The longtime executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara will step down from her post in the coming year.
After more than 22 years of service, Colette Hadley informed the nonprofit foundation’s board of directors she would resign her position within the next 12 months to move to the Los Angeles/Orange County area to be near family and to begin the next chapter in her career.
Scholarship Foundation board president Janet Garufis sent a letter notifying supporters of the planned leadership change last week, commending Hadley for her efforts and outlining a transitional plan to find her replacement.
Hadley does not have an official last day, but will leave her post within the next six to 12 months, Garufis told Noozhawk.
“Colette’s been thinking about this for some time,” she said. “She has really contributed a phenomenal amount of leadership and critical thinking to the growth and development of the Scholarship Foundation. We are sad to see her go, but we applaud her for taking on this next chapter. It’s time for her to re-pot herself.”
Since Hadley took the helm, the Scholarship Foundation has doubled in size, including scholarships given to local students and the number of donors.
In 2013, the Scholarship Foundation awarded $8.1 million in total scholarships to 2,601 Santa Barbara County students. Since 1962, more than 34,500 scholarships totaling $81 million have been provided.
Hadley declined to comment last week, but in a 2010 interview with Noozhawk she credited the personal experiences of Scholarship Foundation donors for their stalwart support of the organization. In the interview, she said that at least half of the donors were themselves scholarship students in college.
“They all have a personal story,” she said. “Some people ... grew up with a supportive family environment and had the resources to go to college, and they’re aware that there are people out there who did not have that and so it’s their obligation to help.
“The stories are amazing and some of them you don’t know until years go by.”
Hadley is the longest-serving employee since the Scholarship Foundation’s founding in 1962, Garufis said.
She said Hadley has been involved in planning for the executive transition, which will involve tapping a long-term visioning committee to conduct a broad search and evaluate the skills needed to navigate a changing education environment.
Garufis said the board was glad Hadley is leaving the organization on such solid footing with great staff.
“We’re thrilled for her,” Garufis said. “She will now feel comfortable to start looking in the area where she wants to relocate. Colette is a treasure in Santa Barbara. She’s at the top of her game.”