County social service director resigns

BY BRIAN ALBERT | JUNE 10, 2011 7:20 AM

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After 20 years in social work and several years as the social-service coordinator for Johnson County, Amy Correia will move on.

Correia, who has helped to improve and to launch several successful programs during her tenure, will take on the position as manager at Crazy Girl Yarn Shop in Coralville.

“I feel that when you do anything for 20 years, anyone would think it’d be time for a change,” the 43-year-old said.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors unanimously — but regretfully — accepted her resignation on Thursday.

Correia’s last day will be July 15, and supervisors said it’s going to be a tough position to fill.

“It will be a great loss,” Supervisor Janelle Rettig said. “She carries a lot of weight in things that we don’t even realize.”

Correia’s accomplishments for the county include her success with the Juvenile Justice Youth Development Program and the newly launched Youth Empowered to Serve program.

The Juvenile Justice Program aims to foster positive development for kids and, in turn, prevent juvenile delinquency and crime, according to the county website. The Youth Empowered to Serve program promotes volunteering and aids skill-building for primarily African American high-school boys.

“I feel really proud of that work,” Correia said. “I think in my time, I’ve developed relationships with the community that I’m proud of.”

Though Correia is leaving the position in a little more than a month, it’s unlikely a new social-service coordinator will be chosen soon, Rettig said.

The job will be advertised for three weeks and includes two rounds of interviews with all supervisors, Rettig said, noting that the process could take up to a few months.

“I’m sure we’ll get a lot of great applicants, but they’ve got a tough learning curve ahead of them,” she said.

An optimistic goal might be Oct. 1, Supervisor Rod Sullivan said. The board will look for a candidate who can “pretty much walk on water.”

“It’s a very difficult job,” he said. “You have to balance all the qualities of a social worker with someone with great attention to detail and the ability to manage numerous projects.”

And though that type of job has been Correia’s passion for two decades, she said she’s happy to be able to do something a little less demanding — yarn and knitting.

Regarding the future of social services in Johnson County, Correia said cooperation is the key.

“I think that it’s important to work in partnership and collaboration with the entire human-service network and be open to new ideas for tackling our challenges,” she said.

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