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 then into executive director in 2020. 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.
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 and Maury County Schools and. 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. In January of 2020, he became the Clinical Director, overseeing clinics, case management and therapy services.
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; a graduate and former board member of Leadership Maury and on the Youth Education Foundation Board. Robyn is active in the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance serving as Board Chair for 2020. She is also a member of the National SHRM organization. Robyn lives in Maury County with her husband, Jeramie and daughters, Emily and Maggie.
In 2008, Debbie and her husband Gary set out across the county on motorcycles from Portland, Oregon to Nashville, Tennessee. They sold their home and put everything in storage. Three months and 11,000 miles later, they landed in Nashville. Once in Nashville, Debbie took a job for a home health care company in Columbia. After a few job changes, she landed back in Columbia but this time here with us at KDS where she plans to finish out her career. Debbie has a B.A. in Business Admin./Accounting from Portland State University. She is also a CPA. Debbie has worked in non-profit accounting for most of my career, specifically children’s charities when possible.
Debbie is a fiber artist. She dyes her own fabric and makes one-of-a-kind art quilts and structures of varying sizes like post card quilts. She is a member of the International Mail Art Community and sends mixed media art pieces out naked through the mail to people all over the world. She and her husband, Gary, have four children and seven grandchildren. They also have a dog, cat and a ferret. Debbie enjoys fencing and kayaking in her free time!
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 Ed.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
Prior to her appointment as Director at our Center for Autism, Annette served as a Facilitating Teacher for Maury County Schools for students with Autism and those needing placement in a Comprehensive Development Class. In addition, she has 30 plus years of experience working with students with special needs at all levels of public education. She has been a SPED teacher, elementary school counselor, and system-wide facilitating teacher. Annette attended Middle Tennessee State University and 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 is currently a nurse at Stanford Hospital.
Ellen was born in Massena, NY, but lived most of her life in North Carolina. She holds a B.S. from UNC-Greensboro in Home Economics with a concentration in Child Development. Before moving to TN, Ellen lived in SC where she taught Kindergarten for two years and Texas where she taught and directed a daycare. 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 various service projects throughout the year. Her passions include reading, cooking from scratch and natural health and wellness. Jesse lives in College Grove, TN with her husband, two children and their dog, Oreo.
As admissions coordinator, Donna is responsible for the school’s first impression and works closely with educational consultants and potential families. She holds a B.S. from California State University Sacramento in Business Administration, with a dual focus on Marketing and International Business. Donna is a newcomer to Tennessee, having moved in early 2020 from Northern California where she was born and raised with her three sisters. Donna is a big fan of Disney, country music and outdoor sports! She lives in Franklin, TN with her dog Mickey.