KELLEY COLLINS, Wakefield's new town administrator, in her office in Town Hall on Friday, April 14. "My door is open to everyone," she says. "Stop by and say hello." (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
April 20, 2017WAKEFIELD — Asked to describe one trait that has served her well in her career, Wakefield's new Town Administrator Kelley Collins said, with no hesitation, "I enjoy learning."
Over the past 30 years she has learned a great deal, and she brings both what she has learned and that openness to learning to her new job.
Born in Vestal, N.Y., near Binghamton and the Pennsylvania border, Collins first moved to New Hampshire in 1986 and went to work for the East Derry Fire Department in dispatch. After eight years there she moved over to town administration, serving as administrative assistant in Fitzwilliam in Cheshire County for three years and in Gilmanton for a year before becoming town administrator in Antrim. Along the way she earned an associates degree in business from New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.
Collins then tried a career change, working as office manager of a software firm in Milford for five years. It was an interesting experience, but she then returned to town administration in Allenstown for 4.5 years and as town administrator in Greenville for seven years. She had just moved to Wolfeboro when former Wakefield Town Administrator Teresa Williams announced her resignation to go to work for Health Trust in Concord. Collins applied for the open position, enjoyed the interviews and liked the people she met. By the time an offer was made she very much wanted the job.
Since she made her decision, everything she has experienced in the town – meeting with department heads and staff, selectmen and town residents – has convinced her that she made the right decision.
Sitting in her office on a warm morning in April, she said she, like so many others, likes the change of seasons and the coming of spring, but, unlike many, she really enjoys the winter. She loves to ski and get outdoors in the snow. When she was living in Antrim she became a ski instructor at Crotched Mountain. She enjoys the fact that in Wakefield she is only an hour away from first-rate ski areas, and in the summer she is in the heart of the Lakes Region.
Her more than 20 years of experience in town government in New Hampshire was very much in evidence during her first Board of Selectmen meeting on April 12. Though it was her first public meeting as town administrator and she was understandably nervous, she was able to contribute her knowledge to the discussions that evening.
She also added to her knowledge of Wakefield and met more of the residents she will be serving.
Her love of learning will serve her well, and she looks forward to meeting more townspeople.
"My door is open to everyone," she says. "Stop by and say hello."