New director taking charge at Encompass

As Encompass prepares to grow to better meet the needs of a changing community, leadership of the 41-year-old children's organization is also changing.

Executive Director Nancy Whitaker is retiring after 21 years with Encompass, while Gregory Malcolm, current director of development for the family support and early childhood center, has been named by the Encompass board to take her place this July.

Director retires

Encompass serves families with younger children through a variety of programs and activities. Encompass' three classrooms include children from typical families as well as from families that struggle with challenges. The organization was founded by a group of parents who wanted a place to educate their children with disabilities. At the time, there was no place for those children in traditional schools.

In her two decades with Encompass, Whitaker started working out of a garagein a small house in Snoqualmie, moved to the Si View Community Center, the Snoqualmie Methodist Church, and finally to the new building that Encompass built on Boalch Avenue in North Bend, after one of the Valley's first-ever capital campaigns. She began by running a support group for parents, became a family resource coordinator in Encompass' early intervention program, and became a program manager, eventually becoming the interim director before stepping into the top spot six years ago.

"It's been satisfying to be a part of the way the organization has grown, and have an impact on the programs we've developed," Whitaker said. "It's exciting to just see the increasing number of families and the impact we're making on the community."

Whitaker, who lives in Snoqualmie, said she will relax this summer. She hopes to spend time with a new grandson and help her adult son, who deals with disabilities, become more independent.

"It's going to be hard to leave," she said. "My heart and soul is in the place."

"As we look toward growth, we need a strong leader who will be here through all of the changes," Whitaker said. "I feel really good about where Encompass is right now and wonderfully excited about handing the reins over to Gregory, knowing there will be good leadership here. I'll be able to step back, be a supporter and watch it grow."

Time of change

Malcolm was hired six years ago to diversify the organization's revenue stream, but "my family had already chosen Encompass to send our little ones to," he said.

Malcolm has lived in the Valley for 14 years, and both his children have attended Encompass.

"What drew us to the Valley is the same thing that continues to draw people," he said. "They're looking for a small-town feel, a situation that really puts the emphasis on family."

"It's very rewarding to be part of an organization that's been such a big part of my family," he said.

Malcolm said he's also happy to continue his role as a champion of Encompass.

"By championing what they've done for your own family, you get to include so many other people in the community that get to realize the same dream," he said.

Malcolm is particularly proud of Encompass' certification with the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

"It's a very rigorous process," he said.

Malcolm is excited to maintain his connections with fund-raising, in a time when Encompass is challenged to grow with the community,

"The growth is going to present us with new opportunities, for us to consider expanding in other communities and taking a larger role," he said. "We're really excited that the city and other organizations consider us an integral part of the community."

Encompass' service area covers the school districts of Snoqualmie, Riverview and Issaquah. The community has grown up around the organization, and every program is at capacity, Malcolm said. The Encompass board is eager to consider what growth has in store, but no concrete plans for new branches or locations have been made.

"We're not putting all our eggs in one basket," Malcolm said.

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