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Derstine to lead Clayworks while board seeks new director

Corporate OfficersIMA World Health

Paul Derstine, retired executive director of a New Windsor-based nonprofit global health company and former interim head of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, has been named interim director of Baltimore Clayworks.

Derstine succeeds Benjamin Schulman, who resigned under pressure in June amid questions about his leadership and financial problems at the longtime ceramics studio on Smith Avenue.

Derstine will serve as interim manager while the Clayworks board conducts a national search for a permanent executive director. As interim manager, Derstine will not be eligible to apply for the permanent job, said Gwen Davidson, president of the board.

"Our executive search continues. What this does is give us a lot of room and time to do that the right way," Davidson said.

Derstine, of Westminster, was president and chief executive officer of IMA World Health, based in New Windsor, from 1992 to 2009. IMA works to provide essential medicines and medical supplies, fight diseases, educate and train health workers and improve health care programs, according to its website.

Derstine, 71, was also interim director of Meals on Wheels from February to June of this year.

The search firm that Derstine uses, Transition Guide, is also the search firm for Clayworks. The firm asked Derstine if he would be interested in the interim job at Clayworks.

"It wasn't by design, but I have to tell you, retirement has not suited me very well," Derstine said. "I still have a lot of energy."

The 32-year-old studio in Mount Washington has been in turmoil since Benjamin Schulman resigned under pressure as executive director. Clayworks had an unspecified budget shortfall.

Derstine said he has not discussed Clayworks' fiscal problems with studio officials, but he said that as far as he knows, "I am not inheriting a situation where there has been fiscal mismanagement. I have not sensed it's all that unlike anything else I have walked into. A lot of people knew we were having transition issues."

"I think Baltimore Clayworks has a great past and a great future," he said.

Larry Perl

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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