New director on board at FSAMary Fischer replacing retiring Lee McAllister in Nobles County
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — As people gathered for a retirement celebration Thursday afternoon to honor Lee McAllister for his years of service to the Nobles County Family Service Agency, Mary Fischer was busy learning the ropes of her new role in the department.
On Aug. 1, Fischer began training in Nobles County to take over McAllister’s role as director of family services in the county. It is a role she will split with Pipestone County, where she has served as Family Service Agency director for more than a year.
Fischer’s plan is to divide her time equally between both Pipestone and Worthington.
“I also plan to be working both systems every day — working on priority projects,” Fischer said.
The priorities faced in family services are quite similar in both counties, she said, adding that the collaboration between the agencies has existed for quite some time.
“The management arrangement is new, but the idea of collaborating — we have a long history of doing that,” said Fischer.
A native of Storden, Fischer graduated from Mankato State University in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She went on to earn her master’s in social work in 1996 from St. Thomas/St. Catherine’s universities.
While working on her master’s, she worked for Cottonwood County for nearly a year, and then served with Lincoln, Lyon, Murray Family Services, where she remained through July 2007. While with Lincoln, Lyon and Murray Family Services, Fischer concentrated in case management in adult services, mental health disabilities, chemical dependency and children services supervision. She eventually became assistant director of the agency, gaining experience in all facets of social services.
“Having worked for Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, that was just a very good training ground (for the new role as director of two agencies),” said Fischer.
With nearly 20 years experience in family services, Fischer said she has an appreciation for the uniqueness of Nobles County.
“Nobles County is quite different in terms of diversity and the needs of the population,” she said. “I think that Worthington and Nobles County is an area with lots of potential. There are lots of good things happening already. You’ve got a really strong service system here. Worthington tends to be a regional hub for services and that’s exciting to me, too.”
Fischer and her husband, John, reside near Lynd with their three children, Thomas, 10, Isaac, 8, and Claire, 6.
The Nobles County Family Service Agency provides an array of programs for the communities it serves. Among them are child and adult protection services, child welfare, truancy, mental health services and services for the aging and developmentally disabled. The agency also handles child support and chemical dependency services, as well as foster care and day care services, and special needs adoptions.
“I’m just very excited to be here and thankful for the opportunity,” Fischer said of her new post.