Karla Thennes, a longtime employee of Porchlight, has been named the nonprofit organization’s new executive director, effective Jan. 1.

Thennes, currently associate executive director, will replace Steve Schooler, who is stepping aside after a lengthy tenure but will remain with the organization for an additional year in various capacities.

Porchlight, 306 N. Brooks St., is the largest nonprofit provider of low-income housing in Dane County. It also operates the only emergency nighttime shelter for homeless men in the Madison area.

Additionally, Porchlight runs a day homeless resource center called Hospitality House, as well as Safe Haven, a 14-bed transitional homeless shelter for individuals with mental illness.

Through the organization’s Porchlight Products program, individuals with disabilities are trained in job and life skills.

Thennes earned a master’s degree in social work from UW-Madison and started as a Porchlight intern at the men’s shelter at Grace Episcopal Church in 1990.

She has worked or supervised every housing and services program at the organization, she said.

Schooler was hired as associate director in 1999 and moved up to executive director the following year.

The organization was known as Transitional Housing Inc. at the time. Prior to becoming an employee, Schooler had been a longtime volunteer and board member.

Thennes recently began using her married name professionally. She previously went by her maiden name, Karla Jameson.