Juneau Youth Services names new executive director

After a months-long search, Juneau Youth Services has its new executive director.

Amy Taylor, who has spent more than two decades in behavioral health in Maine and Arizona, will start as the JYS executive director on Feb. 19, the JYS Board of Directors announced Monday.

Taylor is leaving a position as the CEO of The Guidance Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. The Guidance Center provides behavioral heath services for children, teens and adults, and Taylor will now be focusing her energies on youth and their families with JYS.

JYS Board Chair Kathi Collum said JYS used a search firm called The Meyers Group to find candidates, which made the search process a little lengthier. Collum said finding Taylor was worth the wait.

“She’s very connected to the staffs she’s worked with in the past,” Collum said. “She understands how challenging and thankless their job often is. She’s really been an out-of-the-box thinker in terms of ways to grow and support employees.”

JYS has been without a permanent executive director since July 2017, when Bradley Grigg left the position. Grigg then accepted a job as chief behavioral health officer at Bartlett Regional Hospital. Collum declined to comment on the circumstances of Grigg’s departure. Walter Majoros, formerly the executive director, came out of retirement to serve as interim executive director during the past few months.

One of the aspects that attracted the board members to Taylor, Collum said, was her ability to implement Electronic Health Records at previous organizations. Collum also pointed out that Taylor puts an emphasis on cultural connectivity.

In Flagstaff, Taylor worked to develop a connection with the Navajo and Hopi communities in the area. In visiting Juneau and learning more about its history and its residents, Taylor is looking forward to reaching out to the Alaska Native community.

Taylor and her husband Tom are outdoors enthusiasts, and enjoyed their visit to Juneau when they came up last year, Collum said. Taylor is very thorough in her research, Collum said, so she wanted to visit the city before she even applied for the position.

Taylor will take her new post on Feb. 19. Until then, Assistant Executive Director Colleen McKenzie will serve as interim executive director. School Based Services and Facilities Manager John Heimbuch will oversee financial matters until Taylor’s arrival.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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