Dave Bernd, is the Vice President of the Newton County Office of Economic Development. He is an experienced Consultant, and Economic Developer, with a demonstrated leadership history of working both within non-profit and Fortune 100 organizations. He has brought a strong sense of community initiatives and vision to the Board while deeply valuing the mid to large size corporations and their future employment needs. He is keenly aware of workforce development and future skills that are needed for success and top dollar career options.
Officer Manager/Closer at Premier Capital Mortgage, Inc. She brings great insight to the makeup of the board since she has two successful graduates of Peachtree Academy. She was known as an outstanding volunteer each year with all kinds of events, annual overnight field trips, and sports activities.
Sandra Gilbert Matias
Sandra is a graduate of Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, where she was awarded a degree in Chemistry with a minor in Biology and Math. She has worked for 22 years in Pharmaceutical Quality Control Laboratory Management, which includes 6 years of Pharmaceutical Microbiology Laboratory Management. Gilbert Matias was relocated to Georgia in 2013 by Baxter Healthcare Corporation, BioScience in Covington to join the project as Senior Manager of Quality Control.
Dan has been a Rockdale native since 1968 and is a graduate of Rockdale County High School, Class of 1973. He is the Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Tax Officials (GATO) and has been an account Representative with Government Tax Solutions since 2013. He served as Rockdale County Tax Commissioner from 1993 until 2012. Past positions also include 18 years with the Essex Group, a major wire manufacturer in Lithonia where he held various management positions including Personnel Manager, Production Control Manager and Quality Control Supervisor.
Dan is a graduate of Georgia State University with a BBA in Management and a Masters Degree in Finance. Dan is highly involved in several state associations. He is Past President of the Constitutional Officers’ Association of Georgia (COAG), and of the Georgia Association of Tax Officials, 2003-2005 (GATO). He is a member of Revenue and Finance Committee for the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG).
Dan has been honored to be named the 2008 Constitutional Officer of the Year (COAG), 2005 Georgia Association of Tax Officials’ Tax Commissioner of the Year (GATO), and the 1996 Rockdale Jaycees Outstanding Public Servant Award.
Locally, Dan is a member and Elder of New Covenant Fellowship Church of Rockdale and past member of Smyrna Presbyterian Church where he has served as an Elder, Deacon, Sunday School Teacher and Youth Leader. He is a past member of the South Rockdale Civic Association and an Honorary Member of the Rockdale Rotary Club. Dan also served on the Nancy Guinn Library Board of Trustees as Chairman. Other Board memberships have included Rockdale Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Chairman Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission Past President of Edward Middle School’s LSAC, and Past President of Heritage High School Fastpitch Booster Club. Dan also served on the Rockdale School System’s Long Range Planning Committee. He is a 1991 Graduate of Leadership Rockdale.
He enjoyed many years coaching Fastpitch Softball and continues to enjoy watching the sport.
Married to Theresa Ray and they have two daughters Brittany Ray Norton and Meredith Ray; son-in-law Allen Norton and proud grandfather of Macie Norton and Mason Norton. His greatest enjoyment today he finds in playing with his grandchildren.
Jo Carter Harbin
A native of Conyers, Jo has spent the last 32 years as a real estate broker. She considers helping others with their relocation needs as a ministry. She has experience as a human resources director and director of administrative services with a multimillion dollar computer software company. She enjoyed a career as a top level executive recruiter in Fort Worth, Texas. She has owned and operated two highly successful businesses, including her Carter’s Galaxy of Homes, Inc.
In 1980, Jo served on the White House Conference on Small Business by Presidential appointment, working with Congress in enacting new legislation helpful to small businesses. Afterward, she was appointed to the Regional Advisory Board for the Small Business Administration, serving Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. She was influential in the development of the Georgia Small Business Council in Atlanta.
A member of Conyers First Baptist Church, Jo was named Executive of the Georgia Women’s Missionary Union and served for 17 years. She was charged with the responsibility of speaking in all the Baptist churches in the state of Georgia, as well as, the design, rebuild and fundraising for the renovation of Camp Pinnacle.
She has been active on many directing boards including Atlanta Chamber of Commerce – Industrial Council, Georgia Moral and Civic Concerns, Rockdale Board of Realtors and the Georgia Association of Realtors.
Jo enjoys traveling with her husband. As of this date, she has visited 11 countries and 38 states. Included in her travels are three mission trips to Africa which included delivering rice to starving orphans. She is in the development of a plan to grow rice in Cambodia to ship to Liberia through the Harcar Trust Foundation. Funding is currently being secured to bring this latest endeavor to fruition. We wish you God’s speed in your endeavors,
Born and raised in Findlay, Ohio, Sherry moved to Georgia (to escape the cold and snow) as soon as she finished college. While in Georgia, she has been an early learning teacher and director, eventually opening two nationally accredited centers in the Alpharetta area. Leaving the traffic and noise behind, Sherry has settled in Newton County and now calls this her home.
Sherry Lowery has begun her 11th year as a member of the faculty at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. As an Early Childhood Care and Education Instructor, she has come in contact with literally hundreds of students, teachers and administrators in Newton, Rockdale and Morgan Counties.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she also holds a State-Approved Child Care Trainer certificate, as well as the designation of Professional Development Specialist with the National Council for Professional Recognition. Within the college, she serves in many capacities, such as, Faculty Liaison on the Achieving the Dream Team and as a member of both the Academic Affairs Advisory Committee and the Articulation Committee.
In the East Metro community, Ms. Lowery is a member of the Board of Directors for Peachtree Academy Private Schools; is on Rockdale Career Academy’s (RCA) Board of Directors, is Chair of the Family and Consumer Sciences Advisory Board for Newton County Schools, and Chair of the ECCE Advisory Board for RCA’s Early Childhood Education Pathway. Sherry Lowery earned her B.S. in Education from Ohio’s Bowling Green State University, and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
In her not-so-much-spare-time, she serves in several leadership positions within her church, is a co-captain for a Relay-for-Life team, and has been a wish granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia for the past 16 years.
Wendy Hughes is the former Headmaster of Peachtree Academy. She has over 31 years of experience as an educator in Rockdale, Newton, and Henry County. Her classroom and leadership experience made her a great leader as the Headmaster. As retirement called, we are happy to say that she remains a valuable part of the Peachtree team by teaching 8th grade Social Studies and a PSAT Prep class.
Since 2000, Rod worked his way up to the Director of Business Operations for Aerotak, a worldwide leader in talent management for the Engineering, Sciences, and Professional, and Industrial arenas. He worked in a variety of areas where he used his talent in strategic planning, business operations, and governement services. He was accountable for maintaining a $140 million portfolio of Aerotek’s largest and longest standing partnerships. He understands the value of an outstanding education and his daughter is a Peachtree graduate who is doing very well at College and his son is a current 11th grade student at Peachtree who loves playing baseball and basketball. His wife Kerry, is also a very loyal sports enthusiast who is at all of the school games throughout the year. Rod grew up in the bible belt, in a family where faith in Christ was a daily practice. He accepted Christ at a young age, and during his college years realized God’s call to serve in pastoral ministry. He received theological training from Michigan Theological Seminary and Luther Rice. After seven years of pastoral ministry in metro Atlanta, and sixteen years of corporate leadership experience he felt led to join the Gospel Hope leadership team. Rod and his wife Kerry have been married for eighteen years and have two children.
John King is the Airport Manager for the Covington Municipal Airport. He is a dedicated and active member of the community. He and his wife Katie live in Newton County and he brings a wealth of business experience and strong relationships to the Board of Directors. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Aviation from Utah Valley University and a Master of Science degree in Management from Troy State University.
Elizabeth Dritz, is the Site Head of Quality of Assurance and a Senior Director for the entire campus at Takeda, a world wide bio-pharmaceutical manufacturer in Social Circle. She has a BS degree in Biology and an MBA that have helped guide her success for over 30 years in the Biopharm arena.
Thank you to all who have served on our board for sharing your knowledge, talents, and treasures with our school. We are a better school because of your service.