Board Members

Our Board meets on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Board meetings will take place virtually via Zoom and are open to the public. Anyone who wishes to attend can contact Hannah Johnson at hannah@athenslandtrust.org.

Please note: The January 2023 board meeting has been moved to Monday, January 23rd, 2022.

Lara Mathes

President
With a professional background in city and university planning, Lara has served on a variety of Athens Land Trust committees since first joining the board in 2006. She is most inspired by the organization’s adaptability in addressing community needs while remaining steadfast in its socially-focused land stewardship role. Currently, she serves on the Housing and Executive Committees.

Nancy Stangle

Treasurer
As co-Founder and former Executive Director of Athens Land Trust, Nancy played an essential role in the formation of ALT in 1994 as one of the few organizations in the country that is both a conservation and community land trust. She currently serves on the Finance and Development committees.

Vanna Cure

Vice President
Vanna joined the Athens Land Trust Board in October 2020. As the Associate Director of Advocacy for Prosperity Now (Washington, DC), she works to advance federal and state policies for equitable financial stability and wealth building. She has a history of grassroots political activism and organizing. She seeks to leverage this experience, as well as her deep ties to the Athens community, to support ALT's mission and programs.

Charley Hill

Secretary
Charley has worked in commercial real estate in Atlanta, Georgia for the past thirty seven years. As a University of Georgia alumnus, he and his family have maintained a strong connection and love for Athens. He sees his work with Athens Land Trust as an important way to give back to the city and its people.

Quito Anderson

Quito has used his conservation and legal background in his years of service to Athens Land Trust, including as a pro bono consultant, standing member of the Conservation and Development Committees, and Board Member. He believes that a healthy environment plays a vital role in holistic, equitable community development.

Jeff Bishop

Adrienne Chappell

Shakeeta Daniel

Jim Davis

Tony Grajirena

johnelle.simpson

Johnelle Simpson

Johnelle is a litigation and employment attorney with Fortson, Bentley, & Griffin, P.A. He is a native of Donalsonville, GA, and attended the University of Georgia where he served as Student Body President. Prior to attending law school, Johnelle worked with Athens Area schools, businesses, and local officials in developing and administering workforce development programs and initiatives. He currently serves as the President of the Georgia Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Corporate Board. Outside of work, Johnelle enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, traveling, playing tennis, and learning the art of golf.

Durrell Smith

Durrell Smith is an Atlanta, Georgia native, visual artist, conservationist, bird dog handler/trainer, and podcast host. He is the co-founder, along with his wife Ashley, of the Minority Outdoor Alliance, a nonprofit that works to encourage people from diverse walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, and cultures, to make the outdoors an integral part of their lives. Durrell serves on the Conservation Committee.

Sarah Yates Sutherland

Sarah has over four decades of construction experience, including development, general contracting, historic restoration and construction program management for non-profit clients. She also serves as Vice President of Wholesome Wave Georgia’s Board of Directors. She currently serves on the Housing, Development, and finance committees.

Willie Thomas

Willie Thomas is an Athens native who grew up and still resides in the West Broad community. He is a proud alumnus of West Broad Elementary School, Athens High Industrial, and he graduated from Burney Harris High School. Mr. Thomas worked many years in the retail industry, and as a self-employed contractor. He retired from Lowe’s after 19 years of service. Mr. Thomas became the chair of the West Broad Advisory Board in 2019 where he has led community meetings, spoken on behalf of the community, and strives daily to work with his neighbors to promote engagement and advocacy for their needs.