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CIS of Atlanta Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

(updated November 01, 2018)

Whitney Gerkin of Cox Automotive, Nick Gracek of QuikTrip Corporation, Tharon Johnson of Paramount Consulting Group and Anne Lerner of Jackson Spalding have been appointed as the newest members of the board of directors of Communities In Schools of Atlanta – part of the nation’s largest dropout prevention network with a proven track record of positively impacting graduation rates.

“We are thrilled to welcome such diverse members to our board of directors. Each member has experience and expertise ranging from the corporate sector to the political arena, which makes them a critical asset to our organization, said Frank Brown, CEO of Communities In Schools of Atlanta. “We also know that their dedication to serving the community will help guide Communities In Schools of Atlanta as we continue to carry out our mission to empower students to achieve in life.”

Whitney Gerkin is the Director of Strategy at Cox Automotive where she plans and executes corporate and business unit level strategies. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology Modified with Economics and earned her MBA from the University of Virginia. Gerkin serves as the Co-Chair of Dartmouth Young Alumni Group of Atlanta and Woodward Academy Class of 2003 Reunion Committee. She co-led Hurricane Katrina relief efforts for 45 volunteers and also volunteers with first generation Latina high-schoolers in her community.

Nick Gracek is the Personnel Coordinator at QuikTrip Corporation in the Atlanta Division and has been with the company for 12 years. Gracek participated in a loaned executive program through QuikTrip and during this time he worked closely with the community, businesses and schools to generate funding for United Way programs. He was able to experience firsthand how the power of people can make a huge impact on changing communities. He is a longtime resident of Metro Atlanta where he lives with his wife and 2 daughters.

Tharon Johnson is a political strategist and founder of Paramount Consulting Group, a bipartisan firm specializing in government affairs, lobbying, and campaigns. During his career, Tharon served as both consultant and manager on dozens of federal, state and local campaigns. He advised members of Congress, leaders in state government, former and current mayors of Atlanta and a presidential campaign. He regularly appears as a key contributor on several news channels and television shows, including CNN, WSB-TV 2 and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s "Political Rewind" and Lawmakers," to provide insights and analysis of political developments at the national, state and local levels. He is currently a permanent member of Fox 5’s “The Georgia Gang.”

Anne Lerner is a Senior Communications Specialist at Jackson Spalding as well as a Tucker City Council Representative. As a 20-year Tucker resident, Lerner has served the community through leadership roles in organizations including Tucker Civic Association, Northlake Community Alliance, Tucker 2015, Tucker-Northlake CID Master Plan Steering Committee, DeKalb County Neighborhood Watch and the Winding Woods Neighborhood Association/Garden Club. She earned a Master of Education from Mercer University and spent a decade at Stone Mountain Middle School where she was named “Teacher of the Year.” She remains a mentor to several of her former students.

Other members of the Communities In Schools of Atlanta board include: Allison Berger (General Assembly); Nell Campbell-Drake (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta); Robiaun Charles (Agnes Scott College); Kristina Christy (Wells Fargo); J.P. Curcio (AB Bernstein); Yglesias Hollins (The Coca-Cola Company); Naveen Krishna (Macy’s Inc.); Bryan Lavine (Troutman Sanders LLP); Jesse R. Morton (STOUT); Veronica Thomas (Focus Brands).

ABOUT COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS OF ATLANTA Communities In Schools (CIS) of Atlanta is part of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside 65 schools in Atlanta Public Schools, Fulton County Schools, DeKalb County Public Schools and Clayton County Public Schools, we connect kids to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. We do whatever it takes to ensure that all kids—regardless of the challenges they may face—have what they need to realize their potential. Click here to learn more about CIS of Atlanta. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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