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There's a new CEO in town

Posted: September 22, 2008 8:36 p.m.
Updated: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.
New Child & Family Center CEO Darrell Paulk, left, discusses plans with Lois Bauccio, president of the center's foundation. New Child & Family Center CEO Darrell Paulk, left, discusses plans with Lois Bauccio, president of the center's foundation.
New Child & Family Center CEO Darrell Paulk, left, discusses plans with Lois Bauccio, president of the center's foundation.

Santa Clarita's Child and Family Center board appointed Darrell Paulk as the new CEO to replace co-founder and longtime chief executive officer Liz Seipel.

Seipel, who will retire, served the center for 32 years and significantly expanded its mental health services and family support programs.

The board of directors discovered Paulk after a nationwide candidate search.

"It was a tough choice but his California experience set him apart," said Terry Martin, board chairman. "He has an extensive background in child and family center services right here in L.A. County."

Paulk earned his bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's in social work at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"I really feel like I've been working toward this position my entire career," Paulk said.

He began his career by volunteering at Shady Brook Residential Treatment Center in Richardson, Texas, eventually becoming the Assistant Program Director. Paulk moved to California in 1975 to work for the Boys & Girls Aid Society in San Diego, achieving the title of Executive Director. Paulk most recently served as the CEO for 18 years at the Leroy Haynes Center in La Verne, Calif.

"I've stayed in this field my entire career because of the successes," Paulk said. "Kids come back to say ‘thank you for being there, you made a difference in my life, and I would either be incarcerated or dead if it was not for you.' I've seen these kids come back as adults, productive members of society, married, bringing their kids and saying thank you. So that reinforces my passion to help kids and their families."

Jill Phillips, owner of Jill's Cake Creations in Santa Clarita, recalls when the center helped her then-12-year-old son during a troubled period.

"After two or three sessions at the center my son was like a different child," she said. "It was wonderful. Now he's doing terrific. He has his own business, a family, and twin boys. I'm so proud of him and of all he's become."

Paulk expresses deep dedication to the center's future.

"I want this agency to continue to meet the needs of this community and I think they've been extremely successful in doing so," Paulk said. "We want to be able to forecast what the needs are, have the planning and processes to make sure that programs are here to meet the future needs of this community as we grow, become more diverse, and more complex. I want the community to know more about who we are, and what we do, and how we contribute to this community."

Paulk will partner with Lois Bauccio, executive director of the foundation, to increase fundraising.

"We see as very important for this agency, the private dollars that we need to get." Paulk said.

The board has been particularly impressed with his manners and ingenuity.

"He's been in the position for three weeks and we're already getting positive feedback," Martin said.

Paulk and his wife anticipate their move from Texas to the Santa Clarita Valley.

"I think (the valley is) the best kept secret in L.A. County." Paulk said "Small town atmosphere and lot of great people that support the local charities like the Child and Family Center. I'm excited to be here


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