Jabaley named executive director of Craddock Center
by Staff Reports
The Craddock Center has announced Grantville native Julie Jabaley will be its new executive director.
Jabaley assumed her duties on April 1. While a national search was conducted with strong applicants near and far, the executive search committee located its new leader just a few miles away in its own home base of Cherry Log, Ga.
Jabaley, who has had a part-time residence in the area for several years, brings to the center a strong interest in early childhood education and health. With graduate degrees in instructional technology and public health as well as early childhood classroom experience, Jabaley’s background is an ideal match for the center’s next phase of growth.
The core programming of the center, the Children’s Enrichment Program, sends staff members into Head Start and pre-kindergarten classrooms in nine Appalachian counties in three states. Arts specialists deliver integrated music, storytelling and movement lessons with a goal of enriching vocabulary and engagement and improving readiness for literacy.
In addition, The Craddock Center promotes literate home environments by providing primarily low income children with free books. The books are placed on the Story Express, a bookmobile that travels to schools, public health departments and food pantries.
The books give children the opportunity to experience the pleasure and excitement of opening, owning and reading brand new books.
The center also has seeded a snack-in-a-backpack program to provide weekend meals to children who live with food insecurity. Statistics show one in five children in America struggle with hunger.
Center programming is funded from donations of supporters. The Craddock Center was founded in 2001 by Dr. Fred Craddock. The center’s motto is delivering happiness and hope to children of southern Appalachia.
Craddock is the Bandy Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament, Emeritus, at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. An ordained minister of the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ, Craddock is a respected author and was named by Newsweek as one of America’s greatest preachers.