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Board of Directors

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Board of Directors

Secretary 

Dr. Kate Simpson

Dr. Kate Simpson has been an educator, feminist, and activists for close to forty years, teaching at elementary, middle, high school, and college and championing equality and academic and economic opportunity for females and males of all ages.

 

Kate joined the I’m Just Me Movement Board at the early stage as Secretary because she was (and continues to be) inspired by Tina and Rodney Culbreaths’ passion to the mission and vision of the Movement and to encourage the organization to extend into schools and communities. It has been a dream come true to see Tina and Rodney welcomed into the Warren County School System and receiving well-earned grant funding to mentor at-risk youth.

 

With more outreach to come, the I’m Just Me Movement is making headway to strengthen youth, families, and communities through mentorship, education and training, positive development and community partnerships. Kate joins in the vision to see thriving communities of people living life  forward who are hopeful about their futures through overcoming adversity, advocating for themselves and making empowering, healthy life choices.

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Board of Directors

President

Mrs. Leslie Barksdale

Mrs. Leslie Barksdale firmly believes that all students can succeed, and she has worked hard to ensure equity in education for over 22 years.

Leslie is a licensed educational leader and administrator. She currently serves as the Board President for I'm Just Me Movement. Leslie holds a Bachelor of Art in English from Shenandoah University, a Master of Education in Special Education from George Mason University and a Post-Master Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration from The George Washington University.

 

In her free time, she loves to spend time with her friends and family.

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Board of Directors

Chrishan Francis

Mr. Chrishan Francis currently works for the Federal Government as a Cybersecurity and IT Project Manager. He has lived in Stephens City for the last 25-years. Mr Francis graduated from Sherando High School and attended Lord Fairfax Community College.

 

He then transferred to Shepherd University and then finished his MS in Information Systems and George Mason University. Mr Francis is also a member of the NAACP.

 

He lives with his wife and two sons. He believes in mentorship as an important way to keep young people motivated. He is not mentoring currently, but he dedicates himself to helping with the financials and Board development

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Board of Directors

Mrs. Madelyn Rodriguez

Mrs. Madelyn Rodriguez, who goes by Mady, was born and raised in Pennsylvania until she came to our local area, Winchester, Virginia in 6th grade. Except for a few years in Puerto Rico, she has been in Winchester since, and currently resides here with her husband and two daughters.

 

Mady started volunteering with adults learning English (ESL) and later was employed by them. She also assisted with migrant Head-Start, where she became involved with Northwestern Community Service’s Parent-Infant Education as a Targeted Case Manager for infants and families. She is still employed by that program, but it is now called Infant and Toddler Connection and runs through Grafton. Along the way, she earned a Masters Degree in Human Services from Walden University. She has been an educator through Frederick County Public Schools Adult Education Program, currently run through Lord Fairfax Community College. Currently, she coordinates the ESL Adult-Ed Program and is an adjunct ESL Professor, teaching online classes. Sixteen years ago, Mady was hired through Winchester Medical Center/Valley Health to interpret for patients. Two years ago, she transitioned to a medical social worker and continues in that role today. 

 

Mady’s passion is working with families and youth, particularly the mental health pieces that allow individuals and groups to function successfully, which brings her to the I’m Just Me Movement Board. As a Social Worker and her role in early intervention, Mady is familiar with all of the barriers that families have to cope with as they face life stressors. She has seen first-hand the way that youth and family engagement paves the way forward for teens and their families. Mady is passionate about education and community and continues to serve as President of Winchester Education Foundation, Vice-president of ALVA—Arte Libre of Virginia, and on the Family Day Committee.

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Board of Directors

Mrs. SheRae Hunter

Mrs. SheRae Hunter:

 

I moved to Winchester at the end of 2012 and started my business, SL Hunter Photography the following year. I have said over and over again that if tomorrow I had to give up photography, I would be ok because the individuals that I have gotten to meet and the relationships and friendships that I have been able to build are so incredibly valuable to me. 

I have a wonderful husband who supports my business, my energy, my BIG dreams, and my flare for spontaneity. I have 4 beautiful children, Zechariah (9) Mikah (5) Zoe (3) and Xara (11 months), a Ragdoll Cat and a Goldendoodle Puppy.

I am involved in my local church (Love Church) serving the community through Sunday services and outreach. I love people and I love learning. I am currently reading These Truths by Jill Lepore. My idea of a cozy afternoon is a slice of pizza, a cold drink and a good book. 

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Board of Directors

Mrs. Anita McGill

Anita McGill is a Business Operations Analyst for Navy Federal Credit Union.  She also serves in a volunteer capacity as a Program Coordinator for their School Partnership Program in Winchester.  The School Partnership program offers many ways to help our youth with reading, writing, financial literacy, and career readiness, as well as mentorship.  Anita is very involved with day-to-day operations and has a passion for creating programs that can help children feel valued and know they can achieve their goals.  Anita has been a resident of Stephens City since 1996. She is a wife and the mother of three daughters. She loves to be on the water and enjoys time with her family and friends. 

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Board of Directors

Ms. Chloe I. Edwards (she/her), Policy Director

Chlo’e is the Policy Director at New Virginia Majority (NVM), where she is responsible for the execution of strategies designed to advance the organization’s public policy goals, with a significant focus on civil rights, economic justice, health equity, housing and tenant protections, environmental justice, criminal legal reform, and immigrants’ rights, all through a racial equity lens.

 

In her work, Chlo’e uniquely centers opportunities for transformation through practices centered in truth telling, reconciliation, healing, and repair. In addition to NVM, Chlo’e serves as a social entrepreneur and CEO of Transformative Changes. Previously, she also served as the president of Black Lives Matter 804 and a policy analyst at Voices for Virginia’s Children. In 2020, she founded Virginia’s first-ever Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week, which was recognized by Governor Ralph Northam, and in 2021, she helped lead efforts to recognize racism as a public health crisis, making the state the first state in the south. 

 

In 2021, she was recognized by The Valentine as a Richmond History Maker for championing social justice, received the Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children Media Award, and was honored by the YWCA Outstanding Women Leadership Award for Human Relations and Faith in Action. In 2020, she was named on Style Weekly’s top 40 Under 40 and RVA Mic Share's top 34 Black women trailblazers. 

 

Chlo'e holds a Master of Public Policy in Leadership from Liberty University and a Bachelor of Arts from Hollins University. She also served as a Community Partner in Residence at the University of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Community Engagement Program in 2021, the Virginia Progressive Leadership Project in 2021, and the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Emerging Leaders program in 2019. 

 

In her spare time, Chlo’e is a handler to a therapy dog, Leo, and enjoys dog training. She also serves as the Academy Instructor for Words, Beats, and Life to inspire artists turned social entrepreneurs. Chlo’e continues to inspire changemakers to pursue transformation of self through yoga, mindfulness, and healing-centered practices. To connect with Chlo’e, please email cedwards@newvirginiamajority.org

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Board of Directors

Treasurer

Mrs. Susan Watkins

Susan Watkins is originally from Elmira,  NY, and graduated from Bryant and Stratton in Buffalo, NY.   She attended Old Dominion in Norfolk; Northern Virginia Community College, Sterling, VA,  and Randolph Community College, Asheboro, NC

Susan’s work has been in accounting and management. Her last position as an auditor 

was with Citi Group, 7 years.  

 

Susan’s last full-time job was with H & R Block in Chantilly, VA where she was a Tax Professional and a year-round employee.

 

Susan has 35+ years of accounting experience. She moved to Winchester in 2013 from Herndon, VA. She is passionate about Democratic Politics and has assisted with multiple campaigns as their Treasurer and has worked as a poll worker for elections.

 

Susan is an equine enthusiast and sun worshipper!  She believes people should have all the tools and skills necessary to succeed in this life.  She is a true believer in the work that I’m Just Me Movement is sharing with this community. 

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Board of Directors

Ms. Elaine Lassiter

Elaine Lassiter graduated from Longwood University (College) and earned her BSW.  She began her career in Fairfax County working with youth and families in various capacities ranging from residential services, court services, and management. In 2015, she left Fairfax and accepted a position with the Department of Juvenile Justice as the Court Services Unit Director in Fauquier County. Her professional path 

provided her the opportunity to work with two organizations that were truly invested in the lives of youth and families they served. 

 

Elaine grew up in Loudoun County.  She moved to the Winchester area in 2020 to be closer to her mom and enjoy the new adventures of retirement. She enjoys gardening, long walks, playing time with her German Shepherd (Willow), music, reading, and movies. 

 

Elaine is excited about her position as a board member and the benefits of the programs offered. She stated that her mentors played a huge role in her life; she is forever grateful and eager to give others the benefit of mentoring as a way to live life forward.

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  Post-Mortem Board of Directors Member-

Larry Yates

Mr. Larry Yates, now retired, was primarily a professional organizer and nonprofit administrator during his 40-year career. He was the first Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Coalition, serving from 1981 to 1983. He went on to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

 

He also served as the Grassroots Organizing Mentor at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Executive Director of Richmond United Neighborhoods, and Shenandoah Valley Organizer for the Virginia Organizing Project. His final employment was as States Field Organizer for Witness to Innocence.

 

He is about to publish Not Just Monuments: The War For Whiteness In Virginia 1680-2020. Larry has lived in Winchester since 2009 and in Virginia since 1964. He received his B.A. from Eastern Mennonite University in 2004. 

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