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Meet the Board

Linda Fuchs

Executive Board

Linda Fuchs does research and writing about third-century Christian art history. She has previously served as Chair of the Board of Chesterton House, a Christian Study Center, in Ithaca, NY. Since arriving in Gainesville, she assists in hosting activities of the University of Florida as the spouse of its president, Kent Fuchs. Her outreach interests in literacy and mentoring have led to the founding of Gainesville Thrives. 

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Yolanda Hagley-Fluellen

Executive Director

Yolanda Hagley-Fluellen is a business owner, entrepreneur and community advocate for families and children. Her 30 years of early childhood experience include serving as Director of Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) (1999-2015) in Alachua County and volunteering with the Alachua County Public Schools, the Alachua County Library District, the Alachua County Children's Alliance, the Early Learning Coalition, the United Way of North Florida, the City of Gainesville, Santa Fe College East Gainesville Instruction, faith-based initiatives, the Cultural Arts Coalition, Gainesville Thrives, and Gainesville For All.  She founded the local affiliate of the Educational Pipeline to Academic Success (EPAS), a cradle-to-college academic support program.


Rev. Steve Gregg

Executive Board

Rev. Steve Gregg is Lead Pastor at Creekside Community Church at 2640 NW 39th Ave., having served on the pastoral staff there for 23+ years. He has been instrumental in establishing a partnership of Creekside Community Church with Glen Springs Elementary School.  His wife Kim Gregg, former Chair of the Board for Gainesville Thrives, works at JJ Finley Elementary School and has founded an after-school homework help group for middle school youth in the Horizon House residential complex community room.  Kim continues to volunteer with Gainesville Thrives.

Elizabeth Gadsby

Dr. Elizabeth Gadsby

Executive Board, President

Dr. Elizabeth Gadsby is a University of Florida alumna with a B.S. in microbiology, along with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgia Tech and M.A. in biblical and theological studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her husband, James, met at UF and moved to Atlanta after graduation and recently returned to Gainesville. They were active with the UF Alumni Association and served in their community with Desire Street Ministries, Peachtree Road Race, Girl Scouts, Passion City Church, Walk to Emmaus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and others. Elizabeth has a demonstrated record of over 25 years of leadership experience at Fortune 500 corporations and biotech startups.

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Amanda Hodges

General Board

Amanda Hodges is an Associate Extension Scientist and DPM (Doctor of Plant Medicine) Director in the University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department. Amanda received her PhD in Entomology from the University of Georgia in 2002, and her current research, extension, and teaching program focuses on invasive species, biosecurity, and pest management. Amanda enjoys mentoring graduate and undergraduate students, and her students often participate in outreach opportunities to local schools throughout Florida. She and her husband, Greg Hodges, have actively served as volunteers at local UMC (United Methodist Church) congregations since their arrival to Gainesville in 2002. Locally, Amanda has also enjoyed serving at Grace Grows, a food-security focused non-profit that collaborates and shares facilities with Grace Marketplace.

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Judy Olenik

General Board

Judy Olenik served with her late husband Richard for 35 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Kenya through Mission Aviation Fellowship.  In Africa, she tracked flights, worked in offices, taught English, regularly visited people in a hospital for Hansen's Disease, helped start a church, and raised four children.  She moved to Gainesville in 2019 to be near 3 of her 11 grandchildren, who attend Williams Elementary School.  In Gainesville, she volunteers with Gainesville Thrives, SIRA, Baker Interfaith Friends (visiting people detained), and Grace Marketplace Clothing Closet.

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Pastor Donna Day

Advisory Panel

Donna Day is a licensed and ordained Senior Pastor in a local church working with families and children, including substance abuse recovery. Ms. Day is retired from the UF Dept. of Medicine. She currently is acting Dean of IBTC International Bible Teaching College and is a licensed recovery coach through Bethesda Recovery Center. She is connected with transitional programs, early pregnancy center, and
community outreach distributions focused on mentorship and education programs to further a generation with stable futures with endless possibilities. Ms. Day is at times an international speaker bringing a solid message of hope and a New Day through Christ. Pastor Donna Day has been very passionate and intentional about being a part of making the Gainesville region a better place.

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Leah Galione

General Board

Leah Galione is the Literacy Director of the PEAK Literacy. After graduating from UF in Psychology, Leah began serving as college outreach director for the Gainesville Vineyard church and working as a group fitness instructor for UF and Gainesville Health and Fitness. Leah is married to attorney Bill Galione. For 12 years she has homeschooled their 5 children,

some of whom have recently begun attending Alachua County Public Schools. She has served The Vineyard as a Sunday School teacher and a

member of the Leadership Team. Leah enjoys running, reading, and beach trips with her family.

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Jacob Muller

General Board, Webmaster

Jacob Muller is a Senior studying Agricultural Operations Management at the University of Florida. 

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Pastor Marie Herring

Advisory Panel

Dr. Marie Herring is the first African American female to pastor DaySpring Missionary Baptist Church and is presently Senior Pastor. She also serves as Chaplain of the MLK Commission of Florida. Dr. Herring was
salutatorian of Lincoln High School and cum laude graduate of Florida A&M. She has a Master’s in Mathematics from University of Florida and a Doctorate of Ministry from United Theological Seminary. She has received numerous awards including the first Eastside Teacher of the Year in Alachua County,
first African American to teach in the renowned Eastside International Baccalaureate program and
regional winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in teaching math. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the NAACP, Florida Council Teachers of Math and the National Council Teachers of Math. Pastor Marie Herring is a statewide speaker and revivalist and seeks to better her flock that the Lord has placed in her care by becoming better informed on the issues that affect her
parishioners and the community in which she pastors.

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Pastor Karl Anderson

Advisory Panel

Pastor Karl Anderson is President of the Alachua County Christian Pastor’s Association.  He is one of the Founders and Senior Pastors of Upper Room Church of God in Christ. Upper Room's Community Impact Corporation (URCIC) is a 501c3 that developed a ‘Youth Impact' program to provide mentors as role models for youth and families.  It focuses on training to reach educational goals, make decisions, connect through fellowship, and find career resources, while engaging the family so that systemic changes can take place in the home. URCIC provides activities to structure interaction between youth and their families through UR Youth Center and Performance Arts Academy, UR Fun! Summer Camp and UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program. UR Afterschool Tutorial and Mentorship Program partners with the Village and Forest neighborhoods.

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Pastor Gerard Duncan

Advisory Panel

Pastor Gerard Duncan is a native of Carol City, Florida. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Prayers by Faith Outreach Ministries based in Gainesville, Florida. A long-time advocate for re-entry and mentoring programs for at-risk youth and their families, he organized events that targeted at-risk youth and engaged them with recreational and educational activities. He and a group of young men he mentored through his fatherhood training program, Innovative Dads, engaged local youth and their families with outreach events to bridge relationships between these youth and their families, local law enforcement, and educational and social service organizations. Pastor Duncan believes empowering families with the awareness of possible socio-economic opportunities provides measurable outcomes and sustainability.

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Pastor Ryan Harding

Advisory Panel

Pastor Ryan serves as the Executive Pastor of City Church in Gainesville, FL. Ryan and his wife, Katy are the proud parents of Lydia, Naomi, and Philip (a recent DPIL enrollee). He is a graduate of University of Florida and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is dedicated to serving our community, spreading the gospel and supporting early childhood education.

Meet the Staff

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Jacob Muller

Student Org. President


Agricultural Operations Management student at the University of Florida

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Caroline Emmerich

Head of Marketing

Art and Advertising student at the University of Florida

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Mary Latham


Family, Youth, and Community Sciences student at the University of Florida

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Betty Jo Hickox


Betty Jo Hickox is a retired auditor who spent her professional career providing financial services for a

diverse group of clients, including not-for-profit organizations, governmental organizations and school related audits. She received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in accounting from the University of Florida, Fisher School of Accounting. She was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Florida and a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. During her career Betty Jo participated in the establishment of a new audit firm dedicated to serving not-for-profit organizations. In this venture she was involved in all the processes of starting a new business, establishing office procedures, building a client base and providing audit services. Betty Jo served as board member and Treasurer of the Christian Study Center of Gainesville from its inception until 2010. The Center serves University of Florida and Santa Fe Students and faculty.

She and her husband Frank are involved in local church ministry at The Chapel of Gainesville where her

husband has served as elder. She enjoys cooking, gardening and traveling to spend time with their six


Board Emeritus

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Linda Fuchs

Executive Board, Director and Founder


Laura Lynch

Advisory Panel, Founder

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