Staci Hodges has started as the new director of Junior Achievement Angelina County.

JA is an organization that teaches students different life skills and work readiness to prepare them to enter the workforce. The previous director was Michelle Green, who was offered a promotion with U.S.A. Junior Achievement, Hodges said.

“It seemed like an excellent opportunity to join an organization I have always loved,” she said. “It just seemed like a great fit.”

Hodges said she loves working with youth, and is excited to be more involved in the many events JA runs throughout the year. The kids JA serves will be the future business owners and managers, the future employees and leaders, she said.

“So to help them succeed in their future is really exciting,” she said. “I’m just really happy to be continuing the work that Michelle started with Junior Achievement.”

Her goals for the coming year are to increase awareness of JA and to continually increase participation. The organization already reaches each of the six school districts in the county and has more than 200 regular volunteers, which is what Hodges sees as one of her biggest challenges: how to expand their reach further and improve the organization.

“We have a widespread reach,” she said. “We are very involved and active in the community and I think just figuring out the best ways to continue that and grow that … Michelle did an amazing job with Junior Achievement; she has some very large shoes I’ll have to fill.”

In addition, JA will soon be moving its offices into the Perry Building downtown.

Jess Huff’s email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.