Staff, current and past board members, mediators, a local judge, and friends gathered recently to honor FairField Center’s Timothy Ruebke, who stepped down as Executive Director earlier this summer. Ruebke started with FairField Center as a social work intern in 1992, was hired as office manager in 1993 and went on to hold a variety of other roles until becoming Executive Director in January of 2007. During his tenure, Tim has been the driving force behind FairField Center’s growth and success as an organization.
A brief sample of his many accomplishments include:
- Helped mold FairField Center into a model nonprofit in the mediation and mediation training field.
- Brought FairField Center to the strongest fiscal position in its history.
- Was involved in the delivery of mediation services to tens of thousands of clients.
- Trained and mentored hundreds of mediators and provided training and coaching to organizations and businesses throughout the Commonwealth.
- Assisted thousands of local students through peer mediation training, truancy mediation, and more.
- Provided mentorship to approximately 350 interns, mostly from local colleges and universities.
- Added the complementary divisions of Restorative Justice, Business Services, and Civic Engagement to FairField Center offerings.
- Created community engagement around key issues through summits, forums, and community events.
- Helped the organization pivot during COVID to avoid disruption of services through the addition of Online Dispute Resolution.
- Took leadership in being the fiscal agent and planning team for the Harrisonburg International Festival.
Speakers at the celebration praised Tim’s patient demeanor, supportive leadership, clever sense of humor, and tireless dedication to raising public awareness and enhancing personal and professional skills in the use of alternative conflict resolution.
Christine Paulson, a representative from Resolution Virginia, an alliance of non-profit community-based centers working to help Virginians resolve conflict constructively, sent the following farewell message for the event.
“We would like to extend to Tim our best wishes for his future work as well as recognize the part he played in the growth of mediation and restorative justice throughout the Commonwealth. Tim served as an officer for Resolution Virginia for many years and could be counted on to provide thoughtful guidance and necessary humor. Under Tim’s leadership, FairField Center demonstrated that community mediation is more than just mediation. It is listening, assessing, engaging, community-building, networking, and healing. Tim never turned down a good idea because it was too hard, but rather worked steadily to make what seemed impossible, possible. He reminded us to place a high value on community mediation’s services and place in the community. Thank you, Tim, for being such an excellent ambassador for community mediation in Virginia.”
Tim’s vision and leadership will be greatly missed by the staff, board, alumni, and nonprofit partners alike. We wish him the best of luck in his next chapter!
Over the next several months, the Center’s Board will be conducting a thorough search to find the organization’s next Executive Director. The job description and application information can be found HERE. The Center will continue to operate as normal, with only a slight change in the number of trainings scheduled.