Kruk Awarded First Certificate from Nonprofit Leadership Center at Angelina College

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Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

The Nonprofit Leadership Center at Angelina College opened in 2017 with the mission of training and educating local leaders on how to implement and conduct best practices for nonprofit organizations throughout East Texas. While the pandemic may have slowed the center’s progress slightly, it certainly didn’t bring anything to a complete stop.

Last week, the Center awarded its very first certificate of completion to Sharon Kruk, Executive Director of The Coalition here in Angelina County.

Kruk said the information gleaned from the courses is a must for anyone hoping to get the most out of any nonprofit organization’s overall experience.

“It was really important for me to build on my skills and the knowledge I already have,” Kruk said. “Nonprofit leadership skills such as knowing how to conduct effective meetings, knowing how to brand and market my organization – all of the things any for-profit companies use to train their employees. It’s important for nonprofits to be able to do the same.”

“We’re lucky to have this program here at Angelina College where we can service this East Texas region. We don’t have to spend as much as those for-profit companies do to get quality training.”

Kruk lauded the “flexible schedules” offered throughout the courses, noting how working professionals have such options as attending during lunch breaks, after hours and/or over a period of weeks.

Kruk also noted how she was able to take specific instructions and implement them immediately into her organization’s goals.

“The class I benefited from the most was the Nonprofit Marketing and Communication class taught by Sally Alvis and her sister Ann Wolford,” Kruk said. “It really helped me look at my organization as a corporation, and made me realize I needed to brand and market it the same way as any for-profit business would.”

Donna Busler, Director of the NPLC, praised Kruk for her steadfast devotion to improving her personal and professional skills through the program.

Donna Busler:

“Sharon knows the importance of education and best practices for the nonprofit sector,” Busler said. “Her faithful attendance just shows her dedication to good work, toward the alleviation of poverty .and the needs of those within our communities.”

Busler said the courses offered include nonprofit board governance essentials, financial management, donor development and the funding cycle, nonprofit marketing and communication, high-impact leadership, bridges out of poverty, and understanding grief, among others.

The Center’s focus is on educating, equipping, and inspiring nonprofit leaders, according to Busler. Those involved include not only staff members but also the volunteer force.

“We’ve learned that much of the important work done that really solidifies the fabric of our communities is done through these nonprofits,” Busler said. “The community leaders in Angelina County and at Angelina College learned there was a need to provide resources for those in the nonprofit sector locally. We know that nonprofit work in rural East Texas is very oftentimes different from that in more urban areas. Therefore, we needed to utilize experts in our culture, people who understand how we get things done. We needed to bring them in as our instructors, and we needed to bring those nonprofit leaders together for that all-important networking opportunity.

“It’s been difficult the past couple of years, especially when dealing with COVID, but this group of people is so focused, so service-minded, that many have attended our classes. Sharon was the first to complete all the course work, so she’s the first recipient of this certification.”

Such training and education is a boost for any organization’s credibility, Busler said.

“We talk about efficiency and effectiveness because nonprofits are stewards of donors’ dollars,” Busler said. “They must know in a very competitive market of donor giving, they must utilize best practices in order to convey trustworthiness to the community at large.”

For further information regarding the Nonprofit Leadership Center at Angelina College, contact Donna Busler at dbusler@angelina.edu.

Pictured are (L-R) Dr. Tim Ditoro, Vice President of Workforce and Continuing Education; Sharon Kruk; Dr. Michael Simon, Angelina College president; Donna Busler, Director of the NPLC; and Esther Campbell, Senior Director of Workforce and Continuing Education. (AC News Service photo)

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