The Nominating Committee is pleased to submit the following nominees for leadership positions. This slate will be voted on at the June congregational meeting. At the June meeting, members will also vote on a proposal to restructure certain board positions. This slate reflects both contingencies.
Board of Directors:
Nominee to be Determined, Vice President/ President-Elect, 1 year (If the proposed restructure does not pass, this person will be nominated for Board At-Large.)
Tanya Surawicz, Secretary, 2 years (re-nomination). Tanya and family joined FUUN in 2007 shortly after relocating here from Chicago. Prior to moving, she was an active member at Second Unitarian Church in Chicago. At FUUN, Tanya has served as co-chair of Social Justice committee for two years, adult co-chair of the YAC (youth-adult council) for one year, a greeter, and is currently completing a two-year term as Board Secretary. Tanya and her husband Bill have three teenage children: Austin (19), Joanna (17), and Henry (13); a dog and two cats. She is looking forward to continuing her board position for a second and final term.
Charlie Akers, Finance Council Chair, 2 years (re-nomination). A member since November 1979, Charlie Akers has served two 3-year terms as a FUUN Endowment Trustee, been a canvasser on three Stewardship campaigns, a member of the Strategic Planning Team, a member of both the Ministerial and the AMFM Sabbatical Committees, and has co-authored two Church annual financial reviews. He worked on the Finance Committee, prior to becoming Chair in 2011. He has been a volunteer on other work projects, both indoors and out, and advises that the good fellowship and the delicious lunches always guarantee that those projects are time well spent. Plus, they help the church.
Liz Schneider, Ministerial Council Chair, 2 years. Liz Schneider has been a member of FUUN since 1991. She has been on the Caring Committee for most of the last 20 years and taught Children’s Religious Education for several years. She was chair of the Membership Committee for many years and continues on that committee as the Greeter Coordinator. She served two terms on the Nominating Committee and helps out with the Grounds Committee when she can. She volunteers in the office and prepares the columbarium when needed. In 2007, Liz received the Virginia Grantham Service Award. (If the proposed restructure does not pass, Liz will be nominated for At-Large.)
Keith Wilson, Operations Council Chair, 1 year (finishing term on Board, currently At-Large).As with everything else in his life, Keith feels that the more he has given himself to this church community, the more it has given to him. He has been involved in religious education as a volunteer teacher, and he chaired the Sanctuary Expansion Committee. Keith is currently serving as an At-Large member of the Board. (If the proposed restructure does not pass, Keith will continue At-Large.)
Paul Gherman, Personnel Chair, 2 years (currently At-Large). Paul Gherman has been a UU since 1986. During this time, he has been a member of four churches. He served as president of the Blacksburg church. At FUUN, he has chaired the Stewardship Committee, served on the Social Area Planning and Construction Committees, and is currently an AtLarge member of the Board. In his former work life, he was the University Librarian at Vanderbilt. In the early part of his career, he focused on personnel administration in libraries, and he is the author of several articles on that topic.
Vicky Tataryn, At-Large, 2 years (re-nomination). Vicky has been a member of FUUN for over two decades. During that time, she has served as Greeter Coordinator and taught RE at several levels. She has been involved with the “Coming of Age” program, with teaching OWL to middle and senior high, and as an active participant in the Dinners for Nine groups. This will be her second term on the Board. She has two sons: Atajan and Nick. She is caretaker to multiple cats and dogs. Vicky has been a nurse for over three decades. Her primary field of practice has been Home Health nursing. She is married to Gene Dixon, her high school sweetheart.
Ibba Surface, 3 years. Ibba and her family began attending First UU of Nashville in 1992 and she became a member in 1994. Her first volunteer work was as an RE teacher and since then has served on the Board for three years (one as secretary and two as president) as well as on the Nominating, Ministerial Relations, Stewardship, Facilities and Fellowship Committees. She chaired the 2001 Building Design Committee, the 2005 Ministerial Search Committee, the Fellowship Hall Design Committee, and the Operations Cluster. Currently you’ll find her greeting church-comers on second Sundays, as she has for more than a dozen years. In her work outside the church, Ibba is a partner in a structural engineering firm and an enthusiastic but fair-weather gardener. She and husband Tom share their home with Lulu the Dog and Ms. Mary-Kat.
Cindi Brown, 2 years (re-nomination). Cindi Brown has been a member of FUUN since 2007. She did a lot of volunteer recruiting in her capacity as Adult Religious Education committee chair, a role she filled for three years. She is co-author of Eternally Compelling, a year-long Unitarian Universalist adult religious education curriculum exploring the sacred texts of the world’s major religions (www.eternallycompelling.org). She has also served as a Children’s Religious Education teacher, a Coming of Age mentor, and a greeter. She is well-known around church for her interest in the connections between personality psychology and spirituality. This will be her second term on the Nominating Committee, which she currently chairs.
Lawanna Edwards, 2 years. LaWanna Edwards has been a member for over 20 years. She has served on the Board for two terms. She has chaired the Fundraising Committee and has been a first Sunday greeter for over 10 years. She taught the 2-3 year old children for two years. She looks forward to serving on the Nominating Committee in the coming year.
Emma Smyth, 2 years. Emma Smyth is a member of FUUN. In her professional life, she is the Manager of Artistic Administration at the Nashville Symphony. Emma holds a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and a Master of Arts in Flute Performance and Artistic Administration from New York University.
Safe Congregational Panel:
Jeannie Alexander, 2 years. Jeannie Alexander is the head chaplain of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Prior to her appointment at Riverbend, she was active in street chaplaincy and homeless outreach for six years, working through various congregations and nonprofits. She has also taught Religion and Philosophy at the college and university level for the past seven years at Georgia State University and Nashville State Community College. She was also a writer for and served on the board of directors of The Contributor street newspaper from 2008-2012. Jeannie is a co-founder of Amos House Community in Nashville, and also a co-founder of Open Table a nonprofit homeless outreach and community building organization in Nashville. In Atlanta, prior to moving to Nashville in 2007, she served as co-pastor of Mercy Community Church. She is a former attorney who practiced corporate trial law in Texas, where she served on the board of directors for the Center for Survivors of Torture. Jeannie is a frequent speaker at conferences, churches, colleges, and seminaries with a focus on Restorative Justice, Poverty, and the American Mass Incarceration Prison System, and as an abolitionist to end the death penalty. She holds an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Georgia State University, a Masters in Religious Studies, and a Juris Doctorate from Cornell. She lives in the Old Hickory Village with her 3 cats and 2 dogs, and enjoys cooking for friends, thinking and writing about the wholly holy natural world, and photography. She is struggling to learn how to take a day “off” and simply be. Last, but not least, she is in love with FUUN!
David Dickinson, 2 years (re-nomination). David grew up the child and grandchild of ministers – United Church of Christ (not Church of Christ) – so has long had an insider’s view of the complexities of church life. After his requisite years of being a non-churched youth and prompted by the arrival of two daughters, he found his way with his family to the UU church in Lexington, MA. In that church, he and Ann were married in a Jewish-UU wedding. The first thing he did when considering a move to Nashville was to find FUUN on the web. David and Ann joined the choir as soon as they walked through the door, and are still singing and enjoying its fellowship and services. David is a professor of education at Peabody College.
Dana Perkins, 2 years. Since signing the book in 2008, Dana has enjoyed the FUUN community in various ways. Her committee history includes Social Justice, Children’s Religious Education, and Adult Religious Education. She has been a teacher of the middle school Sunday school class for five years. Once, long ago, in Mississippi, a favorite priest told Dana to find a UU church because she surely was no Episcopalian. However, when she moved to Nashville in 2005, she quite forgot all about the recommendation as a result of culture shock, and it took Sue Alley’s love of FUUN to remind Dana about the excellent advice. It then took only five minutes for Dana to recognize that FUUN is a bit of home and more. And this is her “happy ever after” story.
Parish Minister’s Advisory Committee:
Rebecca Lee, 2 years (re-nomination). Rebecca Lee moved to Nashville with husband Ron and daughter Caitlin in 1995 and found FUUN shortly thereafter. She had previously attended Tennessee Valley UU and Westside UU in Knoxville; her UU claim to fame was that she and Ron were married by John Buehrens, former UUA president (John did a good job — they’ve been married for 33 years). At FUUN, Rebecca was drafted within the first three weeks of attendance to help at the UNICEF Halloween party. She has also served as an RE teacher, was on the Program Committee for WomenSpirit, and served two terms on the Board. She has recently become the facilitator of one of the Tuesday afternoon Covenant Groups after being a member of the group for almost 5 years. Rebecca remains and will be forever grateful for the support and love demonstrated by FUUN after the Caitlin’s death in 2008. This will be her second term on the Parrish Minister’s Advisory Committee.
Alan Leiserson, 2 years. Alan has been hanging out around FUUN in various capacities for longer than he can remember, starting by age 2. He attended Sunday school in the old building on Fairfax Avenue as well as the present building. One of his teachers was Jean Morgan (for whom the Morgan House is named). He was active in the Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) group, and president of it during his senior year of high school. Since the mid-80′s, when he and Anna Belle moved back to Nashville after being away for many years, he has been a Sunday school teacher, a canvasser, the chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, chair of the Worship Committee, a member of the Music Minister Transition Committee, At-Large Board Member, Program Council chair, and chair of the Governance Task Force.
John Mott, 2 years (re-nomination). John Mott joined the church in the mid-90s. He helped get the church web site started and assisted with the Publicity Committee (precursor to the Communication Committee), taught children’s RE, and went on to work with the youth, becoming a youth advisor and being active with the youth program both at our church and for the then-Mid-South District. He was invited to join the Board of Directors as an At-Large member in 2000 and took over as Program Council Chair. At the district level, he served on the district board as communications liaison. He helped restart Wednesday night dinners after they were stopped and was active with them for several years. He has helped with the church auction in a variety of ways for over a decade. In 2008, he became Board President and served for one term during the time of our latest strategic plan. Since then, he’s been serving on Nominating Committee, the Parish Minister’s Advisory Committee and the Leadership Development Committee. When he’s not writing software or walking with his partner, Ashley Crownover, he can be found posting obsessively on Facebook.
Associate Minister for Music’s Advisory Committee:
Sharon Ruiz, 2 years (re-nomination). Sharon Ruiz has lived in Nashville since 2002, and became a member if FUUN in 2005. She previously taught Pre-K Religious Education with her spouse, Jacob Hathaway. They have two children, Solana and Ezra. She works as a public defender for Davidson County. She is the current chair of the Associate Minister for Music’s Advisory Committee.
Matt Smyth, 2 years. Matt Smyth moved to Nashville in 2009 to work as a music teacher at Montgomery Bell Academy. He attended Moravian College for his undergraduate degree and then moved to New York City in 2005 to perform and work in the music business. Before moving to Nashville, Matt was a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, where he graduated Suma Cum Laude. Recently, Matt was the sabbatical music director here at FUUN.
Phil Thomason, 2 years (re-nomination). Phil Thomason has been a member of First UU since 1976 and has held various positions, including president in 1995-1996. He has served on the Board of Directors as well as chairing the Nominating Committee. This will be his second term on the Associate Minister for Music’s Advisory Committee.
Kyle Elias, 2 years. Kyle has been a member at FUUN for at least 15 years. She served on the RE committee for approximately 10 years, served one term as Board Secretary, has been a choir member for many years now, and recently agreed to serve on the Welcoming Environment Task Force. She have helped set up the silent auction portion of our annual auction fundraiser for many years. She has also volunteered with Room in the Inn over the years as a driver, a host, and food provider.
There is still an open position on the Board. If you or someone you know would be a good fit for this position, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee (Carol Bapty, Jack Bliek, Cindi Brown, Emily Green-Cain, Bill Latimer, John Mott, or Tom Surface), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our online suggestion form at http://firstuunashville.org/committees/nominating/nominate.php.