MRTA Names New Executive Director
January 10, 2022
Dear MRTA members,
With your input and the work of the MRTA Search and Selection Committee, we are pleased to share with you news of the hiring of the next Executive Director, Maria Cauwenbergh Walden! We began our process to seek out a high-quality leader in November 2021. After posting the position, we were fortunate to receive excellent applications. Following our initial vetting of applications, we narrowed the field and interviewed individuals who met our rigorous criteria. Ms. Walden was selected for many reasons, but as you will see in the release below, she is exceptionally knowledgeable regarding the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS). We think you will agree that she will be a fine choice to lead your association.
Within the next few weeks, Executive Director Walden will be sending a video greeting, and she will also be visiting with members across the state over the course of the upcoming months.
Thank you for your membership and support of MRTA!
Walden Named Missouri Retired Teachers Association’s New Executive Director
The Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel (MRTA) is pleased to announce the selection of Maria Cauwenbergh Walden as the new Executive Director. Walden brings 25 years of leadership experience to her new role, serving most recently as the Director of Legislation and Policy for the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS).
MRTA President, Nancy Craig, said, “The Board of Directors was impressed by Maria’s background. Not only has she displayed proven leadership abilities, but she also understands the vital nature of supporting retired educators as well as those currently working in Missouri’s public schools. We believe that under Maria’s leadership, MRTA will become better and stronger.”
Walden has extensive knowledge regarding retirement systems, working with elected officials, collaborating and building consensus with other entities who support state retirement systems, and communicating effectively with multiple audiences. Beyond her 14 years with PSRS/PEERS, she served as the Assistant Executive Director for the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association, and in leadership roles for the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration.
Many in MRTA will recognize Walden’s name. In 2018, Walden received the “MRTA Award for Watchdog of the Year” for her work regarding pension issues in Missouri.
Ms. Walden stated, “I appreciate the Board’s confidence in me, and I am excited to begin my work on behalf of the 264,000 public school teachers and educational employees of Missouri. I look forward to working with our leadership team and collaborating with others committed to supporting public education and our retirement systems. We have a great opportunity to grow and strengthen the association by working strategically and proactively on good, solid legislation that supports our mission. Ultimately, it is my goal to best understand and meet the needs of our members.”
MRTA Search and Selection Committee Chair, Richard Phillips, stated, “We believe Maria is committed to building a positive, forward-looking culture for the association. She understands that without strong public schools there won’t be a strong retirement system.”
Walden will begin her work with MRTA soon. Among her first duties will be working with membership to develop a new strategic plan that clearly identifies and reinforces the mission and goals for the association.
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