Governor Kemp Announces 32 Appointments to State Boards, Authorities, & Commissions

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024

Governor Brian P. Kemp today announced the appointment and re-appointment of the following 32 Georgians to various state boards, authorities, and commissions.


State Board of Pardons and Paroles

Wayne Bennett served as the Sheriff of Glynn County from 1992 until his retirement in 2012. During his time in office, Bennett was confirmed by the U.S. Federal Court and Superior Court for Georgia as a Jail Expert and coordinated the feasibility study for the design and construction of a new jail facility. He began his career in law enforcement with the Glynn County Police Department in 1978, holding numerous positions, including Commander of the Criminal Investigative Division, Patrol Division Supervisor, and Team Leader of the Special Operations Response Team. Bennett is a veteran of the United States Army and was a member of the 317th Engineer Battalion, in Frankfurt, Germany, and the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky.


State Board of Funeral Service

Felicia Wimberly was reappointed.


Stone Mountain Memorial Association

Christopher Collier was reappointed.


State Board of Registration of Used Motor Vehicle Dealers and Used Motor Vehicle Parts Dealers

Neil Rawls was reappointed.

Laura Valentina Montoya Sosa has been the owner and operator of Sosa Automotive Group since July 2015. With a team of three employees, she emphasizes customer service, maintaining a high rating with excellent reviews. Sosa brings expertise in advertising, marketing, and social media management, showcasing organizational skills and operational efficiency. Her leadership, title work management, and commitment to industry standards drive business success. When she began her career, she excelled in producing innovative solutions, collaborating with teams, and shaping product vision. Sosa is an active volunteer; she sponsors youth sports teams and contributes to community development. Her family attends Free Chapel in Gainesville, emphasizing faith and community values.


State Board of Occupational Therapy

Pamela Collins was reappointed.


Division of Family and Children Services State Advisory Board

Nancy White, Shondeana Morris, and JaNice Van Ness were reappointed.


State Board of Physical Therapy

Terri Jo Burner was reappointed.

Everett Tyler began his career as a Customer Support Engineer at Tandem Computers. He went on to serve as a Hardware Specialist at Hewlett Packard Enterprises where his responsibilities included diagnosing and resolving issues, recommending upgrades, and ensuring seamless integration of new hardware. Tyler studied at the Control Data Institute in Atlanta, GA. His technical acumen extends to configuring hardware for local area networks, creating technical documentation, and conducting onsite training sessions for customers. Tyler will serve as a consumer member on the State Board of Physical Therapy.


Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission

Ryan Blythe and Kathleen Patterson were reappointed.

Linda Adkison is the associate provost at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), which has campuses in Philadelphia, PA; Suwanee, GA; and Moultrie, GA. Adkison works with the provost and the office of academic affairs to formulate and administer organizational policies and respond to external regulatory groups for all colleges and schools on PCOM’s campuses. Prior to joining PCOM, Adkison served as the Provost and Dean of Trinity Medical Sciences University and School of Medicine in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Associate Dean of Curricular Affairs at Kansas City University, and Professor of Genetics and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercer University. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees at Georgia Southern University before completing her doctoral degree in genetics at Texas A&M University. Adkison completed an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, before joining Mercer School of Medicine. She is an accomplished scientist in the areas of molecular genetics and medical education. Adkison has authored over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts, two books, and many published abstracts.

Lance Barry is a retired podiatric surgeon with a distinguished career in medicine, military service, and community leadership. He practiced podiatric medicine from 1992 to 2017, serving patients in Cartersville, Adairsville, and Dallas, Georgia, with surgical privileges at Cartersville Medical Center and Kennestone Windy Hill. His educational background includes a surgical residency at Vencor Hospital, Atlanta, and a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, University of Chicago. Barru served in the USAF from 1978 to 1982, reaching the rank of E4 Sergeant. In the community, Barry has held leadership positions in various organizations, including serving as President of the Bartow County United Way and the Cartersville Optimist Club. He currently serves as a trustee for the Georgia Highlands College Foundation and chairs the Cherokee Judicial Circuit Mental Health Court Community Council. He is involved in civic organizations like the American Legion, Elks Lodge, Rotary Club, Exchange Club, and Business Club in Cartersville. He has been recognized for his contributions to the business community, including being named Cartersville Chamber of Commerce Small Businessperson of the Year in 1995. Barry has completed 30 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and is active in preserving local history and culture through organizations like the Etowah Valley Historical Society and Booth Western Art Museum.


Statewide Independent Living Council

Reshell Baldini, Matthew Dooley, Danny Housley, Sheila Kitchens, Juan Maitland, and Sam Verniero were reappointed.

Rakyah Washington-Watkins is the owner of RSW Creations, LLC, a dynamic photography and graphic design business. Washington-Watkins also currently serves as an Instructional Specialist within the Hancock County School District. Demonstrating a steadfast commitment to improving educational outcomes and accessibility for all students, her role involves leading districtwide educational technology trainings and initiatives and collaborating with students and educators to enhance technology integration. Her educational achievements include a Dyslexia Endorsement, an Educational Leadership Tier 1 Certification, a Specialist in Special Education, a Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education from Georgia College & State University, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia. She also currently serves as the Christian Education Director at St. Mark AME Church in Sparta, Georgia, and provides free virtual Reading with Rakyah program sessions for striving readers. Washington-Watkins and her husband, Jimmy, are the proud parents of four children.

Brooke Wright is mother to two sons who have been diagnosed with nonverbal autism. She holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare management and has over 11 years of experience in the Mental Health and Developmental Disability field. Through her involvement with the Marcus Autism Center and Parent to Parent, Wright connected with other families facing similar challenges and developed comprehensive treatment plans for her sons. She joined Parent to Parent as a supporting parent and quickly became an advocate and volunteer for Parent to Parent of Georgia. For several years, Wright has dedicated her time and expertise to assist families navigating the complex world of autism. Her commitment and passion have led her to become a navigator team leader, where she meets monthly with parents in Spalding County to provide guidance and support. In addition to her work with Parent to Parent, Wright has served as the chairman of Ava's Law, a devoted advocate for Autism Speaks, and a guest speaker at the Marcus Autism Center's Big Splash event. She has also served as a board member for Our World School and Madi's Promise. Wright and her husband, Mike, have five children.


Georgia Technology Authority

Steve Adegbite was reappointed.


Career and Technical Education Advisory Commission

Terry Lynn Barber, Angie Lewis, and Lynne Wilson were reappointed.


Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority, Chair

Steve Syfan is the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Syfan Logistics and Turbo Truck Center in Gainesville. His company employs more than 200 professionals and operates throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In 2020, Governor Brian Kemp appointed Syfan to the Board of Economic Development until 2022, when he was appointed to serve on the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority. He and his wife, Kim, have two children and reside in Gainesville.


Education Commission of the States

Donovan Head is the Executive Director of the State Charter School Commission (SCSC). In his role, he oversees agency operations, including strategic planning, policy, communications, and other activities. Head works closely with commissioners, state leaders, and stakeholders to align SCSC initiatives with the state's education goals and ensure that state charter schools are fulfilling the SCSC mission of providing students with high-quality educational opportunities. Prior to this role, he served as Deputy Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. He also served on Governor Kemp's transition team as Deputy Campaign Manager and as a senior Congressional staffer for two members of Congress: former Congresswoman Karen Handel and Congressman Austin Scott. Head earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Valdosta State University, where he also serves on the Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors.


Georgia Tourism Foundation

Cassius Butts is the founder of Capital Fortitude Business Advisors, a boutique management consulting firm that focuses on access to capital and business development endeavors. Previously, Butts served in leadership roles with Bank of America, Fleet Bank, and two presidential administrations. In 2019, Governor Brian Kemp appointed him to serve as a Consumer Member of the State Board for Cemetarians and was also appointed to co-lead the state's Minority Owned Business Task Force. In 2018, he was appointed as chairman of the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority (Fort Mac LRA). In 2020, he was appointed to serve on the Board of Economic Development. Butts is the former Regional Administrator appointed by the 44th President of the United States. He served under the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) where he managed five record-breaking years with over 30 billion dollars in small business lending. He previously served as a Presidential Management Fellow under the George W. Bush Administration within the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and assisted in the establishment of HUD’s multimillion marketing procurement process. He was also named Branch Chief of the Real Estate Owned division during his tenure. Butts is a graduate of Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University’s Graduate School of Public Administration, and Emory University’s Osher Life Learning Institute, where he received a Certificate in Grant Writing. He is a Trustee of Morris Brown College and serves on the WellStar Health System Institutional Review Board. Butts serves on the National Black MBA Association Board and the Florida 8a Association Board. He is also a graduate of Leadership Atlanta class of 2012.


Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Services Board

Vincent Martin and Faye Perdue were reappointed.