Cassville chamber director heading to post with school district

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chamber board hopes to have replacement by end of July

After six years as director of the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce, Mindi Artherton has decided to step down to take a part-time position with the Cassville school district, and the chamber board is hoping to have her replacement hired by the end of July.

Artherton's last day will be July 9, and she said the decision was a tough one to make because of how much she loves working with the Cassville community.

"I decided it was time to transition and do something different," she said. "I have two young kids and I've enjoyed my work at the chamber. It was a great fit for me at that time in my life, but I feel like I need to focus on my kids more.

"I have no doubt God placed me in this position as chamber director at the exact right time and am humbled by the support and encouragement I have received from our community and business leaders. I have immensely enjoyed my time at the chamber in this capacity; however, I am most needed at home during this stage of my life."

Artherton accepted a part-time position at the Cassville school district as the community liaison, a new post created by the district.

"The schools do great things for the community, and I can't wait to tell the stories of what the teachers and school staff are doing," she said. "My family is also deeply-rooted in schools and education, and my husband also works there."

Her husband, Robbie Artherton, is an industrial arts teacher, as well as middle school track coach and high school assistant football coach. Artherton has two children, 4-year-old Briley and 1-year-old Rhett, who was born in April 2014.

Artherton said what she will miss most about her post is the people.

"I will absolutely miss most getting to know the people of Cassville," she said. "I love the opportunities I had to get involved in what was going on and getting to know the people who want to make Cassville a better place.

Michele Bredeson, president of the chamber board, said Artherton's shoes will be tough to fill.

"Mindi has been a fantastic representative of the young leadership we need in Cassville," she said. "She is someone that will be hard to replace. She's very good with the public and put her whole self into the director position."

Bredeson said a committee of 5-7 members, made up of board members and local industry brass, will conduct interviews for Artherton's replacement. Bredeson is accepting applications for two to three weeks before interviews will be scheduled. In the meantime, she said director duties will fall back on the board.

"We are looking for someone who has experience in public relations, technology and communication, preferably with a degree or past experience," Bredeson said. "We hope to have someone in place by late July."

Artherton said whoever fills her position will undoubtedly enjoy it, and that person should also not try to do everything alone.

"Embrace help," she said. "This community will welcome you with open arms, and you have to realize even though you are in the office by yourself, you can't do it all alone. You have to rely on the volunteers."

Artherton's new position with the school district, community liaison, was devised in April and May to address some changes with the district's community outreach, as it is moving away from the school reach system and implementing Dewsly, a Facebook-like communication platform for students, parents and patrons.

"We've been using stuff from other school districts, like Nixa, as a beginning model for the community liaison," said Richard Asbill, superintendent. "We were looking to develop a position that would look at our priorities and goals for Communication, and we're looking to build on that success we've seen at other schools."

Asbill said Dewsly will traverse multiple outlets, like Twitter, Facebook and email, to help keep the community informed about the schools' events, the schools' accomplishments and the schools' challenges.

"Students, parents and patrons are able to set it up so they can get the information any way they want, and it will be customized to individual needs," he said. "It also takes communication down to the teacher level, because all the teachers will have their own pages to communicate with students and parents."

Asbill said along with helping to implement Dewsly, which goes fully live in August, Artherton will also be keeping the district's website and activities calendar up to date, and she will be involved in some outreach and public relations efforts.

"We want to make sure we do the best job we can telling our story," Asbill said. "Mindi will help us with things like media releases, so they are in a format news organizations will prefer. We want to show people what our activities are, what we are doing well and what we are trying to do better. We want parents, grandparents, sports fans, patrons and the community to know we are doing a lot of great things, and the things we need to be working on are being addressed.

"We felt Mindi was the key person to tell these stories, because she is professional, honest, knows the community, is an alumna and knows our community partners."

Starting off, Asbill said Artherton will work about 10-15 hours per week. Four people applied for the position, and Asbill said he believes more did not apply because of the part-time aspect.

Along with her new post at the school district, Artherton is also hoping to put more time in working on her new website, southwestmissourimoms.com, which offers resources for local women and mothers in the southwest Missouri area.

"I started that with my sister-in-law, [Kelli Artherton] in February," she said. "It has things like a calendar of events, recipes and health information. I'll probably be working on that a lot more."

Anyone interested in applying for the Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce director position can email a resume with cover letter to Bredeson at michelle.bredeson@commercebank.com.

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