County Manager Kelly Atkins has announced the hiring of Kathryn Saine as the new Lincoln County Senior Services director, effective Feb. 18.
Saine, the wife of Lincoln County state Rep. Jason Saine, is a native of Virginia who graduated from UNC-Charlotte with an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree in health administration.
“We had a lot of applications come through and we administered a second, panel interview for our top three applicants,” Atkins said. “Based on her experience, education and desire to succeed, we just felt like Mrs. Saine was the most qualified applicant. Kathryn has an extensive background in management, health care and meeting the needs of senior adults. Her experience in these areas will enable her and the senior services department to better benefit the seniors of our county.”
Like most kids in high school, Saine wasn’t sure of what career path she wanted to pursue. Luckily for her, her school offered courses that allowed her to complete the requisite training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Throughout college and graduate school, Saine worked as a CNA in a nursing home while also serving as an EMT with the Charlotte Life Saving Crew.
“I decided to give nursing a try just to get my feet wet and see if healthcare was the route that I wanted to go in life,” Saine said. “I got my CNA certification and began working in nursing homes and that’s where I fell in love with working in geriatrics. I love making others feel happy and valued, and sometimes the residents in nursing homes don’t have a lot of family or maybe they recently lost their spouse so my goal is to go in everyday to put a smile on their faces and listen to their stories.”
Upon graduating from UNC-Charlotte, Saine took a position as a staff supervisor with a home healthcare agency that staffed nurses into client’s homes as an alternative to relocating to a nursing home. Saine has worked as a supervisor in the admitting department at Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory for the past 12 years, managing more than 20 employees in five different areas of the department.
“I think that my experience on both sides, in nursing homes and also in administrative positions, is needed to lead this department,” Saine said. “You obviously need the compassion and love for senior citizens that forms while working in a nursing home, but it’s also very important to have that business background because you need to have a knowledge of budgets and how to write grants to bring more funding into the center. I’m looking forward to give back a little bit to the county and the people who have been so nice and welcoming to me and to my family.”
Saine plans to hit the ground running when she takes over the senior services department.
“One of the goals that I would like to achieve within the first couple of years is to really increase the volume of participants in our program,” Saine said. “We have a couple hundred people who attend our classes each week and I’d like to get the word out in Lincoln County and surrounding counties so we can get those numbers up. I want to bring more people in, and not just seniors, I’d also like to bring in family members who might not know what services we offer. For example, we provide insurance information which could be vital with the way that insurance programs are always changing.”
Saine will take over from Tabitha Thomas, who has decided to step away after just four months on the job. The director of senior services is a full-time position with an annual salary of approximately $50,000, according to Atkins.