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New leader selected for Boys and Girls Club


A Bemidji native has accepted the position of new executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area.

Andrea Ohnstad was selected by a search committee and will begin her new position March 19.

"I'm honored," Ohnstad said. "This is where I feel like I'm called to be."

The hiring was made from within. Ohnstad has worked as resource development director at the Boys and Girls Club since August 2009.

Leonore Potter, the current executive director will retire in March after helping bring the Boys and Girls Club to the Bemidji Area in November 2003.

Approximately 20 people applied for the position, and a search committee narrowed it down to five finalists before making its decision.

Scott Turn was part of the search committee for the new executive director. Turn said that Ohnstad's experience and connection to the community made her stand out as the right candidate.

"We really feel confident that Andrea will continue what Leonore started," Turn said. "She's very passionate about the club."

Since she started working with the Boys and Girls Club, Ohnstad has raised funds from the business community and individual donors. She also does marketing and rents out the facilities.

Ohnstad attended North Dakota State University and received a degree in business administration. She returned to Bemidji in 2005 and began working in the development area for Pathways Outdoor Ministries before starting work with the Boys and Girls Club.

"She has built very good working relationships with the staff," Turn said. "She's already made a lot of connections within the community and those connections will translate well to her new job."

Since Potter announced her retirement last year, she has been able to act as a mentor to Ohnstad, teaching her about the many responsibilities that come with the position.

Bill Maki is the chair of the search committee that selected Ohnstad. Maki said that Ohnstad wears the club's mission on her sleeve and will carry on Potter's work.

"Andrea knows how the club works and will be able to build upon that," Maki said. "She relates well to the kids, she relates well to the staff and she relates well to the community.

According to Maki, a search for a new resource development director will begin soon.