Board of Directors

Kristin Alm leads public relations and communications for Greater Sum Ventures, a growth equity firm based in Knoxville. She has held senior corporate communications positions at Discovery, Inc., home to popular cable channels such as HGTV and Food Network, as well as with Goody’s Family Clothing. Kristin is active in the Public Relations Society of America Volunteer Chapter and also sits on the board of the Knox County Arc, an organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She resides in Knoxville with her husband and their two daughters, the youngest of whom happens to have Down syndrome.

Lynn Andrick (Secretary) was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and came to pursue a degree in Deaf Education with a minor in Early Childhood education. She and her husband, Jett, have two daughters, five grandchildren, and a black lab named Chief. She retired from the Tennessee School for the Deaf after 30 years as an educator, both as a teacher and an elementary principal. She volunteers in the Toddler and Preschool classes at TSD and also works with FOT Babies Date Night. She served on the board of Breakthrough, an organization that serves adults with Autism, and continues to volunteer on various fund-raising events for Breakthrough.

Suzanne BondSuzanne Bond is a physical therapist with a background in Healthcare Operations and Compliance. She lives in Knoxville with her husband and daughter. In addition to working with FOT, she serves on the boards of the Junior League of Knoxville and the Family Justice Center. She is honored to be a part of such a loving and compassionate organization.

chandlerBud Chandler (Emeritus) managed the funds entrusted to us by our supporters, and ensured all expenditures met the criteria set forth by our governing board and in accordance with accepted accounting standards. Bud was responsible for coordinating our annual external audit in addition to meeting local, state, and federal reporting guidelines. Bud has a degree in Deaf Education and taught at Tennessee School for the Deaf for several years before returning to active military duty where he retired in 2000.

Jackie Campbell (Chairperson) has her clinical doctorate in Audiology and has worked with people of all ages with hearing loss since 1990. Currently, she is a Service Coordinator for Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS). She has been the Clinical Director of Special Olympics Healthy Hearing Program in Texas and Tennessee, and enjoys other local volunteer projects in the community. Jackie joined the FOT Board in 2015. She and her husband live in Knoxville and have two daughters – the younger of whom has Down syndrome – and a new son-in-law.

Melissa Goin (Vice Chairperson) and her husband have a nine year old son who has Autism. They were enrolled in the Tennessee Early Intervention System when he was 18 months. She understands the importance of early intervention and is excited to be involved with a program that supports families of young children with special needs. She loves that we provide event opportunities for families with special needs and thinks they are critical. She and her husband also enjoy supporting the annual Jazz Baby fundraising event.

Cathy Hannan moved to Knoxville twenty years ago to help her sister take care of children. Prior to that, she was a nursing assistant in Montgomery County, Maryland. Now that her nieces and nephews are grown, she spends her time volunteering with Catholic Charities of East Tennessee and Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs. She was FOT Babies “Volunteer of the Year 2010.”

Rachel Humphreys is an East Tennessee native. She and her husband, Philip, live in Knoxville with their Addie. Rachel worked as a Senior Client Manager for an insurance brokerage firm and has a background in Human Resources. She became involved with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and subsequently TEIS after her daughter Addie was born at 25 weeks and spent 5.5 months in the NICU. She currently serves on the Family Advisory Council at ETCH and as a parent representative to their Board of Directors. As a peer mentor, she attends the ETCH NICU showers sponsored by FOT. Rachel is proud to be Addie’s mom, Philip’s wife, and a close friend to dozens of nurses, therapists, doctors, teachers and other moms who have come through the NICU.

johnsonMary Donnet Johnson (Emeritus) is married with two children, one of whom has autism. Mary frequently speaks about autism, resiliency, and teamwork, and has a deep respect for the value of early intervention and commitment to helping families with babies and children with special needs. Mary is a writer, editor, and publisher with Merry Pace Press.

John Kerr worked in the Financial Services industry for over 30 years and was a Certified Financial Planner until his semi-retirement in 2021. He is a member of the Greater Knoxville Sertoma Club and served as the 100th President of Sertoma International in 2011-2012. His Sertoma Club has supported Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs since its early beginnings.

Scott Lawson has an MBA and Masters in Analytics and is currently doing research for the UT College of Nursing and Haslam College of Business. He has a daughter with Down syndrome that was born in 2011. She took part in the Tennessee Early Intervention System as an infant, and has since successfully transitioned into the Knox County School System. Scott has supported Friends of Tennessee’s Babies by volunteering at events, fundraising for the Lindsey Nelson Golf Tournament, and serving on the Advisory Council.

Taylor Livingston (Past Chairperson) graduated from the University of Georgia in 2006 with a major in Special Education. She has always had a passion for helping children with special needs. She taught Elementary Special Education for 8 years in Charlotte and Knoxville. In 2021, she served as the Coordinator for the annual Jazz Baby fundraising event. She and her husband Wes have two sons, Bennett and Hugh. They enjoy volunteering, traveling, spending time with family, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, and walking their dog, Sophie.

Susie McCamy is an early childhood special educator (deaf education certified) working in the field for over 30 years. She serves in an advisory role with TN Hands & Voices, a family support group for families of children who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind. She has been involved with our organization for over 25 years and has a passion for finding ways to meet the unique needs of families having young children with special needs.

Mary Frances Merwin is a speech-language pathologist who has lived in Knoxville since 1991. She is an active community volunteer, currently involved with Catholic Charities of East Tennessee and Akima Club. She is married with three young adult children.

Shyra Nelson lives in Clinton with her husband Kevin and adult son Luke.  She is a Home Exterior Designer, Interior Decorator, Event Stylist, and business owner.  Having raised a child born with a rare genetic disorder, Shyra developed a deep passion for helping families who have children with special needs.  She began as a volunteer in 2002 and joined our Board of Directors in 2010, serving as Board Chairperson for three years.  Shyra is very active in Fundraising, Community Outreach, and the planning, designing, & execution of our annual Jazz Baby event.  Her creativity and design skills add flair to so many of our community and family events.

Laura (Champagney) Peters recently retired as a Licensed Professional Counselor from the Maryville City School System, where she provided counseling services for students with special needs.  Laura has her bachelor’s degree in Deaf Education/Elementary Education and a master’s in School Psychology.  She has worked with students with special needs in various capacities for over 30 years.  When she first moved to Tennessee, Laura worked as a parent advisor for Tennessee Infant Parent Services (TIPS) and later worked part time in the office of Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs (FOT).  Laura married Mike Peters a year and a half ago and has been spending time learning how fun it is to be a grandma!!  

Phebe Peake Starkey , a native of Greeneville, TN, has a degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee. She currently is an Account Manager at Eben Concepts, an insurance company based in North Carolina.  She has a passion for helping people and serving the community. She and her husband were inspired by Friends of TN’s Babies with Special Needs when they attended the Jazz Baby event two years ago.  She joined our Board of Directors in January 2021.

Don Thompson (Volunteer Executive Director) holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Tennessee, where his studies emphasized the development and implementation of quality home-based early intervention services. He has worked in special education for 36 years. Don retired from his position as Director of Tennessee Infant Parent Services School in June of 2007. He is the co-founder of the American Association of Home-based Early Interventionists.

Wesley Woolson is a full time General Manager and the father of 3 wonderful daughters; most recently a 27 week preterm baby born at only 1lb 8oz. Their 103 day stay was emotionally and physically draining, and finding support outside the NICU was difficult. He states, “We discovered FOT at a NICU Baby Shower and found an amazing organization who gave us hope, inspiration, and stability. My wife and I knew after the shower we wanted to be a part of FOT when our NICU journey ended and are so thankful we are now parent mentors.” He also offers support as a social media administrator on a Dads’ Only NICU Group, focusing on a safe place for dads to express their emotions and ask for help or just show off their babies/children.

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