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 the 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 Greensboro, Georgia with his wife, Patty.
Dan currently serves as Board Chair for Path To Shine's® Board of Directors.
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 housing 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 the 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® Inc, Nadeen serves on the Communications Committee and the Recognition Committee. She volunteers with summer enrichment programs and has done so for many years.
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, she attended UNC for her undergrad and then UGA for her Master’s degree
Her first job out of college was for a Regional Planning Commission and served as a human resources consultant to communities in the Metropolitan Atlanta area. She served in the IT division at Federal Home Loan Bank and as a Banking Officer coordinating the development and support of the applications for the Accounting and Funds Transfer departments. Nadeed has served hundreds of volunteer 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, Nadeed 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 12 years she served as the Acolyte Leader at St. Aidan’s.
Derek is currently the Senior Vice President and Area Executive of SouthState Bank. 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 oversaw the Marietta commercial lending group and the Marietta Banking Center and was 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 the 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 a volunteer with Special Olympics. He is married to Ashley and they have two young children.
Dr. Charles Hawk was born in Atlanta and has served his community his entire life. He currently is Assistant Principal in Gwinnett County School System at Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville. Prior to this position, Dr. Hawk served at Gwinnett County’s Give West school as Assistant Principal and was the faculty’s leadership coach. A lifelong educator, Dr. Hawk served in Gwinnett County School System and Atlanta Public Schools.
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Morehouse University. Dr. Hawk obtained his Master of Secondary Education through Grand Canyon University. Not stopping there, Dr. Hawk received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University and then his Educational Leadership Certificate at the University of West Georgia.
Always serving, Dr. Hawk has Managed Relay for Life several times. He is a member of the South Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce and a member of their Executive Board.
Kenia Pineda is a Renaissance woman. She has used her talents and skills in a broad range of activities. Kenia is a humanitarian. Her humanitarian ideals are best expressed through the nonprofit organization that she founded named The Chiquillos Foundation, Inc. She founded this organization to provide sustainable programs to improve the well-being of children in the communities of Honduras and in the United States. The Chiquillos programs focus on education, health, nutrition, environmental impact and wellness. The programs from Chiquillos are created to improve educational outcomes and the health and well-being of children in the communities that the organization serves.
Kenia is also trained and serves as a districtwide mentor for the Gwinnett County Public School System. She is a strong believer in the benefits to children that mentoring provides. She is a frequent volunteer for the district community mentor program and also provides support through the district for the mentor programs at individual schools. She also served as an intern for the Hispanic mentor program for the Gwinnett County Public Schools.
Kenia is an etiquette and protocol instructor. She provides etiquette and protocol lessons to children and adults through the Chiquillos Foundation, Inc. The foundation provides scholarships to children who are unable to afford the cost of the etiquette and protocol training. Kenia has worked to assist project management for fundraising campaigns for the Healing Wings Program. She also serves as a house distribution volunteer for Daily Bread for All and as a volunteer at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
Kenia is also a Spanish-language instructor. One surprising unknown fact about Kenia is that she has a CDL license and has served as a trainer and compliance officer for the Gwinnett County School Bus Transportation Division.
She is employed full-time by the Gwinnett County Public School System as an educator at GIVE West High School.
Kenia has supported nonprofit organizations and has been a volunteer for organizations that support children and the environment.
Father Ben Day spent his childhood moving around the Carolinas. While in college, Fr. Ben turned his love of politics into a successful career in campaign management and 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 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 ®Inc.
A Navy brat, Christine was born in Taiwan and has lived in Guam and Germany, and in many US states. But Georgia was always home and her family’s deep roots in Henry County brought them to McDonough after her father’s retirement. She graduated from high school in McDonough and then went to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, where she graduated in 1982 with a degree in English and History. She married Scott Hoskins (Georgia Tech ’82) and followed his Air Force career all over the country until his retirement when they settled in Warner Robins. He is currently a senior engineer at an aviation engineering company.
Christine and her husband have two sons, now in their 30s. Christine homeschooled both of them through high school. After the youngest son went to college, she became a high school science teacher at a small private school in Warner Robins. Now retired, she has held numerous volunteer positions over the years, including 15 years as a Cub Scout/Boy Scout leader and a term on the board of directors of Friends of Georgia Libraries. She is an active member of the Houston County Friends of the Library and serves on their board of directors, and is the director of the Perry affiliate of Path to Shine.
She was confirmed in the Episcopal Church in 2014 and is a member of Christ Church Macon. She sings in the chancel choir, serves on the altar guild, and is a Lay Eucharistic Visitor.
Belinda is an Early Childhood Educator having received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University and her Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University. She retired in 2021 from Gwinnett County Public schools where she taught for 25 years with her last year as a Zoom based kindergarten teacher. Belinda was named Teacher of the Year at Chattahoochee Elementary School during the 2005-2006 school year and was recommended for and participated in Teachers as Leaders. With that total of 36 years working with children in pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade Belinda began her third year as an Affiliate Director for Path to Shine at Norcross Elementary School in 2023..
Belinda is married to Joe Chancey who is the managing partner at Drew Eckl & Farnham, LLP. They have a son who is an educator in John’s Creek and a daughter who is a lead copywriter in California. She enjoys playing tennis with ALTA and T2 leagues.
A lifelong student, Martha loved school from the very beginning of first grade in Lubbock, Texas. And because she loves school, she is called to share it. A passion for teaching emerged that first year of school, when she held class for her younger best friend each day, paving the way for her best friend to be a bit bored the next year when she started first grade.
Martha has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s in mathematics education, and a doctorate in Information Systems from the University of Texas at Austin.
Her first career was as a teacher of mathematics at Lanier High School in Austin, TX. After starting a family, she taught part-time at the College of Business at the University of Texas. She was recruited by Continental Insurance Company and moved to Princeton, NJ. Teaching beckoned again and she moved to the Atlanta area and took a position at Kennesaw State University in Computer Science and Information Systems. She served there as assistant professor, associate professor, full professor, and department chair.
Retired now, she pursues another passion – stitching. She makes her own clothes, as well as textile art, and occasional vestments. She also teaches through the American Sewing Guild, as well as for other textile groups. And she takes many, many classes.
Martha is married to Jim Myers, retired from AT&T. They have 4 grown children who are married with their own families now. Martha and Jim spend every minute that COVID allows with the 11 grandchildren. They are members of St Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Dunwoody where Martha has served on Vestry, taught Sunday School, and volunteered at Malachi’s Storehouse.
Dona McKee is currently an Affiliate Director of Path To Shine Inc. at Pitner Elementary in Kennesaw. She is a retired educator with forty-six years of experience; she was a classroom teacher as well as a Literacy Coach. She served on curriculum selections and teacher selections, and she presented workshops to large groups of educators. During her time as an educator, she was selected as Teacher of the Year for her district.
Dona is also an artist who is featured in collections in numerous states and was selected for juried art exhibits in Connecticut and Rhode Island; she was also a single featured artist in exhibits. Dona also owned a boutique in South Louisiana that featured her hand-dyed silks and cottons. When she moved to Georgia and became a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Kennesaw, Dona was excited to learn of the Path To Shine program and quickly became involved.
Jim is a retired Information Security Consultant with a BS degree in Computer Science from Stony Brook University. For over two decades he worked in various capacities at Merrill Lynch, such as telecommunications, email/collaboration systems, data center management, and information security and privacy. Later he was a senior consultant at RSA/EMC Corporation working with clients over the entire spectrum from “techies” to the “C-suite” level.
Since retiring in 2014, Jim has been mentoring at Path To Shine and has been a co-director of the Marietta program for much of that time. He has also been involved with other aspects of Path To Shine such as the Ugly Pants golf tournament fundraiser and has provided technical support for the home office as well as other Path To Shine programs.
He has also volunteered with other organizations including Family Promise of Cobb County and the Church of the Common Ground.
Born and raised on Long Island, Jim moved to Smyrna in 2005. He has three adult children and two grandchildren. He is a member of St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Smyrna.
Upon joining St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in 2019, Jenny Porter became interested in Path to Shine and started attending the annual Low Country Boil & Auction fundraiser. Once she retired in the spring of 2022, she had more time to devote to Path to Shine, so joined the auction committee, became a mentor at Norton Park and in the summer of 2023, she joined the Board of Directors.
Jenny worked in the corporate world for ten years, took a few years off to be a full-time mom, and then for the past 20 years, she was co-owner of a home décor and gift store in Marietta. She has spent many years teaching Sunday school; junior church, for elementary-aged children; Vacation Bible School; and ESL classes. She is currently the coordinator of an ESL program which is joint mission with St. Benedict’s and St. Jude’s. Jenny has two grown children and one granddaughter who all live in Costa Rica.
She is touched by the many stories of children who have grown up with Path the Shine and is excited to be a part of this ministry.