Deal appoints 14 to REACH Foundation Board

May 1, 2015

Gov. Nathan Deal’s 14 nominations to the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Foundation, Inc. Board were unanimously approved today by the board of directors of the Georgia Student Finance Authority.

Jennifer A. Rippner

Rippner is the executive director of Education Policy and Partnerships for the University System of Georgia and serves as the coordinator for the Georgia Alliance of Education Agency Heads. Rippner has managed state charter school programs in Georgia and in Florida and is currently the chair of Georgia’s State Charter Schools Commission. She previously served as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, as a senior policy advisor at EducationCounsel, LLC, the executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and as former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s education policy advisor. Rippner earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Florida and a doctorate from the University of Georgia. She resides in Acworth. 

Susanna L. Baxter

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. 

Chantal J. Bagwell

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.

Barbarella Diaz

Diaz is the executive vice president of Community Affairs for Diaz Foods. She is also part of The Diaz Group, the management company for Diaz Foods, Tortillas de Casa and EDUA. She currently serves on the boards of Diaz Foods, the Atlanta History Center, High Museum of Art, Arts Bridge, Emerging Leaders for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Instituto de México. She is an active member of the International Women’s Forum. Diaz earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Florida State University. She and her husband, Rene, have three children and reside in Atlanta. 

James M. Hull

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.

Laura R. Morgan

Morgan is currently a member of the board of the Georgia Student Finance Commission. She previously served as the volunteer comptroller 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.

Sachin Shailendra

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.

Kessel Stelling

Stelling is the chairman and chief executive officer of Synovus. He is a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and is the immediate past chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business. He serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and as treasurer on the Financial Services Roundtable Executive Board. Stelling earned a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Georgia as well as a degree from the Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University. He and his wife, Carol, have two children and one grandchild. They reside in Columbus.

Beth Adcock Shiroishi

Shiroishi is the president of AT&T Georgia, where she is responsible for the company’s government relations, public policy and community relations initiatives across the state. She serves on the board of governors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the executive committee of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and on the national board of directors for Genesys Works. Shiroishi earned a bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College before beginning her career as a high school teacher. She and her husband, Jason, have two daughters and live in Atlanta.

Jose Perez

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.

Chris Carpenter

Carpenter is a partner in Garrett McNatt Hennesy and Carpenter 360, 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.

Stephanie Blank

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. 

Henry Turner

Henry Turner is vice president of state government affairs for Altria Client Services, Inc. Prior to joining Philip Morris USA in 1989, he worked for U.S. Sprint Communications in Atlanta. He previously served as a campaign manager for Rep. Richard Ray, state campaign director for Sen. Ernest Hollings and as the office director of Middle and South Georgia operations for Sen. Herman Talmadge. He is a former member of the Georgia Ports Authority. Turner earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Georgia. He resides in Atlanta.  

Anne Kaiser

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.