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Tennyson Center Announces Exciting Change in Leadership

Rod Witte and Bob CooperTennyson Center for Children (TCC) has announced the succession plan for its long-time President & CEO, Bob Cooper, who will be stepping down from the helm at the end of November as part of his plan to retire in 2015.  On December 3, Rod Witte will take over the position Cooper has held for the past 19 years when Cooper will move into the position of Chief Development Officer being vacated by Kathy Parker, who is retiring.

Witte is no stranger to Tennyson Center, having served on the non-profit’s board of directors since 2009.  Additionally, he has served on the board of the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) of the Christian Church (DOC) as Finance Committee Chair from 2005 through 2011 and as board president for the CRMR Foundation since 2010.  He is also a life member of South Broadway Christian Church in Denver, having served as chair of the General Board from 1993-1995 and again from 2011-2013 as well as chair of the Finance/Resources Ministry from 1996-2010.  Witte has also served on the board of the Christian Church Foundation since 2007. Tennyson Center for Children has had a life-long partnership with the Christian Church since its founding as an orphanage more than 100 years ago.

“I truly feel a calling to this position and feel as if I have been preparing for this my entire life.  I have made the decision now to voluntarily leave the world of finance and go where my heart and passion truly reside for the remainder of my working career. My learning curve is very high right now and my passion for the mission of helping kids is stronger than ever,” Witte said.

The announcement of succession in leadership at Tennyson comes as no surprise, however, particularly to the TCC family.  Cooper, 63, and the Tennyson Center board of directors have been planning for his retirement for the past year.  In March of 2012, Cooper and the board began the first steps of implementing the plan of succession and, following a national search for his replacement, it became evident that Witte was a perfect fit for the position.

“My number one priority is for this to be a smooth and seamless transition to the next generation of leadership here at Tennyson, maintaining and transferring the many individual and collective relationships that support our mission for children. I have often said we are in business serving children after 108 years because of one simple fact---a wonderful community of support for our mission and I know that Rod shares that philosophy,” said Cooper.

Cooper’s career at Tennyson Center spans more than 40 years.  He first began working there in 1971 as a Youth Treatment Counselor.  After leaving for a few years to pursue a career opportunity out of state, he returned to TCC in 1985 to work as the center’s Program Director.  Eight years later, he moved into the position of Chief Executive Officer when longtime CEO Don Brewer retired.  Cooper has become a respected expert in the field of child abuse and neglect throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

Since 2009, Witte has been the Metro Denver/Southeast Colorado regional President for Greenwood Village based Community Banks of Colorado.  Prior to that, he was the Vice President in charge of corporate banking for First National Bank in Ft. Collins.  In addition to serving on the boards at Tennyson and the CRMR, Witte also serves on the board of directors for Stride, a non-profit that aids low-income families.

“I can’t even begin to express how honored and excited I am to be offered this wonderful position,” Witte added. “I think we can all agree that this is truly an incredible organization that accomplishes miracles daily and needs to continue growing to be there in the future for more and more children.  The question we continue to be challenged with is ‘What more can we do?’ I readily accept the challenge of working with the staff, board and community in addressing that question.”