Co-President One of the founding members of the NTCP, Sally is a past president and the current fundraising chair of the organization. A native of Greenville, SC, she has served on a number of boards since she moved to Athens in 1987 including, Family Counseling Service, Classic City High School, Youth Leadership Athens, Community Connection, Athens Academy, Athens Area Arts Council, Canopy Studio, Oconee River Land Trust, and the ACC Cultural Arts Commission. She holds a BA in music from Stanford University and an MA from UGA in Community Counseling. She enjoys music composition, painting, hiking and hanging out with her husband and three grown children.
Co-President Since 2002 Amy has been the director at Emmanuel Episcopal Day School, which is a half-day program for 95 children ages 20 months through 4 years. She taught preschool for 6 years as a lead teacher in a two’s class and a pre-K class. She holds a Bachelors from Rutgers College in Sociology and a certificate of Early Childhood Program Administration. She is currently the Athens area representative for the Georgia Preschool Association and served on the board for the Georgia Association for the Education on Young Children for 5 years. In 2009, she founded the Athens Area Directors Group, a networking association for early childhood administrators in Athens. She has always loved working with young children and met her husband when she was working as a camp counselor. Amy lives in Oconee County and her two grown sons live in Athens.
Vice President Since moving to Athens in 1979, Sara opened a small business downtown, worked as an Historic Preservation Planner statewide, went to graduate school, then finally landed in her life’s profession—5th and 6th grade classroom teacher in two Title I CCSD schools. After a turn in administration and a few years supervising student teachers for UGA, she worked in semi-retirement teaching ESOL at Athens Tech and UGA graduate housing. Now fully retired, as a volunteer she tutors adults preparing for the GED, serves meals regularly at a community shelter, spends one day a week in an elementary classroom, and another afternoon with her therapy dog visiting a memory care facility. In addition to serving on this board, she is also a board member of a non-profit working in Haiti.
Secretary Tamara Haag has a Master’s in Social Work and serves high school students in the Clarke County School District. She formerly coordinated CCSD’s Homeless Education Program, and spent much time in our community’s homeless shelters with students and their families. She witnessed firsthand what a positive impact the Nancy Travis Childcare Project had for families working on regaining stability, and wanted to contribute toward that mission as a board member. In her free time, Tamara enjoys spending time with her two children, reading, yoga, and amateur photography.
Treasurer Ron grew up in Winder, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia with a BBA degree in Management. He has served on many boards and authorities in the Athens area including Community Connection, Athens Justice Project, Jeannette Rankin Foundation, Children First, The Cottage, Athens-Clarke Growth Fund, Athens Downtown Development Authority and Chairman of the Athens-Clarke County Board of Equalization. For his 25 years of service to the Athens Community, Ron received the Community Service Award and The Spirit of Athens Award. He has lobbied our Senators and Representatives in Washington, DC, for more funding in early child care development. He is the co-owner of Trumps Catering and has two grown children.
One of the original members of the NTCP board, Marilyn has recently returned to the board and is currently a member of the implementation committee. In the past, she has also served on the board of Prevent Child Abuse Athens. Known nationally for her advocacy efforts on behalf of children, teachers, and parents, Marilyn is the author of The Caring Teacher’s Guide to Discipline, The Loving Parents’ Guide to Discipline; and When a Friend Dies, a Book for Teens about Grieving and Healing.
Dr. Gowen is passionate about quality care for young children. Her interest began when she founded and directed a childcare center for children living in poverty that served as a lab school for the University of South Florida. Since then, she has conducted research on early child development, parenting, and early intervention with children with special needs, taught graduate courses in child development and early childhood programs, worked with parents, and published a book on guiding parents of children whose emotional development is at risk. Since retiring in Athens, she directed the region’s childcare resource and referral agency for six years. She earned her Ph.D. in child development and educational psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Over the years, she has served on several state and community councils and committees in Florida, North Carolina and Georgia. She is currently on the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Council and the WIT Early Care and Learning Team. Before becoming a child development psychologist, she was Education Editor for the St. Petersburg Times and Public Relations Director for the St. Petersburg Community College. What does she treasure most? Her four children and two grandchildren!
Pamela Leed is presently working in the Marketing and Communications Department as the marketing coordinator for the UGA Georgia Magazine since 1997. Her previous experience before UGA was working with several advertising agencies in Atlanta, GA where her primary focus was on non-profit advertisers such as Christian Children’s Fund, Save the Children and the Helen Keller Project. Her husband Art and her moved to Athens in 1987, and raised three children in the area. She has served on several volunteer committees around the Athens area which included the Junior League of Athens, YWCO, Timothy Elementary Board, Athens Academy volunteer, Alpha Omicron Pi, corporation president and treasurer. Tennis is her hobby, which she will volunteer at anytime to play.
Kirsten has taught in special education classrooms and supervised student teachers in the Albuquerque and Chicago Public Schools. After completing the MA in Communicative Disorders/Learning Disabilities she relocated from Evanston, Ill to Albuquerque, NM where she served as Methods and Materials Specialist and was director of the Committee On Political Education for the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. She met her husband while she was in law school and he was a fellow in the medical school. They moved with their young son to Athens in 1986. Her law practice included representation of children with disabilities. She also served on the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Committee. She is an incorrigible gardener and currently chairs The Piedmont Gardeners Scholarship in Landscape Architecture, and has chaired the Annual Spring Tour of Athens Area Gardens. Kirsten believes the seeds for a happy, healthy, and meaningful life have the best chance to germinate when they are planted in a nurturing, stimulating, and safe environment.
Mimi Middendorf has a BS and MS in Ed. and has taught pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, and is now working at Classic City High School in Athens. She has a strong conviction that young children deserve a safe, quality-rated childcare situation in order to develop vital skills for academic and life success. Nancy Travis Childcare Project lives by this philosophy which is one of the reasons why she has been a member of the Board for the past eleven years. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her grown family of four and their children.
Donna has lived in Athens for over twenty years, hailing originally from Virginia. With a BA degree in Criminal Justice, Donna moved to Texas to work with troubled youth in a wilderness setting. This was followed with many years counseling young adolescents in a Virginia Psychiatric Hospital who were hospitalized with emotional and mental health issues. Her passion to help children continued in later years as a volunteer for the Make a Wish Foundation, Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters, serving as a board member for Prevent Child Abuse Athens, The Salvation Army and now NTCP. She enjoys traveling with her husband Tom and their high school aged twin sons. Along with volunteering as team parent for sports teams and theatre productions, Donna enjoys painting, exercise and being a mom.
Nominations Committee Chairwoman Janet and her husband Alex moved to Athens in 2008, retiring to the town where he was born and she grew up. They both graduated from Athens High School. Alex graduated from the University of Georgia in 1964, Janet in 1965. They married and left town. Returning to Athens in 2008 to a very different Athens, they worked to become better acquainted with the town left behind. Both became active in the community. They joined St. Gregory Episcopal Church. Janet continued her active participation in the work and ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She chairs the planning committee for its annual Council meeting and serves as an elected deputy to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting next in 2015 in Salt Lake City. Janet has served on the Board of the Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation and is currently serving as vice-president/program chairman of the Athens Historical Society. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Georgia Museum of Art. Janet joined the board of the Nancy Travis Childcare Project in 2012.
Kathy Rojek is a retired educator who has lived in Clarke County since 1978. During her thirty years in education, Kathy taught elementary and middle school and worked as a curriculum director, assistant principal, and principal. Since retiring, Kathy has been supervising student teachers for the University of Georgia. She just finished serving eight years on the board of directors for Prevent Child Abuse Athens and welcomes the opportunity to work with NTCP.
Candice, “Candy”, Sherman was born and raised in Queens and Long Island, N.Y. She graduated from Queens College, C.U.N.Y., where she met, and later married the late Barry Sherman. They moved to State College, Penn., where she began work on her masters degree in higher education administration which was completed at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. She moved to Athens, Geo., in 1981 and began her career at UGA in the Department of Student Activities as a program advisor producing concerts, lectures, performing arts, and cinematic events. Over nearly three decades, she held six positions in the division of student affairs, most recently as director of The Center for Leadership and Service which she opened in 2000. She held that position until her retirement from the university on April 30, 2008. Upon retirement she served as a Clarke County Mentor for a year at Gaines School Elementary and in May 2014, she completed six years on the Community Connection Board of Directors. She has two grown children, both graduates of UGA. Eric resides in Los Angeles and Jessica in Washington DC. Candy lives in Cedar Creek with her fiancé Ron Todd and their two Chihuahuas, Ellie and Brady, who serve as surrogate children and provide endless entertainment.
Janie is a recently retired Pre-K teacher. She taught in Athens for 30 years; at UGA’s McPhaul Center for 11 years where she supervised students and presented at regional and national conferences, as a pre-K teacher at Gaines Elementary School in the CCSD for 10 years, continuing to supervise UGA students and finally, at the Classic City High School, heading up a Right Start Program, with Mimi Middendorf supporting young mothers with their babies, while the moms worked toward obtaining their high school diplomas.
She learned about the Reggio Emilia Programs at a summer institute there in 1996. She was part of the UGA/CCSD Partnership for several years.
For the last 6 years, she was lucky to land at the Emmanuel Episcopal Day School, teaching a 2-3 year old class under the direction of Amy Wraga, certainly a great way to end her teaching career.
She grew up in New Orleans, met her husband, from Chicago, in college there and they have two daughters, living in Denver and Greensboro, now in their thirties.
She has always had a love and respect for young children, and has cherished working with young children and their families in many capacities. She strongly believes that the education and development of a child from birth to five years is very important to their success in school and in life. She looks forward to supporting families through the great work with The Nancy Travis Childcare Project.