The Board is responsible for leading the organization to accomplish strategic goals, while keeping in mind the origins of this grass-roots organization. Each Board member brings a unique perspective, serving for a 3-year term. The Executive Director reports to the Board.
Having spend his childhood moving around the Carolinas, Fr. Ben is proof that God calls the least likely of candidates to ordained ministry. While in college, Fr. Ben turned his love of politics into a successful career in campaign management, having developed a strategy to recruit and position candidates with no political experience into insurgency front-runners in statewide and congressional races across the southeast.
After a particularly bruising election cycle, he took a leave of absence from the company he founded and followed an academic curiosity to Emory's Candler School of Theology. While in seminary, Fr. Ben became a christian and soon discerned a call to ordained ministry. He was subsequently ordained by the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Atlanta. Several years into his priesthood, Fr. Ben believes that Jesus Christ is the best candidate to lead the biggest insurgency campaign of all.
Fr. Ben has been the Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Kennesaw, Georgia since 2016 and is passionate about congregational vitality, and mission-led innovation. He consults with vestries around the Episcopal Church and is most excited about the opportunities for growth and vitality that come from investing in programs like Path To Shine®
Nadeen is a retired attorney, having been admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1979. Serving as in-house counsel for companies in the multifamily houseing industry, she taught Fair Housing law starting when the Fair Housing Amendments Act went into effect in 1989. Her many programs (1300+) were presented to apartment management companies and state and local apartment associations nationwide, and she was regularly asked to speak at national industry conferences for the National Apartment Association, Multi-Housing World, AIM and OpTech, as well as at University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, Anhui University of Economics and Finance (Bengbu/anhui Province/PRC), and at the Atlanta Art Institute. She currently serves on the Board of International Fund for Economic Development (IFED) and on the Communications Committee for the Atlanta Ministry of International Students (AMIS). Nadeen is also a member of Atlanta Mission's Circle of Sisters and works on programs for both My Sister's House and the Atlanta Day Shelter.
In her role with Path To Shine®, Nadeen serves on the Communications Committee and the Recognition Committee. She volunteers with summer enrichment programs and has done so for many years. Nadeen also serves as Secretary for Path To Shine's Board of Directors.
Nadeen has also authored three children's books: Let There Be Dragons, When Pigs Fly, and Libby and the Cape of Visitability.
From the suburbs of NY, I went to UNC for undergrad and then UGA for my Master’s degree. Georgia has been my home since 1977.
My first job out of college was for a Regional Planning Commission where I served as a human resources consultant to communities in the Metropolitan Atlanta area. Since 1986 I’ve worked in the IT division at Federal Home Loan Bank. I am currently a Banking Officer coordinating the development and support of the applications for the Accounting and Funds Transfer departments. FHLB has always had, as part of its mission, a focus on giving back to the community in which it serves. As a result, I have had an opportunity to volunteer hundreds of hours including Habitat for Humanity, Project Open Hand, Atlanta Community Tool Bank, AID Atlanta, and the Foundation for Hospital Art.
As a member of St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, I headed the Outreach Committee for two years changing the focus of our Outreach goals from giving our treasures to giving our time and our talents. For the last 12 years I have served as the Acolyte Leader at St. Aidan’s. Without a doubt this is the most important and fulfilling job I have had in my life. I enjoy spending my free time with my dog, Allie, and traveling.
Dan Kniffen is a Partner with the law firm of Drew, Eckl & Farnham, where he has represented Employers in the courtroom for 35 years, and through creation of policies and procedures to avoid and resolve disputes in the workplace. Dan has served as a Co-Managing Partner and on the firm’s Board of Directors, and has served as Chairman of the State Bar of Georgia’s Labor and Employment Section and the National Defense Research Institute’s Workers’ Compensation and Employer Liability Section.
Dan has been inducted into the International Association of Defense Counsel and serves by appointment on the Chairman’s Advisory Council, which vets legislation and policy for Georgia’s Workers’ Compensation system. Dan has also served in various leadership and volunteer capacities with The First Tee of East Lake, StreetGrace, Kids Chance of Georgia, The Orphans Foundation in Haiti, The Vine United Methodist Church, Fifth Row Center Theater and Leadership Gwinnett. Dan lives in Brookhaven, Georgia with his wife, Patty.
I live in Avondale Estates and except for a brief move to Savannah, and I have done so all my life. I am a product of DeKalb County School System and a cradle Episcopalian. I graduated Georgia State University in 1987 while I was pregnant with my fourth child. I began teaching several years later.
I have about 12 years of experience teaching in the traditional brick and mortar school, and eleven years teaching online at Georgia charter public school, Georgia Cyber Academy.
My husband and I began Path To Shine - Avondale Estates five years ago. Holy Trinity Parish has hosted and sponsored the program ever since. This past year, I helped with the program in Fayetteville (it began in 2019). We have seen the good work that can be done through PTS, and I plan to be involved for several more years.
There will be a new leader at Path To Shine - Avondale Estates for the 2020/2021 school year. I will continue mentoring, of course. I am looking forward to engaging in a new way as a Board Member.
Derek Norred, Board Treasurer
First Landmark Bank elevated Derek to Marietta Market President in September 2018. Prior to September, he served the Bank’s Midtown market as SVP/Senior Commercial Lender. He now oversees the Marietta commercial lending group and the Marietta Banking Center, and is responsible for business development in Marietta and throughout Cobb County. Derek received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance in 2001 from Kennesaw State University, and completed the three-year graduate School of Banking at LSU in 2009.
Derek is a member of the Chairman’s Club of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. Derek is past Treasurer of St. Benedict's Episcopal Church. He has participated in teaching financial literacy programs to elementary school students with Junior Achievement, and has served as volunteer with Special Olympics. He is married to Ashley and they have two young children.
Christie Stevens, Board Chair
Christie is a lifelong resident of Georgia. She has a BBA in Accounting from Kennesaw State University and an MBA from Georgia State in Finance. Christie retired in 2014 after a 26+ year career in accounting & finance with IBM followed by 5+ years as a Principal Consultant at ISG.
For the past three years, she has volunteered for several organizations, including mentoring weekly at Path To Shine® and Year Up--an organization that provides urban youth with skills and experience to start careers-- assisting graduating interns with resumes and career advice.
For over 10 years, Christie has been an avid quilter and currently serves as Vice President for East Cobb Quilters’ Guild, an organization promoting the quilting arts and serving the community with donations of hundreds of quilts, pillow cases and place-mats each year.
Christie is married to Greg and they share a passion for traveling. They have visited six continents, over forty countries and are always planning the next trip.
Joe Thomas, Jr.
Joe is a member of Vestry at St. Benedict's Episcopal Church in Smyrna. He currently serves as the vice chairman of the board of Connections Homes, a charity focused on matching young people who have aged out of foster care with mentor families in the State of Georgia.
Joe has 40 years of experience managing institutional real estate investments including 30 year in portfolio management. He has represented capital from all over the globe in investments that span all property sectors and risk/return segments. Joe is a former Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Real Estate and for 5 years served as Portfolio Manager of its $20B flagship, core commingled fund, Prime Property Fund, LLC.
Currently Joe is the President and Managing Member of Five Star Realty Partners, LLC ("FSRP") a real estate investment firm focused on hotel and multi-family projects in major urban and resort markets nationwide.
Joe holds and MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Economic from Vanderbilt University.
Joe has served as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, Atlanta International School, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity. Joe is married to Kerry Thomas and they have four adult children between them.
Dan Wistman is a resident of Milton, GA and attends St Aidan’s Episcopal Church. He moved to Georgia, in 2014 after 28 years in the Boston area where he raised his children.
For the last 15 years, Dan has worked for the Public Consulting Group* in the Education Practice where he is a senior manager for instruction and data management solutions. He travels extensively in the US to assist state and large district clients. His experience ranges from statewide instructional coaching engagements, to creating the country’s most popular content portal, to implementing special education and instructional systems in Fulton County, Miami Dade, Houston, TX, St Paul, MN, and the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Arizona. His current work takes him regularly to Broward County, Florida where he is working to link special education data with teacher lesson planning.
Prior to PCG, Dan ran his own systems development group for 14 years and spent a couple of years producing online pharmaceutical training programs. He started his career as a Wall Street analyst.
Dan graduated with a BA in Economics and Government from Connecticut College in New London, CT.
*PCG Education. Consulting solutions help schools, school districts, and state departments of education to promote student success, improve programs and processes, and optimize financial resources.