Longtime Charlotte County educator Christine “Chris” Zimmer recently was appointed Managing Director of the nonprofit Charlotte County Imagination Library (CCIL). She has been a member of the CCIL Advisory Council since 2012 and has taken a leadership role with data analysis, the United Way, grant writing, marketing, and speaking to community groups. She will do doing those things and more as Managing Director.
The Charlotte County Imagination Library is an affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails one free, age-appropriate book to registered children each month until the child’s fifth birthday. All children under age five are eligible to be registered at no cost.
Worldwide, the Imagination Library has grown to serve over 1.5 million children across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom Australia, and the Republic of Ireland. In Charlotte County, 2,234 children are enrolled in the program, 2,619 children have graduated, and 119,922 books have been mailed.
“I am humbled and honored to expand the work I can do to help CCIL reach our goal of serving all the preschool children in Charlotte County,” Zimmer said. “I’ll be speaking to community groups, writing grants, attending events, communicating with our directors and donors, and helping wherever I can to reach that goal. Right now, we are serving about 50 percent of the preschool population.”
Zimmer’s new, part-time position was created by CCIL founder Shawn Gilstad and Charlotte Players Executive Director Sherrie Moody. Gilstad and Moody joined forces when the CCIL was launched in 2011.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., who has called Charlotte County home since 1985, Zimmer has a doctorate in Educational Leadership. She has worked in Charlotte and Lee County public schools, Edison Community College (now Florida SouthWestern State College), and Florida Gulf Coast University. Now retired, she spent most of her career in the Charlotte County Public School system, where she taught Spanish and Social Studies, served as Dean of Students at Charlotte High School, and was principal of Murdock Middle School.
The CCIL is part of a collaboration with the Punta Gorda Symphony, Charlotte Community Foundation, Charlotte County Government, and several other groups participating in “Arts in the Park” events for families this summer.
Carmel Kisiday is the newest member of the CCIL Advisory Council. A longtime friend and colleague of Zimmer, Kisiday is the Director of Preschool and Elementary Learning for Charlotte County Public Schools.
“Her expertise and contacts will be very valuable to CCIL and the families we seek to serve,” Zimmer said. “Also, we are saying a fond farewell to former school superintendent Dr. Doug Whittaker, who was responsible for creating the partnership with CCIL and Charlotte County Public Schools.
For registration, additional information, or donations, visit the Charlotte County Imagination Library website at [http://www.charlottecountyimaginationlibrary.%20org]www.charlottecountyimaginationlibrary. org. The CCIL is a 501(c)3 organization in partnership with Charlotte Players, the oldest 501(c)3 in Charlotte County.