Molly Schroer lands Smokies public affairs job
By Robert Norris | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Molly Schroer, the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s public affairs specialist/superintendent’s executive assistant, is on the job.
She completed her move last week from Grand Canyon National Park.
The move fulfills a hope and justifies a bit of a risk that her family took.
Schroer is starting her duties at the Park as her husband Will Jaynes, also a Smokies ranger, has settled into his new position. They have a 4-year-old daughter, Olive.
Schroer, a native of Indiana, said the family had been looking for an opportunity to apply for positions at the Smokies to be closer to extended family.
Jaynes applied for a Smokies ranger position and was accepted in April. He spent the summer in federal law enforcement training in Georgia and started work at the Park in October.
Schroer had learned that Nancy Gray, long-time Smokies spokeswoman would be retiring, so her husband applied for the position at the Park here in hope that his wife could later join him.
The gamble paid off.
“We did roll the dice, and it worked out real well,” Schroer said Thursday.
The Park in a statement said Schroer has assumed the duties previously performed by Gray, who retired last month, and by Debbie Huskey who passed away last July following a long battle with cancer.
Schroer is the executive assistant/park ranger with primary duties consisting of administrative support for the Superintendent’s Office, public affairs, commercial filming/photography, special events planning and community relations.
Canyon duties overlap
Schroer said some of the duties she had at Grand Canyon overlap with her new position in the Smokies. For example, she handled commercial filming/photography duties at the Arizona park.
Schroer has been with the National Park Service since 2000 and has performed a variety of duties relating to concessions, interpretation, information and administration.
She began her career at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky and has also served at Oregon Caves in New Mexico, Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in New York, Lava Beds in New Mexico, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, and the Flagstaff (Arizona) Area National Monuments.
She is a native of Dale, Ind., and has fond memories of numerous family vacations to the Smokies as a child. Molly is a 2000 graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Resources Administration.
The change in environment from the Grand Canyon to the Smokies is dramatic.
“It’s not only the nature of it, the Smokies are much more diverse. At the canyon, it’s the visual beauty. At the Smokies, it’s all the green, the plants and animals,” Schroer said. “It’s amazing, there’s so much to learn.”
There’s also the people around the Smokies region, who have much in common with her family roots. “It’s a nice group of people, like where I came from,” she said.