Forty Carrots Executive Director Betsy Kane-Hartnett feels she has accomplished everything she hoped to, and she’s ready to hand over the reins.
“My decision to retire now is intrinsically linked to my confidence in the agency,” said Kane-Hartnett. “I would shout from any mountaintop that we have an exceptional staff that’s ready to take on the task. The only missing piece was who would sit in my office.”
In 1993, Kane-Hartnett and Diane Weiss co-founded Forty Carrots Family Center. Their vision was to combine early-childhood and parenting education to strengthen the relationship between developing children and their families.
With financial help from the Janet and Stanley Kane Foundation, the family center was able to find a home on Tuttle Avenue, where the nonprofit grew to include parenting education, a parenting center, a community outreach program and a nationally accredited preschool.
After Kane-Hartnett announced her retirement last August, Forty Carrots employed a consulting team to conduct a regional search for its new executive director.
After months of interviews, Cheryl Andrews, vice president of Manatee Children’s Services and noted family advocate, was named the new executive director and will begin work Monday, April 30.
“I have no doubt that Forty Carrots will continue to grow and innovate under her leadership,” said Kane-Hartnett.
Andrews holds a master’s degree in social work with advanced certifications in parenting and early-childhood development. She has 17 years of experience in social work, where much of her efforts were devoted to child-abuse prevention.
Andrews said she looks forward to applying her skills to her new position.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to work with an agency that strengthens families,” said Andrews. “It’s an amazing concept to have parenting and education in the same place as preschool services, so you get to see the family full circle. People might come in for parenting services and end up enrolling their children in the preschool program, or vice-versa.”
Kane-Hartnett will remain involved with the nonprofit as a board member after her retirement, and she and Andrews will work together for the month of May to ensure a smooth transition when Andrews fully takes over May 31.
“I’m excited to work with her,” said Andrews. “She’s one of the founders of agency, and it’s her vision. As soon as I met her, we just clicked, so it’s nice to have a friend to work with hand in hand on this.”
Kane-Hartnett said she’ll miss working with her staff and interacting with the children but that the non-profit is in good hands with Andrews.
“[Andrews] will lead with her heart, but she also has a very keen business mind, said Kane-Hartnett. “I have no doubt that the spirit of Forty Carrots will live on.”