For Cheryl Christian, retiring was all about timing.
On the home front, her husband already has taken that big leap. At work, she has finished several major endeavors in her job as executive director of Good News Clinics, including an expansion two years ago.
“I think it’s time for someone to come in and lead the clinic in perhaps a new direction,” Christian said.
She has led the faith-based medical organization since 2004 after previously serving as family violence coordinator with the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
The facility at 810 Pine St. in Gainesville provides free medical and dental care for uninsured Hall County residents who cannot afford it on their own.
Christian plans to retire in August, giving the clinic’s board of directors ample time, she said, to find her replacement.
“I’ve been here 11 years and the position has really changed a lot during that time, as the clinic has grown, and things have changed in health care,” she said.
“Ideally, we’ll have someone who can come in and work with me for a few weeks before my retirement,” Christian said.
A statement released by the organization describes Christian as “a dynamic force in the growth of preventive, primary health care and specialty services” at Good News Clinics.
“Under Cheryl’s leadership, Good News Clinics has grown to be the largest free clinic in Georgia and makes a significant impact on the health and wellness of our community,” board president Dr. Richard Bennett said.
A couple of milestones during Christian’s tenure including moving the clinics to its current location in 2005 and completing a major expansion and renovation in 2013.
Bennett, a volunteer dentist at the clinic, said “on behalf of our board, I express heartfelt appreciation to Cheryl for her commitment and devotion to Good News Clinics. She is an exemplary leader and we wish her the best in her retirement.”
A search committee has been formed to recruit Christian’s successor, he said.
Personally, Christian is looking forward to traveling, reading and gardening.
“It’s an exciting time for my husband and I just to spend more time together,” she said.
Still, leaving her post “was a difficult decision,” Christian said. “This has been a great job. You can see every day people that you are helping and that you are making a difference.”