Jacob’s Ladder welcomes new executive director

Susan C. Lendermon has been named the new executive director of Jacob’s Ladder Inc., assuming leadership as of January 1.

“I am thrilled to be joining the family of Jacob’s Ladder and look forward to continuing the incredible legacy of Aubrey and Margie Hall,” said Lendermon.

“I think we have selected a new executive director who not only knows and loves gifted children, but also who has a passion for the program,” said president of the board Peg Davis.

Since Jacob’s Ladder just celebrated its 25th Anniversary as a program, Davis is excited that the Board has selected “… someone who has the leadership skills needed to keep the program vibrant for many years to come.”

Lendermon’s background has prepared her well for this new role, having served with the Valley Alliance for Education in Fishersville and in public education in the Albemarle County School System, specifically as the gifted resource teacher for Albemarle High School.

Most recently, she served as the director of nonprofit services at the Community Foundation of Central Blue Ridge. One of her key duties was serving as mentor for the Youth Philanthropy Council, a program that introduces teens to the importance of philanthropy in their own communities and in their lives.

A key tenet of Jacob’s Ladder is the importance of raising leaders from within and have them give back to their own community.

Susan is excited to work with the Jacob’s Ladder Climbers on their own projects. “It is amazing what kids can do, right in their own backyards and I am excited to help these kids ‘pay it forward’,” she said.

Jacob’s Ladder was founded in 1991 by Aubrey and Margie Hall as a program to help intellectually gifted children who face obstacles to success. These middle school age young people—the Climbers—are selected to the program because they all have an extraordinary ability to excel academically, but due to economic or social situations are at risk of not realizing their full potential. More than 400 gifted and at-risk students have come through Jacob’s Ladder—attending the Summer Enrichment Camp during their 4th through 8th grade years and benefiting from the year-long advocacy and follow-up provided by program staff.

Most of these former students, 99%, have graduated from a public or private high-school. Most have attended college and many have then pursued advanced degrees. Alumni Climbers of the program have praised Jacob’s Ladder for giving them the opportunity to not only meet their potential, but to excel in their pursuit of an education or a career that allows them to give substantially back to their own communities.

“Ms. Lendermon is highly qualified in all the areas that will serve Jacob’s Ladder well,” said founder and former executive director Aubrey Hall. “Her willingness to take on the program and her passion for working with the children, and especially her background in gifted education, give me confidence that the program is in good hands.”

Lendermon is a resident of Staunton and has a master’s of public administration and bachelor’s of American government from the University of Virginia.