Erika is the founding director of the City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA), a nationally-recognized program that places local high school students in prestigious summer internships and provides year-round leadership development through community service. Since its inception in 2007, Erika has worked with more than 100 Asheville High School students, the vast majority of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. Erika is a graduate of the Georgetown University Institute of Public Policy, and credits her mother Polly – who recently retired from a 40-year-career as a child advocate – as her lifelong role model.
Nancy moved to Asheville in 1994 after graduating from The University of Richmond with a B.A. in Psychology. In 1997 she completed her graduate work with a M.A.Ed. in School Counseling. Following an internship at Sand Hill Venable Elementary and 3 years working as a school counselor at Brevard Elementary, Nancy changed careers by buying The Baggie Goose, a paper and stationery store in Biltmore Village. Ten years later Nancy left the paper store and is currently active as a full time mom to her 3 daughters and as an OpenDoors volunteer.
Scott Wilkerson received his M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee and worked for Ford Motor Co. as a Zone Manager before starting his own business. Today he is a partner in TDC Capital, a private investment firm specializing in automobile dealerships, including Harmony Motors. Scott says, “I was drawn to the mission of OpenDoors because I believe creating opportunities and equality for all kids is our duty.”
Scott continues his search for “real happiness” for himself and for many others and promotes a business model that reflects his philosophy of giving and awareness. He draws from the work of M. Scott Peck, Lou Tice, Steven Covey, Tony Robbins, Peter Senge, and Bill Shore, and helps OpenDoors to build a stronger Asheville along side his wife Linda and four children.
Matt has worked for both small and large companies in the areas of business development, marketing, and sales. He has served on several private company boards focused on biotechnology and life science research. Matt strongly believes in OpenDoors and that the secret to a better life for children is through better education and more opportunity. Too many of our kids are left behind and are not provided the appropriate tools to succeed in life. “If we can meet these needs, we will have an everlasting impact.”
Eric Howard, MSW, Ed.D.
Dr. Howard was born in Miami, Florida and spent his childhood moving throughout the Southeastern United States, Europe and the Pacific with his military family. His father retired from the United States Air Force in Sumter, South Carolina where Dr. Howard graduated from high school. He played college football and completed several degrees including a Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina and a Doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership from East Tennessee State University. He has a rich background, working in all settings of social work from early childhood to senior populations, finding that his greatest strength was working with high school and middle school students in alternative school settings. The focus of his Doctoral research was “Perceptions of African American Parents of Public Schools”. Most recently Dr. Howard has taken on the challenge of building the first Veteran’s Treatment Court in Western North Carolina
Erin’s hometown is Louisville, KY. He received a BA from the University of Richmond, in Economics and Spanish, and graduated from the University of Montana Law School. Erin came to Asheville in 2009 to become a staff attorney at Pisgah Legal Services with the HEALS Project, and has also worked for the Legal Aid of North Carolina.
Erin was previously a high school All-American soccer player and played professional soccer from 1999-2001. He is fluent in Spanish and has lived abroad in Bolivia and Spain and traveled extensively. When he’s not changing lives through his work, Erin enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and playing soccer.
Libby is a native of Asheville and graduated from Asheville High. She has a bachelors in Elementary Education from Western Carolina and a Masters in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University. Libby serves on the board of OpenDoors because it fits her personal philosophy of nurturing the whole child. In August 2014 she became a founding member of YTL Training Programs, Youth Transformed for Life!
Denise and her family moved to Asheville in 2001, after living in Atlanta for 15 years. She is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for RHA, a health services company that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues.
Denise is a committed volunteer with Asheville City Schools where she has served on the ACS Foundation Board, Positive Behavior Support Team at AMS, and various PTO and sports “team Mom” positions. Denise credits her public-educator parents with instilling her desire to help all children succeed and says that she strongly believes in the Mission of OpenDoors, and is grateful for the relationship with her OpenDoors “extended family”.
Theo is originally from Columbia SC where he also went to college, and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He moved to Asheville in 2013 to continue his career as a Network Engineer for Verizon Wireless. Theo got involved in OpenDoors because of his interest in showing kids with limited opportunities how much they can achieve given the right tools and support, and he strongly believes in what Open Doors stands for. Though Theo recently relocated to Charlotte, he continues to serve on the board and provide support for our young men who are college bound.
Jay Payne Calloway
Texas native Jay Payne Calloway holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Texas, Denton (UNTD) and a Master of Education from the University of Texas, Arlington. For her dissertation Jay examined the high school dropout epidemic. “The ramifications of a young person dropping out of high school are multi-tiered and affect our society as a whole. The bottom line – there will be fewer educated employees to fill jobs and pay taxes thus more expensive social service needs to help care for these individuals.”
Jay was an adjunct professor in the College of Education and Information at UNTD where she also served on several Boards. Her board experience includes those in the Arts and with Meals on Wheels. On why she joined the board, “Jen Ramming’s message about making a difference in the life of a young person by changing the way we navigate the multi-generational poverty issue is contagious.”
Jasmine is employed by Corrective Solutions as a case manager for the Buncombe County Courts. She is also working on an Associate’s degree in office and business administration at AB Technical College. If you have been to Art Affair, you may remember Jasmine as one of our models and art handlers.
Jasmine knows how important OpenDoors of Asheville can be to children growing up in poverty. She began her relationship with OpenDoors as a student who needed additional guidance and encouragement to make sure she finished her education. Now, she is committed to helping break the cycle of poverty for others. “OpenDoors helped break the cycle in my life by being supportive in every aspect of my life starting at a grassroots level.” Jasmine’s first-hand knowledge of OpenDoors will be an asset to her service as a board member.