Smart Start Rowan names new executive director
The board of Smart Start Rowan has named John D. Gerstenmier as the child development agency’s new executive director.
Gerstenmier starts his new job Monday.
Gerstenmier has designed, built and obtained state licensing for two child development centers, one in North Carolina and one in South Carolina.
Most recently, he opened a center at First Presbyterian Church in Pageland, S.C. It is a 5,400-square-foot center that cost more than $500,000 to complete.
Gerstenmier recently served seven years on the board of Union Smart Start, including five as chairman. He was named Union County Champion for Children in 2003 and served three years as chairman of the board of Chesterfield County First Steps, an early childhood initiative in South Carolina.
Gerstenmier has 20 years of service as an ordained Presbyterian minister, including three stints as a solo senior pastor.
Prior to entering the ministry, he taught secondary school math and science and worked as a school counselor. He also worked in sales and marketing for computer hardware manufacturers and served seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He has a bachelor’s in mathematics and master’s in education from State College of New Jersey and a master of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.
Gerstenmier and his family live in Waxhaw. His wife, Lynn, is serving her 14th year as coordinator in the Calvary Church Child Development Center in Charlotte. The couple have three adult sons and are raising a 7-year-old granddaughter, Bethany.
The Gerstenmiers and Bethany plan to move to Rowan County in the near future.
Smart Start Rowan is a public-private initiative, providing funding to help children enter kindergarten healthy and prepared to succeed. Smart Start Rowan works with the Rowan-Salisbury School System, city and county child-care centers, family child-care homes and church pre-schools to improve the quality of early learning environments.
Smart Start Rowan administers such programs as Child Care Resource and Referral, Star Licensing Program and More at Four.
With an office on West Jake Alexander Boulevard in Salisbury, Smart Start Rowan has 16 employees.
More information about Smart Start Rowan is available at its Web site, www.rowan-smartstart.org, or at 704-603-3372.
ó Richard Perkins