Dr. David Craig is a native of Nashville, TN where he received a B.A. from Lipscomb University. He also holds a M.A. from Harding University and a Ph.D. from the University of Mississippi in Counseling and Educational Psychology. Dr. Craig is a Licensed Senior Psychological Examiner and has worked in community mental health as well as several educational settings including Columbia Academy, Maury County Schools and The King’s Daughters’ School. In addition, Dr. Craig has taught in the education and psychology departments of Columbia State Community College. After working with The King’s Daughters’ School as a contract psychologist for more than 20 years, Dr. Craig became the Executive Director in January 2007. He has also served in church ministry in Nashville, Centerville and Columbia, TN.
Assistant Executive Director
Shauna began her career at KDS in 2002 as the director of development and communication. She moved into the role of assistant executive director in 2007. Shauna holds a B.A. in English from Lambuth University and a M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee. Shauna is active in the Columbia Noon Rotary Club, the
City of Columbia Civil Service Board, the Governor’s Council for Community Services and Columbia First United Methodist Church. She is involved in the Maury County Chamber & Economic Developmental Organization (Board of Director, Treasurer, & Chair of the Community Development Council) and Generation Maury, and is a graduate of Leadership Maury. Shauna and her husband, Tim, have four children.
Director of Program Services
Melena holds a degree from Middle Tennessee State University and has been with KDS for 25 years in a number of roles. As Director of program services, she is responsible for the Health Services Offices on both campuses, directs all individual program planning and services offered through KDS, contracts with the Department of Children’s Services and manages compliance and licensing. Melena serves on the middle Tennessee region and statewide boards for the Tennessee Alliance for Children and Families and serves as the secretary of middle Tennessee region. Melena is a 2001 Leadership Maury alumni member and an alumni member of the Maury County Sheriff’s Department Citizen’s Academy. She has one daughter, Alayna, who attends Columbia Academy.
Robyn graduated from MTSU with a Business Administration and Marketing degree and held various business and management roles for 18 years before joining KDS in 2014 as Operations Director. She is active in the Columbia Noon Rotary Club, serving as Club President for 2015-16 and is a graduate and former board member of Leadership Maury. Robyn is active in the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance serving on the membership committee. She is also a member of the Duck River and National SHRM organizations. Robyn lives in Maury County with her husband, Jeramie and daughters, Emily and Maggie.
Dr. Jennifer Ballard has served as our main campus Principal since 2005. She is a native of West Kentucky; where she graduated from Murray State University with a B.S. in Science. Dr. Ballard also holds a M.S. in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Ph.D. in Special Education Leadership from Capella University. She is licensed through the Tennessee Department of Education with a Professional Administrative License. Dr. Ballard has taught in the Education departments of Columbia State Community College and Ashford University. She has experience in Special Education, Social Work and Criminal Justice. In addition, Dr. Ballard has extensive training in Autism, developmental delays and a particular interest in the growth and development of students post-graduation.
Landon has worked at KDS in a variety of roles since 2004. He regards his time at KDS as “life changing,” and believes that providing a nurturing environment of service to our students is truly his calling in life. Landon holds a B.S.W. in Social Work and an M.Ed in Special Education from Freed-Hardeman University. He is a graduate of the 2015 Leadership Maury class and is very active in the children’s ministry at the Highland Church of Christ, where he serves as Youth Deacon. Landon lives in Columbia with his wife, Megan, and three children, Cameron, Noah, and Aubrey.
Director of The Center for Autism
Annette Hatfield joins us from the Maury County Schools where she served as Facilitating Teacher for students with autism and those in Comprehensive Development Classrooms for 17 years. Annette attended Middle Tennessee State University where she obtained a B.S. degree with a double major in Elementary Education, K-8, Special Education, K-12, and a M.Ed. in Special Education. She also obtained a guidance and counseling endorsement from Trevecca Nazarene University. Annette and her husband, John, reside in Columbia. They have a daughter, Lauren, who recently graduated from the University of Memphis.
Ellen was born in Massena, NY, but has lived most of her life in North Carolina where she taught Kindergarten for several years. She holds a B.S. from UNC-Greensboro in Home Economics with a concentration in Child Development. Ellen moved to Waynesboro, TN in 1994 to be closer to her family and began working for our Early Learning Program (ELP) shortly thereafter. She took over the role of ELP coordinator in 2006. Ellen attends the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia where she serves as a Sunday school teacher. She is married to Paul, and the couple has a cat. She enjoys reading and baking in her spare time.
Shannon Lanius Neff
Shannon graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a B .S. in Recreation and Leisure with a concentration in recreational therapy and a minor is psychology. She has been with the school for nearly 15 years and has held the position of recreational therapist since 2001. During this time, she was president of Maury Magic Riders for four years. Shannon is also the Special Olympics Area Director for Maury County. Family is a big part of Shannon’s life; she enjoys spending time with her husband, children and nephew, Corbin.
As director of development and communication, Jesse is responsible for fundraising, grant writing, print and web media production and donor relations. She holds a B.S. from the University of Tennessee in Journalism and Electronic Media and a M.S. from Middle Tennessee State University in Mass Communication. Jesse is active in her church where she heads up an annual school supply drive and serves in the areas of nursery, 2-year-old church and new moms’ ministry. Her passions include reading, cooking from scratch and natural health and wellness. Jesse lives in Thompson’s Station with her husband and two children.