Board of Directors

Lucy Atkinson, Board President
Attorney, Cook & Tolley

Born and raised in Atlanta, Lucy graduated with a degree in English from Washington & Lee University in 2002 and earned her J.D. from The University of Georgia School of Law in 2007.  After practicing law in Atlanta, Lucy and her husband moved back to Athens in 2012. She ran a local fitness studio in Athens for several years before returning to the practice of law as a litigation staff attorney at Cook & Tolley, LLP in October 2015.  Lucy has two children: Charlie (9) and Louise (5).

Alexia Ridley, Vice President
Correspondent & host, WUGA

Alexia Ridley is the primary News Anchor and Host of ‘Athens News Matters,’ a program dedicated to current events, news coverage, and philanthropic endeavors. Before coming to Athens, she worked at WGXA TV in Macon. She writes, produces and delivers multiple daily newscasts in addition to booking guests and conducting interviews for our hour-long news show, ‘Athens News Matters.’

Shirley L. Reyes, Board Secretary
Program Operations Coordinator, UGA Fanning Institute for Leadership Development

Shirley is a Program Operations Coordinator at the Fanning Institute, working with clients, team planning, providing budgeting and accounting support, logistical management, and program assessment and reporting. She has served as UGA Housing alumni relations coordinator and administrative coordinator in the UGA Office of Institutional Diversity. She enjoys working with children and families to empower them with the knowledge and resources to strive for and achieve their goals. She is a native Athenian, a mother of four and a breast cancer survivor.

Rachel Tribble

Rachel Tribble has long been an advocate for children’s literacy. Having worked in the news media for more than 20 years, she has seen the struggles of at-risk families and the organizations that serve them. She has received broadcast awards from the Georgia News Network and United Press International, as well as writing awards from the Georgia Associated Press and the Georgia Press Association. Rachel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia and studied figurative drawing at Augustana University in South Dakota. In addition to her love of writing and the arts, Rachel has served on the boards of various organizations from the the Colonial Dames of America to the Young Designers Sewing Program. She is a member of the Children’s Writers Guild online and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Athens with her husband, Grant, and their two sons.

Elizabeth DeMarco
Community Leader

Elizabeth (Liz) DeMarco is a native Athenian.  Her degrees and work were in the sciences including a B.S. in Zoology, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Georgia and an M.S. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Elizabeth cares deeply about the Athens community and has dedicated many volunteer hours, often taking leadership roles, to livability issues, her daughters’ schools, historic preservation, and the arts and music.

Gary Bertsch, Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Center for International Trade and Security at UGA

Gary Bertsch is a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus and Founder of the Center for International Trade and Security at UGA where he won multiple awards in his 40 years of service. He is a co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of TradeSecure, LLC. He co-founded and directed the Delta Prize for Global Understanding, hosting and recognizing world leaders, such as Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Mikhail Gorbachev. He is an elected life member of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, the world’s leading international think-tank. He has served on the boards of the Athens Rotary Club, UGA’s research and development foundations, and other organizations.

Joan Bertsch
Community Leader

Joan Bertsch is a homemaker, mother to three graduates (Jason and twins Dawn and Todd) of Clarke County schools, and the wife of FC-CIS board member Gary Bertsch. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Joan values public education as the daughter of a teacher, principal and superintendent. She worked for nearly 20 years at UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, served on the board and is a longtime supporter of the Athens Clarke County Heritage Foundation (now Historic Athens). Retired and living in the Henderson Avenue Historic District, Joan loves Athens and remains active in community affairs.

Shannon Brooks
Founding Director of UGA Office of Service Learning

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.

Chris Blount
Co-Owner, Blount Heating & Air

Chris is a longtime resident of Athens and graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.S. Ed. In Behavioral Science/Human Behavior. Chris has always been involved in the community through her volunteer work as a board member of the Junior League of Athens, where she served on the National Public Affairs committee. She has also been involved with the American Cancer Society, the Counsel for Prevention of Child Abuse, The Counsel Against Teenage Pregnancy, and she sat on the board of the Bloomfield Committee Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Chris and her husband Tucker have served as the owners of Blount Heating and Cooling since 1984.

Hon. Donarell Green IV
Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court Judge

Athens-Clarke County Magistrate Court Judge Donarell R. Green, IV is a native of Athens and is a 1989 graduate of Clarke Central High School. Judge Green received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from Morris Brown College in 1994 and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1998. He was appointed as a judge in September 2020. Prior to that appointment, he worked as a staff attorney with Georgia Legal Services; as managing partner in the law firm of Green & Green, LLP for over 20 years; as city attorney for the City of Hull, Georgia; and as an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia School of Law Family Violence Clinic, University of Georgia Continuing Education Paralegal Studies Program, and Athens Technical College Paralegal Studies Department. Among other honors, he received the 2020 Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service, and was often recognized in the State Bar of Georgia’s Annual Pro Bono Honor Roll. Judge Green has served as a youth football coach, YMCA volunteer and fitness instructor, and a presenter at “Career Day” and “Leaders as Readers” in local schools. Judge Green has three sons and three grandchildren. He enjoys music, painting, 40+ basketball at the YMCA, and spending time with his family.

Katrina Evans
Architect, Co-owner, E&E Architecture

Katrina Evans is originally from Iowa but has been lucky enough to call Athens home for the past 18 years.  Katrina graduated from Iowa State University after studying architecture and now is the co-owner of E+E Architecture Inc. alongside her husband Chris. Katrina has two children, Cooper (14) and Delaney (9) and when not parenting or practicing architecture, she is an advocate for our public education system.

Paul Kurtz
Associate Dean & Professor Emeritus, UGA School of Law

Paul Kurtz, a native of New York, earned his BA and JD degrees from Vanderbilt University and his LL.M. from Harvard University.  After starting his career in legal education with brief appointments at Boston University Law School and Boston College Law School, he joined the UGA Law Faculty in 1975.  He ultimately became a J. Alton Hosch Professor and served 22 years as the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. He has received the Milner Ball Social Justice Award and the UGA President’s Medal.

Susan Fontaine
President, Yoga Instructor, Love.Craft Athens

Co-founder & President of Love.Craft Athens. After teaching in a self-contained special education classroom in Clarke County School District for 7 years, she was discouraged at the amount of attainable opportunities in our community for adults with developmental disabilities. Love.Craft Athens focuses on developing job skills- while making and selling pottery to help facilitate and fund the program. Love.Craft Athens hopes to advocate and create more meaningful opportunities for this population within our community.

Jack Frierson.
Attorney at Law

Jack has lived most of his life in Athens. After finishing high school near San Diego, he returned to Athens to earn his undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia.  Then, after living in France and traveling worldwide as a tennis player and coach, he returned to the University of Georgia to serve as the assistant coach of the men’s tennis team for four years and then to earn his law degree.  He lives in Athens with his wife, Sarah Petit Frierson, and their children, Henry and Willa, who attend Clarke Central High School. Jack has practiced law since 2005, focusing primarily in the areas of wills, trusts, and estates and business law.

Kelly Girtz
Mayor, Athens-Clarke County

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.

Shawanda Johnson
Neighborhood and Community LeaderC

Shawanda Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois. She ran a successful 24/7 Family Home Childcare in Illinois before moving back to Athens. In 2011 she started volunteering with the Whatever it Takes initiative. She was also involved with the UGA EFNEP and SNAP-ED Program as a Nutrition Program Assistant. Continuing her Chef role, she worked with Athens Public Library’s Culinary Literacy Program, bringing Athenians a combination of nutrition and cooking instruction with English language education. With a passion to help, she is now The Neighborhood Leader for the Winterville Prosperity zone. She has 3 children, Nadia (21) UWG graduate, Sincere (14) and Janiah(11)

Erin Barger
Project Manager for Envision Athens

Erin Barger became Project Manager for Envision Athens after serving as a citizen representative on the Steering Committee for this movement in 2017. Erin brings to this role two decades of community development work, ranging from work in disability supports and advocacy, refugee resettlement, service as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in China, and then nearly a decade of addressing poverty in the beloved community of Athens, Georgia. Erin is excited about Envision Athens as the right combination of grassroots passion and institutional capacity to propel Athens toward the best possible version of herself. This Athens will have reached her full potential in unity, prosperity, equity, and compassion. Just as the Athenian oath proclaims, Erin always tries to leave people and places better than she found them, and that is her intention with Envision Athens, and in each role in which she is honored to serve. Erin loves spending time at Athens YMCA and outdoors, and wouldn’t rather be with anyone else but her husband, Brian, and children Lazarus Mercy, Atticus Earth, and Moses Jubilee.

Gregory Roseboro
Assistant Dean for Admissions, Diversity, and Inclusion & Strategic Initiatives, UGA School of Law

Greg Roseboro oversees the law school’s admissions process for the Juris Doctor and graduate programs, and for diversity and inclusion works with faculty, staff, students and alumni relating to academic support, recruitment and community outreach. He also works with the Davenport-Benham Black Law Students Association, the Asian Law Students Association, the Hispanic Law Students Association and the Outlaws student organization. Greg earned both his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and his law degree from UGA. As an undergraduate, he excelled as a mid-distance runner, serving as team co-captain and being named to the All-SEC and U.S. Junior Team for the 800 meters.
A strong believer in giving back to the community, Roseboro plays an active leadership role in civic affairs and is the former pastor of the Piney Grove Baptist Church in Comer.

Sgt. UnTwann Leverette
Recruiting and Retention Officer for ACCPD

UnTwann Leverette heads up the Athens-Clarke County Police Department’s Recruiting and Retention Unit and he has been with ACCPD for more than a decade. He has a criminal justice degree from the University of Georgia. He is committed to the Athens-Clarke County community and to the betterment of society as a whole.

Erin Thompson Podvin
Department of Family & Community Engagement for Clarke County School District

Erin has spent nearly 20 years working to increase equity and access across the K-12 and higher education landscapes. She previously served CCSD as Lead Migrant Family Engagement Specialist and as Coordinator for the Even Start Family Literacy Program. As Regional Program Director for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund she worked to increase college readiness, access, and retention among Latin@ students. Thereafter, she supported first-generation college students and other vulnerable student populations as Coordinator of First Generation & Scholars Programs at UGA.

Erin is a product of CCSD and a proud first-generation graduate of Boston University. After college she served 2&1/2 years in rural Guatemala as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She is a past President of the Junior League of Athens and a 2013 graduate of LEAD Athens. Active in a number of community organizations in the Athens area, Erin has never met a fundraiser she didn’t like. She has danced hip-hop, noshed wasabi, raced in high heels, rappelled off buildings and more, all to support causes she believes in.

Erin enjoys soccer, music, family dance parties, and time at the lake. She and her husband Josh are proud parents to Amos and Charlie.

Daniel Epting
Chief Operating Officer, Epting Events, Owner, Athens Cotton Press

Daniel 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.

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