Chairperson of the Board
Susan Shearouse retired to the Ashland area five years ago, following family here from Northern Virginia. She is now happily consumed with grandchildren, gardening and her passion for Circles Ashland. Three years ago, she heard about the Circles program through Duncan Memorial United Methodist church, and soon became a part of the group that organized Circles Ashland. Since the first cohort of participants began in May of 2016, she has been their coach. In addition to serving as Chair/President of the board, since August, she has been temporarily wearing the executive director and program manager’s hats, while the organization makes some necessary changes. In May of this year, she was awarded the Spirit of One volunteer of the year award by Hanover County for her commitment.
Vice Chair of the Board
Carolina has been an educator for almost 20 years, in non-profit after-school programs and summer camps, public schools, maternal health non-profits, churches, and within the homeschooling community. She has been volunteering with social justice organizations since high school, with a deep commitment to food access and hunger awareness issues. She has worked with churches to design customer-choice food pantries that meet USDA nutritional guidelines, created food justice Sunday School curriculum, and facilitated inter-generational and inter-socioeconomic community gardening programs. Carolina has a B.A. in Political Science, is a native of Caracas, Venezuela, and is currently homeschooling her 14- and 9-year old children. She is an Ally in the 2016-2017 class at Circles Ashland, and leads the Communications Team.
Randi Buerlein, MSW, LCSW
Randi is a retired faculty member of the VCU School of Social Work where she served as Director of Field Education, Director of Student Services, and teaching faculty. Her teaching interests include field education, service-learning, and international social work. She has a professional practice background in mental health, substance abuse, and student development. In her retired life, Ms. Buerlein continues to work with student interns at VCU and enjoys a variety of activities including teaching ESL classes at Sacred Heart Center, working to address hunger and housing needs, working with her therapy dog Lenny, and practicing Spanish. She lives in Ashland with her husband, Doug. Randi is the lead for the Service team at Circles.
Larry is a retired judge and attends First Baptist Church in Ashland, Virginia. He serves on the Fund Development Team.
LaChelle M. Lewis
LaChelle, a Richmond, VA native, graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a B.A. in English, and is currently in the Master of Nonprofit Studies Program at the University of Richmond. She is the Development Office Assistant for the Office of College Advancement at Randolph-Macon, and is responsible for event logistics and fundraising. Ms. Lewis serves as the Staff Advisor for Relay for Life, Ujima Gospel Choir, and the Black Cultural Society student organizations. As a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Co-Educational Service Fraternity, she serves as the Community Advisor of the Theta Omega Chapter at Randolph-Macon College.
The Rev. Sandra Stanley
Rev. Stanley earned degrees from Lynchburg College and Union Presbyterian Seminary. She has served several United Methodist congregations in greater Richmond community in the area of discipleship. She has directed and participated in the All God's Children's Camp, a program for children with a parent who has been incarcerated. A frequent substitute teacher in Hanover schools, Rev. Stanley has also volunteered as a tutor in elementary schools. Through Duncan Memorial, Rev. Stanley serves as a Stephen Minister and also helped initiate a program in the community - Summer Community Connection, which introduced her to the greater needs of the Ashland community.
Big View Team Chair
Melissa has 20 years of experience in the fields of commercial, higher education, institutional, museum, and residential architecture, and is a sole proprietor of Melissa Vaughan Architecture, Ashland, VA incorporated in 2014. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Virginia and Masters in Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. For the last 14 years, she has lead her colleagues as a Sustainability Director focusing on the greening of projects, the greening of office policies and educating clients and business leaders of choices that will enhance the sustainability of their practices, buildings and landscapes. Melissa Vaughan AIA is NCARB certified, CSI CDT certified, LEED AP BD+C professional, registered in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and a corporate member of the USGBC. She leads the Big View Resource Team.
WILLIAM D. HAMNER, is a local attorney with the general law firm of Lane & Hamner, P.C., having offices in Ashland and Chesterfield. Bill is a graduate of the University of Virginia ('74) and the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary ('78). Bill has practiced for 38 years in numerous areas of law, including real estate, domestic relations, wills & estates, personal injury, criminal, and other various litigation areas. Bill has been a member of Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church since 1975, and serves on boards with DMUMC, the Ashland Police Foundation, The Ashland Kiwanis, the Strawberry Faire, and Ashland Circles.
Kelly Carter Merrill is a professor at both Randolph-Macon College (communication studies) and the University of Richmond (non-profit studies). Additionally, Kelly is a consultant and facilitator, frequently facilitating difficult discussions about community trust building, diversity and inclusion, racial healing, leadership, and self-discovery. She is a graduate of the Community Trustbuilder Fellowship offered by Initiatives of Change and of the Ashland Citizen Leadership Academy offer by the Town of Ashland. Kelly has two children who attend elementary school in Ashland. Kelly also serves on the board for the Ashland Museum, and she volunteers with youth programs at Side by Side. Kelly is an ally and board member for Circles-Ashland.
Raised in Albany, NY, he is one of two children born to Mr. Kenneth and Joyce Williams. He attended school in the Albany and Troy school districts. He received his diploma in June of 2000. Rev. Williams gave his life to Christ in April of 1998. While attending Union Baptist Church in Albany, NY he announced his calling to ministry in January of 2001. In August of 2003, Rev. Williams began his collegiate journey at the Practical Bible College in Johnson City, NY. While there he attended the Beautiful Plains Baptist Church and aided in teaching Bible study to the youth and helped with the music department. In 2005, Rev. Williams was given an opportunity to complete his degree at Mid-America Christian University in Oklahoma City. While there he was a member of the Church at Berea in Spencer, OK. There Rev. Williams led Worship, taught Bible study, worked with the music and teen ministries. In spring of 2008, Rev. Williams became an Associate Minister at the New Union Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, OK. It was there Rev. Williams worked with the homeless, aided in the seniors’ ministry, sick and shut-in visitation and preached the early morning services. In 2009, he was honored to have his childhood pastor bestow upon him the certificate of License to Preach. Later that year he completed his Bachelors of Science degree in Specialized Ministries with an emphasis in Christian Education and Family Life Ministries. pastor-williams-and-familyIn 2011, he was chosen by the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. as one of two candidates from across the country, to serve in a Student Seminary Internship. This took place in Birmingham, AL. While there he became a member of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. As an intern he worked along with Counseling ministry and Missionary department. He also met and married his wife Lady Temeka B. Williams. In 2012, he relocated to Richmond, VA to attend the Samuel Dewitt Proctor school of Theology at Virginia Union University. He served as a student intern at the Fifth Baptist Church. In June of 2013, he was called to Pastor the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Goochland, VA. He worked with local political leaders and school districts to advocate for minority youth. Rev. Williams and his wife are the proud parents of a daughter Tia Leigh Williams.
Casey works as a Senior Budget Analyst for the Virginia Department of Health. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Virginia Tech and has worked in several private and public sector positions over the years. During the 15 years she worked primarily as a stay-at-home mom, she volunteered with the Hanover County Public Schools in a variety of roles, including literacy programs and PTA boards. Casey lives in Ashland, where she moved in 2015 after 18 years in rural Montpelier. She is an Ally and serves as Treasurer of the Board.
Marcella Webb was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and has lived in Chicago, Germany, and Charlottesville, VA, before landing now Ashland, VA. She holds a BS in Business Administration and has built a career in the business arena spending time as an Insurance Agent, Relocation Manager, Accountant, Comptroller, and Resource Manager. Currently, she is the Comptroller Resource Manager for the Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, VA. Her career with the government extends over a 16-year period during which time she has received the highest ranking civilian award many times. She is the proud mother of three children and grandmother to three granddaughters. Her faith informs all she does, and when she’s not busy with work and family she enjoys dancing and gardening.
Rev. Dr. Dorothy McNeer O'Quinn
The Reverend Dr. Dorothy McNeer O’Quinn serves as Lead Pastor of Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church. There are 200 years of Methodist pastors on her family tree, and her eldest son, Blair, is serving his first church. Dorothy and her husband, Jim, have two other sons who are autistic and live in Richmond. She enjoys needlework, gardening and good books.