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Kearns is fulfilling her career dream

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By Becky Barnes

Little boys want to grow up to be firefighters or policemen. Little girls claim that being a ballerina, teacher or singer will be their career path.

Not Kathy Kearns.

“I always wanted to be the circuit clerk,” Kearns said after her appointment to fill Wanda Marsh’s term.

Kearns, 45, began working as a deputy clerk in 1982. Her father, John William Kearns, was clerk at the time, a position he held for 37 years.

When he retired in 1993, Marsh stepped in as circuit clerk and Kathy Kearns was named chief deputy clerk.

Marsh retired last month. Kearns was appointed to finish this year and will have to run for election in the fall of 2009 to begin 2010, in order to finish Marsh’s unexpired six-year term, which will have to be sought again in 2012.

Kearns and Ronnie Spicer, administrative assistant to Judge Robert McGinnis, were nominated to take the state-mandated test by McGinnis. Both completed the test successfully.

Ironically, it was the elder Kearns who was instrumental in getting the testing system implemented for circuit clerks in the 1980s.

“My dad would be so surprised at all the changes since he got out of the clerk’s office,” Kearns said of her father, who died in 2001. “He would’ve been very surprised with the Justice Center. I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime.”

Kearns said she is looking forward to her new position.

She commended her co-workers for their hard work and the support they have given her.

“Wanda was always an inspiration,” Kearns said.

She also credited her family and long-time friends with encouraging her to pursue her dream.

Kearns said that after going so many years as deputy clerk and having gone through a major illness, she didn’t know if her dream would be realized.

“I feel good and I’m glad I made it,” she said, with her trademark smile and infectious laugh.

“It’s an interesting job,” she said. “Something new happens every day.”

Kearns has seven deputies including, Connie Webber, chief deputy; Sandy Nickell, Mary Ann Evans, Angie Mullinex, Mary Beth Fryman, Scott Emery Teresa Furnish.

Kearns was sworn in on Thursday, Jan. 15, with her mother, Fan Rees Kearns, and brothers, Marshall, Mike and Marty, and families as witnesses.

She officially took office on Friday, Jan. 16.