A Jackson County organization providing resources to parents of young children has a new executive director.

Child Care Network’s new leader, Katherine “Kate” Garrity, 35, of Columbus, has more than 13 years of early childhood and child care programming and management experience.

She replaces Janice Read, who announced her retirement this year from the position she held for 17 years. Although Garrity came on board with the nonprofit agency last month, she didn’t officially take over as director until Oct. 1.

An open house to allow people to meet Garrity is being planned.

Garrity said she has spent her career working with families and communities to prevent child abuse, has worked to establish early learning centers, and has overseen before- and after-school child care programs in Bartholomew County.

She most recently served as the iCARE before- and after-school program director at Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

Child Care Network co-presidents Tammy Dye and Holly Sipe said they are excited to welcome Garrity to the community.

“We are extremely pleased to have Kate join the Child Care Network team,” Dye said.

“She brings with her an impressive résumé of child-related program knowledge as well as demonstrated service as an advocate for children that will benefit Jackson County families,” Sipe added.

Garrity’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wittenberg University and an early childhood director’s certificate from Ivy Tech Community College.

In her new role, she will provide overall management of Child Care Network, develop and recommend programs that support the agency’s objectives and serve as its community representative.

Child Care Network operates through funding from Jackson County United Way and serves about 1,600 local children each year.

The agency helps prepare students for school success through its new On My Way Pre-K and the Kindergarten Jump Start to School Success programs and supports families through Kids Klub and the Jackson County Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocates program. It also coordinates the annual Kids Fest.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.