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Watrous leaving NH Humanities Council

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 22. 2017 10:04PM

MANCHESTER — Deborah Watrous, executive director of the New Hampshire Humanities Council, announced Tuesday in an email to friends and supporters she is leaving the organization to take a position with a Massachusetts nonprofit this fall.

“For 24 years, I have had the honor to work for New Hampshire Humanities, beginning as the first Development Director, then Director of Special Projects (so I could combine work and motherhood), Associate Director, and finally Executive Director for the past 13 years,” Watrous writes in the email. “Hardly a day has gone by that I haven’t learned something new, and I have had the opportunity to work with and for some of the smartest, kindest, most dedicated people in New Hampshire. Now, it’s time for a change — for me and for this organization. It’s time for me to move on to a new challenge, and time for New Hampshire Humanities to move on to its next phase of growth and success with a new leader.”

Watrous writes she will begin a new position in Boston with FoodCorps, a “young and dynamic national nonprofit working to make every school a healthy school and every child well nourished and ready to learn,” starting Oct. 16.

“I have the opportunity to help establish a new field office in Massachusetts and to support the exciting plans they’ve outlined to double their impact nationwide over the next five years,” writes Watrous.

Watrous and her husband Rick will be moving to the Boston area later this fall, closer to their daughter Miranda, a third-grade teacher in the Boston Public Schools and a former FoodCorps service worker.

Watrous has been on the staff of New Hampshire Humanities for 24 years and has served as Executive Director since 2004. During her time on staff, Watrous re-activated the NH Humanities’ adult literacy program, which has expanded to serve 16 adult literacy providers around the state, including in all three state prisons. She has also overseen the expansion of the New Hampshire Humanities speakers’ bureau, Humanities to Go, which now offers 450 talks each year in more than 150 New Hampshire communities in partnership with more than 250 organizations.

Under her stewardship, the organization won the NH Business & Industry Association’s “New Hampshire Advantage Award” in 2011, was named the “2014 Cultural Catalyst” by NH Magazine, and, along with New Hampshire Public Radio, was awarded the Helen & Martin Schwartz Prize for Excellence in the Public Humanities from the Federation of State Humanities Councils for “The Socrates Exchange” in 2010.

“This change is both exciting and bittersweet as I say goodbye to beloved colleagues,” writes Watrous. “Fortunately, through the dedication and talent of those same colleagues, I leave a healthy, strong organization that is poised to launch an exciting new phase of programmatic growth supported by more than $2.1M in capital funds that we, together, have raised.”

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