The Georgia Fugees Academy Charter School (GFACS) was founded by a local, non-profit board who is committed to the success of our local refugee and English learner communities. This board includes local representatives with experience and connections to the refugee community, experts who participated in the founding and replication of the Fugees Academy (a private school GFACS will replicate), and diverse local stakeholders with a variety of skills critical to the establishment and effective operation of this school. The local founding board is committed to making the Fugees approach to education available to a larger number of the new American community in Clarkston and surrounding neighborhoods, and as such, are committed to opening a Fugees charter school.
These members include:
Diana B. Fleming, Board Chair
A graduate of the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, Diana B. Fleming has lent her marketing and business expertise to several businesses in the Atlanta, GA area. She started out as an analyst and lead her way to assistant vice president with the Wachovia Corporation (currently known as Wells Fargo) until 2000, where she transitioned to an associate marketing manager and then an embellished and licensed product manager at Russell Athletic. She started as a marketing and development volunteer with Fugees Family, Inc. in 2014, supporting with fundraising and marketing efforts, such as building the Apogee tax credit scholarship program and securing more than $25,000 in grants for the organization.
Sara Beth Watson, Board Treasurer
Serving as GFACS’ Financial Committee Chair, Sara Beth Watson, CPA, is currently serving as a Director of Tax Credits at MASSIE R&D Tax Credits. All together, she has more than 12 years of experience working as a Director for several tax credit firms in the Atlanta, GA area. In addition, she volunteered for more than 6 years as the treasurer for Fugees Family, Inc, a non-profit dedicated to empowering child survivors of war. Her areas of expertise include research and tax development credits and domestic production activities deductions, with industry knowledge spanning from financial analysis and reporting to auditing.
Edward H. Lindsey, Jr., Board Secretary
Edward Lindsey is a partner in Dentons’ Public Policy practice and serves as the head of the Firm’s Georgia State Government Affairs team. His focus is on advancing the public policy interests and objectives of clients in the transportation, infrastructure, health care and education sectors. Edward has more than 32 years of legal, political and leadership experience, including 10 years as a Georgia state representative and 3 terms as the House majority whip. He also served on the House Appropriations, Judiciary, Education, Ways and Means, and Rules Committees. In addition, he served as a member of the Uniform Law Commission and the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. James Magazine, a statewide political journal, recognized him as one of Georgia’s most influential legislators. Immediately prior to joining Dentons in 2016, Edward was a partner and head of the litigation practice at Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson LLP, an Atlanta-based firm he co-founded in 1990. His dedication to refugee education stems from both his professional and personal endeavors. While serving in the Georgia General Assembly for a decade he had a strong interest in education issues, having served on both the House Education and Education Appropriations Committees. In addition, his parish, All Saints Episcopal Church, has a strong history of support for the refugee community.
Ever since arriving to the United States several years ago from Jordan after fleeing her home country of Sudan, Hawa Mohamed has been an active member in the Clarkston refugee community. She is a former cohort of the Mommy and Me English Learning Program run by Friends of Refugees in Clarkston and is also a former After School Program Assistant at the Fugees Academy. She is a currently a homemaker, looking after her children who attend several different schools in the Clarkston, GA area, with two of them being at Fugees Academy.
Arriving in the United States in 2002 from Syria after fleeing Iraq, Zahra Hussein has been active in the Clarkston and Stone Mountain area refugee community serving as a community volunteer and advocate. She is currently a homemaker, caring for her children and many others in the refugee community.
Ronald F. Abercrombie
Born in 1946 in Greenville, South Carolina, Ron Abercrombie has lived with his wife Jan in Clarkston, GA since 1982. Following graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968, he served with the US Army for two years. In 1970, he began his graduate studies, receiving a PhD in 1976 from the University of Maryland in the field of Biophysics. He has been a Fugees Academy volunteer since 2011 when he retired from Emory University after 29 years of teaching and research in the medical school’s Department of Physiology.
With more than twenty years of experience with non-profit education organizations, Marni brings considerable expertise to her volunteer and philanthropic work. Throughout her five year tenure with the KIPP Foundation, she worked to establish and maintain relationships with key decision makers throughout the region to ensure that facilities, funding, and contracts or charters were in place for KIPP Schools to open, fostered relationships with local community based organizations, education groups, businesses, foundations, and political and influential community leaders to solidify KIPP’s foundation in the community, and worked to connect KIPP schools to best practices. She also assisted school leaders in the development of critical programs and strategies including business operations, financial management, staff recruitment and retention, community and school district relations, and board development. Prior to joining KIPP, Marni served in a variety of capacities with non-profit education organizations including Junior Achievement of Georgia and the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. Her educational background includes a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She serves on the Board of Odyssey and also serves as an honorary member of the Board of the KIPP Metro Atlanta Collaborative. Marni and her husband, Julian, are the proud parents of Sam, Etta, and Trey.