After nearly three decades of service with Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center Administrator Kitty Richardson announced her plans Friday to leave the hospital for a new position with the Texoma Health Foundation in August. The announcement was made to hospital staff Friday via an email from Richardson.

“It is with mixed emotions that I have decided to give my notice and pursue other opportunities in our community,” Richardson said in the announcement. “I have been a part of the WNJ family for almost 26 years of my professional life and will continue to support the hospital in its mission to be the ‘hospital of choice’ in Sherman and the Grayson County area.”

“While this is a very difficult decision for me, I have decided it’s time for me to focus my skill set in areas that have a deep personal interest to me by working again in the non-profit sector of our community,” she continued.

Richardson will be joining THF as its first Chief Operational Officer, THF President Michelle Lemming said Thursday in a phone interview. Lemming said the decision comes after a few weeks of discussions with Richardson.

“Kitty is a major addition to our staff,” Lemming said in a news release. “She has both health care and nonprofit experience. I have had the honor of working with Kitty in collaborative roles, as well as serving with her on the Grayson County Health Clinic Board and am always impressed with her skills, professionalism and care for others.”

The move by THF comes as the foundation is experiencing growth both in its services and as an organization. With this growth, the organization has found itself in need of executive-level positions with experience. Richardson’s duties at THF will include administrative responsibilities, operations, and human resources along with community facilitation, Lemming said.

“She is a perfect fit for THF,” THF Chairman Brett Graham said in the news release. “Kitty’s 26-year history at WNJ has provided a wealth of knowledge in health care administration and an understanding of regional needs critical to our work. We are very excited and look forward to working with her as she moves into the next stage of her career”

Before her time at WNJ, Richardson served as the assistant director of public relations at Texoma Medical Center. In this position, Richardson helped organize the first benefit concert by County Music Artist Reba McEntire at the then-Denison High School auditorium in 1987. The funds raised by this concert were used in the creation of Reba’s Ranch House, which is now owned and operated by THF.

Richardson joined WNJ in 1990 as the hospital’s first director of development and transitioned into the role of hospital administrator in early 2015. During her time as development director, Richardson established the Wilson N. Jones Memorial Hospital Foundation as a long-term funding source for the hospital.

In an interview in 2016, Richardson credited her time working with different departments over the years for preparing her for her work as administrator.

“With moving into this role, I’ve had a chance to use the experience I gained from all those departments,” Richardson said in 2016.

During the interim, Richardson said John Rossfeld, Alecto Healthcare Services regional vice president, will oversee the hospital. Alecto Healthcare is the parent company of WNJ.

When asked if it would be difficult to step away from the hospital after so many years, Richardson said it isn’t easy to make this transition.

“It is definitely going to be hard to step away but our staff is fabulous and continue to go ‘above and beyond’ providing quality, compassionate care for our patients and their families,” she said. “I am confident this commitment and passion for our mission will always be at the forefront of everything we do at WNJ. This is what sets us apart.”