she has extensive community service experience, including in the area case management, disaster relief, human resources, counseling, mental health, child protective services, and community organizing, as well as in financing, marketing, and fundraising. She has worked in Greenwich and Stamford, and with both school districts.
Robertson was a professor at the University of Connecticut, holds an associate’s degree in arts and sciences from Allegheny County Community College, a BA in sociology/psychology and a Masters of Education in community counseling from Duquesne University, and has pursued a Doctor of Psychology degree from California Graduate Institute. She has also been a member of the Connecticut State Department of Education Review Committee, and has a certification as a Guidance Counselor, the release said.
“I’m hoping for a wonderful, positive relationship on both sides,” she said, in reference to the clientele from the failed NEON as well as those who have been served by SoNoCC. “I hope to do a good job for this community. “
And, acknowledging the recent acrimony surrounding the center, she sounded a positive note.
“This will be our floor,” she said. “We just go up from here.”