Sherry Paula Watkins

Sherry Paula Watkins 2019
Executive Director
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Sherry Paula Watkins is the Executive Director of North Carolina Humanities Council. Prior to the North Carolina Humanities Council, she served as Assistant Director and South Carolina Book Festival Director at the Humanities Council SC.

A Hartsville, SC native, Watkins joined the staff at The Humanities Council SC in October of 2001 in the role of Finance and Business Manager. She brought two national programs to The Humanities Council SC in 2004: Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Healthcare and the traveling Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibition Barn Again.

Watkins was promoted to Assistant Director and SC Book Festival Director in 2005 and coordinated eight festivals, overseeing the addition of the Children's Fieldtrip Day, the Children's Pavilion, and the Literary Vine partnership with Richland Library. Under Watkins' leadership, the SC Book Festival attained new heights in attendance, fundraising, and cultural outreach. Watkins was recognized in 2011 with the Lucy Hampton Bostick Award from Richland Library for her efforts in advancing interest in books and libraries. During the 2013 SC Book Festival, Watkins was honored by the City of Columbia with the key to the city because of her service in the literary and cultural arts, and Saturday, May 18, 2013 was named Paula Watkins Day.

Watkins is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in biological sciences. She is using her years of experience with humanities councils, along with her unique academic perspective, to strengthen and broaden the organization's relationships with the citizens of North Carolina.