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Meet our Executive Director


Melanie Thornton is an award-winning communications professional with over 20 years of cross-sector experience working with federal, state, and local governments, as well as nonprofits.


In her previous role, she was the Director of Public Relations for the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library (HMCPL) system, where she built the Library’s brand image and social media presence. She also worked on the capital campaign team that opened three new libraries in Madison County. 


She is the former Director of Alabama’s oldest preservation organization - Historic Mobile Preservation, located in Mobile, Alabama. In her role, she oversaw the operations of several historic properties, a museum and an archives. She also worked on enhancing Mobile's cultural economy through their advocacy efforts in preserving its five historic districts.

Before moving to Alabama, she worked in Washington, D.C. as a public affairs officer for the Department of the Interior, and was assigned to the agency that oversees oil development for the United States. She worked directly on the Deepwater Horizon disaster response, alongside the Secretary of the Interior and the White House.  

She has worked in numerous community roles, both in a professional capacity and as a volunteer. Her passion for community building can be traced back to her roots, growing up in a small town in South Louisiana. She worked directly on recovery of the region after Hurricane Katrina by acting as an ambassador of the State of Louisiana and representing the tourism industry, the region’s second-largest economic driver.

She uses her volunteer time to empower women through mentorship and education by serving on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Economic Development Council. She is an alumna of the Alabama Leadership Initiative and a former committee member of the Alabama Bicentennial. 

She has a Master of Arts Degree in Public History- Historic Preservation and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She and her husband Jeff settled in Madison in 2017 after Jeff retired from the United States Coast Guard. They have two sons, who attend Madison City Schools.

Meet our Project Coordinator

Melissa Davison photo project coordinator

Melissa Davison is a dedicated community volunteer with 10 years of experience working in local government.


She wrote for Rocket City Mom from 2018 to 2022, where she focused on publicizing Madison events as well as exploring other North Alabama attractions.


Before moving to Alabama, she worked as a Youth Services Librarian for the Forsyth County Public Library, where she served on the North Carolina State Library’s Youth Services Committee and served for 3 years as a Children’s Manual editor for the Collaborative Summer Library Program.


Previously, Melissa worked as the Children’s Librarian for the Henderson County Public Library system, where she served as a member of the North Carolina State Library Intellectual Freedom and Summer Reading Committees.


She volunteers extensively, having served for years on multiple local PTA boards.  She also volunteers with her children’s Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Girl Scout troops.  She spends her free time drinking caffeinated beverages, crafting, and working through her massive To-Read list.


She has a Master of Library Science in Public Libraries and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.  She and her husband John moved to Madison in 2013.  They have three children, two sons and a daughter, who attend Madison City schools.

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