Our Trustees

Coming Soon

Lillie Brooks

Lillie grew up in Hammond, Louisiana, a product of both public and private education. She has lived in Athens since 2008, with the exception of the 2.5 years she spent in Jackson, MS and Monroe, LA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Louisiana at Monroe including coursework towards a Masters of Teaching. Lillie has worked as an ABA therapist to children with Autism in Southern California, a 2nd grade teacher in West Monroe, LA, and a paraprofessional in CCSD at Cedar Shoals HS and Barrow Elementary. Her husband, Josh, is the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics at the University of Georgia. They have three sons, twins James and Jackson, who attend Clarke Middle School, and Davis, who attends Timothy Road Elementary School. The boys are all very active in local athletic programming, including the YMCA, Athens Little League at Holland Park, and Sirius Athletics. Lillie has been an active participant in the PTA/PTOs of all her children’s schools. She also enjoys volunteering with her church, Athens First United Methodist, and other local nonprofits as the opportunities arise. Lillie and Josh thoroughly enjoy living in Athens and outside of all the UGA sporting events they attend, they love taking in live concerts with a great local dinner in Athens. They are very passionate in their support for CCSD and the students, teachers, & staff that they serve. 


Tina Carpenter

Tina is a Professor of Accounting, EY Faculty Fellow & Terry Instructional Innovation Fellow in the Terry College of Business, at the University of Georgia (UGA). She earned her Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Accounting, and Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida State University, and she previously worked as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for Arthur Andersen for three years in between her education. She and her husband, Don (Internal Auditor & CPA, UGA), have lived in Athens since 2004. They have two children, Daly (14) who attends Clarke Middle School, and Court (11) who attends David C. Barrow Elementary School. Tina was recently awarded UGA’s Creative Teaching Award, and received UGA’s Learning Technologies Innovation Grant for her innovative teaching, fraud simulation & use of emerging technologies. She currently serves on the Local School Governance Team for Clarke Middle, and has previously served as President and Treasurer of Barrow Elementary School PTA. Growing up in a wonderfully diverse county in Florida similar to Clarke County, where teachers, principals and counselors believed in her, Tina hopes to pay it forward by investing in and recognizing our amazing teachers, administrators and staff in Clarke County.


Wanda Bell Culpepper

Trustee, Past President


Wanda has lived in Athens since 1983. She is married to John Culpepper, who is now retired, after serving as Finance Director for Athens-Clarke County for 31 years. Their sons, Brandon and Josh, attended Barnett Shoals ES, Whit Davis ES, Hilsman MS, and graduated from Cedar Shoals HS. Brandon was very involved in high school sports and was captain of the CSHS football team. Josh was equally involved in music and theatre arts with both CSHS and Athens Creative Theatre. Wanda received her BS Ed from the University of Georgia (1969) and her MEd from Georgia College and State University (1980). Now retired, Wanda was a classroom teacher for over 30 years. She taught 1st grade at Whitehead Road ES for seven years and at Whit Davis ES for 19 years. During her years of teaching in Clarke County, Wanda received the FFE Margaret and Raymond Pondsoldt Chair for Elementary School Teaching Award, the FFE Mae M. Whatley Teacher of the Year Award and the FFE Teacher of Excellence Award. Wanda enjoys being an active community volunteer in her retirement years. Her prior service to the community includes being on the Board of Directors of Cedar Shoals HS Touchdown Club, Cedar Shoals HS Quarterback Club, Athens Creative Theatre, Friends of the Athens Regional Library, Reflecting, Sharing, Learning Project, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Athens, and as Chair of the Board of Deacons at her church. 

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Evan Elder

Evan was born and raised in Athens and is a product of the Clarke County School District. From Whitehead Rd, to Clarke Middle, to Clarke Central, to UGA, Evan has lived here his entire life because he knows that Athens is the best town in the world. He has been with his wonderful wife, Victoria, for almost 10 years, and loves spending time with her and their two dogs and one cat (sometimes). He has a deep love of music, LIVE music, and the performing arts in general. He and Victoria love to explore cities and towns all over the world at every chance they get. Evan has been with Synovus Bank since June of 2008, earning Employee of the Year honors for the NEGA Division in 2019. He currently serves on numerous non-profit boards supporting many local and regional missions, including the Classic Center Cultural Foundation, the YWCO, the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, and the LEAD Athens Alumni Association to name a few. While he doesn’t have children in the Clarke County school system, he feels that the district played a huge role in his life growing up and wants to support the educators that are so impactful in any way he can.


Sonya Fears

Sonya Fears is a native Athenian and a 1995 graduate of Cedar Shoals High School. She has two children who also attended schools in Clarke County.  She is a two-time graduate of Athens Technical College (Secretarial Science-Diploma & Business Administrative Technology, AAS) and recent graduate of  Valdosta State University with a B.S in Organizational Leadership (minor in Public Administration). She is an  Accounting/Administrative Specialist at The University of Georgia and has been employed with them for the past 23 years and is the owner of Fears Tax and Business Services, LLC in Athens, GA. She is currently serving as an advisory committee member with The University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education - 2022 Administrative Professionals Day Conference. Sonya served as Resident Commissioner on the Athens Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (2016-17) and Treasurer of the Inter-Community Council. She is a 2017 graduate of Athens Area Chamber of Commerce's LEAD Athens Program and has past volunteer experience with the Alps Road ES PTA and Athens Area Habitat.


Mary Dixon Garrison

Mary is a native Athenian, having attended Princeton School, Alps Road ES, Clarke Junior High (now Clarke MS), and Clarke Central HS. Her children, Kelly Dixon and Amy Dixon Perry, attended Gaines ES, Barrow ES, Alps Rd. ES, Clarke MS, and graduated from Clarke Central HS. Mary received her BS (1974), MEd (1975), and Specialist in Education (1991) all from The University of Georgia. Now retired, Mary spent her professional career at Whitehead Road ES serving as a classroom teacher for 25 years and as the assistant principal for seven years. She concluded her career at Whitehead Road ES were she served as a part-time instructional coach and as an instructional interventionist until 2012. At present, Mary serves as chair on the administrative board of her church and enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren.


Glenda Huff 

Glenda Huff is a former CCSD math teacher, instructional coach, math coordinator, and coordinator of instructional coaches. Glenda’s husband Lionel is a graduate of Clarke Central High School and her three children Lisa, Garrett, and Ryan are all graduates of Cedar Shoals High School. Glenda is currently retired and enjoys relaxing and spending quality time with her family and friends.


Vicki Keenan

Trustee, Secretary


Vicki was born in Ohio where she later began her schooling at Ohio University.  Shortly after marrying her husband, then an Army Officer, she completed her degree in Sociology at St. Martin’s College in Olympia, WA while her husband was stationed at Fort Lewis, WA. Several years later, while living in Texas and after having two of her three sons, she decided to go to East Texas State University to obtain her teaching certificate. Vicki taught 2nd grade for five years in Texas before her husband’s job moved the family to Athens in 1996.  Her older boys were in college at the Air Force Academy and Texas A&M, but her youngest son, Tate, attended Coile MS and graduated from Cedar Shoals HS.  She taught 5th grade at Whit Davis ES for 15 years and is now enjoying retirement. She spends a lot of her time traveling to see her sons’ families. Travis, her oldest, is recently retired from the Air Force and lives in Colorado with his family; Taylor’s family is in Austin, TX; and Tate graduated from UGA Law School and lives with his wife and son in Atlanta.  She looks forward to any time she can spend with her five grandchildren.  Vicki also still enjoys the elementary students, so she volunteers in a 4th grade classroom at Whit Davis one day a week.


Glenn Leavell

Treasurer (Ex-Officio)


Glenn is a Georgia native who grew-up in Mississippi. Glenn has lived in Athens since 1987, having moved here to attend the University of Georgia, where he earned a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science.  After graduation, he spent over 30 years working in various Information Technology positions at UGA and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, most recently as the Executive Director of Enterprise Services at the Board of Regents, before retiring in 2022.  Glenn is married to Linda Leavell, a veterinarian at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health.  They have two children, Simon, who graduated from Clarke Central HS in 2020, and Hannah, who is currently a junior at CCHS.  Glenn served two years as Barrow Elementary PTA treasurer, represented Barrow Elementary for two years on the CCSD Parent Advisory Board, and served two years as Clarke Middle PTA treasurer. Glenn also serves on the board of the Friends of Five Points neighborhood organization.  Glenn began serving as a Foundation for Excellence trustee in 2016 and has served as treasurer since 2018.


Tad MacMillan

Trustee, President Elect


Tad currently teaches in the Education Department at Piedmont College, and also serves as the Alumni Transition Coordinator at Foothills Charter High School.  He retired after 32 years with Clarke County Schools, having served as a principal, instructional coach, and language arts and social studies teacher. 


During his tenure with Clarke County Schools, Tad worked to support the Grow It-Know It program and other school gardening-culinary arts initiatives. He also helped to implement the Restorative Justice initiative at CMS. Tad also championed CCSD’s former Professional Development Schools partnership efforts with UGA, serving on the PDS National Board as the K-12 representative and helping to develop the PDS school model at Clarke Middle. Tad received the FFE's Kathryn Hug Leadership Award as well as the Foundations's Excellence in Classroom Teaching Award. Tad has also served on the Samaritan Counseling Board, the InterFaith Hospitality board, and the Friends of the ACC Library board.


Tad grew up in Atlanta, and attended public schools and the University of Georgia. Tad's daughter, Dory, attended Barrow Elementary and Clarke Middle, and graduated from Clarke Central High School (and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.)  Dory was the honored recipient of the Foundation's Eve Carson Award in 2013. Tad's wife, Amy, a lawyer with 35+ years of diverse experience, is also a public school graduate, served on CCSD's Multicultural Task Force, and helped to coach the mock trial team at Clarke Central. She formerly served as Athens-Clarke County’s chief assistant attorney, and now, has her own practice. 


Berni McCranie

Trustee, President


Berni was born in Pennsylvania and lived in four states before her family eventually settled in Athens during the summer of 1974. That fall, she became a proud Jaguar when she began her sophomore year at Cedar Shoals High School. After graduating in 1977, Berni attended the University of Georgia where she majored in Early Childhood Education. Subsequently, she married and had two children. Her older son, Todd, began his schooling at Barrow Elementary where Berni completed her student teaching. In the fall of 1987, both Berni and her daughter Katie started Kindergarten -- Berni, as a teacher at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary, and Katie, as a student at Gaines Elementary where her big-brother was then a 2nd-grader. Both children attended Clarke County Schools until their respective high school graduations. Todd is now a Master Sergeant in the US Army and is currently stationed in New York with his wife and three children. Katie teaches middle school special education in Los Angeles and is married with two young boys.

Berni taught at Oglethorpe Avenue for three years before transferring to the newly-built Whit Davis Elementary in 1990. She taught 1st grade at Whitehead Road ES for seven years and at Whit Davis ES for nineteen years. at Whit, she earned her Masters degree from Piedmont College. She taught kindergarten, 3rd, and 2nd grades until her retirement in 2015. Today, she enjoys reading, volunteering, and lots of travelling to visit her children and grandchildren.

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Shannah Montgomery

Shannah Montgomery has been a resident of Athens since 1996. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. She considers herself a visual storyteller and has spent her career cultivating that passion. Her professional life has included co-owning ZoomWorks Photography, teaching at the Lyndon House Arts Center and Grady College, and is currently working as a public relations coordinator for the Office of the Vice-President for Public Service and Outreach at UGA. She is married to Jeff Montgomery, public information officer for Athens Clarke-County. They have two children; Ethan & Ben both students at Cedar Shoals High School. Shannah has served on the PTO boards at Whit Davis Elementary and Hilsman Middle, and also on the Parent Advisory Board. She is a board member at Canopy Studio, a flying aerial dance trapeze studio in Athens, and spends much of her free time in classes there. 


Catherine Neace

Executive Director (Ex-Officio)


Catherine Neace has been a resident of Athens for over 35 years. She attended Hilsman Middle and Cedar Shoals High School. She later graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She and her husband Keith have owned and managed Barberitos Downtown Athens since 2006. They have three children who attend Cedar Shoals High School and Hilsman Middle School. All three Neace kids attended Whit Davis Elementary. She has been a part time Student Support Technician at Hilsman Middle School since 2018.


Catherine became a Trustee on the FFE Board in July 2013. She was the FFE President of the Board of Trustees in 2016. She served on the Steering Committee for Envision Athens in 2016. Catherine was the President of the Whit Davis PTO in 2016-17. She is currently the “Team Mom” for the Cedar Shoals High School Aqua Jags Swim Team Booster Club and the Co-President of the East Athens Sea Turtles Swim Team (out of the Green Acres - Crestwood Pool).


When not driving her kids to their Scout meetings, piano lessons, and sports practices, Catherine enjoys a nice run, reading, and a good laugh. She looks forward to continuing her support of the staff & students of the Clarke County School District. 

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Jim Warnes

Jim Warnes has lived in Athens since 1968 when he enrolled at UGA Law School.  Jim’s wife of 54 years, Carol, has an M.Ed. from UGA, and is a retired UGA math instructor.  Jim and Carol had 3 daughters who all attended Clarke County public schools.  Jim and Carol were band parents for both Clarke Central and Cedar Shoals at the same time, working concession stands at both schools.  Jim served on the Clarke County BOE from 1980 – 1985 and was president of the BOE for two years. The Foundation for Excellence began during his time on the BOE.  Jim is retired from the practice of law after a 47-year career including being City of Athens traffic court judge from 1974 – 1977 and 1980 – 1985.  He also served as attorney for the Athens Housing Authority, the Athens Downtown Development Authority, and Nuci’s Space.