Alabama Humanities names new executive director

Dr. Lynn Clark

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Alabama Humanities Foundation named Dr. Lynn Clark, former head of the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Coalition, as executive director of Alabama Humanities Foundation.

She officially took the post April 1 in the midst of a statewide quarantine in Louisiana and Alabama and has been directing the Alabama operation through virtual meetings, telephone conferences and electronic correspondence.

“Despite unprecedented circumstances due to the COVID-19 crisis, Lynn has shown extraordinary leadership already,” said AHF Board Chair Trey Granger. “Alabama Humanities Foundation continues to serve its constituency well in what has been a seamless transition.”

She replaces Armand DeKeyser, who retired March 31.

The daughter of an Indian immigrant, who was a librarian, Clark said virtually every aspect of her life has involved books and learning, key ingredients of the humanities. She grew up in California, became a Social Studies and English teacher, and earned masters and doctoral degrees in curriculum and instruction.

She has been a college professor and for the past six years, executive director of the Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana, a nonprofit focusing on early childhood reform, parenting education, healthy living and youth development.

Throughout her life, “I have recognized and promoted authentic storytelling, highlighting and opening up avenues and resources to give voice to those who might not be at the table,” she said. Humanities, for her, means “coming back to that line of scholarship.”

She sees the challenge of delivering humanities services in this time of crisis as “an exciting turning point to step into the current conversation and see how to make humanities relevant in our current situation.”

She cited new and innovative ways to deliver to constituents during the crisis – “increasing reach and access through modalities and methods. What makes Alabama unique? Put life in the context of history and the structures and systems that frame our humanity.”

At this moment, she said, “We’re at an inflection point as an organization and a community,” and her plans call for evaluating and re-evaluating community needs to determine where AHF heads from here. “We need to see where we can be most useful.”

She wants to “help people talk about and process lived experiences. Humanities is a way to provide that.”

The COVID crisis has drastically changed lives, she noted, adding, “We now think differently. We want to bring humanities to the center of what’s happening in our state.”

Prior to her tenure heading the Children’s Coalition, she was an assistant professor, holding several leadership positions in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

She earned her doctoral degree from Indiana University in Curriculum and Instruction and was a Chancellor’s Fellow. She received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from UCLA.

She was chosen for the top post at AHF during a national search.

“Lynn is a dynamic and talented leader, and the selection committee unanimously placed her atop the listing of candidates interested in becoming our new executive director,” said Granger.

“Lynn is extremely bright, highly motivated and has a wonderful passion for our mission and will be most delightful to work with in the years to come,” he said. “We all admire her credentials and her commitment to the humanities and to the arts.”

Clark is no stranger to taking her local messaging and mission to loftier stages. She has presented in state, regional, national and international conferences and workshops and has published nationally in books, journals and research reports.

She has been honored with a number of awards, including:

  • Light Up for Literacy, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
  • Champion for Change, Louisiana Farm to School Program
  • Thomas H. Scott Community Award, Monroe Chamber of Commerce
  • Chase Endowed Professorship, University of Louisiana at Monroe
  • Louisiana Educational Consortium Doctoral Faculty Award, Grambling University
  • Chancellor’s Fellowship, Curriculum and Instruction, Indiana University