"Educating the Child, Empowering the Parent, Engaging the Community...Shaping the Future."


Lydia Meredith
Executive Director

Lydia Meredith, CEO/Executive Director, is a community engagement expert and results-oriented professional, with over 37 years of leadership and management experience in corporate, education, and nonprofit environments. As Executive Director, she is responsible for human resources management and supervision, organizational planning, program development and administration, financial management, grant writing, resource development, fund-raising, board management, and community linkages. Other areas of specialization include teaching/training, workshop development and facilitation, project management and economic analysis. She is a certified, corporate cultural diversity awareness educator. Lydia is an Industrial Engineer by profession, holding a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master's of Business Management from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a Master's of Christian Education from the Morehouse School of Religion (Highest Honor) and a Master's of Public Policy from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS) at Georgia State University -- with a concentration in Non-Profit Policy. At AYSPS, Lydia earned the Amanda G. Hyatt Fellowship for academic excellence and outstanding public/community service.

She has built Beacon of Hope from an organizational budget of $50,000/year nineteen years ago to a multi-million dollar nonprofit corporation today. At inception in 1996, Beacon of Hope served 11 children and their families; today, Beacon of Hope serves over 3000 children, youth, adults, families, and their communities annually.

While living in California, she served for eight years as Director of the Children's Ministry. In 1996, Lydia received her Child Development Associate Credential, National Administrators Credential in 2003, and in the spring of 2001, she received GELI's Early Childhood Hero Award from former Georgia's First Lady Marie Barnes for her work in early childhood education in Georgia and the accreditation of The Learning Center. Receiving numerous community service awards and commendations -- Lydia Meredith consistently builds her experience and knowledge that support all corporate activity through affiliations with civic, community and government agencies and organizations.

Marie Johnson serves as the Center and Curriculum Director. Ms. Johnson is a highly dedicated and motivated educator, with a solid business and operations background. Along with all members of the management team, she has extensive and continuous professional development and over 25 years leadership experience in the field of education. She holds an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Master's degree in Educational Instruction. Ms. Johnson also holds the credentials of Certified Registered Nurse and Psychiatric Nurse.

Sharon Ragin serves as the Finance Director. Ms. Ragin is a CPA and has assisted and nurtured the financial health of Beacon of Hope since inception in fiscal accountability and business management matters. She is a dedicated and competent professional with over 20 years experience working with nonprofits.

Patricia Wilhite has over 20 years experience working in licensed childcare centers as an administrative assistant with an extensive background in data management, record keeping, and family tracking. In addition, she is an experienced social worker, resource coordinator, and school transition specialist.

Michelle Long serves as the Finance and Resources Development Director. She has over 15 years experience in non-profit management with a broad background in strategic planning, financial development, relationship building, and public affairs. She secured a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Communications from the University of Houston and went on to receive a Master of Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. In addition, she holds a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Organizational Development and Sustainability from Georgia State University's (GSU) Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett, won the John Cotton Dana National Public Relations Award, was nominated for the Kennedy Award for the foster care/adoption series "Calling All Angels," and awarded the GSU Legislative Fellowship in 2012.

Team work is a fundamental value of Beacon of Hope; continuing education is its culture; and cross-training is its practice with fully documented standard operating policies and procedures that enable effective program and operations execution in the absence of any one team member. The management staff is supported by a working Board of Directors who are experts in their fields -- education, engineering, legal and accounting, real estate, banking, public policy, marketing, and entrepreneurship. The entire instructional team and support staff are committed to training and continuous professional development -- devoted to educating their students to ensure their success in school and life.

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The Renaissance Learning Center
120 Renaissance Parkway NE
Atlanta,GA 3030