By Bill Coats
Gayane A. Stepanian, an executive with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade, has been selected as RCMA’s next executive director. Stepanian is to take the position of Barbara Mainster, who joined RCMA in 1972 and has been executive director since 1988.
RCMA is Florida’s largest nonprofit child-care provider, with more than 70 locations in rural Florida, including three charter schools.
Stepanian’s selection ends a search dating back to June 2015, when Mainster informed her Board of Directors and RCMA’s staff of 1,600 that she was planning to retire. Mainster, 75, introduced Stepanian to RCMA staff by email last month.
“I think you will all agree that Gayane is a wonderful addition to the RCMA family,” Mainster told the staff. “I like her, and know you will, as well.”
“I am inspired and humbled to join RCMA,” said Stepanian, 45. “I am thrilled to join others who are absolutely dedicated to delivering world-class child care and education for our most vulnerable kids.”
The search for a new executive director was complicated by Mainster’s impressive legacy. She has led RCMA to open more than 100 child-care centers during her tenure. And she has transformed thousands of lives as RCMA hired people from farm-working backgrounds and trained them to deliver cutting-edge child care.
“It’s extremely important that we not look at this as an attempt to replace Barbara, because we can’t do that,” said Board member Michael Stuart, who led a search committee of RCMA Board members.
Stepanian is set to join RCMA on January 2. Since 2014, she has been Director of Grants Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Miami. She is a child safety expert with degrees in psychology and education, and is a mother of three teenagers.