Please note: All governing board meetings are held at Wesley International Academy on the third Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. Please check the WIA website calendar to verify. For information on board committees, click here.
Beth Gay | Chair
Governance Committee; Development/Fundraising Committee; Selection Committee
Term: ends 2018
Beth is a Senior Project Manager with a background of corporate and educational experience that combines a high level of competency in leadership and program/project management specializing in real estate re-development, land acquisitions, asset and financial management, training and development, marketing, and business development. Gay has proven valuable for many organizations including The Coca-Cola Company, Jim Pattison Group of Canada, Holder Construction, Archer Western Construction, AETNA, Byers Engineering, KempHall Architects, State of GA. Chamber and Gwinnett, Dekalb, Meriwether County School Districts. Gay holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s of Science in HRD Management. Gay is President of Glenwood Park Town Center Condo Association, former President of Huntington Arms Condo Association, board member of Glenwood Park Community Association, and has managed many projects at both properties.
Clay Elrod | Treasurer
Finance Committee; Academic Excellence Committee
Term: ends 2017
Clay is an independent, information technology consultant and entrepreneur in the Atlanta area. He was raised in Greenwood, SC and studied at Emory University where he obtained a B.B.A. in Finance and B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics. He has consulted for a number of companies, such as AT&T, Norfolk Southern and Accenture. He’s currently consulting for Cox Automotive. Over the last 17 years, Clay has created, owned and operated several small businesses. He currently owns a real estate property management company as well as some investment properties in Cabbagetown and East Point.
Clay has served as Treasurer of the Wesley International Academy non-profit governing board since 2011. He is excited to serve a second three-year term on the Board through the 2016-2017 school year.
Clay enjoys playing golf, listening to live music and socializing with friends and family. He and his wife Holly have been married for 12 years. Their son Quinn is a rising fifth grader at Wesley International Academy. Their son Mac is 1 year old, and they cannot wait for him to enter Wesley International Academy in 2019!
Portia Brown is a senior sales professional with Google, with deep experience in marketing and advertising on digital properties. She’s spent most of her career at Google working with their largest clients to help them develop and execute marketing strategies, particularly on YouTube.
Born and raised in Memphis TN, Portia attended college at Stanford University, where she studied International Relations and Mandarin, and completed her study abroad at Peking University in Beijing. Portia also completed her Masters in Business Analytics at NYU’s Stern School of Business in both their New York and Shanghai campuses. She has a deep love for Chinese culture and language, and enjoys practicing her Mandarin whenever possible.
Elisa Buckner has made it her life’s work to help young people achieve their educational and career goals! Originally from Portland, Oregon, she obtained her B.S. in Computer Science from Hampton University. She left her software development position in Northern, VA and moved to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in a yearlong volunteer program in 2001 to help an urban high school with college admissions. Her work there led to an increase of over $2 million in scholarship awards for their seniors.
Elisa then went on to earn her M.Ed. in School Counseling from Georgia State University so that she could better serve Georgia’s Charter School students. She then implemented the school counseling and college advisement programs for two charter high schools and their inaugural senior classes.
Elisa most recently served as the Director of School Counseling Services for Georgia Connections Academy, managing nine school counselors and a school social worker for their student population of nearly 3,800 K 12 students. Elisa started Access 2 Admission in 2010 and began hosting “Knowledge for College” seminars at Emory University for hundreds of Georgia families. She also serves as the Board Treasurer for Summer Hill Community Ministries and she is a regular volunteer at Generation of Hope Church in Decatur, GA where husband serves as Pastor. She has presented on various topics relevant to education at The Georgia Charter Schools Association Conference, the Georgia School Counseling Association Conference, and parent information sessions around the city. Elisa resides in the Lakewood Community with her husband, Dwight and her two sons Elias (3) and Malachi (2).
Term: ends 2019
As a parent of Wesley students for the past six years, Suzanne currently finds herself in a position with the bandwidth, the passion, and the skill set to deepen her commitment to the long-term success of the school. Professionally, her 23 years in the environmental field has allowed her to build many skills and relationships relevant to the future demands of WIA governance, including extensive fundraising, grant writing, philanthropic and corporate relations and partnership negotiations. Her prior board service, formal training and recent role as a nonprofit executive director have given her insights into effective governance and the balance of support and accountability that is vital to any successful organization.
Her volunteerism at WIA has included prior co-chairing of the Green and Healthy School Committee of PTSA, as well as current service on the School Advisory Council. She has seen the school overcome incredible obstacles and uncertainty in the past six years, and remains optimistic about the school’s potential to inspire global citizenship in both her children and their peers. She looks forward to being a part of the next phase of Wesley’s growth. Her children attend Wesley International Academy (6th grade boy and 2nd grade girl).
Mazie Lynn Causey
Term: ends 2017
Mazie Lynn invests her time in a variety of initiatives ranging from the daily growth and development of her daughter to pro bono legal services for indigent community members and part-time business management for an international consulting company. Atlanta became home to Mazie Lynn when she arrived to study Industrial Engineering at Georgia Tech over twenty years ago. After receiving her Bachelor of Science degree there, she went on to teach English as a Second Language in Split, Croatia before returning to the United States for a role in operations at a national financial planning firm. Her love of the law and desire to serve led her to Georgia State University where she earned a Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration on her way to becoming a public defender. She has invested her legal career in being a voice for those too often unheard, the indigent accused of crimes ranging from petty shoplifting to capital murder.
For over a decade, Mazie Lynn and her husband, Troy, have lived in the Historic South Atlanta neighborhood believing that community transformation requires, in part, the long-term commitment of neighbors willing to give of themselves for the greater good. In addition to volunteering at her local Atlanta elementary school, her local Friends of the Park, her daughter’s non-profit preschool, and community events hosted by the Historic South Atlanta Civic League, Mazie Lynn also serves on the Boards of the Atlanta Resource Foundation and the Tapestry Development Group.
Term: ends 2018
Katie Delp has committed her career to developing under-resourced communities into thriving, socially-economically and racially diverse neighborhoods. As Executive Director of Focused Community Strategies (FCS Ministries) Katie leads multiple initiatives providing mixed-income housing, economic development, job creation, youth development and food security in neighborhoods on Atlanta’s south side. She consults with multiple non-profit organizations to strengthen their organizational capacity and impact.
Katie earned a degree in Business Administration from Texas Tech University, is recognized as an Emerging Leader in the Christian Community Development Association, a 2015 Fellow in the New Leaders Council of Atlanta, serves on the executive team of her neighborhood association, the South Atlanta Civic League and is a member of the board for Tapestry Development Group. Katie also works alongside her husband, Jeff, Director of FCS Economic Development, focusing on strategic investment in local, small businesses in their neighborhood. She is also mother to Sam and Maya, both PYP students at WIA.
Term: ends 2018
Darryl currently serves as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affair and Dean of Students at Georgia State University. He has worked in Higher Education for the past 22 years, where he served in both academic and student affairs. As a faculty member, he has taught research methods and educational psychology to aspiring teachers. As an administrator, he has worked in the following areas: Greek life, Judicial Affairs, Orientation, Diversity Affairs, Disability Services, Campus Recreation, Student Union management, Career Services, Student programming, Volunteer Services, Dining Services, Student Leadership programs, and Academic Advising. He has also presented over 70 research papers at national and international conferences. His most recent manuscript was published through Peter-Lang press and it is entitled: From Boyhood to Manhood: Deconstructing Black Masculinity through a Life Span Continuum.
Most importantly, he is the proud dad of Delbert and Delvin Holloman, who will be rising kindergarteners at Wesley International Academy this fall. He and his family lives in the Old Fourth Ward and attend St. Luke Episcopal church. He serves on the Board of WIA because he sincerely believes in an equitable education for all children. He feels that a quality education, whereas it does not eradicate various societal challenges, helps to position individuals to more adequately mitigate them.
Term: ends 2017
Nicole Jones is Global Innovation Leader for Delta Air Lines, where she oversees innovation and ideas that improve the airline experience for both customers and employees. Prior to joining Delta, Nicole served as senior director of network strategy for Turner Entertainment Networks, where she built an impressive record of achievements through a series of increasingly responsible positions enabling cable networks to realize incremental growth and increase viewership.
Nicole’s early career success included eCommerce roles with Macy’s Systems and Technology, where she was recognized for critical achievements in aligning highly Macys.com with business goals; and Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers acknowledged for successfully implementing Oracle Applications for Fortune 500 companies.
Nicole is originally from New York and relocated to the metro Atlanta area during high school. She attended Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, received her Bachelor of Science degree from Spelman College, and earned an MBA from Goizueta Business School (Emory University).
Enhancing Nicole’s commitment to professional excellence is her focus on community and family. She has mentored many students over the years and has been actively involved as a board member for both Imhotep Foundation, as well as Essential2Life, a leadership and life skills development initiative for at-risk high school students.
Nicole and her husband Kwende reside in the Riverside neighborhood of Atlanta with their three sons who attend Wesley International Academy, two 6th graders and a Kindergartner.
Term: ends 2019
Thomas Ryan-Lawrence is one of the founders and serves as the chief operating officer of Carma Productions, Inc. After noticing an emerging trend in the digital media marketplace, they took the concept of The Gay Community Yellow Pages and developed Gayborhood, the nation’s most comprehensive digital resource directory of gay-welcoming businesses. Additionally, RyanLawrence helped to create a new portfolio of services including Diversity Training and Marketing Consulting to further expand Carma’s client base. Carma Productions was nominated by The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for their Corporate Ally award in 2008 and again in 2014. Additionally, Carma Productions was named the AGLCC’s Small Business of the year in 2015. Ryan-Lawrence was named AGLCC’s Business Man of the Year in 2011 and 2014 as well as one of Fenuxe Magazine’s 50 Most Influential People in 2010. Recently, Ryan-Lawrence received a nomination as AGLCC’s Member of the Year in 2015.
Ryan-Lawrence has lived in metro Atlanta from a young age and graduated with honors from Georgia State University with a BBA in Marketing; he enjoys spending time with his husband, Chris, and their son, Noah, who was born in January 2014.
Term: ends 2018
Tom Tidwell is a trial lawyer who represents small businesses in commercial disputes and individuals who have been injured. Tom is a big supporter of public education. He has a deeply held belief that public education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and providing real opportunity to all. He is fortunate that his children go to “good” schools, but Tom wants to move towards a City where every school is good, and every parent is proud to send their child to the local, neighborhood school.
Tom has lived in Atlanta his whole life and is active in a number of community organizations. He is on the Board of Trustees at Northside United Methodist Church, where he also serves on the Board of Sports and Recreation Ministry. He is chair of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods. He has served on the Morris Brandon Local School Council and is currently on the Sutton Local School Council. Last, but certainly not least, Tom has been able to coach both of his daughters in soccer and basketball over the past 8 years.