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.'
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.
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.
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.
Gary Bertsch, Board member, Board Development Committee, 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.
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.
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.
H.S. Board Member
Progress everywhere! FC-CIS Athens is the first of its kind by inviting high school students to be part our board in order to build a better-stronger Athens. Meet Aseel Mansour a senior at Cedar Shoals High School. She is an active member and leader in our Bridge to Employment project there. She (like Hadiza, below) was one of 13 BTE students worldwide (out of hundreds of applicants) selected as a BTE Student Ambassador for Johnson & Johnson. She serves on our BTE Steering Committee. She is in the top 20 seniors academically at Cedar.
H.S. Board Member
Progress everywhere! FC-CIS Athens is the first of its kind by inviting high school students to be part our board in order to build a better-stronger Athens. Meet Hadiza Saar a senior at Cedar Shoals High School. She is an active member and leader in our Bridge to Employment project there. She (like Aseel, above) was one of 13 BTE students worldwide (out of hundreds of applicants) selected as a BTE Student Ambassador for Johnson & Johnson. She serves on our BTE Steering Committee. She entered her senior year as the number 2 student academically at Cedar. She is currently a semi-finalist for a prestigious Coca Cola Scholarship (of 68,000 applicants, only 1,617 semi-finalists were selected).
Erin Barger, Board Member, CEO of North Georgia Food Bank, "It has been the great honor of my life to raise resources of value and create programs of impact through engaging people from all walks of life and circumstances, and to learn from them the incredible resilience of the human spirit and the sacred value of each person. Compelling conviction in the inherent worth of every person has been the cornerstone and compass of my 20 year career, upon which I establish trust, build relationship, and guarantee stewardship. Through this approach, donors, volunteers, and communities invest in values driven work in which our neighbors are prized as our most precious assets, and place making becomes one of our greatest joys in life." Source: Linkedin
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.
Patrick Howard, Board member and Neighborhood Leader of the Fowler Zone. Patrick works hand-in-hand with the Fowler zone by providing diapers, food, and assistance those in his community. As a board member, Howard is able to give first hand account to the needs of those in Athens.
Shawanda Johnson, Board Member and Neighborhood Leader of the Winterville Zone. Food Service and Cooking Professional. Customer Service Professional with over 20 years experience. 7 years Neighborhood Leadership(volunteer). 8 years Supervisory experience in a retail setting along with acheiving sales goals set by company standards. 6 years of Warehouse in Machine Operation and Distribution experience. Management Serve Safe Certified with 15 years of Food Service experience along with Alcohol distribution. Child care Professional with over 15 years experience. Source: Linkedin
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
Greg Roseboro, B.A., J.D., Board Member, Assistant Dean for Admissions, Diversity and Inclusion & Strategic Initiatives, School of Law, University of Georgia. Greg is a mid-distance runner participating in 800 meter races.
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!
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.
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.
Jack Frierson, Board Member, Owner and Operator of Frierson & Morang, LLC, Attorney.
Susan Fontaine, Board Member, Co-founder & President of Love.Craft Athens. After teaching in a self-contained special education classroom in Clarke County School District for 7 years, I was discouraged at the amount of attainable opportunities in our community for adults with developmental disabilities. We focus on developing job skills- while making and selling pottery to help facilitate and fund our program. We hope to advocate and create more meaningful opportunities for this population within our community. Source: Linkedin
Prior to becoming an attorney, Courtney spent more than 10 years in nonprofit management, most recently as the Executive Director of the Athens Area Homeless Shelter.
Courtney is also a member of the Rotary Club of the Classic City of Athens and serves on the board of Extra Special People. Source: https://morganlawyers.com/about/courtney-m-davis-attorney/
Rachel Tribble is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She has worked in newspapers, radio, and television, appreciating the opportunity to learn about people and share their stories with others. Having made Athens her home since college, she enjoys serving her church and participating in civic organizations where she can directly assist those in need. Rachel lives in Athens with her husband and two sons.