Mattie Colan has only lived in Longview since 2018, but one part of it quickly stole her heart — Asbury House Child Enrichment Center.

Asbury House, which is in downtown Longview, is a preschool that serves low-income families with parents who are working or attending college or job training.

Colan started working at the center as a teacher in the 3-year-old children’s classroom and eventually became development director. Now, she has been named the facility’s executive director.

“I’ve always had a passion for the nonprofit side of Asbury House. It took my heart very quickly,” she said.

Former Executive Director Stephanie Adams resigned because she and her husband are moving for his job. Her last day was Friday.

“I think that everybody’s going to miss Stephanie, but I’m hoping we can still do justice to those kiddos because they deserve it,” Colan said.

Although she spent some time working at Community Healthcore between teaching at Asbury House and becoming its development director, Colan stayed involved.

She will be corresponding with donors and working to get the word out about Asbury House, she said.

“A lot of my job is making sure everything’s going to the way it needs to and reaching out to local people and encouraging people to get to know Asbury House,” Colan said. “I think Asbury House runs incredibly well in the way that it is we’ve sustained for over 50 years. The only big goal we have is just really trying to embrace the Longview community more and getting our word out. A lot of people that still don’t know what we do.

“The easiest way to do that is have people come in and see what we do,” she said. “I would love to get people in there once we’re allowed to again.”

Colan’s background is in psychology, which helps her with the holistic approach to nurturing children at the center.

That approach includes making sure families are cared for and children feel loved and are fed and happy, she said.

“We believe that’s the best way for a child to learn,” Colan said. “Part of when I was studying, I did a lot of child development classes. I have a strong knowledge of this developmental change in a child’s life. It’s helped me learn how to interact with people and be able to embody and encompass everything that needs to be done.”

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Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.