Foundation Board of Directors

Walt Helms, Chair

Walt Helms is a Principal of Nease, Lagana, Eden, & Culley, Inc. He joined NLEC in 2008 and specializes in creating customized wealth transfer plans for affluent families and business owners. These strategies include combining life insurance with appropriate transfer strategies to meet the objectives of the families and business owners. Additionally, he has held teaching positions at Georgia State, Emory, and Oglethorpe University.

Walt received a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He continued his graduate studies at the Georgia State University earning two degrees—a Master of Taxation and Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning.

Walt and his wife, Christy, are both natives of Georgia and have lived in Cobb County for 20 years. They have two sons – a sophomore at Walton High School and a freshman at University of Georgia.

Walt has been on the GFPE Board since 2010, serving as Vice Chair since 2017, and as a resident of Cobb County, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Davis Knox, Vice Chair

Davis Knox resides in Athens, GA with his wife of 15 years, Gena Neely Knox. They have four children: Neely Knox (8 years old), Genevieve Knox (6 years old), Georgia Mae Knox (4 years old), and Bickley McLean Knox (4 months old).  Davis & Gena’s children currently attend Barrow Elementary School in Clarke County.  Gena is a native of the ‘Peach Belt’, a three-time cookbook author and the current spokesperson for the Georgia Peach industry.

Davis and Gena both graduated from UGA.  Davis graduated in 1998 with a degree in Finance from the Terry College of Business. Gena graduated in 2000 with a degree in Landscape Architecture.

Davis was initiated into the Gamma chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order in 1995, where he served as an officer.

After college, Davis worked in small business sales, marketing and general management and later as Marketing Manager for AirServ, which grew to employ 4,000 employees nationwide within their first two years of operations.

In 2003, Gena and Davis founded Fire & Flavor, which is a leading Brand on all natural grilling products sold in over 10,000 stores nationwide. They helped popularize ‘Cedar Plank Salmon’ as a new concept in grilling. They now sell over 40 products ranging from Charcoal to Seasonings and in leading retailers such as Target, Kroger, Lowes & Publix nationwide. In 2008, Fire & Flavor was listed on the Inc. 500’s list of fastest growing businesses in America.  In 2010 and again in 2011, Fire & Flavor was listed on the Bulldog 100 list of fastest growing UGA businesses. In 2012, Fire & Flavor was named the Goodwill of North Georgia Small Employer of the Year for the work as a work-training site for the disadvantaged.

Gena and Davis are members of the 2009 Leadership Georgia Class. Davis is a founding member of the Terry College Young Alumni Board and was honored in 2009 as their Distinguished Young Alumni award recipient.  Davis currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and has for the past 3 years.

Lastly, in 2016, Davis founded an Athens based nonprofit called Athensmade in partnership with Athens-Clarke County government to drive economic development and interconnectedness with local educators such as the University of Georgia and Athens Tech.  Davis is passionate about his community, his alma mater and the great outdoors.

Davis joined the board in 2018, and as a resident of Athens, represents the Northeast Region.

Ann Wilson Cramer, Immediate Past Chair

Ann Wilson Cramer is a Senior Consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates. In this role, she provides strategic consultation to nonprofit clients to strengthen their capacity in the critical areas of board development, volunteer engagement, corporate relations and fundraising. She is also available to the business community to provide guidance on the issues of corporate citizenship and social responsibility.

Prior to joining Coxe Curry, Ann served as Director for IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs for the Americas. In that position, she was a member of the senior management staff overseeing the company’s approach to corporate citizenship, strategic philanthropy and overall social responsibility.

Ann is a graduate of Salem College with a degree in mathematics. In 1991, she received Salem College’s Alumnae Leadership Award in recognition of her commitment and service to community service. Ann and her husband, Jeff, are long-time residents of Inman Park and are active members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. They are the proud parents of two adult children.

“It was an honor to serve as the Chair of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education board and to support our mission of educational excellence for Georgia’s K-12 students,” Cramer said.

Ann has been on the GFPE Board since 2012, serving as Chair since 2017, and as a resident of Fulton County, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Jason Downey, ex-officio member

Jason E. Downey was elected Vice-Chairman of the Georgia State Board of Education beginning January 2020. He was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp as the 8th Congressional District’s Member of the State BOE in April 2019, and previously served on the Macon-Bibb County Board of Education from 2013-2017 where he held the positions of Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, and Legislative Liaison.

Downey graduated in 2000 from Marshall University in West Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, and in 2003 from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law with his J.D. He currently practices law as in-house counsel for Allstate Insurance Company. Downey is married to Connie who has been an elementary counselor in Jones County for 20 years. They live in Macon, Georgia with their daughter Cate. Downey also coaches competitive travel softball in his spare time.

 

Al Hodge

As founder of Hodge Consulting Services, LLC, Al Hodge brings more than 40 years of economic and community development experience to clients. Globally recognized for his achievements in the industry, Al’s vision, leadership, and deep knowledge of public policy have developed communities that thrive. His insights into business and the countless factors required for lasting success ensure that his clients are adapted for a global marketplace.

Al is vice chair of the Japan America Society of Georgia and serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the board of Georgia Northwestern Technical College. He is also an active member of the Society of International Business Fellows.

During his 41 years in Chamber work in Charleston, S.C., and in Rome and Augusta, Ga., Al has served in local, state and national capacities. He has served as one of a group of 12 specialty external advisers to the U.S. Department of Energy and on the American Chamber of Commerce Executive Association Board. Al also served more than eight years as a member of the Georgia State Board of Education, including as vice chair. He also served as chair of Georgia’s Joint Education Board’s Liaison Committee; chair of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives; chair of the Georgia Economic Developers Association; and as an officer and board member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation.

Al has taught economic development, leadership and democracy with the U.S. Army War College; with the University of Georgia Center for Democratic Governance in both Beijing and Xining, China; in San Francisco, Calif.; with the Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio, and cities across the Southern U.S., and has spoken in England and Germany.

A graduate of the University of Georgia and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, Al has also completed a number of other state, regional and national economic and leadership development programs, including Leadership Georgia. His accomplishments have earned him numerous professional awards and highlighted his business and public policy expertise.

Al lives in Rome, Ga., and is married to artist Cheryl Riner Hodge. They have one daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Al’s ability to cultivate a driven team and build lasting communities has been proven time and again. The results Al delivers are indeed “Good stuff that!”

Al joined the board in 2019, and as a resident of Rome, represents the Northwest region.

 

Dr. Otis Samuel Johnson

Dr. Otis Samuel Johnson became a Scholar in Residence at Savannah State University in February 2012 after serving eight years as the 64th Mayor of the city of Savannah, Georgia.  He was elected to the position in 2003 and reelected in 2007.  He ended his second term on December 31, 2011.  Dr. Johnson was prohibited from running for a third four-year term because of a term limit law.  While mayor, Dr. Johnson provided leadership for the creation of Step Up Savannah, Inc. (2005/06), a poverty reduction initiative, and Healthy Savannah (2007), an initiative that promotes healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Johnson has devoted his professional career to making conditions better for low wealth families in Savannah and the South.  He worked for the Economic Opportunity Authority and the Model Cities Program before he began teaching at Savannah State University in 1971. He organized the undergraduate program in social work at Savannah State University.  Dr. Johnson was elected to the Savannah City Council in 1982 and reelected in 1986.  He resigned from the City Council and a tenured faculty position at Savannah State University in 1988 to become Executive Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation supported Chatham Savannah Youth Futures Authority. The Youth Futures Authority was a collaborative of organizations that worked with children and families that needed help.  Dr. Johnson returned to Savannah State University in 1998 as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and was elected, without opposition, to a four-year term on the Savannah Chatham County Board of Public Education.  Dr. Johnson retired from Savannah State University in 2002 and did not run for reelection to the Board of Education in order to prepare for his campaign for mayor.

Dr. Johnson was a founding member of the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives in 1992 and the National Community Building Network in 1993. He was a member of the founding board of directors of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (G-CAPP) in 1995.  He founded the Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA), a local community development corporation, in Savannah in 1996.   He has served on numerous state and national advisory and study groups on school and social service reform, community building, and youth development.

Dr. Johnson was a member of the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education and Families during his eight years as mayor and chaired the Council in 2009.  He served on the boards of the Georgia Municipal Association, MDC, Inc. in Durham, NC, the Harris Neck Land Trust in McIntosh County, GA, Step Up Savannah, Inc., Healthy Savannah, and George Liele Visions in Savannah. He currently serves on the boards of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Foundation.

Dr. Johnson earned degrees from Armstrong Atlantic University (A.A. 1964), University of Georgia A.B. 1967), Clark Atlanta University (M.S.W. 1969) and Brandeis University (Ph.D. 1980).

Otis joined the board in 2018, and as a resident of Savannah, represents the Southeast Region.

 

Robert W. “Buzz” Law

Robert W. "Buzz" Law, a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner is President of Creative Financial Group Ltd., a premier planning firm in Atlanta where he counsels affluent individuals and their families on comprehensive financial, estate, investment and tax planning matters. Buzz is the founder of Creative Financial Group, which became a subsidiary of Synovus Corporation in February 2001. Buzz leads pre-retirement workshops for some of American’s largest corporations. Creative Financial Group is an approved provider of Executive Financial Planning services for several of these companies. (AT&T, Southern Company, CSX, Emory University, and others.)

Governor Sonny Purdue appointed Buzz to the State Board of Education in January 2007, where he served until February 2011. His first appointment by Governor Purdue in 2006 was to the Board of Corrections as the 6th Congressional District Representative. Buzz is currently serving on the Advisory Board for Smokey Powell School at the Academy for the Blind in Macon. Buzz was appointed by State Superintendent of Schools, John Barge, to a leadership role in the creation of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education.

Buzz serves or has served on the University of Georgia Alumni Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for the Dekalb County School Systems Academy of Finance. He is involved with the United Way Resource Development Committee, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Advisory Committee and Financial Planning Association (FPA) since 1985. Buzz is a 16-year member of the Rotary Club of Dunwoody with 13 years of perfect attendance. He is active in the Big Canoe Chapel.

Buzz was born and raised in Atlanta and attended Woodward Academy. Graduating from University of Georgia, Buzz earned his Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a major in Finance and minor in Real Estate. Buzz is a lifelong member of the ATΩ Fraternity.  Buzz and his wife Cathy live in Alpharetta with their 4 children, Robert, Elliott, Austin, and Ansley. In addition, the family includes 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a horse named Cody.

Buzz has been on the GFPE Board since 2011, and as a resident of Fulton County, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Kenneth Mason           

Kenneth Mason is director of Urban Initiatives for the Southern Regional Education Board. He is a founding board member and advisory council chair for KIPP Strive Academy and teaches high school students on a civil rights emergent experience called Sojourn to the Past.

Mason has also been a community liaison and robotic engineering consultant for Berkeley National Laboratory and served as a corps member adviser for Teach For America.

Mason earned a bachelor’s of Science degree from Hendrix College and a master’s of Teaching/Education degree from the University of San Francisco. He and his wife live in Atlanta.

 Kenneth joined the board in 2018, and as a resident of Atlanta, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Shaunae Motley

 

As president and chief executive officer of United Way of Southwest Georgia, Shaunae Motley leads the effort to strengthen communities and make a difference in the lives of neighbors across 13 counties in the southwest Georgia region.  She is a nationally recognized leader who brings a wealth of experience in visioning, strategic planning, community engagement, and capacity building with a variety of organizations and communities.

 

Prior to joining United Way, Shaunae served as director of programs of Quest For Change, where she developed leadership that transformed the organization from two employees serving 150 students, to a staff of 12 employees serving over 1,300 youth and families annually.  Before that role, Shaunae had been chief operating officer for Future Foundation, where she helped grow the once grassroots organization from a fledging entity to a multi-million dollar, nationally recognized nonprofit. In total, she has nearly 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector.

 

A recent graduate of GeorgiaForward's 2018 Young Gamechangers class in Albany/Dougherty County, Ms. Motley studied Public Relations at Georgia Southern University and also holds a Graduate Certificate in Business Excellence from Columbia Business School in New York.  She was recognized as a 2019 American Express NGen Fellow, Rural Leader Magazine's Top Four "40 Under 40" in 2016, and has earned several other awards and recognition for her leadership in the nonprofit industry.

 

Shaunae strongly believes that it is the community’s responsibility to support effective change.  She pursues her mission of public service through her many community revitalization and development projects.  She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her daughter, Sanaa Lauren.

 Staff

Paige Pushkin

Paige Pushkin is the Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) and the foundation’s first full time staff person.  Having always served in the nonprofit sector, most recently she was the Sr. Director of Corporate Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, tasked with raising $3.2 million annually from corporate donors and through 20 annual events.

Paige is passionate about service and has a 21-year career in the nonprofit sector predominantly in the adult education space having worked at Literacy Action, Cobb Literacy Council, and World Relief where she taught English as a Second Language to refugees.  Paige also taught English as a Foreign Language in Karaganda, Kazakstan for over 2 years where she additionally served as the Lead Teacher managing the other expat teachers in the program.

Paige has a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language from Wheaton College.  She obtained her B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and is always interested in the consumer behavior slant (how to get someone to want what you have to “sell”).

Paige loves building relationships and helping people envision how their investment in the non-profit sector can literally make the world a better place.  She and her husband, Andre, live in Marietta and enjoy healthy living through exercising, cooking, reading good books and traveling to new places.

what_we_stand_for

Foundation Board of Directors

Walt Helms, Chair

Walt Helms is an advisor at Nease, Lagana, Eden & Culley, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ who specializes in creating customized wealth transfer strategies for affluent families and business owners.

Walt received his Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning and a Master of Taxation from Georgia State University and his Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Walt and his wife, Christy, are both natives of Georgia and have lived in Cobb County since 2000. They have two sons who are currently attending public schools.

“With two boys—ages 17 and 14—attending public schools, I fully support the system and look forward to serving as Vice Chair to enhance the education experience for all students,” Helms said.

Walt has been on the GFPE Board since 2010, serving as Vice Chair since 2017, and as a resident of Cobb County, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Davis Knox, Vice Chair

Davis Knox resides in Athens, GA with his wife of 15 years, Gena Neely Knox. They have four children: Neely Knox (8 years old), Genevieve Knox (6 years old), Georgia Mae Knox (4 years old), and Bickley McLean Knox (4 months old).  Davis & Gena’s children currently attend Barrow Elementary School in Clarke County.  Gena is a native of the ‘Peach Belt’, a three-time cookbook author and the current spokesperson for the Georgia Peach industry.

Davis and Gena both graduated from UGA.  Davis graduated in 1998 with a degree in Finance from the Terry College of Business. Gena graduated in 2000 with a degree in Landscape Architecture.

Davis was initiated into the Gamma chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order in 1995, where he served as an officer.

After college, Davis worked in small business sales, marketing and general management and later as Marketing Manager for AirServ, which grew to employ 4,000 employees nationwide within their first two years of operations.

In 2003, Gena and Davis founded Fire & Flavor, which is a leading Brand on all natural grilling products sold in over 10,000 stores nationwide. They helped popularize ‘Cedar Plank Salmon’ as a new concept in grilling. They now sell over 40 products ranging from Charcoal to Seasonings and in leading retailers such as Target, Kroger, Lowes & Publix nationwide. In 2008, Fire & Flavor was listed on the Inc. 500’s list of fastest growing businesses in America.  In 2010 and again in 2011, Fire & Flavor was listed on the Bulldog 100 list of fastest growing UGA businesses. In 2012, Fire & Flavor was named the Goodwill of North Georgia Small Employer of the Year for the work as a work-training site for the disadvantaged.

Gena and Davis are members of the 2009 Leadership Georgia Class. Davis is a founding member of the Terry College Young Alumni Board and was honored in 2009 as their Distinguished Young Alumni award recipient.  Davis currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and has for the past 3 years.

Lastly, in 2016, Davis founded an Athens based nonprofit called Athensmade in partnership with Athens-Clarke County government to drive economic development and interconnectedness with local educators such as the University of Georgia and Athens Tech.  Davis is passionate about his community, his alma mater and the great outdoors.

Davis joined the board in 2018, and as a resident of Athens, represents the Northeast Region.

Ann Wilson Cramer, Immediate Past Chair

Ann Wilson Cramer is a Senior Consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates. In this role, she provides strategic consultation to nonprofit clients to strengthen their capacity in the critical areas of board development, volunteer engagement, corporate relations and fundraising. She is also available to the business community to provide guidance on the issues of corporate citizenship and social responsibility.

Prior to joining Coxe Curry, Ann served as Director for IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs for the Americas. In that position, she was a member of the senior management staff overseeing the company’s approach to corporate citizenship, strategic philanthropy and overall social responsibility.

Ann is a graduate of Salem College with a degree in mathematics. In 1991, she received Salem College’s Alumnae Leadership Award in recognition of her commitment and service to community service. Ann and her husband, Jeff, are long-time residents of Inman Park and are active members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. They are the proud parents of two adult children.

“It was an honor to serve as the Chair of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education board and to support our mission of educational excellence for Georgia’s K-12 students,” Cramer said.

Ann has been on the GFPE Board since 2012, serving as Chair since 2017, and as a resident of Fulton County, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Debbie Burdette

Debbie Burdette is Executive Director of the Troup County Certified Literate Community Program, which promotes community-wide literacy and enhances the quality of literacy in accordance to the guidelines of the State of Georgia. The CLCP encourages a love of reading as a foundation for lifelong learning and supports those programs with similar goals. Burdette also served as a member of the Troup County Board of Education from 2001 to 2016.

Debbie has been on the GFPE Board since 2017 and as a resident of Troup Co., represents the Northwest Region.

 

Jason Downey, ex-officio member

Jason E. Downey was elected Vice-Chairman of the Georgia State Board of Education beginning January 2020. He was appointed by Governor Brian Kemp as the 8th Congressional District’s Member of the State BOE in April 2019, and previously served on the Macon-Bibb County Board of Education from 2013-2017 where he held the positions of Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, and Legislative Liaison.

Downey graduated in 2000 from Marshall University in West Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, and in 2003 from Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law with his J.D. He currently practices law as in-house counsel for Allstate Insurance Company. Downey is married to Connie who has been an elementary counselor in Jones County for 20 years. They live in Macon, Georgia with their daughter Cate. Downey also coaches competitive travel softball in his spare time.

Al Hodge

As founder of Hodge Consulting Services, LLC, Al Hodge brings more than 40 years of economic and community development experience to clients. Globally recognized for his achievements in the industry, Al’s vision, leadership, and deep knowledge of public policy have developed communities that thrive. His insights into business and the countless factors required for lasting success ensure that his clients are adapted for a global marketplace.

Al is vice chair of the Japan America Society of Georgia and serves on the board of directors for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the board of Georgia Northwestern Technical College. He is also an active member of the Society of International Business Fellows.

During his 41 years in Chamber work in Charleston, S.C., and in Rome and Augusta, Ga., Al has served in local, state and national capacities. He has served as one of a group of 12 specialty external advisers to the U.S. Department of Energy and on the American Chamber of Commerce Executive Association Board. Al also served more than eight years as a member of the Georgia State Board of Education, including as vice chair. He also served as chair of Georgia’s Joint Education Board’s Liaison Committee; chair of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives; chair of the Georgia Economic Developers Association; and as an officer and board member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation.

Al has taught economic development, leadership and democracy with the U.S. Army War College; with the University of Georgia Center for Democratic Governance in both Beijing and Xining, China; in San Francisco, Calif.; with the Kettering Foundation of Dayton, Ohio, and cities across the Southern U.S., and has spoken in England and Germany.

A graduate of the University of Georgia and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management, Al has also completed a number of other state, regional and national economic and leadership development programs, including Leadership Georgia. His accomplishments have earned him numerous professional awards and highlighted his business and public policy expertise.

Al lives in Rome, Ga., and is married to artist Cheryl Riner Hodge. They have one daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Al’s ability to cultivate a driven team and build lasting communities has been proven time and again. The results Al delivers are indeed “Good stuff that!”

Al joined the board in 2019, and as a resident of Rome, represents the Northwest region.

 

Dr. Otis Samuel Johnson

Dr. Otis Samuel Johnson became a Scholar in Residence at Savannah State University in February 2012 after serving eight years as the 64th Mayor of the city of Savannah, Georgia.  He was elected to the position in 2003 and reelected in 2007.  He ended his second term on December 31, 2011.  Dr. Johnson was prohibited from running for a third four-year term because of a term limit law.  While mayor, Dr. Johnson provided leadership for the creation of Step Up Savannah, Inc. (2005/06), a poverty reduction initiative, and Healthy Savannah (2007), an initiative that promotes healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Johnson has devoted his professional career to making conditions better for low wealth families in Savannah and the South.  He worked for the Economic Opportunity Authority and the Model Cities Program before he began teaching at Savannah State University in 1971. He organized the undergraduate program in social work at Savannah State University.  Dr. Johnson was elected to the Savannah City Council in 1982 and reelected in 1986.  He resigned from the City Council and a tenured faculty position at Savannah State University in 1988 to become Executive Director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation supported Chatham Savannah Youth Futures Authority. The Youth Futures Authority was a collaborative of organizations that worked with children and families that needed help.  Dr. Johnson returned to Savannah State University in 1998 as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and was elected, without opposition, to a four-year term on the Savannah Chatham County Board of Public Education.  Dr. Johnson retired from Savannah State University in 2002 and did not run for reelection to the Board of Education in order to prepare for his campaign for mayor.

Dr. Johnson was a founding member of the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives in 1992 and the National Community Building Network in 1993. He was a member of the founding board of directors of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (G-CAPP) in 1995.  He founded the Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA), a local community development corporation, in Savannah in 1996.   He has served on numerous state and national advisory and study groups on school and social service reform, community building, and youth development.

Dr. Johnson was a member of the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education and Families during his eight years as mayor and chaired the Council in 2009.  He served on the boards of the Georgia Municipal Association, MDC, Inc. in Durham, NC, the Harris Neck Land Trust in McIntosh County, GA, Step Up Savannah, Inc., Healthy Savannah, and George Liele Visions in Savannah. He currently serves on the boards of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Foundation.

Dr. Johnson earned degrees from Armstrong Atlantic University (A.A. 1964), University of Georgia A.B. 1967), Clark Atlanta University (M.S.W. 1969) and Brandeis University (Ph.D. 1980).

Otis joined the board in 2018, and as a resident of Savannah, represents the Southeast Region.

 

Robert W. “Buzz” Law

Robert W. "Buzz" Law, a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner is President of Creative Financial Group Ltd., a premier planning firm in Atlanta where he counsels affluent individuals and their families on comprehensive financial, estate, investment and tax planning matters. Buzz is the founder of Creative Financial Group, which became a subsidiary of Synovus Corporation in February 2001. Buzz leads pre-retirement workshops for some of American’s largest corporations. Creative Financial Group is an approved provider of Executive Financial Planning services for several of these companies. (AT&T, Southern Company, CSX, Emory University, and others.)

Governor Sonny Purdue appointed Buzz to the State Board of Education in January 2007, where he served until February 2011. His first appointment by Governor Purdue in 2006 was to the Board of Corrections as the 6th Congressional District Representative. Buzz is currently serving on the Advisory Board for Smokey Powell School at the Academy for the Blind in Macon. Buzz was appointed by State Superintendent of Schools, John Barge, to a leadership role in the creation of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education.

Buzz serves or has served on the University of Georgia Alumni Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for the Dekalb County School Systems Academy of Finance. He is involved with the United Way Resource Development Committee, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity Advisory Committee and Financial Planning Association (FPA) since 1985. Buzz is a 16-year member of the Rotary Club of Dunwoody with 13 years of perfect attendance. He is active in the Big Canoe Chapel.

Buzz was born and raised in Atlanta and attended Woodward Academy. Graduating from University of Georgia, Buzz earned his Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a major in Finance and minor in Real Estate. Buzz is a lifelong member of the ATΩ Fraternity.  Buzz and his wife Cathy live in Alpharetta with their 4 children, Robert, Elliott, Austin, and Ansley. In addition, the family includes 2 dogs, 2 cats, and a horse named Cody.

Buzz has been on the GFPE Board since 2011, and as a resident of Fulton County, represents the West Metro Region.

 

Kenneth Mason           

Kenneth Mason is director of Urban Initiatives for the Southern Regional Education Board. He is a founding board member and advisory council chair for KIPP Strive Academy and teaches high school students on a civil rights emergent experience called Sojourn to the Past.

Mason has also been a community liaison and robotic engineering consultant for Berkeley National Laboratory and served as a corps member adviser for Teach For America.

Mason earned a bachelor’s of Science degree from Hendrix College and a master’s of Teaching/Education degree from the University of San Francisco. He and his wife live in Atlanta.

 Kenneth joined the board in 2018, and as a resident of Atlanta, represents the West Metro Region.

Staff

Paige Pushkin

Paige Pushkin is the Executive Director of the Georgia Foundation for Public Education (GFPE) and the foundation’s first full time staff person.  Having always served in the nonprofit sector, most recently she was the Sr. Director of Corporate Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, tasked with raising $3.2 million annually from corporate donors and through 20 annual events.

Paige is passionate about service and has a 21-year career in the nonprofit sector predominantly in the adult education space having worked at Literacy Action, Cobb Literacy Council, and World Relief where she taught English as a Second Language to refugees.  Paige also taught English as a Foreign Language in Karaganda, Kazakstan for over 2 years where she additionally served as the Lead Teacher managing the other expat teachers in the program.

Paige has a Master’s Degree in Intercultural Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language from Wheaton College.  She obtained her B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Central Florida and is always interested in the consumer behavior slant (how to get someone to want what you have to “sell”).

Paige loves building relationships and helping people envision how their investment in the non-profit sector can literally make the world a better place.  She and her husband, Andre, live in Marietta and enjoy healthy living through exercising, cooking, reading good books and traveling to new places.

what_we_stand_for