Boys & Girls Club of Janesville tabs Kulinski executive director
Carrie Kulinski, who is well known in public school and drug-prevention circles locally, will take the reins Jan. 23, club board member Sara Gehrig announced Monday.
The previous director, Curt Kligora, was terminated Nov. 29 after just 36 days on the job.
Officials previously declined to discuss reasons for the termination. Kligora told The Gazette that he agreed with the board that "things" were not working out, and he left on positive terms.
Kulinski was hired without the search process that led to Kligora, when about 35 people applied, Gehrig said.
"We saw her as an exceptional candidate, that if we had gone through the same process and gotten the same field (of candidates), she would clearly have risen to the top," Gehrig said.
A selection process can leave a board "somewhat exhausted," and it wasn't clear the board had the energy to go through it again at this time, Gehrig said.
So rather than look for an interim director, the board "made the rather bold decision" not to not go through that process again, "but we are confident we are making the right move for the club," Gehrig said.
Kulinski has been the Janesville School District's coordinator of alcohol/drug programs for about 13 years. She was often praised for writing grants that paid her salary, but those grants ran out or were downsized this year.
The district has employed Kulinski four days a week this year under a different grant. She has been an alcohol/drug counselor at Craig and Parker high schools.
Kulinski was known for her grant-writing prowess. Gehrig said the board hopes she can generate funding for the Boys & Girls Club, which like all local nonprofit agencies is challenged by the local economic downturn.
Kulinski's duties will include being the club's face in the community and identifying "the right people who have the financial resources to donate," Gehrig said.
"We just couldn't be more excited" about Kulinski's selection, Gehrig said.
Kulinski is known to some as "The Weed Whacker" because of notoriety she received in The Gazette for writing an anti-marijuana curriculum that has been sold to groups around the country.
Kulinski holds a master's degree in community counseling. She is a licensed social worker and substance abuse counselor.
"I'm looking forward to working with the younger kids and doing more prevention work. I'm ready for a change," she said.
Kulinski said she will continue in her current job through the end of the district's first semester in January in order to have "closure" with the students she's working with.