Albany Advocacy Resource Center appoints DeAnna Julian as its new executive director

DeAnna Julian, who had been serving as the Albany Advocacy Resource Center’s deputy director, has been named executive director of the organization. (Special Photo)

ALBANY — Albany Advocacy Resource Center’s board of directors announced on Monday that it had appointed DeAnna Julian as its new executive director, effective immediately.

After serving two years on Albany ARC’s board of directors, Julian was named deputy director in July 2015 — around the same time Clyde “Sonny” Slate was named executive director. She has recently been notified of her upcoming appointment to the ABLE Board of Directors for the state of Georgia, and she continues to serve as an advocate to families seeking special education guidance and support.

Julian said that when she came on as deputy director, it was understood she would eventually take the organization’s top role. Now that she has a bigger platform, she said she expects to use the position to build on the foundations Albany ARC already has in place for providing resources for those in southwest Georgia impacted by disabilities.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to empower people with disabilities,” she said. “We are excited about implementing change. I am very excited about this opportunity.”

Julian said the organization’s board is analyzing ongoing processes in order to develop a future path. She said she would like to see some development in supportive employment, early intervention for children with developmental disabilities and statewide advocacy.

“We will meet with the board to develop a strategic plan,” the new director said.

Having family roots in the southwest Georgia area, Julian obtained her bachelor of secondary education degree in special education from Georgia Southwestern State University and her master’s degree in education and transition services from the University of Kansas.

She had a 16-year career in special education in Lee County before joining Albany ARC.

“We are very much looking forward to benefiting from the visionary leadership that DeAnna brings to our organization,” Albany ARC Board President Sarah Kirk said in a news release on Monday. “She’s one of the strongest advocates in the region and, through this new role, will continue to dedicate her life to serving community members with disabilities and their loved ones.”

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I'm a 2007 graduate of Georgia Southern University, and I've been a reporter for The Albany Herald since 2008. I cover news related to health care, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, SOWEGA Council on Aging and other areas as assigned.