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Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle Has Been Named Executive Director of Cherokee Preservation Foundation

Annette Saunooke ClapsaddleAnnette Saunooke ClapsaddleCHEROKEE, NC, November 28, 2012 – Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle has been selected to succeed Susan Jenkins as Executive Director of the Foundation, effective January 2, 2013.  Clapsaddle, a former member of Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s programming staff, a teacher, a basketball coach, an author and one-time assistant to the EBCI Principal Chief, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to the community to her new position.

Clapsaddle is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and was raised in Cherokee, NC.  After graduating from Smoky Mountain High School, she earned her B.A. from Yale University with a degree in American Studies and Secondary English and then an M.A. in American Studies from the College of William & Mary.  After returning to Cherokee in 2004, Clapsaddle first served as Program Assistant at Cherokee Preservation Foundation and then as Assistant to the EBCI’s Principal Chief, Michell Hicks.  A National Board Certified Teacher, Clapsaddle has been an English teacher at Swain County High School since 2007, and she currently is head women’s basketball coach as well.  

Clapsaddle is also an author, having written a series of children’s books illustrated by Cherokee artists and released through the Principal Chief’s Children’s Book Project, as well as several works of fiction, the most recent of which is  “Naked Came the Leaf Peeper,” a serial novel co-written with 11 other authors in the region.  She lives in Qualla, NC, with her husband Evan and son Ross.

“The Foundation’s board is delighted that Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle will be leading Cherokee Preservation Foundation as it begins its next chapter,” said Luke D. Hyde, Chairman of the Board.  “She was selected from a group of excellent candidates through a thoughtful and thorough process.  Her 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.”  

“Being asked to serve as Cherokee Preservation’s executive director is both an honor and a privilege,” said Clapsaddle.  “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 Susan Jenkins, who has been Cherokee Preservation Foundation’s first executive director.  During Jenkins’ ten-year tenure, she was instrumental in developing the Foundation’s infrastructure, creating a grantmaking program, developing the Foundation’s strategic focus, establishing nine major initiatives and programs around the Foundation’s areas of focus (cultural preservation, economic development and environmental preservation), building partnerships within the community, and building the capabilities of the Foundation’s staff.

About Cherokee Preservation Foundation

Cherokee Preservation Foundation ( was established in 2000 as part of the Second Amendment to the Tribal-State Compact between the EBCI and the State of North Carolina. It is an independent nonprofit foundation funded by the EBCI from gaming revenues generated by the Tribe. The Foundation is not associated with any for-profit gaming entity. Since its inception, it has made 758 grants totaling more than $60 million to EBCI and regional projects and programs that address cultural preservation, economic development and job creation, and environmental sustainability. Every dollar of Foundation support has been matched by $1.57 in other funding or in-kind resources, making the total impact of Cherokee Preservation Foundation and partners on the region more than $154 million.