Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, has been named executive director of the Cherokee Preservation Foundation. (Photo courtesy Cherokee Preservation Foundation)

Cherokee Preservation Foundation Names New Executive Director

December 29, 2012

The Cherokee Preservation Foundation has named Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle to succeed Susan Jenkins as its executive director, effective January 2, 2013.

Clapsaddle, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), is a former foundation staff member, a teacher, basketball coach, an author and was at one time the assistant to the ECBI principal chief.

Clapsaddle grew up in Cherokee, North Carolina and graduated from Smoky Mountain High School in Sylva, North Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s in American studies and secondary English from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and her master’s in American studies from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In 2004, she returned to Cherokee, North Carolina and served as the program assistant at the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and then was then principal chief Michell Hicks’s assistant.

She’s been an English teacher at Swain County High School since 2007 and is currently the head women’s basketball coach. She’s even written a series of children’s books illustrated by Cherokee artists and released through the Principal Chief’s Children’s Book Project.

“Being asked to serve as Cherokee Preservation’s executive director is both an honor and a privilege,” Clapsaddle said in a release. “I believe that the foundation has been successful because it has shown the vision and thoughtfulness necessary to direct the organization and its grantees on a path that awards western North Carolina the greatest possibilities for the future. Cherokee Preservation Foundation should be a proactive agent of progress for the EBCI, its people, its land and its culture; a catalyst for WNC partnerships; and a model for American service communities. Having the opportunity to help build its vision is a rare opportunity.”

Clapsaddle will succeed Jenkins, who was the foundation’s first executive director and was in the position for 10 years. Jenkins was instrumental in developing the organization’s infrastructure, developing its focus, and building partnerships with the community, among other key initiatives.

The foundation is a nonprofit funded by EBCI from gaming revenues that is dedicated to cultural preservation, economic development, job creation and environmental sustainability.

“Her [Clapsaddle’s] vision for how the foundation will serve the community and region, her experience in philanthropy, planning and leadership, her stellar education, and her strong ties to the EBCI as an enrolled member and to the surrounding region make her extremely well qualified to lead Cherokee Preservation Foundation forward.” said Luke D. Hyde, chairman of the board, in the release.

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