Sementha Mathews Named Executive Director for the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts

Staff Report From Valdosta CEO

Friday, March 30th, 2018

Lowndes/Valdosta Arts Commission Board President Bob Goddard announced on Tuesday that a new Executive Director for the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts has been named. Sementha Mathews, currently serving as Public Information Officer for the City of Valdosta, will take the helm as art center director in mid-April.

“Our Succession Planning Task Force did an excellent job of vetting a superb pool of candidates for the job,” stated Goddard. “We formed the Task Force following the announcement by current director Cheryl Oliver that she planned to vacate the post this spring. Gail Hobgood chaired the Task Force of eight people, who deserve great credit for expeditiously working through the entire process of finding the appropriate person to succeed Oliver. We feel strongly that we have hired the right person, and we’re excited about the forward direction of the art center.”

Mathews has served the City of Valdosta for nearly 12 years as the Public Information Officer. In her role she was responsible for the short- and long-range planning, organization and operations of the Public Information Division, and served as the effective communication link for government officials, city employees, citizens and the news media regarding local government services, programs and special events. She played an instrumental role in the engagement of citizens and the innovation and implementation of various community programs that increased citizens’ participation in their local government. Mathews also developed and managed the city’s overall internal and external communication strategies, supervised the Metro Channel 17 operation, and promoted the positive image of the city.

A graduate of the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, Mathews also holds a Master’s degree of Public Administration from Valdosta State University. She currently serves as Adjunct Professor in VSU’s Mass Media Dept. and as a trainer in the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Her family includes husband, Larry Mathews, three adult children and two German Shepherds.

“I have been extremely fortunate over the past dozen years to serve alongside our community’s most outstanding public servants and have learned from the best of them,” said Mathews. “I believe the experiences I have gained over my career, combined with my knowledge of the issues and concerns that affect our community, will help me build upon the exemplary history of the Turner Center for the Arts. I look forward to serving and working with the staff, members of LVAC, and Center members and supporters to collectively make a positive impact on the creative and educational culture, the successful and prosperous future of our arts community, and the quality of life of our diverse, metropolitan area.”

Mathews will begin her new role at the arts center effective April 16, where she can be reached at 229.247.2787 or at smathews@turnercenter.org.