Katie Harbison To Lead Chambliss Center For Children Into Its 150th Year; Phil Acord Retires After 50 Years

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Katie Harbison
Katie Harbison

Phil Acord, CEO of Chambliss Center for Children, will retire at the end of this year after 50 years of employment with the organization, and current President Katie Harbison will assume the president/CEO position, completing a five-year succession plan.

Mr. Acord, who began his career with the agency in 1971, will transition into the honorary role of CEO emeritus as Ms. Harbison, 16-year employee with Chambliss Center for Children, becomes president/CEO on Nov. 12, overseeing the organization and its partner agencies’ $10 million budget and over 300 employees.

“Phil Acord is a true champion for children,” says Board Chairman Julie Stowe. “His passion, efforts, and accomplishments in the realm of early childhood education have established Chambliss Center for Children as a model institution for the most inventive and inclusive children’s programs of national acclaim.” 

During the planned five-year transition, Ms. Harbison worked alongside Mr. Acord as vice president and then president of Chambliss Center for Children. Ms. Harbison, a native of Chattanooga, attended the Baylor School and earned her Bachelor and Master degrees from UTC. She is a graduate of Leadership Chattanooga; a past Board member and Board president of both Youth Leadership Chattanooga and the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; a member of the Downtown Chattanooga Rotary Club; and recently served on the State of Tennessee’s Child Well-being Task Force. Ms. Harbison currently serves as the co-chairman of the local Early Matters Coalition and is involved in both the child welfare system and the early childhood education arena.

“While Phil will be missed dearly, I am thrilled that Katie Harbison will be taking on the role of President/CEO,” said Ms. Stowe. “She has worked alongside Phil for many years and is an incredible leader in her own right. I am confident that Katie will build on Phil’s legacy and continue to lead Chambliss Center for Children as the standard for the highest quality programs for children.”


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