MICA Welcomes New Executive Director
The Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) Board of Directors has selected Clarissa Thompson as the agency’s next executive director. Thompson was chosen after a national search process with the assistance of the Iowa Community Action Association.
Thompson joined MICA in 1995 as an AmeriCorps member, and has served the agency in multiple capacities including youth development coordinator, Early Childhood Programs professional development coordinator, community liaison, and most recently, family development director, a position she held since 2012.
Thompson has a wide-range of experiences from providing direct services to leading major federal, state, and local initiatives designed to improve outcomes for children and families. Her most recent work has been focused on MICA’s two-generation approach to addressing rural childhood poverty through the White House Rural Council’s Rural IMPACT initiative as well as the scaling up of MICA’s premier summer learning program, Bobcat University, which Thompson co-designed. She led MICA’s disaster recovery efforts, serving over 770 families after the 2018 Marshalltown EF3 Tornado.
“MICA has a long history of success, and we will continue to build on our past success to address the challenges and barriers those we serve experience every day,” Thompson said. “I am very excited to be serving alongside our dedicated community partners, staff, and volunteers in our work of helping people, changing lives, and building stronger communities.”
Arlene McAtee Retires After 42 Years at MICA
Executive Director Arlene McAtee will retire effective August 9. McAtee has been executive director for 16 years, and has been employed by the agency for 42 years. She held a variety of roles at MICA, starting her career as public information officer and transitioning into several leadership roles including director of planning, associate director, director of the National Community Action Academy, and managing executive director.
While McAtee has provided leadership to a number of MICA’s departments over the years, she has also been a key architect of MICA’s national research projects including the HHS Comprehensive Child Development Program, the HHS Head Start Public School Transition Program, the SAMHSA Strengthening Families Project, and MICA’s 21st Century Learning Center and AmeriCorps projects.
She was also the leader in designing and implementing the comprehensive model for assisting families to exit poverty known nationally as the Family Development Approach. She is the author of Family Development: Empowering Families to Move out of Poverty. She had a national impact not only by outlining the family development approach, but also through organizational development, ensuring that community action agencies throughout the country were strong and vibrant.
We wish Arlene well in her retirement and know that her presence here at MICA will be missed.