Edward King Center executive director Carmela Geer wins Alumni Achievement Award
NEWPORT, R.I. – Carmela A. Geer of Middletown, a former “teacher of the year” in her hometown who currently serves as the executive director of the Edward King Senior Center in Newport, was named an Alumni Achievement Award winner during Salve Regina University’s recent reunion weekend celebration. She is a 1989 Salve Regina graduate.
Prior to her position at the King Center, which offers a variety of social, educational and cultural activities for between 16,000 and 18,000 seniors annually, Geer served as the director of community outreach for Middletown Public Schools, where she was responsible for spearheading two fundraisers for families in need: one the victim of a fire, and the other who had, tragically, lost a child. For her work in this role, she received the 2010 Middletown Education Collaborative Teacher of the Year.
Geer, who has also served on a number of boards, including the Middletown Substance Abuse Task Force, the Middletown Parent Teacher Association, and the Newport Baroque Orchestra, credits the Mercy ideals she learned as a Salve Regina student and continues to embrace to this day.
“I am reminded of our past college president, Sister Lucille McKillop, who so often spoke of ‘being your best self,’” she said. “With every misstep, a lesson was learned that helped me to get back on track to being the very best I could be in that time and space. I hold Sister Lucille in my heart to this day for instilling a strong sense of self while still being selfless.”
Geer serves as the island-wide volunteer coordinator for the Aquidneck Island Emergency Volunteer Alliance, is a member of the Middletown Juvenile Hearing Board, and is a parent volunteer for Middletown Public Schools.
Armed with a passion for connecting people, she embraces her leadership role with the Newport Partnership for Families. She is most proud of the partnerships with over 50 programs and agencies throughout the state, which have resulted in connecting Aquidneck Island residents with services, events, programs, and community engagement opportunities that they may not have otherwise had access to if left to navigate the system on their own.
Inspired by her family, which includes husband Brian and three sons, Devin, Anthony and Liam, Geer the importance of connecting with people. “A simple hello when you see someone on the street, a phone call, striking up a conversation in the grocery store check-out line, even the positive connections we make on social media are important to our well-being as humans,” she said. “These are the ties that bind.”