Kayla Kolar leaving Gilbert's HD South museum for House of Refuge

HD South
HD South will have new leadership in 2021 after Kayla Kolar departs as president and CEO. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

HD South will have new leadership in 2021 after Kayla Kolar departs as president and CEO. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Kayla Kolar, who has been president and CEO of HD South for 15 and a half years, is moving on from being the only director Gilbert’s arts, culture and history museum has known.

Kolar is resigning at year’s end to become the executive director of the House of Refuge, where Nancy Marion is retiring after 23 years leading that organization.

House of Refuge provides transitional housing and social services to Arizona families that are experiencing homelessness but working toward self-sufficiency.

Kolar said she is leaving HD South with mixed emotions.

“I love HD South, and I love everything we've done here and are doing here,” she said. “But I think it's just time to start the next chapter.”


Kolar said she was not looking to make a change, but some people directed her to the opening, and she decided to put her name in the ring without any expectations.

“And lo and behold, a couple months later, here I am,” she said. “It was a very hard decision, but opportunities like this don't come along very often. And it's a wonderful organization. I mean, if it wasn't, I wouldn't consider it at all, but it's a top-notch organization. I love what they do out there, and I thought, ‘Well, if I was ever going to make a move, this would probably be the time to do it.’”

HD South’s board has begun a search to replace Kolar.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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