NORMAL — Just a year after Shelleigh Birlingmair became executive director, the Children's Discovery Museum is again looking for a leader.
Birlingmair will leave at the end of October to take a job with Advocate Health Care, the town of Normal announced Monday. She previously worked at Commerce Bank as a vice president and wealth management consultant, as well as serving on Advocate BroMenn Medical Center's Philanthropy Council.
“I have aspired to do full-time development work for years. My work at the Children’s Discovery Museum simply solidified my passion for working with nonprofits,” Birlingmair said in a statement.
She told The Pantagraph when she was hired that the position was a chance for her to get into nonprofit work.
The town has no timeline to hire a replacement. The museum had no long-term leader for more than a year after Sheila Riley resigned June 30, 2015; Shelly Hanover, a longtime museum employee who remains on staff, served part of that time as interim museum manager.
"Our plans and programs are well-established for the balance of 2017 and beyond and will proceed without any issues,” said City Manager Mark Peterson. “We are sorry to see Shelleigh leave, and she will be greatly missed ... but we understand she was presented with an overwhelming opportunity, and we support her decision.”
Birlingmair was the first executive director of the museum and later added the role of cultural arts director in a shake-up after Uptown Manager Joe Tulley left in August. The town did not say if her successor also will take on that role that includes overseeing the Normal Theater and uptown events.
Birlingmair makes $119,490.39 annually.
The museum is ramping up for a fundraising campaign to replace its second-floor agriculture exhibit within five years, a rebranding to take effect early next year and possible elimination of its annual shutdown week in September.