At age 62, Jerry Jensen might be ready to move closer to his children and grandchildren, but he isn’t quite ready yet to retire.

At age 62, Jerry Jensen might be ready to move closer to his children and grandchildren, but he isn’t quite ready yet to retire.


Community Services League introduced Jensen Thursday night as its new president and CEO. Jensen, who is in his seventh year as the president and CEO of Siskin Children’s Institute in Chattanooga, Tenn., will begin his new post in Independence sometime late this fall or early winter.


“I’m looking forward to having a meaningful role here,” Jensen said Thursday prior to CSL’s unveiling of its new donor wall at the Noland Road Central Headquarters. “I have years left that I want to work. I like to work, and I like challenges. At the same time, it puts me closer to family, so it was kind of the best of both worlds.”


Doug Cowan will remain as the acting CEO until then and will resume as the chief development officer upon Jensen’s arrival. Cowan took over upon the resignation of former CEO Michael Levine, who now works for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Greater Kansas City Affiliate.


Jensen and his wife, Patty, a former educator from the Lee’s Summit School District and a native of Raytown, are returning to the Kansas City area from Tennessee after living in this area for more than 30 years, when Jensen served the University of Missouri-Kansas City in various administrative roles.


Jensen’s appointment came after a nationwide search.


“We are thrilled to have a professional like Jerry join our CSL team,” said Cliff Jones, vice president of the CSL board of directors, in a news release. “As someone with roots in Eastern Jackson County, along with an impressive professional career in the nonprofit world, we know he is the right leader to carry our agency forward.”


Jensen earned a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kan., and a law degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La.


Siskin Children’s Institute, a nonprofit organization in Chattanooga, is involved with education, research and health care serving children and families, especially children with developmental delays. Jensen is credited with developing and implementing a vision for the institute, making it a multi-faceted organization that includes a research center.


“At this point in my career, it’s nice to have the emotional rewards that you get from helping people,” Jensen said. “That was primarily the factor that guided me here.”