April 2024 Employee of the Month Theresa Hammons

Theresa Hammons is the Director of the McKinney Center and has dedicated herself to the Town of Jonesborough for over ten years. Theresa oversees both the large-scale activities and the day-to-day events that happen at the McKinney Center. Since January, Theresa has put hours of work into the 2024 Masterpiece Mingle. Theresa wrote the press release, has put out several calls for donations of artwork, and has put effort into making sure the event is well promoted. She has been spending time emailing over 100 artists individually to get people to donate to the event. She then kept in touch with the artists to make sure we secured the artwork. Theresa spent hours looking to make sure we had the perfect musician fit for the event and found the Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra. For the last Masterpiece Mingle, we had high schoolers cater. Unfortunately, this year they are traveling to participate in a competition. So, Theresa has spent hours trying to secure a caterer at a reasonable price for this event. Masterpiece Mingle is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Theresa worked so hard on this event to make sure it is a success because she cares about the success of the center.

In the fall, Theresa put out bids to get the interior of the center painted. Quad City Builders won the paint bid and are scheduled to repaint the interior of the building from May to early June. We have had to shift around events on the master calendar to make sure that no events land in that time frame. Theresa made the decision to move the student art show up for a week from May 9th to May 2nd, so that way painting can begin when it needs to. Theresa has been communicating with teachers that this decision affects making sure we have adequate make up days for classes. Customer experience is very important to the people who attend our classes, and we want to ensure everyone is happy. We had to reschedule an artist exhibition due to scheduling to make sure their exhibit went up for a fair amount of time. Theresa also fit the Washington Co. school’s end of the year art exhibit into this tight schedule. She goes above and beyond to communicate, make things work, and keep all parties happy. This shows flexibility and patience.

Since January, Theresa has been working towards publishing the McKinney Centers 2024 Summer Camps. Theresa has communicated with teachers what the classes are, what the descriptions for the classes are, and the new age ranges for the different classes. After receiving this information from the teachers, Theresa then uploaded all the information to Course storm, the online class system used by the center. Theresa made sure that all the dates for classes aligned with our current schedule, including moving some dates due to the interior of the center being painted. After this has been added online, Theresa had staff and teachers review it multiple times before the classes went live to the public. Now Theresa is focused on advertising, both digitally and in person, to make sure all the summer camp slots fill up!

April 4th is the McKinney Center’s “Ernest McKinney Day of Giving” virtual event on Facebook. The center picked this day as it is the day Ernest McKinney was elected as the towns first African American alderman, the same day that MLK Jr. was assassinated. Theresa has been reviewing the schedule of the day to make sure there is adequate representation of everything the center has to offer. Last year for the event, we live streamed teachers doing demonstrations and had different important figures in the town come in to talk about what the center meant to them. This year, it was decided that we would stream videos with the same type of content, but these videos would be pre-recorded to ensure the day is easier on the operations of the center. All proceeds from this day of giving goes to the Ernest and Marion McKinney scholarship fund. We were able to give several scholarships in 2023, and with the money raised from this event, we hope to continue to increase the number of scholarships we provide to students. Theresa works hard to ensure we provide the arts to ALL our community.

Theresa spent hours putting together the 2024-2025 budget together for the McKinney Center. Theresa asked every employee to write three goals they hope to accomplish for next budget year to include in the report. Theresa went through and checked the statements for each budget line to track how much the center has spent this past year. She uses these numbers and costs of operating in citing why some budget lines should be increased. Theresa then submitted the draft of the budget to be reviewed. There is a lot of consideration that goes in between drafting and editing the budget that can take over a month to do.

Theresa finished working on the 2023 McKinney Center report at the beginning of January and has since passed it around for our customers to see. We reviewed it at the January 2024 Advisory Committee meeting, sent it out with the January 2024 member newsletter, and shared it with our members at the 2024 membership brunch. Theresa put together data in a multi-page packet for the report. In the report, there are demographics about the average income, education levels, and race of our students. Another section of the 2023 report goes over the different types of events the center hosted. We reached 2,775 people at in person events and 253,304 through social media. There were 14,317 people who came through the doors at the center in 2023, which is a 40% increase from 2022. The center offered 116 classes to the community in 2023. The center had 5,274.25 volunteer hours for a value of $148,325. Theresa must extend her reach far and wide to be able to support all the programming that the center does and to keep customers continuously happy. On the rare occasion issues do come up, she is always willing to make things work. Her dedication to this job, community, and the town are incredible. The McKinney Center participated in 316 activities in 2023 with a small staff all under her supervision. It is an honor to have her as my supervisor and to work with her every day.

Thank you, Theresa Hammons! You are appreciated!