Michael Patrick, Chair
Patrick is Principal Lead of Innovation & New Ventures with Chick-fil-A. He previously founded a startup company, worked as an investment advisor with Goldman Sachs and was the head of business development for Anasteel and Supply Company LLC. Patrick played basketball at the University of Georgia and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business. He also earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patrick and his wife, Brittany, reside in Atlanta.
Howard Clifford Sheppard, III (Trey), Vice Chair
Sheppard is Vice President of Howard Sheppard, Inc., a family owned trucking business located in Sandersville. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Citizens Bank of the South and is also Past Chairman and current board member of the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation. On the state level he serves on the Technical College System of Georgia State Board representing the 10th Congressional District and is a board member of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. He is active in his local community serving on the Washington County Development Authority and is a member of the Sandersville Rotary Club. Sheppard is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Georgia and in 2016 was selected to Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40 Class and Georgia Southern University’s 40 Under 40 Class. Trey and his wife, Emily, have four children and live in Sandersville.
Anne Kaiser, Founding Board Member, Past Chair
Kaiser serves as vice president of Community and Economic Development for Georgia Power. She previously served as vice president of Georgia Power’s Northwest Region. Prior to joining Georgia Power, she held senior marketing positions with KPMG, Westminster Schools of Atlanta and Alston & Bird. She currently serves on the board of directors of Berry College and is the chair of the Dean’s Council of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She is a graduate of the National Association of Corporate Director’s “Director’s College,” as well as Leadership Atlanta. Kaiser earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program of Harvard Business School. She and her husband, Mark, reside in Atlanta.
James M. Hull, Founding Board Member
Hull is the member manager of Hull Property Group. He currently serves on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and is the chairman of the University System of Georgia Foundation. He also serves on the boards of the Community Foundation of the Central Savannah River Area, Medical College of Georgia Foundation, Augusta State University Foundation, Augusta Warrior Project and America’s Warrior Partnership. Hull is a member of the board of visitors for Georgia Regents University and the board of directors of the Georgia Regents Health System. Hull is a recipient of the Augusta Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award, Augusta State University’s President’s Award and the Society of Fundraising Professional’s Philanthropist of the Year Award. Hull is a recipient of an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Georgia Regents University. He and his wife, Karen, have four children and reside in Augusta.
Chantal J. Bagwell, Founding Board Member
Bagwell currently serves on the board of directors of American Proteins and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Community Advisory Board. She is a member of the Woman’s Advocacy Group in Gainesville and was previously a member of the Circle for Children and the Sawnee Woman’s Club. She and her husband, Tommy, have four children and reside in Cumming.
Susanna L. Baxter, Founding Board Member
Baxter is the president of the Georgia Independent College Association. She previously served as the chief operating officer for the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association. Baxter is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Religion and Christian Education from Pfeiffer University and earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. She and her husband, Mark, have two children. They reside in Atlanta.
Beach is the community network specialist at King’s Ride Christian School in Alpharetta. She serves on the Alpharetta Parks and Recreation Commission and the Cherokee Education Foundation. Beach earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Kennesaw State University. She and her husband, Brandon, have two children. They reside in Alpharetta.
Stephanie Blank, Founding Board Member
Blank currently serves as chair of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Child Welfare Reform Council. She is a member of the board of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta System and is the founding chair of the governing board of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. Blank is a member of First Lady Sandra Deal’s Children’s Cabinet and an incoming chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. She is on the national board of Jumpstart, as a mentor leader for the Emerging Leaders for Children’s Healthcare and is a co-founder of Mothers & Others for Clean Air. Blank earned a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University. She and her three children reside in Atlanta.
Brad Bryant, Founding Board Member
Bryant serves as vice president, REACH Georgia. Prior to REACH, Bryant served as General Counsel and Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education. Governor Sonny Perdue appointed Bryant to the Georgia Board of Education in 2003 and he served in that role until Governor Perdue appointed him to fill the unexpired term of State School Superintendent Kathy Cox. He served on the DeKalb County School System Board of Education for 12 years, including seven years as chair. Bryant is a graduate of Presbyterian College, University of Georgia and Mercer Law School. He clerked for Judge Wilbur D. Owens, U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. He and his wife, Kay, have two grown children, two grandchildren and reside in Atlanta.
Chris Carpenter, Founding Board Member
Carpenter is a partner in Garrett McNatt Hennessey Carpenter 360 LLC, a public affairs law firm. He is a member of the board of trustees for Wofford College. Carpenter earned degrees from Wofford College and the Emory University School of Law. He and his wife, Cathy, reside in Atlanta.
James ‘Jay’ Cunningham
Cunningham is a licensed Master Plumber and the owner and President of Superior Plumbing Services, Inc. Jay has been a successful businessman within Cobb County for over 30 years. Jay is committed to his local community and spends much time and money supporting the local schools and different community endeavors. Jay has been appointed to multiple boards and serves diligently to strengthen the community where he lives and works. Jay has seven children and lives in Kennesaw.
Lampley-Fortson is the executive director and administrator of the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity. She previously served as assistant chief counsel with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Office of the Chief Counsel, and as an assistant U.S. attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. Lampley-Fortson is a former president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys and a member of the Judicial Council of Georgia’s Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee. She is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta and Leadership Georgia, and is currently the chair of the Leadership Georgia board of trustees. Lampley-Fortson earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a law degree from the University of Florida. She and her husband, Reggie, live in Fairburn.
Laura R. Morgan, Founding Board Member
Morgan is currently a member of the board of the Georgia Student Finance Commission. She previously served as the volunteer controller for the Governor’s Gubernatorial Inaugural and Transition Committee. Morgan was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as director of congressional relations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She is also a former board member of Young Audiences of Atlanta. Morgan received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Penn State University. She and her husband, Jay, have three children. They reside in Atlanta.
Caylee Noggle joined the Georgia Student Finance Commission as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in July 2015. She has over 10 years of state government experience in Georgia, serving as the Division Director for Physical and Economic Development in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, where she had budget and policy oversight for more than 20 state agencies.
Jose Perez, Founding Board Member
Perez currently serves as president of Target Market Trends. He is a commissioner on the State Charter School Commission and previously served as the 7th Congressional District representative on the State Board of Education. He and his wife, Yolanda, have three children and four grandchildren. They reside in Norcross.
Schuetze is the vice president and commercial relationship manager for BB&T in Gainesville. He is a member of the Gainesville Kiwanis Club and sits on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Hall County. Schuetze earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from North Georgia College. He and his wife, Karen, have one child. They reside in Gainesville.
Sewell is a current and founding member of the Dyslexia Resource Trust Foundation Board. She is a member of the Agape Advisory Board and is a former member of the board of trustees of Trinity School, Schenck School and the Special Olympics. Linda and her husband, Rusty, have two children. They reside in Atlanta.
Sachin Shailendra, Founding Board Member
Shailendra serves as the president of SG Contracting. He currently serves on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sports Network board. He previously served on the board of trustees for the Alexander-Tharpe Fund, the board of visitors for Emory University and the boards of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, the Atlanta Opera and the Government Affairs Council of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He previously served as president of the Woodward Academy Alumni Association and currently sits on the advisory council for Woodward Academy. Shailendra graduated from Georgia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. He resides in Atlanta.
Sims is the executive director of Internal Relations for the Technical College System of Georgia. He previously worked in the budget office for the Georgia Department of Community Health and has more than 20 years of experience in state government. Sims attended Mercer University and Kennesaw State University. He and his husband, Justin, live in Woodstock.
Smith started her technical career as a Network Engineer with BE&K in Birmingham, Alabama. After moving to Georgia, she founded PeachStaff to support utility engineering companies. In addition, she consults on interior design, remodeling projects and vintage building restoration. She has been active with several local organizations, including Make-A-Wish, Reflections and The Pantry. Smith is passionate about supporting students with dyslexia. She is a graduate of Leadership Georgia and served as a Program Chair. She and her husband have three children and live in Braselton.
Don L. Waters
Waters is CEO of Waters Capital Partners, LLC, an investment company and family office. He is on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Board of Trustees of the Chatham County Hospital Authority and the Board of Curators of the Georgia Historical Society. Waters earned a bachelor’s degree from Armstrong State College and a law degree from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Cindy, have two daughters and four grandchildren. They reside in Savannah.