Farah A. Chapes, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Chapes, a certified public accountant since 1996, has spent most of the past two decades as a healthcare finance executive specializing in nonprofit organizations. She is currently employed with the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Government Affairs team as government affairs director. She serves on the Board of Directors for Georgia Community Supports and Solutions and is a founding director of the Broadway Dreams Foundation. Chapes was also a member of the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo where she received a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting. She and her husband, Richard, have two children. They reside in Alpharetta.
Teresa A. Heard, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Heard is currently the director of nursing and clinical services for Easter Seals Southern Georgia. She is an active member of the Parent to Parent of Georgia’s Dougherty-Lee County Navigator Team and served as a board member of the Georgia Autism and Technical Assistance Program with the Georgia Department of Education. Heard earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia. She and her husband, Derek, have three children. They reside in Albany.
Jason M. Bearden, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Bearden is the chief executive officer of Highland Rivers Health. Previously, he was the chief operating officer of Viewpoint Health in Gwinnett County, directed the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget Health Services Division and worked at the Department of Community Health in the Planning and Fiscal Analysis Office. Bearden is a member of the executive board for the Georgia Association for Primary Health Care, the Georgia Supportive Housing Association, Select Systems LLC and the Canton Elementary School Board. He received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in Business and Health Administration from Georgia State University. Bearden and his wife, Deana, have three children. They reside in Canton.
Tom S. Connelly, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Connelly works as a rehabilitation employment specialist for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. He serves on the board of the Albany Area Rehabilitation Center and is a member of Georgia Rehabilitation Association. Connelly earned a bachelor’s degree from Belmont Abbey College and a master’s degree from Fort Valley State University. He lives in Albany.
Evan H. Nodvin, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Nodvin is a kitchen assistant/support aide at the Weinstein Senior Adult Day Center at the Marcus Jewish Community of Atlanta. He is a graduate of Partners in Policy Making, a past Buddy of the Year for the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta, a co-chair of the Special Friends Sabbath program at Congregation B’nai Torah and a gold medal Special Olympian in power lifting. Nodvin also belongs to the Very Special People and Happy Club. He graduated from Chamblee High School in the class of 2000 and resides in Atlanta.
Deborah C. Hibben, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Hibben retired from Henry County Public Schools in 2010 and just returned to teaching part time at Woodland High School. In the interim, she served as assistant director for the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta and, more recently, was affiliated with Employment First Georgia. Hibben was the primary organizer of the special needs ministry at the Sharon Church in McDonough and served on the Clayton Community Service Board. Hibben earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Secondary Education from Georgia State University and a specialist’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. She has two daughters and resides in McDonough.
Geneice McCoy, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
McCoy is the broker and owner of Real McCoy Brokerage Co. She serves as chair of Georgia’s Region 2 Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases Planning Board and is also a 2003 graduate of Partners in Policymaking in Georgia. McCoy graduated from Cameron University of Lawton in Oklahoma. She and her husband, Andrew, have three children. They reside in Augusta.
Mitzi R. Proffitt, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Proffitt is the South Georgia manager for Parent to Parent of Georgia. She previously served on the Family Support Board in West Virginia and is now the co-chairman of the Three Rivers Transition Council. She is a graduate of Partners in Policy Making and has assisted families of children with disabilities for more than 10 years. Proffitt and her husband, Jack, have one son. They reside in Brooklet.
Josette B. Akhras, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Akhras is a substitute teacher and advocate for children and adults with disabilities. She piloted a support group in Putnam County to help parents and those with disabilities become effective advocates. Akhras was also appointed as a Putnam County representative for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ Planning Board by the County Commission. She earned bachelor’s degrees from Georgia College & State University in both Political Science and Psychology. She and her husband, Omar, have two sons. They reside in Eatonton.
Benjamin J. Tarbutton III, REACH Scholarship Board
Tarbutton is the assistant vice president of the Sandersville Railroad Company. Presently, he serves as chairman of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents and chairman of Leadership Georgia. He is also on the board of directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Oconee Fall Line Technical College. Tarbutton is past chairman of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Higher Education Facilities Authority, as well as past president of the Georgia Railroad Association and the Sandersville Rotary. Recently, he was recognized by Georgia Trend as one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians. Tarbutton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Betsy, have three children. They reside in Sandersville.
W. Paul Bowers, REACH Scholarship Board
Bowers is the president and chief executive officer of Georgia Power, the largest subsidiary of Southern Co. He serves on the boards of Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the University of Alabama School of Engineering and e3 Partners Ministry. He is vice chair of the Georgia Department of Economic Development and chair of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Bowers is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's energy policy council, as well as a trustee for the Woodruff Arts Center. Bowers holds a bachelor's degree from the University of West Florida, a master's degree in Management from Troy University and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Karen, have two children and two grandchildren. They reside in Atlanta.
Jim M. Hull, REACH Scholarship Board
Hull is a member manager of Hull Storey Gibson Cos. Currently, he is a board member of the Community Foundation of the Central Savannah River Area, Board of Visitors of Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta State University Foundation, Augusta Preparatory Day School and the CSRA Wounded Warrior Care. Jim is a long-standing member of the United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society, a Paul Harris Fellow Rotary Club member, past president of the Augusta Assembly, and was inducted into Junior Achievement’s CSRA Business Hall of Fame. He is a recipient of the Augusta Bar Association’s prestigious Liberty Bell Award and is currently serving on the Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia. Hull has also been honored with the President’s Award from Augusta State University and the Society of Fundraising Professionals’ Philanthropist of the Year award. He and his wife, Karen, have four children. They reside in Augusta.
Don Leeburn III, REACH Scholarship Board
Leebern is president of Georgia Crown Distributing Co. and chairman of J&L Ventures LLC. He is past chairman and serves on the board of directors of the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of America. Leeburn is also a member of the board of directors of the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Georgia, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Authority, the board of directors of the University System of Georgia Foundation and the board of directors of the University of Georgia Athletic Association. Leebern attended the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Stacey, have three children. They reside in Atlanta.
Phil Tomlinson, REACH Scholarship Board
Tomlinson is chairman of the board and CEO of Total System Services Inc. Previously, he spent five years with GE Capital. Tomlinson has served as a director of Synovus Financial Corp. since 2008. He is chairman of the Columbus State University Foundation board of trustees and serves on the CSU Cunningham Center for Leadership Development Advisory Board and the Georgia Cancer Coalition Board of Directors. Tomlinson was a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Turknett Leadership Character Award, presented by the Turknett Leadership Group and Kennesaw State University. Among other recognitions, at the 25th anniversary of the Entrepreneur of the Year program, Tomlinson was awarded the Ernst and Young Lifetime Achievement Award.
James Gingrey, REACH Scholarship Board
Gingrey is a semi-retired attorney and real estate investor. He is a volunteer at the Shepard Spinal Center and a member of Christ the King Catholic Church. Gingrey earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and a juris doctorate from Emory School of Law. He resides in Atlanta.
Laura Morgan, REACH Scholarship Board
Morgan served as a volunteer for the Governor’s Gubernatorial Inaugural and Transition Committee. Early in her career, President George H.W. Bush appointed Morgan as a director of congressional relations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Morgan is also a former board member of Young Audiences of Atlanta, which focuses on art education for children of all ages. She received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Penn State University. She and her husband, Jay, have three children. They reside in Atlanta.
Richard E. Currie, State Commission on Family Violence
Currie has been district attorney of the Waycross Judicial Circuit since 1994 and a state prosecutor since 1981. He is past president of the District Attorneys’ Council of Georgia. Currie earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and a juris doctorate from the University of Georgia. He has one son and resides in Waycross.
Stacy M. Jarrard, Board of Corrections
Jarrard began working for the Lumpkin County Sherriff’s Department in 1988 and was elected sheriff in 2009. Under Jarrard, the department became the 14th sheriff’s department to achieve state certification. He has been awarded the Guardian of Ethics Award by the Rotary Club of Dahlonega Sunrise and was recently elected secretary-treasurer of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Youth Homes. He and his wife, Rebecca, have one daughter. They reside in Dahlonega.
Farah A. Chapes, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities