2019 Lumpkin Literacy Board Officers & Members

Lumpkin Literacy's Board is an all-volunteer board, with members serving one to three year terms.The board meetings are quarterly and are open to the public.

For more information about our board, please contact info@lumpkinliteracy.org.

Chairperson:  Pat Wozny

After retiring from The Washington Post in 2004, Pat moved to Dahlonega, where her son and his family live. In the 15 years since her move to Dahlonega, Pat has given much of her time to various local charities.She has served on the board of NOA (No One Alone), providing support and assistance to victims of domestic violence.  She is also an active member of the Dahlonega Woman’s Club, a service organization supporting many local charities  She held the position of Secretary to Friends of the Library. 


For the past ten years, she volunteered monthly at the Community Helping Place food pantry.  She has also been a volunteer at the Free Clinic of the Community Helping Place since its inception., starting with interviewing potential clients for eligibility and continuing to this day as a front desk receptionist.


For the past 4 years, Pat has been an active member of the Board of Lumpkin Literacy, where she currently holds the position of Chair.  In 2015 she was co-chair of the annual adult spelling BEE, moving on to chair the event in 2016,  2017 and 2018, the 14th year of this amazing fund raiser. 


Given her love of reading and learning, Pat feels that being a part of Lumpkin Literacy is vital to helping increase the literacy rate in our community.  Being able to read and comprehend is the most important thing in helping with future employment and financial security.    

Secretary:  Geoffrey Kriedel

Vice Chairperson:  Barbara Adams

Lumpkin County is Barbara Adams’s new home. Barbara has traded a busy, professional life in the Florida sunshine for a more relaxed, retired life for the past 2 years in the Georgia Mountains.  Barbara has become a member of Lumpkin Literacy, her first non-profit experience, to continue to share her passion for leading others down the pathway of self-sufficiency through literacy. 

Barbara brings expertise and professionalism to the Board after a 47-year career as an educator at the elementary school level. For many years, during her teaching career, she choreographed and directed numerous school shows, drawing on her previous experience as a show business professional.  Barbara has taught ESL students, gifted and special needs students as well as over two thousand other excited learners. Simultaneous with her teaching career, Barbara pursued her interest in business as a licensed Realtor, a licensed insurance agent, and over 13 years as a restaurant owner and operator.

Barbara is excited to not only expand her own knowledge of the literacy needs of the citizens of Lumpkin County, but also to better the quality of life and economic development of her chosen community, through participating in and volunteering for the many committees and activities sponsored by Lumpkin Literacy.  Barbara co-chairs the Dictionary/Map Committee, participates in the Second Chances Program, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and the annual Spelling Bee.

Secretary: Geoffrey Kridel

Geoffrey is from the island of Manhattan in New York.  He has lived in New York, Connecticut, San Diego, Miami, Atlanta and Napa Valley, CA.  His career has been in marketing and sales in the consumer products industry managing distributor networks and brand management.  He currently is a partner at Descartes Marketing focusing on data based knowledge solutions for the beverage alcohol industry.  His passion for Lumpkin Literacy started 12 years ago when he realized statistically the person in front of him or behind him in line at Walmart was functionally illiterate. He has been past Board Chair, Current Marketing Chair, NAAB chair, EAB chair, BEE committee, board development.  Other positions include:  Executive Committee Buckhead Business Association, Lumpkin County Arts Council Chair, Executive Director Holly Theater, UNG Public Arts Committee, Director of Marketing Miami Arts Museum, Chairman of Lumpkin County Corridor Commission. He has been a resident of Lumpkin County for 14 years.

Treasurer:  Jane Myers

Jane is a newcomer to Dahlonega since early 2017.  She is an accountant with the firm Kerkering, Barberio & Company, CPA.  When she isn’t working or helping Lumpkin Literacy, she loves to hike with her dog, Harley.

Past Chair:  Donna Gessell

Dr. Donna Gessell has served on the Lumpkin Literacy board since 2000, serving as Chair from 2002-2003 and from 2014-2016. She has served in many other capacities, including Board Development and Wordsmith for the Spelling Bee. Donna is a Professor of English at the University of North Georgia on the Dahlonega campus, and her areas of teaching include literature (18th C British, Milton, and Jane Austen), composition, linguistics, and pedagogy. Her passion for literacy began after reading an article on illiteracy and realizing that her then six year-old daughter read at a level higher than one-third of the adults in the United States. Since moving to Dahlonega, she has served on the various boards and committees, including the Lumpkin County Development Authority; Leadership Lumpkin; Lumpkin County High School Career, Technical, and Agriculture Education Advisory Council, Dahlonega/Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee; Community Helping Place Free Clinic Advisory Board; Dahlonega Sunrise Rotary; Georgia Appalachian Center for Higher Education; and Lumpkin County Girl Scouts Service Unit. Currently, she also serves on the Dahlonega Literary Festival Board, the past year serving as Treasurer. She enthusiastically believes in the power of reading to learn, which is a lifelong endeavor, one that leads to both economic independence and personal fulfillment.

Ruth McCaffrey

Ruth McCaffrey is a professor at Mercer University in the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing. Her doctoral degree is from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Dr. McCaffrey has published two books related to advanced nursing practice and over 80 research articles. Her favorite hobbies are reading and gardening. While only a recent resident of Lumpkin County, Dr. McCaffrey has enthusiastically become involved in many groups there and has found the community to be welcoming and generous to her and her husband Bill.  

Shirley Christman

After living in the DC metropolitan area most of her life, Shirley has loved living in Dahlonega for the past eight years.  A retired educator, Shirley volunteered as a GED tutor in the Adult Learning Center prior to joining the Lumpkin Literacy board in 2016. 

Shirley works with co-chair Barbara Adams to provide a dictionary to every third grader in the county and a world/USA map to each sixth grader with the funding help of the Rotary Club. Her favorite books are The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie and Gone with the Wind.  She also helps monthly as Librarian for the Second Chances program detention center library.

Donna Logan

Brenda Thomas

Catherine Ariemma

A resident of Lumpkin County for 20 years, Catherine serves as the CLCP (Certified Literate Community Program) and Family Connection Liaison.  “Promoting education is an effort that is close to my heart. Illiteracy contributes to poverty; encouraging children to pick up a book is fundamental.” Sasha Grey

Having traveled and lived in many countries, she has an inkling of what it is like to be illiterate.  Looking at road signs and menus in a foreign language and not knowing what was ahead was frustrating.  This experience gave her empathy and a desire to help those who struggle to read in their own language.  As an educator, she saw first-hand the struggle, socially and educationally, some students had because they came from a home where literacy and education was not a priority.  Her father was an Air Force intelligence officer and gave her the good fortune to live in Asia, Europe, and North America, attending nine schools in twelve years, including three different high schools in three different countries.  She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) with a BS degree in Secondary Education, Social Sciences, she  taught in Bartow County, Georgia and Manatee County, Florida. She is married to Johnny Ariemma, has two adult daughters, Sarah Beth (married to Durant Wright) and Caroline (married to Andrew Werkheiser).  Moving to Dahlonega, we opened our first business, Armored Mini Storage in 1999, she returned to teaching in 2004 and taught at Lumpkin County High School, awarded as the Gifted Coordinator, a member of the Leadership Team and a variety of committees until retiring from teaching in 2014. She has held several leadership positions in volunteer organizations such as on the Advisory Board of Leadership Lumpkin County as the Alumni Chair, as well as Lumpkin Literacy.  In 2014, she became the owner/operator of The Dahlonega Square Hotel and Villas.

Lynne Widener

Lynne is a native of Wisconsin and moved to Dahlonega, GA 20 years ago. She earned her BBA in Marketing. Her career involved the banking and airline industries and was the first membership director for the Dahlonega Chamber of Commerce. “Retirement gave me the opportunity to become more involved in our amazing community”. She became a Master Gardener, is a graduate of the Lumpkin Leadership program and has served on the boards of the Holly Theater and the Dahlonega Arts Council. Lynne joined the board of the Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition in 2015 and has worked on fundraising, the detention center library and is learning and researching grant opportunities

Anne Davis

Anne is a mother to five and "from before birth, I've read to each one." Too many parents are unable read to their children and too many children suffer because of it.  She loves Lumpkin Literacy because they work to solve the problem.  She has lived in Lumpkin County for 20 years and has worked with Lumpkin Literacy for five years. Anne attended Lumpkin County Schools, graduated from North Georgia with a degree in English with a writing concentration, and worked for Lumpkin County Schools as a grant writer.  Now she spends her time herding and homeschooling her five kiddos and teaching the preschoolers at Bethlehem Baptist Church.  She loves the little ones;they are so eager to learn and discover. Her husband Jason is a civil engineer and has a business just off the square.  For Lumpkin Literacy, she coordinates the children's program, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and has served as secretary for Lumpkin Literacy.  She also serves on the Alumni Council for the University of North Georgia.





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