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Susan Johnson has served as the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County since 2012. She plans to retire from the nonprofit affordable housing organization later this year once a new director is chosen. JOSH CROSS

Susan Johnson, who has served as the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County (HFHSC) since 2012, plans to retire from the nonprofit affordable housing organization later this year.

The organization announced in a news release last week that it has already started a search to find its next executive director. Johnson’s last day with the nonprofit has not yet been determined.

“It has been an honor and privilege to have spent these years with such a great organization,” Johnson said. “It sends warmth through my body to see that (families helped by HFHSC) are thriving, they’re doing well, their kids have their own bedrooms to study in and the have a sense of security.”

Since being hired seven years ago, Johnson has overseen the fundraising and construction of 28 new homes across Sumner County. Each family that receives a new home from the nonprofit is responsible for making an interest-free mortgage payment each month that has been calculated to not exceed 30 percent of their income.

In addition to the new homes, Johnson was involved with the creation of the Critical Repair Program that serves low income veterans, seniors and homeowners with special needs. She also started several periodic themed home builds that helped involve local churches and other members of the community in the process. 

Prior to serving as executive director, Johnson spent 33 years as head coach of the women’s basketball team at Georgetown College. During that time, she served on the Scott County, Ky. Habitat for Humanity board of directors for eight years.

“Under Susan Johnson’s leadership, Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County has grown tremendously, especially with the opening of the new ReStore in Gallatin, which significantly improved the organization’s financial footing,” HFHSC Board of Directors President Rick Morrison said in a prepared statement. “More importantly though, Susan’s advocacy has enabled dozens of Sumner County families [to] fulfill their hopes and dreams of homeownership. The impact of this feat will be felt by those families and our community for generations to come.”

A new executive director for the nonprofit could be named as early as this spring. Johnson’s last day will be finalized once the position is filled.

As property value and construction costs continue to rise, the biggest challenge currently facing the organization is securing funding to build new homes, according to Johnson. Since 2012, construction costs have doubled for the organization which now has approximately seven families waiting in need of homes. 

“For lower middle-income families it has become almost impossible to be homeowners now without help from somebody,” Johnson said about the nonprofit’s need to secure additional lots to build on. “It’s urgent.”

Anyone interested in applying to become the next Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County executive director should visit www.habitatsumnercounty.org/careers for more details.

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