Children’s Home Society gets new CEO

Michelle Lavallee will lead the society, which includes the Black Hills Children’s Home near Rockerville. (photo courtesy Children's Home Society)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The Children’s Home Society has named Michelle Lavallee as new chief executive officer, replacing Bill Colson who retires at the end of the year.

Michelle Lavallee will have her primary office in Sioux Falls but “will be regularly serving within the Black Hills campus as well,” according to a Children’s Home Society release.

“South Dakota’s children and families will benefit greatly from Michelle’s strong leadership skills in strategy development, fundraising and workforce development,” said Meg Warder, CHS board chair.

The Black Hills Children’s Home has been under the microscope since the beginning of February, when 9-year-old Serenity Dennard ran away from the home near Rockerville. Despite months of extensive searches, Serenity is still missing.

See related story Report cites errors by Black Hills Children's Home in early Serenity search

Lavallee will be the society’s 10th leader; and the first woman to hold the job.

“I’m so inspired by the work of Children’s Home Society and am humbled to further expand its mission,”
said Lavallee.

Increasing workforce development services and expanding Children’s Inn, an emergency shelter for
women and children, are Lavallee’s immediate priorities, according to CHS.