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June 19, 2009

Press Release: Martinsville Bulletin

Friday, June 19, 2009

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Virginia Museum of Natural History is readvertising the post of executive director to try and get a larger number of applicants.

The job has been vacant since February, when former director Tim Gette returned to Texas, his home state, to be executive director of the Institute of Texan Cultures, which is part of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

George Lyle, who heads the Virginia museum's search committee, said the museum has received 69 applications for the director's job. He would not discuss the applicants or their resumes in detail.

"We have some good applicants ... and people who applied are still being considered" for the job, Lyle said. But "we wanted more" applications.

Lyle is on the museum's board of trustees, which will hire the new director. Because individuals have different backgrounds, the more people who apply, the more "we can make sure we get the right person," he said.

Pam Armstrong, the board of trustees' chairman, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The job remains posted on the museum's Internet page and a Virginia state government jobs Web site. Now, it also is being advertised in two science and nature magazines.

"Some of the people who read those publications are different" from those who have read the museum and state Web pages, and they could be seeing the ad for the first time, Lyle said.

No changes have been made to the advertisement since it originally ran, except to say that applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. July 8.

Lyle said the trustees hope to hire a new director before the end of the year. Search committee members aim to agree on a candidate to recommend to the full board for consideration during its August meeting, he said, but he is not sure that will happen due to the new July 8 application deadline.

"We are moving with expediency" in the search, he said, but because they want to make sure they hire the right person, "we don't want to move too hastily."

The ad says the museum's new executive director should have an advanced degree in a related field, such as museum studies, business administration, education or natural science, "and/or equivalent work experience."

"Significant fundraising responsibilities" are part of the job, and candidates must be familiar with all aspects of museum operations and have excellent leadership, communication and management skills, the ad states.

When he left, Gette was earning an annual salary of about $105,000. That will be the maximum amount that a new director can earn when he or she is hired, the ad shows. Due to state budget cuts, the salary has been frozen.

The salary that a new director will be paid will be based on his or her experience and qualifications, according to the ad.

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