About Glenna Callender

Executive Director

Glenna Houston Callender – a retired East Tallahatchie classroom teacher, IQ gifted educator, and executive director of CARE (Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort) – came out of her second retirement to assist Ed and Becky Meek with their newly formed foundation. Glenna has long exhibited a great passion for the community and a determination to see it thrive. The native of Charleston moved from Jackson back to her hometown and taught at the Charleston Middle School for 18 years as the fifth, sixth, and IQ Gifted teacher. With help from artists of the area, she procured several Whole School Initiative grants awarded by the Mississippi Arts Commission to infuse art into the school’s curriculum. She also offered students other exceptional opportunities, such as traveling on annual four-day field trips to all the surrounding southern states, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Mexico, through generous grants from her friends.

Glenna is among the founding members of CARE begun in 2003. She has served as a board member, president, and CARE’s first executive director. In 2010, she helped start the first Gateway to the Delta music festival. During her tenure at CARE, she introduced “Living Legends”; and hosted a Mose Allison Day, the International Folk Festival: A Film Festival; history programs on Scissors, Pine Crest, Camp Tallaha, Lamb Fish Lumber Co., and Charleston’s buildings and businesses around the town square; and the annual Christmas Tour of Homes.

While Glenna was serving as executive director, CARE”s Charleston Arts Center became a satellite member of the Mississippi Museum of Art; offered numerous exhibits and book signings paired with local music; promoted and exhibited primitive painter Joe Wrenn; and hosted nationally known blues pianist and vocalist Eden Brent and blues and jazz musician Alphonso Sanders.

While living in Jackson, she assisted in initiating a successful after-school care for the St. Richard’s Elementary School students. Due to the success of the program, she was asked to start a day camp at the YWCA in downtown Jackson, which was handicapped due to the lack of a playground area. Glenna and staff accompanied the the day-campers on walks and city bus rides to nearby parks, libraries, and museums for enrichment activities.

Glenna is married Denis Michael “Mike” Callender, and they have three married children, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. She earned a BSE in art education from Delta State University.