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Terrell Announces Retirement, Shrader Named as New Housing Director

Dixie Shrader has begun her new duties as Executive Director of the Polk County Housing Authority following the retirement of Penny Terrell, who spent 31 years in the office. The Housing Authority Board of Directors finalized the decision in May to move Shrader to the new position.

Shrader has been with the Housing Authority since July 2011, where she has served in several capacities. She has been the capital fund grant coordinator, as well as inspector and procurement agent. Shrader has overseen the paperwork involved in their modernization program, ordered materials for the maintenance department and also inspected both Housing and Section 8 properties for housing quality standards.

Although she admits that it’s a bit overwhelming taking on the role as Executive Director, she is ready for the opportunity. “It’s very overwhelming. It’s going to be a challenge and I have some big shoes to fill. Penny has been doing this for so long and has left it in good shape.”

Terrell joined the Housing Authority in June of 1985 and became the Section 8 rental assistance manager, working for Paul Smith.

When Smith retired in 1998, Terrell became the director of the Housing Authority.

Terrell has served the residents with genuine compassion. Routine “yearly assessments” from the U.S. Department of Housing, they score 98 out of 100 for Public Housing, and for their Section 8 assistance they scored 100 out of 100. They have maintained “top performance” status for at least the last 15 years.

When featured as a Pulse Citizen of the Week in April 2012, Terrell said, “It’s not a project to us – it’s about homes for these people and we treat it in that fashion. We are committed to doing the best we can for all involved. I have always told my staff that it could be us on the other side of that desk, and we must always remember that. There but for the grace of God go us.”

Terrell has been training Shrader for the role for around a year to bring her ‘up to speed’ on the long list of duties that come with the job. “It’s with her help that I will be able to get through this,” said Shrader.

A retirement reception is being held in Terrell’s honor on June 16, 2016 from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Housing Authority Community Room, 509 S. Morrow Street, in Mena. Everyone is invited to celebrate.

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