Our Staff

Meet Our CEO


Dr. Burton Williams became the Chief Executive Officer of  Ayers Foundation Trust in 2023 and is a veteran leader in business, development, and education. Burton spent nearly 25  years in higher education administration, community engagement, academics, and research. Most recently, Burton was the Director of Trustcore Institutional at TrustCore located  in Brentwood, TN. He previously served as Associate Vice President for Advancement, as well as Assistant Dean of the College of Education and Associate Dean of the College of Business at Lipscomb University in Nashville. He earlier  held similar roles at Freed-Hardeman University in West Tennessee.


Williams has a Doctor of Education from Lipscomb University, a Master of Science in financial planning, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Freed-Hardeman University.

Email: burton.williams@theayersfoundation.org

Meet Our Senior Director of Post-Secondary Success


Michael "Mike" Meadows is the Senior Director of Post-Secondary Success and the Ayers TN Promise Coordinator. Mike has been working with Ayers Foundation Trust  since 2011. He was hired with the Ayers as the College Access Challenge Grant Coordinator, then moved into the counselor position at Lexington High School until 2014.

Mike received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2008 and his Masters of Arts in Community Counseling in 2011, both from the University of North Alabama.

Email: michael.meadows@theayersfoundation.org

Meet Our Chief Operations Officer

Blake Dill joined Ayers Foundation Trust in January of 2022. Prior to joining Ayers Foundation Trust as Grant Manager at the Foundation’s Headquarters, Blake spent the prior six years in healthcare operations management as the Chief Financial Officer at the Perry County Medical Center. A 2006 Perry County High School graduate, Blake went on to pursue and graduate with his Associate of Science Degree in Accounting at Jackson State Community College in 2009, from then he went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management in 2011.


Meet Our Chief Scholars Officer

Troy Grant serves as the Ayers Foundation's Trust's Chief Scholars Officer. In this capacity, Troy provides leadership to the Ayers Scholars Program, the Trust's long-running and nationally recognized college access and success initiative. Prior to joining our team, Troy led the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's Division of College Access and Success, which provides college access and success resources and services to over 75,000 Tennessee students annually. As a first-generation college student, Troy’s work is driven by a student-focused approach that stitches together policy and direct-service programming to provide opportunities for all students regardless of zip code, background, or socioeconomic status.  Troy holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN.


Meet Our Organizational Effectiveness Advisor

Lorisa Williams is our Organizational Effectiveness Advisor. Lorisa has over 30 years experience in healthcare operations that includes organization learning and leadership development, and executive level hospital operations.

Lorisa received her Bachelor's degree in Nursing from East Tennessee State University in 1986 and her Masters Degree in Professional Studies-Strategic Leadership from East Tennessee State University in 2015.  She is certified in Nursing Staff Development and Nursing Executive- Advanced through the ANCC. In 2019, Lorisa received the March of Dimes Georgia Nurse Leader of the Year award.

Email: lorisa.williams@theayersfoundation.org

Meet Our Director of Accounting

Marcia Rhodes joined Ayers Foundation Trust as Director of Accounting in February 2023.  Marcia is a CPA with over thirty years of experience in public accounting.  Her experience includes positions such as Director of Accounting Services, various nonprofit audit experience and small business taxation.  Marcia grew up in Mississippi and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Professional Accountancy Degree from Mississippi State University.

Marcia holds CPA licenses in Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.  She holds professional membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants and its West Tennessee Chapter.

Meet Our Accounting Manager

Jason Moran joined the Ayers Foundation Trust as Accounting Manager in January 2024.  His previous experience includes serving as an Accounting Manager in the healthcare industry, as well as 13 years of experience serving as a Controller in the banking industry.  Jason has lived in Tennessee all of his life and received a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Austin Peay State University.

Meet Our Chief Prosperity Officer

Shannon Haynes joined Ayers Foundation Trust in 2023 as the "Chief Prosperity Officer" to bring scholars home to work, live and raise their families. Shannon has over 20 years experience in healthcare sales, marketing and consulting.  Shannon received her Bachelor's degree in Human Development from Christian Brothers University and her Masters in Business Administration from Union University.  She serves on several boards in leadership roles including the Rural Health Association of TN, the TN Community Services Agency and the Alamo City School Board. Shannon has been recognized as a Rural Health Fellow and Crockett County Woman of the year.


Meet Our Human Resources Director

Emily Chadwick joined Ayers Foundation Trust in 2022 to oversee Human Resources efforts due to continued growth and expansion. Emily has spent over ten years in Human Resources related fields. Her background includes Organizational Leadership, Talent Management, Executive Recruitment and Business Development. Her main focus is to help achieve Ayers Foundation Trust initiatives to foster employee engagement and to oversee Human Resources functions to effectively support the Foundation's mission to increase college access and success for rural, low-income college students in Tennessee and Missouri.


Emily has lived in Tennessee most of her life and received a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.


Email: Emily.Chadwick@theayersfoundation.org


Meet Our Human Resources Generalist

Andrea Goff joined the Ayers Foundation Trust in 2023 as the Human Resource Operations Generalist.  Andrea’s prior role was in healthcare as the HR Coordinator for Perry County Medical Center.  She has over 20 years experience in Management and Human Resources.  Her background includes Performance Management, Conflict Resolution, Benefits Administration, Strategic Planning and Training and Development.  Andrea received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at University of Tennessee Martin in 2020.



Meet Our Senior Director of Expansion and Development

 Dr. Angela Marshall is the Senior Director of Expansion and Development for Ayers Foundation Trust.  Mrs. Marshall was a CTE teacher for 9 years before joined Ayers Foundation Trust in January 2018, and previously served as counselor at Scotts Hill High School. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences Education in 2002.  She also holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University and most recently earned her Doctorate of Education in Leadership and Professional Practice.

Email: angela.marshall@theayersfoundation.org

Phone: (731) -549-2373

Book an Appointment:



Meet Our Director Of IT Operations and Business Solutions

Jesse Turner is our Director Of IT Operations and Business Solutions.  Jesse previously served as a College Access Counselor for Lexington High School from 2015-2021 and assisted with the Foundation's information technology migration, social media, and mobile application.  Jesse graduated from Bethel University with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership in 2013 and worked with the university as an Admissions Counselor before joining Ayers Foundation Trust in 2015. Jesse also previously served as the GEARUP Grant Coordinator for Henderson County.

Email: jesse.turner@theayersfoundation.org

Book an Appointment:https://go.oncehub.com/JesseTurner



Meet Our East TN Regional Director

Jodi Lane Gilbert is the East TN Regional Director for Ayers Foundation Trust. Jodi served previously as the College Access Counselor at Unicoi County High School in Erwin, TN. She graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and Early Childhood Education and obtained her Masters of Arts in Counseling. She is a licensed School Counselor and worked as a Middle School Counselor in Charlotte, NC, before joining Ayers Foundation Trust in 2016.

Email: jodi.gilbert@theayersfoundation.org

Book an Appointment: https://go.oncehub.com/SchedulewithJodi


Meet Our rootED and Middle Tennessee Director

Charles "Bubba" Long was born and raised in Waynesboro, Tennessee.  He graduated from Wayne County High School in 2006.  In 2012, he graduated from Martin Methodist College with a major in Business and a minor in Education.  He finished his Masters of Business Administration at Western Governors University in September 2018.  Prior to working with Ayers Foundation Trust, Charles taught and coached for three years until he received an opportunity to work for Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Hohenwald.  At TCAT-Hohenwald,  he served as the Financial Aid Assistant.

Email: charles.long@theayersfoundation.org


Meet Our West TN Regional Director

Recey Williamson is our West TN Regional Director. Recey has been working with Ayers Foundation Trust since 2014. Prior to working for Ayers Foundation Trust, she worked at the University of Memphis for nine years in various roles such as: Admissions Counselor, Academic Advisor, and Financial Aid Counselor.

She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Mississippi in English and her graduate degree from the University of Memphis in Leadership and Policy Studies.

Email: recey.williamson@theayersfoundation.org

Book an Appointment: https://go.oncehub.com/ReceyWilliamson


Meet Our Scholarship Director

Brianna Morton is our Scholarship Director for  Ayers Foundation Trust. Brianna worked in the counseling field as a mental health counselor for 4 years and a clinical supervisor for 1 year. Brianna joined the Ayers Foundation Trust in November 2011.

She graduated from the University of North Alabama with a major in Psychology and double minor in Criminal Justice and Spanish. She also obtained a Masters degree from the University of North Alabama in Community Counseling where she also worked as the Graduate Assistant for the Counselor Education Department.

Email: brianna.morton@theayersfoundation.org

Book an Appointment:



Meet Our Data Manager

Taylor Dill joined Ayers Foundation Trust  in April of 2021 as Data Manager at the Foundation’s Headquarters. Taylor spent the previous five years in Operations Management with Modine Manufacturing. A 2012 Perry County High graduate and Ayers Scholar, Taylor graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. Taylor furthered his education at Lipscomb University and received a Master's Degree in Leadership and Public Service.

Email: taylor.dill@theayersfoundation.org

Meet Our Executive Assistant

Raquel Stearnes became the Executive Assistant of the Ayers Foundation Trust in July of 2023.  A 2013 Perry County High School graduate and Ayers Scholar, Raquel received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Iowa State University. She is currently pursuing her Juris Doctorate degree from Stetson University College of Law with a concentration in advocacy. Prior to joining our team, Raquel served as a law clerk for an estate planning firm.  In addition, Raquel was the representative for Stetson University at the National Conference on Special Needs Trusts and Special Needs Planning in both 2021 and 2022.

Email: raquel.stearnes@theayersfoundation.org

Meet Our Senior Accountant

Stacy Dorn joined Ayers Foundation Trust staff in June 2022 as Sr. Accountant after working with Ayers Foundation Trust as an accounting services contractor for four years.  Stacy has over 30 years of accounting experience in the private and public sectors.

Email: stacy.dorn@theayersfoundation.org

Meet Our IT Coordinator

Matt Gordon joined Ayers Foundation Trust in September of 2018 after leaving his previous role as IT Instructor for TCAT Lebanon. Matt serves as the IT Coordinator for the foundation. A 2005 Hickman County High graduate, Matt graduated from TCAT Dickson obtaining a technical certificate in A+, Networking, and Security. Matt furthered his education at Nashville State with an Associates Degree in Computer Information Technology.

Email: matt.gordon@theayersfoundation.org

Contact Us

Phone: (731)- 847-0632