Jacki Goode’s first encounter with the Blount County Commission office came in 1986. She was dating Jeff Goode whose mother, Virginia Goode, was assistant administrator. “Virginia was learning to use a personal computer the year I met her,” Goode said. “We shared strategies on the new-fangled technology.”
Nine years later on Nov. 15, 1995, Goode began her own journey in the county commission office. Virginia retired and encouraged her daughter-in-law to apply. She was 35 years old and her daughter, Anna, had just started kindergarten.
“I wanted to work in Blount County to be near the school,” she said. “There was a new county administrator who hired me. I have since worked for and alongside four more administrators in several different capacities.”
After 25 years, she is about to embark on a new role within the commission. During Monday’s commission meeting, County Commission Chairman Chris Green announced Goode would be stepping into the role of Blount County administrator. She replaces John Bullard who resigned in November.
Goode becomes the first female to hold this position. “It is certainly an honor to be hired as the first female administrator in Blount County,” she said. “I believe that will bring a different point of view to the position, not better or worse, but different. I appreciate the commission having confidence in my abilities and I do not take that lightly.
“As anyone who knows me knows, I take my work seriously, sometimes too seriously.Even though I have 25 years with the county and am eligible to retire, I think the commission staff deserves a few more years of continuity and I am excited about this next stage in my career with the county. We are very fortunate to have a very dedicated staff in the commission office as well as the outlying departments that come under the covering of the Commission.”
While she said that she wanted to cry when she first learned Bullard was leaving to become the administrator in Cullman County, she wasn’t sure about going through the transition of yet another administrator.
“John placed value on my abilities and contributions by naming me the assistant administrator in April 2019,” she said. “When encouraged by numerous people that I trust to submit my resume, at first, I dug my heels in the sand and said no way. But after prayer and continued nudging from trusted friends and family, I did submit my resume.”
Green, as well as the commissioners, are happy that she did. Green, Bullard, and Hannah Denney, human resources director, spent countless hours going through stacks of “very good, highly qualified candidates,” Green said. From there, the list was narrowed down to five.
“With 25 years experience, no one knows this office the way she does,” he continued. “I am very delighted that she wants to take on that responsibility and it is very fitting that she be the first female to shoulder that responsibility.
“I am very happy that we were able to fill this position with such a special person who has given so much time not only to this office, but to Blount County.”
Positions in the commission office are very individualized and the administrator position is no exception. “Being the assistant administrator is just that, an assistant,” Goode said. “Therefore, I have much to learn. I’ve always heard you are never too old to learn. I just turned 60 years old and believe there is much learning left.”
Beyond work, Goode is an active, 18-year member of Lester Memorial United Methodist Church where she is a charter member of the Celebrate Recovery team. She has also worked in the church’s children’s ministry as well as many other areas.
“My church family is a very integral part of my life,” she said. “I love spending time with dear friends and family and am thankful that I can still visit my parents in Gadsden each week. Having always enjoyed fashion, I love to shop for clothes.”
She’s also recently added the title of grandmother to the long list she holds. On Nov. 30, her daughter, Anna, and son-in-law, Edouard, adopted “a 7-year-old little boy, giving me a grandson. He has given me a fresh perspective on life. In the midst of a pandemic, God said ‘but wait, 2020 will be one of the best years of your life.’ I didn’t anticipate a new family member or a new job in 2020, but God knew all along. I’m glad He is in control and I don’t have to carry that responsibility.”
When Goode married Jeff in 1986, she wasn’t too sure about this new place she called home. “At that time, I could not imagine ever loving Blount County like I do,” she said. “It has become my home and I truly want to work for what is best for Blount County.”