Shannon Brooks has served as the founding director of the UGA Office of Service-Learning (OSL) since 2005 where she provides leadership, support, and vision for enhancing UGA's service-learning initiatives and its engagement with the community. Under her leadership, opportunities for students to engage with the community as a part of their coursework have expanded to every school and college, and over 40% of UGA students now take a service-learning course before they graduate. She has also led the development of community-university partnerships in the OSL including Experience UGA, which brought over 12,000 Clarke County students to campus last year for academic field trips (a program idea that originated with FC-CIS); and Campus Kitchen, which recovers food and provides 200 meals per week to food insecure seniors in the community. She has served as chair of the board of the Athens Community Council on Aging, chair of the board of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, chair of the SPLOST 2020 Citizens Advisory Committee, and past president of the Classic City Rotary Club. Shannon grew up in Houston, Texas but has called Athens home for 26 years now. She lives in an intergenerational household with her husband, mother, and son, a fifth grader at Timothy Road Elementary School.
Alice Kinman is an award-winning Senior Lecturer and in the Department of Economics at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. She served two terms as District 4 Commissioner of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County, President of the Planning Commission, Land Bank Authority, TSPLOST Oversight Committee, and the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing stakeholders’ team. She served previously on the Family Connection – Communities In Schools board of directors, providing extraordinary leadership as a resource development committee member -- launching our annual fundraising event, Changing the Picture, than as board President.
Paul Kurtz was a faculty member at the University of Georgia School of Law from 1975 to 2013, specializing in criminal law and family law. He earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Vanderbilt University and his Master of laws from Harvard. He served as the law school’s associate dean for academic and student affairs, and was named to the prestigious endowed position as the J. Alton Hosch Professor of Law. Paul served as reporter for the Georgia Supreme Court’s Indigent Defense Reform Commission, was on the Public Defender Standards Council, and was a member of the Public Interest Loan Repayment Task Force. During his tenure at UGA, Paul was a visiting professor at the University of Texas, University of Missouri, Vanderbilt University, and Mercer University.
Keri Massey, Board Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, retired from her highly successful career as a financial planning auditor and serves as COO and CFO of Massey Law Group in Athens. She has extensive nonprofit volunteer experience, and her commitment to children and to public schools dates from her mother’s teaching career. She and her husband reside and work in Five Points and are the proud parents of three young children.
Carl grew up in Burke County, a rural agricultural county in south Georgia. His family owned a farm, which included cattle and row crops. A proud graduate of UGA, Carl is active in his community serving the needs of Athens and surrounding area through Rotary Club and several other civic organizations. He and his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children live in Glenwood, where Carl can often be found coaching youth sports.
David Bradley is the President & CEO of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Guilford College in Greensboro, NC, David started his career in the manufacturing business. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Organizational Management , and a former North Carolina Executive of the Year. David received his Certified Chamber Executive degree and is a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Federation.
Earnest Elder - Deacon at Ebenezer Baptist Church West. On the committee of the black history bowl. The executive director of Community & Youth Development Organization (CYDO) and a strong advocate for youth and community affairs. Born in 1970 in Athens, Ga., he attended Chase Street Elementary and Clark Middle before graduating from Clarke Central High School in 1989, where he was a four-year letterman in basketball. Elder attended Syracuse University on a basketball scholarship and graduated from the New York Theological Christian Ministry program as a certified minister. Elder is currently employed at Advantage Behavioral Health System as a Certified Peer Specialist for Addictive Disease ((CPS-AD) and is also a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (CARES). On the board of directors of family connection community in schools ( FC-CIS).
Daniel Epting prides himself on being a 4th generation Athenian and that his wife Melanie delivered both of their daughters Graham (3) and Cora (9mo) in Athens making them the 5th! He believes education is paramount to the Athens economy and as a parent values the need for expanding high quality early childhood education to all Athens residents. As COO of Epting Events, Daniel developed with his family and their amazing team a disaster response division that has served meals and other supplies in Hurricane Relief in 4 states, the US Territory of Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. Daniel opened the Athens Cotton Press in 2015 as an event space, a successful venue for four years that he recently partnered to convert into a distribution center for nonprofits serving those in need – diapers, blankets, coats, gloves, school supplies, books, feminine hygiene, baby products, and much more.
Kelly Girtz is Mayor of Athens-Clarke County Unified Government. Before he was sworn in as mayor, Girtz maintained a long career in public education, serving as a teacher and school administrator with Clarke County School District (W.R. Coile Middle School & Classic City High School), and as Director for Student Services with Foothills Charter High School. In 2006, after years of interest in national and local politics, he ran for, and was elected to, the District 9 County Commission seat, where he served until becoming Mayor in January of 2019.
Donarell Green IV
Judge Donarell Green VI, is a Clarke Central High School graduate, appointed to the Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court in 2020. Judge Green received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law in Tampa/ St. Petersburg, Florida in 1998. Judge Green has three sons and three grandchildren, Donarell, V, Matthew, Miles, Nia, Nala, and Donarell, VI. In his free time he enjoys music, painting, 40+ basketball at the YMCA, and spending time with his family.
Lizette Guevara is currently working as a Family Connection – Communities In Schools Neighborhood Leader in the J.J. Harris Prosperity Zone. Lizette is wholeheartedly committed to providing quality service and resources to residents in her community.
Kevin L. Hagan currently serves as the President & CEO of the PAN Foundation, a national healthcare and patient assistance charity. He brings more than 25 years of executive leadership and management experience in national and global nonprofits, government, and the private sector to the PAN Foundation. As president and chief executive officer (CEO), Kevin leads the PAN Foundation’s strategy and oversees the organization’s growing safety net programs and advocacy and health equity initiatives.
Communications Committee Chair
Michaela Lawrence Jeffery is pastor of the Athens Georgia Seventh-day Adventist Church where she has served since October 2017. During the eight years before Athens, she was the Adventist Christian Fellowship director for Georgia-Cumberland Conference and campus minister at Advent House on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus. She is married to Justin Jeffery, and they have two smart and adorable daughters who keep them busy and humble. In the midst of family and church life, Michaela makes time for community connections, reading, writing, podcasting, and knitting.
Chaplain Cole Knapper
Chaplain Cole Knapper, a 21st Century Civil Rights Advocate from Georgia, is a passionate intersectional activist. She champions Voting Rights and Climate Justice, uniting as a Progressive Veteran. Raised in Athens and a former Student Body President at Clarke Central High School, Cole is an ordained Chaplain with the National Action Network. A decorated Afghanistan War Veteran with multiple deployments and two Bronze Star Medals, she holds degrees from Spelman College and Ivy League institutions. Cole chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee, NAN NYC Chapter, and is an active member of NAACP, Common Defense, and more. A dedicated board member for multiple organizations and a lifetime member of VFW and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Chaplain Cole Knapper emerges as a formidable force in the Progressive Movement for Civil and Human Rights.
Alison McCullick serves as the Director of Community Relations for the University of Georgia. In her role, Alison heads the Office of Community Relations and serves as the primary liaison between UGA and the Athens-Clarke County government, businesses, neighborhoods, nonprofit organizations, community leaders and individuals.
Stephen Nobles is Clarke County School District’s Governance Flexibility Specialist; his charge is to empower CCSD schools and governance teams to think beyond ordinary ideas to evoke needed shifts to strengthen student achievement and increase community partnerships. He represents Superintendent Robbie Hooker on the FC-CIS Board of Directors. Stephen hosts the popular YouTube channel Storytime with Mr. Stephen(https://tinyurl.com/yckpy5tw), fun videos to build enthusiasm for reading among young children. He is a mentor to teen boys, among a long list of community service. He is married to Aliceson Nobles, principal of Barnett Shoals Elementary School, and they are the proud parents of daughter Laila.
Exceptionally motivated and resourceful professional with background in program coordination, education, and advocacy. Proven talent for identifying community needs, securing funding, and leading staff teams that implement successful projects and programs. Bilingual (Spanish and English) communicator with extensive experience in public speaking as well as both oral and written translation. Proficient in Microsoft Office applications, Internet research, survey development tools (i.e. Qualtrics), CRM’s (i.e. Salesforce), and electronic marketing platforms (i.e. Mailchimp, Smore). Source: Linkedin
Monique M. Sanders, CEO and Founder of Get Stemulated Foundation, drives supplemental STEM education, fortifying core curriculum through practical tools. Her background spans roles in the U.S. Coast Guards, Syngenta, and Johnson & Johnson, grounding her in agrochemical, pharmaceutical, engineering, and project management. A Senior Technical Safety Engineer at Janssen, she holds a Functional Safety Engineer certification and Six Sigma Green Belt. Armed with a Biological Engineering degree from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Columbia Southern University, she empowers youth with industry-honed skills to innovate for global challenges. Beyond her profession, Monique leads Athens' ACC Planning Commission, Historic Athens Board, and more. She's chartered National Society of Black Engineer Jr. Chapters, embodying Gandhi's words: "Lose yourself in the service of others." A 2021 Athens Chamber of Commerce Gamechanger, her journey continues.
Denise Spangler earned her doctorate in mathematics education from UGA and earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and elementary education from Illinois University. Denise joined the University of Georgia faculty in 1995 and has held a series of leadership positions, from the head of the department of mathematics and science education to senior associate dean, and most recently interim dean. She has published 100 scholarly articles, books, and book chapters related to STEM education and how elementary education majors learn to teach mathematics. Denise has contributed to UGA’s STEM Education Improvement Plan and served on the President’s Task Force on Undergraduate Education.
Faatimah Stevens is our Neighborhood Leader serving the Alps Road Prosperity Zone since October of 2021. As a designer, painter, and muralist, being involved in the creative process is Faatimah's true purpose. Although a Memphis native, she moved to Athens in her teens and graduated with honors from Clarke Central High School. It has come full circle for her to be a Neighborhood Leader representing the zone that nurtured, prepared, and propelled her into the woman she is today. After pursuing her foundation education at Atlanta College of Art and SCAD, she earned a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) at Georgia State University. She hopes to provide universal care to her zone residents, share resources with families, offer creative solutions, and make the best impact in the community that raised her.
Jennifer Zwirn, Board Member, Owner of Athens Childcare Center in Athens, Ga, Owner of Rush Trampoline Park. Jennifer and husband Wes are the owners of four childcare centers located in Athens, GA with a focal point on the arts!