Debra Cook, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Debra Cook brings many years of nonprofit management, marketing, development and fundraising experience to the Center. For the past eleven years, Debra has been the Executive Director of the Rome (GA) Symphony Orchestra. She was formerly Executive Director of United Way in Cartersville (GA), and served as North Georgia Regional Director for the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society. Debra is a member of the Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Leadership, a Rotarian, timist Club member and co-chaired the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay through North Georgia. She enjoys camping, gardening, reading, and antiquing.
Connie Chancey, PROGRAMS DIRECTOR
Connie was raised in Cherokee Co. N.C. 1 sister and 3 brothers; Connie has a twin brother; Connie grew up listening to my uncles and grandfather tell stories; Connie herself told stories mostly scary ones. Connie has traveled over half of the U.S. Connie has 4 children and 4 grandchildren. Loved singing in church; 4 years of chorus in High school; Connie has taught Sunday school, children’s choir, and directed VBS. Connie also had two girls by the time my twins were born. Connie became a stay at home Mom. Connie loved this job teaching and playing with my kids. When the twins went into first grade Connie decided that she had to fill her days with a job. My best friend Lisa who taught Pre-K in Murphy called me up that very day and told me she had the perfect job for me. She interviewed at the Craddock center for music, it was now my dream job. A few years later Betsy Doty did a workshop for the CC artist and she brought back out the storyteller in me… Connie enjoyed hanging out with my family and photography… Connie married an army man from Epworth, Ga. Shawn is my best friend and soulmate. The one reason I like working for the Craddock center is the children. Not just because Connie can deliver “Happy and Hope” to them each week but they give me “Happy and Hope”. When Connie walked into a room they met me asking for one of their favorite stories; What a Blessing.
Amanda Galloway, ARTS SPECIALIST— MUSIC
Amanda Galloway has worked as a Music and Movement specialist for the Children’s Enrichment Program for 13 years. She is from Morganton, Georgia, is married, and has 2 daughters. Amanda has been playing the piano since she was only 4 and began playing at her church, Concord Baptist, when she was 10 years old. She still plays piano there today, in addition to teaching a children’s Sunday school class. Amanda enjoys sharing her musical gift with children and believes that music should be felt and moved to in a way that brings happiness. It gives her joy to share her love of music with children here in the Appalachian Mountains where she has lived her entire life. Amanda would like to personally thank all the donors and volunteers who have helped her deliver happy and hope to students through the Children’s Enrichment Program for the past 13 years.
Natalie Jones, ARTS SPECIALIST— STORY & MUSIC
The Craddock Centers own storyteller extraordinaire has delighted audiences as a professional storyteller across the Southeast for over 20 years. A former park ranger, teacher and librarian, she hails from Eastern Kentucky, a great growing ground for stories. Her interactive style engages listeners of all ages. Natalie has performed at the National Storytelling Conference in Gatlinburg TN, the Jimmy Carter Library and at schools and libraries all over the state of Georgia. In 2016, she was crowned Georgia’s Biggest Fibber and was the People’s Choice Bold Faced Liar at the Festival of Carolina, both of which are actually compliments. She has joined forces with the Craddock Center and is thrilled to spreading joy through stories and music to the children of the mountain region.
Sharon Kiser, ARTS SPECIALIST— STORY
Sharon grew up in the ‘50s when mothers stayed home and wore aprons. Her mother tucked a little notebook in her apron pocket, and every time Sharon heard a new word, her mother would write it in the notebook. It was a highlight of the day when sentences, stories, and silly rhymes were concocted from the growing list of words. That delight in words never left Sharon. She’s had 700 magazine articles published, wrote a novel, does free-lance editing, and is often the keynote speaker for conferences. Last year, she jumped at the opportunity to tell stories as a CEP with The Craddock Center. Sharon says, “What could be better than a child walking in the story room and gleefully announcing, ‘The Story Lady is here!’ Or a teacher telling me that a little girl, after story time, drew pictures of the story to show her parents.” Sharon and her husband, Don, have been married 48 years, have two grown children, and four years ago moved to the gorgeous mountains of North Georgia.
Teri Slemons, ACCOUNTANT
Teri Slemons is a CPA with a BBA in accounting from Georgia State University and an MBA with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship from the University of Georgia. She has worked in public accounting and in the banking and nonprofit sectors. A homeschooling mom of three, Teri enjoys working part-time for The Craddock Center, recording, reconciling, and reporting the delivery of happy and hope.
Lauren Miller, OFFICE MANAGER
Having a strong passion for children and desire to help her community, Lauren Miller joined The Craddock Center as our new office manager on June 18, 2018. She is a Gilmer High School graduate of 2015, and is currently pursuing her dream of becoming a business major. She brings much expertise, creativity, and personal dedication to the center. Her family is a great support group, and cheers her on as she follows her dreams. Being newly engaged, Lauren’s biggest support is her soon-to-be husband, Josh. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys hiking and kayaking with Josh, and spending time with her newborn niece, Oaklyn. Lauren is from Spring City, TN, but considers her hometown Ellijay, GA as she has resided there for 15 years.