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World Services for the Blind Hires Stacey Schwartz as CEO, President

3 min read

World Services for the Blind of Little Rock has its third top executive of the calendar year.

Stacey Hunter Schwartz took over the role of president and CEO on Nov. 17, replacing Tony O. Woodell, who was only appointed to the position in June

She comes from Independence Inc. of Lawrence, Kansas, an independent living center that serves 800 people each year, where she served as executive director for five years. Prior, Schwartz worked at Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley, California, where she held various titles, including dean of instruction for special programs, and associate dean for disabled students.

“I am honored that the board has given me the opportunity to become a part of this wonderful organization,” Schwartz said in a news release in November. “WSB has helped thousands of people who are blind and visually impaired to learn the life and vocational skills they need to be independent. I will work hard to earn the trust and respect of the clients, staff, referring partners, and the many loyal donors and funders of the organization.”

She received a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles, a master’s in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education in Los Angeles. 

“WSB is fortunate to hire such a strong leader as Stacey Hunter Schwartz, particularly when all charity organizations are undergoing such tough times,” Tom Duke, chairman of the board, said in the November release. “I have every confidence that she will do a brilliant job.” 

Schwartz lives in Little Rock with her husband, Michael Hunter Schwartz, who is dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He’s served in the position since January 2013.

Stacey Schwartz’s predecessor, Woodell, succeeded Larry Dickerson, who announced his retirement in March after five years in the role.

At the time, Woodell, who joined WSB in 2011, said he was honored by the appointment and excited for the opportunity as president and CEO.

“The groundwork provided by those who have served in this capacity before me has laid a strong foundation on which to build,” he said in a June news release announcing his appointment. “I look forward to working with the staff and board to help our clients achieve sustainable independence.” 

Duke championed Woodell’s ability to lead the organization, and cited the board’s unanimous decision to promote the organization’s chief operating officer to the position of top executive.

“Like many nonprofits we have experienced and, thankfully, overcome our share of hardships,” Duke said in June. “I expect our future to be bright as we move forward with new ideas and new programs.”

The release announcing Schwartz’s hire did not mention Woodell or state a reason for his replacement. As of Monday afternoon, a spokesperson for WSB had not responded to mulitple inquiries by Arkansas Business.

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