Thomas Stuckey of West Unity, Ohio, has been appointed interim executive director of Mennonite Education Agency (MEA). He is expected to serve for approximately a six-month period, with possibly a longer tenure while a search for a new executive director takes place.
Stuckey says he is “looking forward to building on the collaborative work and vision that is being developed by MEA and its partners, the Mennonite Higher Education Agency, the Mennonite Schools Council, the Hispanic Ministries Programs and Peace Academic Center.”
The MEA board wanted an interim executive director who could advance the new vision and strategic plan of MEA from day one on the job. According to MEA board chair Dick Thomas, “Dr. Stuckey perfectly fits this desire of the board.” Stuckey has served as a member of the MEA board since 2014 and was a member of the church/school relations committee that developed the updated relationships between MEA and the Mennonite schools of higher learning.
Stuckey is chairing the vision/mission/values task force that is helping focus the purpose of MEA in order to help Mennonite schools and educational programs flourish. Thomas says “all these involvements as well as his experiences in higher education administration, board service of a K-12 school and commitment to the new directions of MEA uniquely qualify him for this position.”
According to Stuckey, “Our Mennonite educators are meeting the challenges of a time of great change in education. Beyond meeting the challenges faced by all schools, each Mennonite school leader believes Anabaptist values are needed, now more than ever, in our churches, our communities and our world.” Stuckey says he also believes an increasing number of neo-Anabaptists are looking to Mennonite schools and institutions to provide leadership in changing times.
He says he will immediately focus on implementing the new strategic plan and will “spend significant time building bidirectional communication between the schools and the church.”
“My time serving as the interim executive director of MEA will build on the good work that Carlos Romero and others have already begun with the changed focus of MEA from governance to serving as a community organizer for Mennonite schools and educational programs,” he says.
Stuckey is a graduate of Goshen (Indiana) College, has a Ph.D. in college administration from Bowling Green (Ohio) University and most recently studied strategic perspectives in nonprofit management at Harvard Business School. He also has a master’s degree in education from Bowling Green University.
He served as president of Northwest Community College in Archbold, Ohio, from 2007 until he retired in June 2018. In addition to numerous administrative posts, Stuckey has served as a professor or teacher at Iowa Mennonite school, the Mennonite Collaborative MBA through Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Goshen College and Bluffton (Ohio) University and others, including currently teaching at Defiance (Ohio) College. He has also served as a member and president of the Millcreek-West Unity local school board in West Unity, Ohio, from 1998 to 2005. He currently serves on the board of Mercy College of Ohio, which is part of the Mercy Health System. Earlier Stuckey served as vice president for finance and business services at Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio.
Professionally, Stuckey has been a consultant-evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and a readers panel member of the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association. He has had numerous consulting experiences that, according to Addie Banks, MEA board member, “will serve him well as he works to further lead MEA in the new ways of working together to advance Mennonite education.”
Stuckey has served as president of the four-county Shalom Board of Northwest Ohio and the Defiance 2010 Economic Development Team. He is actively involved in his congregation, Zion Mennonite Church of Archbold, Ohio, where he has served as chair of the congregation and currently serves as chair of the stewardship ministry team. Stucky and Bonnie, his wife, live in West Unity, Ohio, and are the parents of two adult sons with two daughters-in-law and four grandsons.
Lin Rush, MEA treasurer, says, “Dr. Stuckey has broad and rich experience in finance and business, which will enable him to work with the MEA long-range fiscal plan as well as provide helpful counsel to our Mennonite schools.”
The appointment of Stuckey was also affirmed by the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA. Moderator David Boshart says: “There are very few people in Mennonite Church USA who have the breadth and depth of experience in as many educational settings as Dr. Stucky. He is extremely well-positioned to guide MEA’s transition into the next chapter in the church’s educational mission.”