People on the Move: Oct. 15
People on the Move is a rundown of recent hirings, promotions, appointments and other notable movements by professionals in the state. If you’re interested in submitting an entry, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gov. John Carney announced Oct. 12 that he will nominate former Brandywine School District Superintendent Mark Holodick as the next secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. He will succeed Susan Bunting, who is leaving her position in December after nearly five decades of service in Delaware public education.
Last year, Holodick joined the Delaware Academy for School Leadership at the University of Delaware, where he leads coaching and professional development programs for principals and other school and district leaders. He had been BSD superintendent since 2009, and was named Superintendent of the Year in 2017 by the Delaware Chief School Officers Association.
Bunting, who was confirmed to the cabinet position in January 2017, spent the previous four decades in the Indian River School District, leading it as superintendent from 2006-2017 and being named Delaware Superintendent of the Year in 2012. She has not announced her next steps but intends to remain involved in educator training and development.
During her tenure, Bunting oversaw the state’s educational response to COVID-19 and the creation and expansion of Opportunity Funding, Delaware’s first weighted student funding program. The program targets support for low-income and English learner students.
President Joe Biden has appointed former Delaware National Guard Adj. Gen. Francis D. (Frank) Vavala to the board of governors of United Service Organizations (USO) Inc., a nonprofit, charitable corporation that provides live entertainment to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families:
Vavala has combined service time spanning 50 years. He enlisted, as a private in 1967 serving three years enlisted, attaining the rank of sergeant and then attended officer candidate school and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1970 and retired as a major general in February 2017, serving his last 18 years as the adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard.
He commanded at the platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels and was promoted to brigadier general, as the assistant adjutant feneral of the Delaware Army National Guard in 1995. He was subsequently promoted to major general, as the adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard in 1999. Prior to his retirement, he was promoted to lieutenant general (State) and general (State), by Govs. Jack Markell and John Carney respectively, making him the only Delawarean to achieve this honor.
While serving as adjutant general, he held prominent national positions as president of the Adjutants General Association of the United States and chairman of the board of the National Guard Association of the United States. He currently serves on numerous boards, committees, and commissions at both the national and state level and is the veteran’s advocacy specialist for the Delaware Technical and Community College.
The Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) named Kimberly Schlichting its new president and CEO. Her first day in the role is Oct. 16.
Schlichting is the first woman to lead the nonprofit corporation, which owns and operates electric facilities that provide generation and distribution of electric power and energy to eight municipal electric utility members in Delaware and operates with a $150 million budget.
Schlichting joined DEMEC in 2003 and held several leadership roles, most recently chief operating officer and senior vice president of power supply. During her tenure, she also led major operational and efficiency improvements in DEMEC’s generation assets, enhanced training programs and advocated with state and federal policymakers on behalf of DEMEC and its members.
Beau Zebley has been named the 2021 Delaware Realtor of the Year.
The award was presented by Mia Burch, 2021 president of the Delaware Association of Realtors (DAR), during the association’s annual Delaware Realtors 302 program held at Maple Dale Country Club.
Zebley has held top leadership positions at the local and state levels, including serving president of the Kent County Association of Realtors and DAR, and as acting CEO of the state association for seven months. He holds the E-Pro certification, earned his broker’s license this past year, and was appointed by the governor to the State Board of Home Inspectors.
As DAR president in 2020, Beau lead the creation of the DAR Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and was instrumental in the association’s work with Gov. John Carney’s administration and the Division of Small Business to ensure Realtors had effective working guidelines to serve consumers safely during the early, critical stages of COVID-19.
He is currently Immediate past president of DAR, vice chair of the DAR Public Policy Committee, and serves advocacy efforts as a state political coordinator.
The award honors the Delaware Realtor whose outstanding service has delivered positive impact to Realtor organizations on the national, state and local levels as well as the real estate industry and community. The program concluded a week-long virtual conference for DAR members featuring continuing education, professional development workshops, nationally recognized speakers, and a vendor expo.
DeLea Founders Insurance Trust (DFIT) recently awarded Jamesha Williams, city of Milford human resources administrator, with the new annual 2021 PMA Risk Management Leadership Award for her exemplary contributions, participation, and partnership in the goals of the DFIT Safety Committee.
In a presentation to Milford City Council on Oct. 11, Scott Stohrer, PMA Companies risk control consultant, highlighted Williams’ accomplishments, including reorganizing Milford’s Safety Committee, developing a safety and health manual for city employees, a safety incentive program and use of employee safety suggestion boxes. In addition, she coordinated grant submissions for safety equipment, which has been used to purchase AED kits and CPR equipment and barrier masks.
DFIT is the first statewide group self-insurance workers compensation program exclusively for Delaware municipalities and Williams is a three-year DFIT Safety Committee member.
Williams began with the City of Milford in 2018 after working in HR for Burris Logistics and Bank of America’s Corporate Office and TIAA, both in Charlotte, N.C. She also served in the U.S. Air Force from 2003-07.
Wendy Strauss, the retired executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC), was honored by the State Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD) with their Lifetime Achievement Award for her 23 years of dedication to the disability community.
Strauss worked on numerous pieces of legislation with the council and other disability advocates that positively impacted the lives of individuals with disabilities. She was instrumental in working with key stakeholders to get the speech-language program in Delaware. She and the council led the team on the seclusion and restraint guidelines for the Department of Education and facilities. Another of her life-changing works was establishing school resource officer legislation requiring guidelines and training for school resource officers working with students in special education.
Strauss worked on creating disability awareness at the public school level, in childcare and preschools by focusing on disability history and the disability rights movement. The initiative resulted in House Bill 123 proclaiming October as Disability History and Awareness Month in Delaware and HCR 33 to present Disability History and Awareness Month in childcare settings. The GACEC instituted a Disability History and Awareness Month Poster Contest. Students from across the state created works of art depicting specific topics people with disabilities face. The GACEC worked with many partners and schools across the state to have a book and coloring book developed and printed to share statewide. A curriculum was designed around the book and coloring book for preschool teachers and childcare providers to introduce friends with various abilities to their students as part of Disability History and Awareness Month.
During the Oct. 9 virtual meeting of the Democratic National Committee, five Delawareans were nominated and approved to serve as at-large DNC members: Tony Allen, DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik, Brian McGlinchey, Bonnie Wu and State Sen. Sarah McBride, who will also hold a seat on the Executive Committee.
Tony Allen has been president of Delaware State University since January 2020, and he served as the school’s executive vice president and provost prior to that. He began his career as a speechwriter for then-U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, and he has since led President Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee and served on the advisory board of the President’s Transition Team. Previously, Allen led the corporate reputation group at Bank of America and served as executive vice president of MBNA America. He is the founding president of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, co-founder of Public Allies Delaware, and chair emeritus of the National Urban Fellows.
Molly Magarik currently serves as secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services in the Delaware Cabinet under Gov. John Carney. Prior to her appointment in 2020, she served as deputy secretary of DHSS. Before joining the Delaware Cabinet, Magarik served as staff director for then-Congressman Carney, political director for Beau Biden’s campaign for attorney general, and executive director of the Delaware Democratic Party.
Sarah McBride has represented Delaware’s First District in the State Senate since January 2021 and is the first openly transgender state senator in the United States. Her career has been focused on community advocacy. McBride served as spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign and worked in the offices of Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in 2008 and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden in 2010. She has also taught public policy at the University of Delaware and authored a memoir in 2018 titled “Tomorrow Will Be Different.”
Brian McGlinchey has served as managing director of McCarter Government Solutions, based in Wilmington, since 2015. He is a government affairs professional and economic development specialist with experience in government and political campaigning. He previously worked as director of government relations for the Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust and served as then-Sen. Joe Biden’s projects director between 2000-2002. During President Biden’s 2020 campaign, McGlinchey served as a national fundraising co-chair, co-chair of Delaware for Joe, and co-chair of Irish Americans for Biden.
Bonnie Wu has served as a regional director in the office of Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) for 14 years. Wu has worked for Sen. Carper in various positions, including as a deputy press secretary (2003-2005) and as campaign manager of his 2006 re-election campaign, before becoming regional director.