GALAX — Brenda Sutherland was named on Monday to the Crossroads Institute executive director post. She replaces Dr. Oliver McBride, who retired from the position on June 30.
McBride had been with Crossroads since its beginning, first as board chair and the last eight years as executive director. Sutherland stepped down as Crossroads board chair to assume her new post on July 1.
“Among my goals are expanding current programs and the business incubator,” said Sutherland, who has 32 years experience as both a teacher and administrator in North Carolina. “My other objectives include developing partnerships to further educational opportunities for the Twin County Region, which Crossroads serves.”
Opportunities offered at the center include training and certification programs to help area residents prepare for new jobs and further themselves professionally and personally. According to McBride, this dovetails the organization’s dual mission to promote education and economic development.
Sutherland noted that Crossroads, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, recognizes the financial realities required to sustain the non-profit. The two also agreed one part of the organization’s mission is offering hope to those who seek to better their lives and their families lives through higher education.
“Since joining the board in 2010, I have been highly impressed with the success Crossroads has had in its first 10 years using its initial $5.7 million in funding, plus support from other sources including the three local governments, Carroll and Grayson counties and the City of Galax,” Sutherland said. “To continue this success, we, the Crossroads board and staff, will begin a capital campaign to help sustain this organization into the future. We will also seek grants to strengthen and develop programs.”
Sutherland has been on the Grayson County Board of Supervisors for seven years and is currently vice chair. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Radford University and has supervised student teachers for Lees McRae College and still does so for Appalachian State University.
She and her husband, Richard, live on a farm in Grayson County. The couple’s son Matthew and his wife Jessica have two children and live in Independence. Locally, Sutherland has also worked for Farm Bureau Insurance and at Bottomley’s Evergreen during four Christmas tree seasons.