The Finney County United Way Board of Directors has announced Deb Oyler as its new executive director. It is anticipated that she will assume her full-time duties on Dec. 18.

Oyler is replacing current executive director Susan Escareno, who is retiring at the end of the year. Escareno served as United Way executive director since March 2013.

Prior to assuming her duties as the United Way executive director, Oyler has been employed by High Plains Public Radio since 1999, serving as Executive Director of HPPR for the last nine years.

“I am excited to be a part of Finney County United Way. I look forward to continuing the successful legacy built by those before me and I am eager to begin working with its partner agencies, stakeholders and community leaders,” Oyler said in a press release.

One of Oyler’s primary jobs as the Finney County United Way executive director will be spearheading the organization’s annual fundraiser, and overseeing the distribution of those funds to United Way’s partnering agencies.

The Finney County United Way’s 2018 fundraising goal of $500,000 will be distributed amongst 21 partner agencies: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas; Communities In Schools; Community Day Care Center, Inc.; Family Crisis Services, Inc.; Finney County Retired Senior Volunteer Program; Garden City Family YMCA; Garden City Area Chapter of the American Red Cross; Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland; Kansas Children’s Service League; Meals on Wheels; Miles of Smiles; Real Men Real Leaders; Russell Child Development Center; Santa Fe Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America; Building Blocks; Spirit of the Plains, CASA, Inc.; The Salvation Army; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center; and Seeds of Hope Jail Ministry.

The United Way looks for organizations to help fund that are active in helping people in three areas: education, income and health.

As of Thursday, nearly 85 percent of the 2018 fundraising goal has been raised, according to Escareno.

Fundraising for the campaign will continue until the end of the year.

“Her background in education along with her previous role as director at High Plains Public Radio merits well with her role as the new executive director," Blake Wasinger, board chair said in a press release.. "I’m excited she is not only comfortable, but enjoys fundraising and its challenges,”

Wasinger noted that Oyler will be a “tremendous” asset to Finney County United Way.

“She is already actively involved around the community which is an essential aspect of being our executive director,” Wasinger said. “She brings new excitement and new ideas that will not only benefit Finney County United Way but all the agencies we serve. I wish Susan a happy and fulfilling retirement and am confident we will have a smooth transition as we welcome Deb.”

Oyler and her husband, Rex, have a blended family of seven grown children and a high schooler.