Journeys in Community Living is proud to announce George Cunningham as the successor to current Executive Director Betty McNeely, who is set to retire from Journeys after nearly 40 years of service on Nov. 1.
Cunningham has been in Journeys' number two position as assistant director for the past 30 years.
His duties include overseeing its residential program, facility training and programming for the persons served and coordinating Journeys' protection from harm system.
Cunningham completed a bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Tennessee Martin, a master's degree in clinical psychology at MTSU and a master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt University. Cunningham is also a pastor of Open Table Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
McNeely said the board decided on Cunningham after a series of interviews involving several very qualified candidates, as well as extensive advertising of the job through various newspapers and professional alliance outlets.
McNeely was not involved in these interviews but was happy to learn Cunningham had been chosen by Journeys' board.
"Knowing that I will be leaving Journeys in the able hands of George Cunningham is definitely something I have a good feeling about," she said. "George has always had a big heart for the people we serve here."
Cunningham said he plans to keep running Journeys with the same caring and professional philosophy it has always operated under.
"I am very excited about this new opportunity," he said. "Betty McNeely has done an amazing job at leading Journeys to become a successful, caring and person-centered agency. She has always put the clients and their families first and inspired our agency to support persons with disabilities in finding jobs, living in their own homes and being active members of the community.
"I hope to continue this mission into the future," Cunningham added.
Janet Bowman, a Journeys board member involved in the final vote to extend the job offer, said Cunningham was selected because of his performance during the interview process and his extensive knowledge on Journeys and its programs.
"While there were quite a few impressive and deserving candidates, I know that we made the right decision by selecting George," Bowman said. "He has a heart for this organization and it shows. The learning curve will also be significantly less steep with George."