YMCA’s CEO search down to 2 finalists

Published 6:46 pm Friday, February 3, 2012

By next Wednesday, the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA should have its next permanent president/CEO.

Interim CEO Mike Haynes told The Post-Searchlight that a committee of two YMCA board members and three non-YMCA board members have selected two finalists for the position. They are former Decatur County Superintendent and Bainbridge High School football coach Ralph Jones, and Jim Bouldin, a former executive director at several YMCAs who currently lives in Tallahassee, Fla.

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the 13 members of the YMCA Board of Directors will choose which of these finalists should succeed Haynes as the leader of the local YMCA. Haynes became CEO on an interim basis in September 2011, shortly after the resignation of then-Executive Director Ken Bailey.

Email newsletter signup

Haynes said his last day as interim CEO will be March 1, although he is open to continue as a part-time consultant if needed, to help ease the transition for the new permanent CEO.

“We had some really good candidates,” Haynes said. “The committee started with two dozen candidates and narrowed it down to these final two. They’ll have to weigh the pluses and minuses of both candidates, and make the best decision for the YMCA moving forward.”

Jones has more than 36 years of experience in education in southwest Georgia. He was the Decatur County superintendent from July 2002 through June 2010, and was the principal of Bainbridge High School from 1999-2002.

Jones was also at the helm of the most successful BHS football team of all time, serving as the head coach of the 1982 Bearcats, who won the State Class AAA championship. He was the head football coach from 1981 through 1987, collecting a 54-21-1 record in that timespan. Jones also won a state championship at Cairo High School in 1990.

Jones earned his master’s degree in arts from Troy State University in 1981, in educational administration. He earned an educational specialist degree in administration and supervision from Nova University in 1992, and earned a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from Florida State University in 1974.

“I’ve been in some type of leadership position for 29 years,” Jones said. “I feel like I have strength in people skills and moving organizations forward. I miss the competition and the challenges that leadership brings, and this job opportunity intrigued me.”

Jones said he believes his past experience as superintendent, managing more than 800 employees, is among the positives he could bring to the job. Jones said if he is chosen to be the new CEO, he will work hard to make the YMCA a proud organization.

“I feel like I can contribute and make this YMCA a place where people love to come,” he said. “I love the mission of the Y, to make better, healthier lifestyles and people. I think it creates a better community and it’s something that helps all of us. A strong YMCA is a great selling point for our community, to attract new businesses and people who want to move here.”

Bouldin has worked with the YMCA for 21 years, including several as the executive director of smaller YMCAs. From 2007 through 2010, he was the executive director of the Florida’s First Coast – Baker County YMCA in Macclenny, Fla., about 30 miles west of Jacksonville, Fla.

From 1986 through 2004, he worked for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, serving as the executive director at several of the YMCA branches. He began as the program/physical director of the Richard E. Lindner Family Branch YMCA in Cincinnati, from 1986 to 1989, and worked his way up to larger roles and responsibilities.

His final position with the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati was serving as the executive director of the W.J. Williams Branch YMCA and Columbia Parkway Branch YMCA, overseeing a budget of $1.5 million. He served in that post from 1998 through 2004. From 2004 to 2007, he was the owner-operator of The Market Street Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in Charleston, S.C.

Bouldin earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati in 1984, with an area of concentration on exercise physiology and sports management. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Cincinnati in 1979.

“I have a long history with the Y,” Bouldin said. “Bainbridge is the perfect little community that I’ve been looking to become a part of. I would like to build on the experiences that I have had over the years, and make this the best possible YMCA it can be.”

Bouldin said he feels like he would bring a lot of vital skills to the job.

“I think the experiences I have include strong fiscal management, strong fundraising, and strong staff and board leadership,” he said. “I would be ready to become a strong presence in the community. My goal would be to make this YMCA as the place in the community where everyone wants to belong.

“We would use our Christian mission as the foundation, and serve our citizens from ‘cradle to grave,’ with a variety of quality programs.”

Haynes provided a copy of the requirements and criteria for the president/CEO position. It calls for the ideal candidate to: “have in place a plan for a balanced budget that has accountability of self, staff and board tied in for success.”

It also calls for a candidate with a minimum of five years prior experience in a senior management role with a YMCA or related experience at a comparable organization with direct supervision of multiple levels of staff and employees. Candidates must have an accredited four-year college degree.