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JMU names executive director for Lab School for Innovation and Career Exploration

Crystal Graham
JMU aerial
Photo courtesy City of Harrisonburg

The James Madison University College of Education has named its first executive director of the Lab School for Innovation and Career Exploration.

Donica Hadley has served more than 24 years in the education field.

Hadley said she was drawn to the position because, “it was the perfect opportunity to work closely with several communities of people that are important to me. Having served in an administrative position in RCPS (Rockingham County Public Schools) and currently serving as an assistant professor here at JMU, I am in a unique position to serve in this role by building on relationships I have with various members within both communities.”

“I am honored and humbled to serve as the executive director and look forward to being a member of the teaching and learning community we will build in the spirit of unified community effort.”

The JMU Lab School for Innovation and Career Exploration was approved by the Virginia Board of Education in January.

The lab school is a partnership with Blue Ridge Community College and Rockingham County Public Schools and is designed to cultivate innovation and provide career exposure.

Through interdisciplinary problem-solving, the lab school offers students real-world experiences, dual enrollment options and pathways aligned with regional employment needs, ensuring college and career readiness.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.