Betsy Wagenhauser


Betsy Wagenhauser has been a part of Ferst Readers for more than four years. She served on the Board of Directors beginning in 2011, then moved into the role of President in January 2013. However, her relationship with Ferst Readers began years earlier - in 2000 when she enrolled her one year old son in the Ferst Readers program.


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Board of Directors

Nancy Hall

Nancy Hall has served as Interim Executive Director of Georgia Public Broadcasting since July 2004. Prior to being appointed to the Interim position by the GPB Board of Directors, she was the Director of External Affairs and served as the liaison to the Georgia General Assembly and Georgia's Congressional delegation for GPB. She also serves as President of the Foundation for Public Broadcasting in Georgia.

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Jan Haywood

Janika (Jan) Haywood is founding principal of The J. Lyles Group, LLC, a consulting agency that specializes in marketing strategy, public relations media placement and web development for private companies. In the past two years, Haywood has secured media placements in 11 Alive News, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Modern Luxury and HLN News. Prior to founding The J. Lyles Group, she worked at GEICO in management for 14 years. Jan is Mercer University alum and serves as a member of organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Junior League of Atlanta, Inc. Haywood and her husband have two children.

Zenith Houston

Zenith Houston is an inspired nonprofit leader and fundraising professional with more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and fundraising who joined The Posse Foundation in December 2011 as the Director of Posse Atlanta.

The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. The Foundation’s partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full‑tuition leadership scholarships. In Atlanta, Posse Scholars attend Bard College, Boston University, Brandeis University, The College of Wooster, Syracuse University, and Texas A&M University.

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Dr. B.K. (Babs) Johnston

B. K. (Babs) Johnston is a lifelong educator who is both a product of and a teacher in Georgia schools -- elementary through college. She spent over 20 years at Georgia State University, with a PhD in Educational Administration (1987). DeKalb County (GA), where 5 of her 6 children graduated from high school (Druid Hills & Lakeside), is home. She and her husband Hiram have lived in Morgan County since 1999.

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Robin Ferst Marhaver, Founder

Listening to a local Madison, Ga. plant executive discuss the difficulty finding employees who could read at the required level for hiring, Robin Ferst was inspired to start the non-profit Ferst Readers in 1999 which she dedicated to fostering literacy and creativity in pre-kindergarten children.

Following a successful business career in Commercial Mortgage Banking, Real Estate development and Private Trust investment management, Robin lived in numerous cities before returning to Georgia and has once again selected her native Atlanta as her home.

Robin served as a member of the Georgia Public Telecommunication Commission Board of Directors and the Governor’s Commission on Hearing Impaired and Deaf Persons. She serves as a member of the Atlanta Speech School Advisory Board and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. During her time in Madison, she served as a founding board member of the Community Foundation of Morgan County and initiated the Morgan County Early Childhood Reading Coalition -the pilot for the present day Georgia Rural Library Initiative.

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Brigitte Roufail Peck

Brigitte Roufail Peck is a founding partner and current owner of Capstone Advancement Partners, a fundraising consulting firm based in Atlanta, GA. She works with a wide spectrum of nonprofit organizations to develop strategies that reflect each client’s needs and situation. Her favorite part of her job is working with dedicated staff and volunteers who are committed to turning an organization’s dreams into reality.

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Margaret M. Quinlin

Margaret M. Quinlin is President and Publisher of Peachtree Publishers, an award-winning independent publishing house founded in 1977. In 1990, she bought controlling interest of Peachtree, and became the third President and Publisher in the history of the company at the age of 39.

Throughout her life, her father’s great love of books and her Irish mother’s strong love of stories and verse supported her own passion for language and books. Originally planning to be an architect, Quinlin studied art and found the picture book to be the perfect art form, a marriage of words and art, a sensory experience for young and old alike.

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Ursula Reynolds

Ursula Reynolds has over 15 years of higher education experience in the areas of marketing, recruitment, and student services. She has worked for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, University of Georgia, and is currently the PhD Graduate Program Manager at Georgia Tech. She is also the founding principal of Magnolia Consulting Group, providing marketing planning and implementation services to nonprofit organizations. She is very passionate about the Atlanta community and serves on various nonprofit boards that include DocNet, past board service with The Junior League of Atlanta, and the marketing and fund development committee at Whitefoord. She regularly provides vital trainings on social media, nonprofit storytelling, communications planning, and community engagement.

Warren Steele

Warren B. Steele, II was born May 1, 1962 in Fort Carson, Colorado. He graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. degree in psychology and social relations in January, 1984 after completing high school in Summerville, South Carolina.

After graduation, he joined Aflac in March, 1984 as a management trainee and served in several positions with Aflac until his retirement in October, 2004 as Senior Vice President, US Marketing. He still resides in Columbus, GA.

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Julie Steele

Dr. Julie Steele currently serves as principal of Lamar County Middle School in Barnesville, Georgia. Dr. Steele’s career as an educator includes years as being a classroom teacher, an Instructional Coach, and an Assistant Principal. Dr. Steele has been an administrator in Lamar County for the past 15 years.

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William Verner

Bill Verner serves as Sr. Vice President for External Affairs for Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (Georgia EMC). Verner began his electric cooperative career with Carroll EMC in 1980 in various part-time capacities while pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of West Georgia, and joined Georgia EMC in 1984 as Coordinator of Member and Youth Activities. As head of Georgia EMC External Affairs, he coordinates the representation of EMCs’ interests before government including the Georgia General Assembly, the Georgia Public Service Commission, the United States Congress, and state and federal agencies. In addition to government relations, Verner is also responsible for communications, public relations, member services, media relations and the publication of the EMCs’ popular monthly consumer publication, GEORGIA Magazine.

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