New Oregon Youth Center director

Precious Woodley began as director of the Oregon Youth Center on May 11.

The Oregon Youth Center has a new director with a passion for bringing communities together, according to a May 18 post on the center’s Facebook page.

Precious Woodley took over duties from interim director Elisa Kaether, and served her first day in the role on Monday, May 11.

The center has undergone numerous changes over the past year.

Last May, the center moved into a new 6,000 square foot, $1 million building at 110 N. Oak St. Diane Newlin, who had been the OYC director since 2010, resigned in September. She was replaced by Ashleigh Smiley in November, but Smiley exited the position in December. Assistant director Elisa Kaether became interim director at that time.

According to her LinkedIn, Woodley has held the positions of assistant director of children’s programming at Goodman Community Center and site director at Reach Dane, both based in Madison

“Precious brings a strong enthusiasm to help connect community members to resources that are already available, as well as identifying other needs,” center president Ashley Disrud wrote in an email to the Press. “With a kind and loving demeanor, Precious carries confidence, determination, and knowledge that we know will benefit our youth, and carry that through to the entire community.”

Disrud said Woodley attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a master’s degree in K12 educational leadership and policy analysis and a bachelor’s degree in social welfare, sociology and child development.

Woodley worked in the juvenile justice system for many years as an educational coordinator, supporting youth transitioning back into their communities. Her other experience includes academic coordinating, program development, fundraising and grant writing, Disrud wrote.

She also wrote that Woodley has a special interest in Trauma Informed Care, social emotional learning, school-community engagement and community development.

Neal Patten, community reporter, can be contacted at