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Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Mescher leaves I.C. for OUR Home post


By Shelley Grieshop
The principal of Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Celina is leaving her post to accept a director's position at an expanding local family resource agency.
Kathy Mescher, who has worked at IC for 31 years - 18 as principal - was hired last week to head up OUR Home Family Resource Center. The agency recently announced a merger with Family Crisis Network, which offers similar services to individuals and families in the county. Both are located in the same building at 117 W. Fayette St.
Mescher, 56, begins her new job on a part-time basis in June and will assume full-time responsibilities in July.
IC parish pastor, the Rev. Tom Brenberger, was not available this morning for comment. A spokeswoman at the church said the parish was advised by the archdiocese to appoint an acting principal from within, at least on a temporary basis. A committee will be formed to search for a replacement for the 2011-2012 school year, the spokeswoman said.
Mescher said she's loved working at the school but is ready for a change.
"I am so excited, so looking forward to the challenge," Mescher said this morning. "I can't wait to meet the new staff. This will be a real learning opportunity for me."
She is replacing former OUR Home Director Janice Hamilton, who resigned April 1.
Mescher leaves the school during a financial crisis. Earlier this year, parish officials announced a campaign to raise funds to keep the school afloat. Without adequate funding, the school may close its doors after the 2010-2011 school year, officials have said.
Mescher said she fears people will think she's leaving because of the school's cloudy future. That's not the case.
"I'm very optimistic and certain the school will continue, and perhaps become even stronger through this," she said, adding the fundraising measures appear to be going well.
In a letter to parents of IC students, Mescher said the last few years have taken its toll on her. She underwent a bout with cancer and noted that stress can be a major risk factor for recurrence of the illness or others.
"Because of this concern, I have had to open myself to other career possibilities, something with less pressure," she wrote in the letter.
She told the newspaper that "spiritually" this is the right decision for her at this time. She looks forward to serving people "but in a different way."
OUR Home's mission is to provide services that strengthen families and emphasize the importance of nurturing children, she said. It's a mission Mescher's performed for years and the reason she was chosen from more than 50 applicants for the job, said Ken Obringer, president of OUR Home's board of directors.
"She's had years of experience in supervision," which will be a huge asset to the agency, Obringer said. "I think she's a good fit."
Some of OUR Home's services include budget counseling, parenting classes, supervised visitations and exchanges for various custody situations, a toy-lending program and a food pantry and clothes closet.
The board also liked the idea that Mescher currently works in a faith-based organization. That quality will help her deal with clients who need help coping with various problems, Obringer added.
The merger between OUR Home and Family Crisis Network is not yet finalized, although both boards have given it their blessing, Obringer said. When complete, the joint agency will bring together approximately a dozen employees and numerous volunteers under one roof.
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