By Natalie Zeigler, City Manager in Hartsville
Serving as a city manager requires engagement with and knowledge of as many aspects of the city as possible, and nearly any part of my daily life can play a role in this. In Hartsville, my children’s school experiences make up part of my understanding of Hartsville education. Every trip to a restaurant or specialty shop informs my understanding of local economic development.
When Hartsville’s Coker College suffered the death of the renowned Dr. Jim Lemke and asked me to attempt to fill his shoes by teaching his political science course, I discovered there was so much more I could learn about our community through this, and so many more connections to make.
Coker College is a small private college with an enrollment of about 1,200, but it brings an extraordinary diversity of students here from across the country and world. In the City of Hartsville, we want very much to keep these young people here after they graduate, and this semester I hope I’ve helped draw at least a few further into our community.
My students have attended city council meetings, learning more about everything from governmental budget planning to issuing bonds for infrastructure improvements to downtown development.
The many aspects of my job allowed me to bring in a wealth of guest speakers to cover many subjects – campaign staffers and congressional field representatives, police investigators, government finance lawyers and even the CEO of the local hospital system to discuss healthcare regulations.
This one semester has created some of the connections I was hoping for with students. One will be working as an intern at City Hall this fall, which can always serve as a stepping stone to a career here. Another student, a criminal justice major, has been connected to the Hartsville Police Department.
Coker College is such an integral part of Hartsville’s vibrant economy and community, and I’m glad to say my experience teaching there has been beneficial to students and our city government alike.
Contact Natalie at email@example.com