Carrie Busey principal named new CEO of Stephens Family YMCA

Carrie Busey principal named new CEO of Stephens Family YMCA

CHAMPAIGN — In his new job, Jeff Scott will still be working with kids.

Just a lot more of them. And covering a wider range of ages.

The eight-year principal at Champaign's Carrie Busey Elementary School is the new president and CEO at the Stephens Family YMCA, it was announced Tuesday.

"It's obviously a big move," Scott said. "It's a huge change when you go from one thing that you know a lot about and you're doing really well at to something that you've got a lot to learn.

"I just see it as a humongous opportunity. It's something we can be great at and do really well with it."

Scott takes over for his longtime friend and mentor Mark Johnson, who retired March 31.

Johnson suggested Scott apply for the job and offered his support.

"I'm an education guy, and I really didn't think outside of that," Scott said.

The more he learned about the opportunity, the more Scott liked it.

The position checked many of the boxes that are important to Scott, he said: community, kids, wellness and health, leadership and faith.

But leaving Carrie Busey won't be easy, he was quick to add. Unit 4 said Tuesday that it will work on a plan in the coming days to have Scott's replacement in place before the start of the school year.

"It's a place that has really, really grown near and dear to my heart," Scott said. "We have 450 kids that are really special. We've got a great staff. We've got great families that come to school here. They're so supportive. It's a uniquely wonderful place. I didn't see myself leaving for a long time."

His friendship with Johnson dates back to when Scott first took over as Champaign Central's wrestling coach.

"Mark was amazing," Scott said. "He said, 'I'll teach you anything you want to know.' He just took me under his wing."

Johnson, a former Olympian and UI wrestling coach, led the fundraising drive to build the YMCA's current facility.

It's up to Scott and his new board to figure out what comes next. There has been talk in recent years of expanding the Y, which is busy at all times of the day.

"My first 30, 60 days are going to be a lot of me trying to observe and see what's going on there and see where we can continue to get better," Scott said. "Really, just listen to members and to staff to see what it is we need to be doing next."

The current staff will remain in place, he said.

Scott, 48, is a Decatur native and Millikin grad who has lived in the area for 23 years. He and his wife, Pam, have two children, Evan, 19, and Ella, 13.

The family calls Mahomet home and is made up of longtime Y members. Even his church — Copper Creek — uses the Y for weekly services.

Scott is scheduled to start at the Y on Aug. 13. Between now and then, he and Evan plan to go on a mission trip to Africa.