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:
Edward Lindsey, Jr., Board Chair
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.
Brie Murray, Board Treasurer
As a member of GFACS’ Board of Trustees, Brie Murray brings 18 years of experience from her work in the financial world. Born in Boston, Massachusetts she started her career with Putnam Investments in 2000 as a Regional Marketing Associate after graduating from Georgetown University. Relocating to Atlanta in 2004, she worked as a Marketing Director for multiple firms including Lincoln Financial and Transamerica Capital. Currently focused on volunteer work, she has partnered with multiple non-profits on a range of different initiatives. Helping individuals obtain voter ID and voter registration has been one focal point of her most recent work.
Christina began her career working in immigration assistance and refugee resettlement in Amman, Jordan working with Iraqi refugees, and in Clarkston, GA where she was a case manager at World Relief and focused on medical case management and community health programs. Christina later worked as a consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Guidehouse, and Booz Allen Hamilton with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as her primary client. During that time, she provided project management for an Ebola vaccine clinical trial in Sierra Leone, supported respiratory disease activities in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) portfolio, and served in the COVID-19 Response and COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Since 2018, Christina has served on the board of directors for Medcura Health (formerly Oakhurst Medical Center), a Federally Qualified Health Center, and has been Board Chair since 2022. In 2021, Christina became a CDC employee in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Division of Bacterial Diseases where she is currently a Public Health Analyst coordinating the Division’s global programs. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from The University of Georgia and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Christina lives in Atlanta with her husband, son, and dog. She is excited to serve on the board of GFACS where she can use her experience to support a school that is improving the lives and bettering the futures of so many children and their families.
With more than twenty years of experience with non-profit education organizations, Marni brings considerable expertise to her volunteer and philanthropic work. Throughout her 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 and worked to connect KIPP schools to best practices. She also assisted school leaders with the development of 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 as Chair of the Advisory Council for Odyssey and also serves as an honorary member of the Board of the KIPP Metro Atlanta Collaborative.
Ronald Abercrombie, Vice Chair
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.
Shilpi Laskar, Board Secretary
Shilpi Laskar has a passion for service and feels a calling toward educational opportunity for all. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and a mother of three daughters. Shilpi led the Children’s Literature Outreach program at Scott Elementary for 3 years, chaired the Community Service Committee, and was VP of Community Service and Civic Engagement, all at the Westminster Schools. In April of 2022, she chaired the inaugural Westminster Day of Service, partnering with 35+ nonprofits in the Atlanta community and beyond to host a memorable event attended by 500+ students and families. Shilpi hails from a science and tech background — starting out in molecular biology, moving into tech consulting, and then settling into volunteer roles as she began raising her daughters. She has been involved at the Westminster Schools for the past 16 years, most recently as the VP of Volunteers for the Parents Association at The Westminster Schools Executive Board, responsible for engaging parents in ways they are interested in connecting with the school. As a child of immigrants, she is passionate about the Fugees mission and goals.
Diana Fleming, Ex- Officio
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 led 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 fundraising and marketing efforts, such as building the Apogee tax credit scholarship program and securing more than $25,000 in grants for the organization. Diana retired from service as the Board Chair in June of 2023.