Instructor & IT Analyst
Peter Boyton started working at STAR Foundation as an instructor in STAR’s Employment Readiness Program 8 years ago and he loves working with the students. Before joining STAR Foundation, he worked as a business development instructor for Western Leadership Group and an IT manager for Orthopedic Associates. His IT background and experience led to the installation of new student workstations at STAR, where he also runs the STAR network. He relishes seeing ‘the lights come on’ as STAR students learn new skills and become excited about their own future possibilities.
Instructor & Career Counselor
Board of Directors
Photo cred: Bobby Haven/Brunswick News
Cheryl Isaac joined STAR Foundation in July 2017. The move to STAR was a purpose-driven one for Cheryl. A survivor of the brutal Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, a witness to stark poverty, and a woman who fought many odds to achieve her dream, Cheryl was personally drawn to STAR Foundation’s vision of economic empowerment and also professionally drawn to a position that paralleled her diverse skillset.
Cheryl received her training within the financial industry, where, for over a decade, she worked her way up from bank teller to senior banker and licensed investment representative, later helping manage money and grow small businesses at companies like Edward Jones Investments and Huntington National Bank. Seeking a chance to encourage entrepreneurial thinking, she started her own business and for seven years, became a startup strategist and business planner for micro-entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations within the Columbus, Ohio area. Her business advice earned her a Time Magazine Techland Award in 2012, and a Business & Career Column with Forbes Magazine Online. Cheryl holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Capital University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Tampa. She has been an adjunct professor with the University System of Georgia and she is married to Kendall Isaac, an attorney with the University System of Georgia.
Wally Orrel, a regional economic development professional, is one of the three charter members of STAR Foundation. He along with his wife, Katie Orrel, and sister-in-law, Ellen Murphy, developed the idea for STAR as a way to improve the available workforce in the community. In 2009 Wally left the day-to-day operations of STAR to become President of the Darien-McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce and the McIntosh County Industrial Development Authority. However he has remained on the STAR Foundation Board as an advocate for its mission. Wally is very active in the community serving as the Vice-Chairman of the Southeast Georgia Joint Development Authority, Board Member of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, Past-President of the Rotary Club of Glynn and McIntosh Counties and serves on the College of Coastal Georgia Business and Public Affairs Advisory Board and the Altamaha Technological College Advisory Board.
Joan Campbell is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and has spent her career in the management of non-profit organizations, including trade and professional associations and foundations. For 12 years she served as executive director of a number of national and international certification boards, prior to her retirement at the end of 2015 (although it has turned out to be semi-retirement since she continues to be asked to conduct project work for her former clients). Joan has also served on the board of directors of association executive organizations in Chicago and New York, and on the American Society of Association Executives Foundation Board. Joan is active in her local community, where she currently serves on the library Board of Trustees, the Board of Directors of the Coastal Animal Rescue Society, and as an Elder in her church. She also volunteers in the library bookstore and for the International Seafarers’ Center.
James R. Foster
Chairman of the Board
James R. Foster was introduced to STAR Foundation during a site visit with the United Way in 2014. He soon began working with founder Ellen Murphy on strategies to help propel the foundation forward.
Jim has an extensive background in finance with multiple large organizations including JM Family Enterprises, Inc.; currently 23 on the Forbes’ list of “America’s Largest Private Companies.”
Jim has worked with Fortune 500 and smaller entrepreneurial concerns where he used his strategic skills to improve overall value. He knows how to cut costs, reduce financial risks and improve the well being of a company.
Jim and his wife, Mary Graham, reside on St Simons Island.
Chris Jordan, a graduate of Duke University and Vanderbilt University Law School, is a local civil litigation attorney with The Jordan Firm. He grew up in Glynn County and joined the STAR Foundation’s Board of Directors because he wanted to be of service to a unique organization whose inspired work makes a meaningful impact in the lives of those who most need it. Chris currently resides on St. Simons Island with his wife, Christy. On occasion on weekends he can be spied lending his piano skills to the Island Garage Band.
Molly Moroney Norrett
Molly Moroney Norrett is married to Bill Norrett and they have four sons and three granddaughters. Molly has spent her career as an actress and playwright. She has been involved in every field of the business: theatre, directing, voice-overs, television and film. Her plays have been produced in many U.S. Cities, including New York. Molly wanted to be on the Star Foundation board and help in the fundraising efforts because she is a firm believer in STAR’s mission.
Donna’s story is rooted in STAR’s story. Her father, Don McGlamory, former Director of the City of Brunswick Housing Authority, partnered with STAR Foundation to offer training to residents of public housing. A former Director of the American Red Cross, Donna now serves as Insurance Advisor and Marketing Director for McGinty-Gordon & Associates. A member of St. Simons Community Church, Donna enjoys cooking, traveling and family. She has two children.
Parker is a partner at the Washington, D.C. firm of Wiley Rein, where he has served for the past 10-plus years, focusing on commercial civil litigation with an expertise in insurance coverage. Married to Lauren for ten years, they have three small children. The family recently moved to St. Simons Island from D.C. and love the Golden Isles and our tight-knit community.
Parker is currently a Trustee on the Washington Lawyers Committee and devotes several hundred hours per year to pro bono cases. He was named one of City Year Washington, DC’s Idealists of the Year in 2015, an honor given to individuals who impact the lives of others through service and volunteerism. He is currently on the board of Adoption-Share, a Brunswick-based charity that works nationally to leverage technology to bring efficiency, innovation, and reform to the public and private adoption process and to raise awareness about adoption in the United States. Parker has expressed excitement at the prospective of joining STAR’s board as he feels it has the opportunity to effect real and meaningful change to those most in need of help in our community.
Lee Hiers Owen
Lee Owen has actively served in the nonprofit sector in Georgia for forty years. Her lengthy record of service includes over two decades in the fundraising division of MAP (Medical Assistance Programs) International, a health organization active in disaster relief, medicine distribution, community health training, and AIDS prevention overseas.
After MAP Lee served eight years as the Executive Director of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation. In this role, Lee had the opportunity to work with many of the local non-profit organizations including STAR Foundation. Upon retiring from the Communities of Coastal Georgia at the end of 2014, Lee enthusiastically became a member of the STAR Foundation Board of Directors.
Lee is married to Cannon Owen, and they live on St. Simons Island.
Jane Lafferty is the current Chairman of the Marshes of Glynn Library Board and when she heard that the STAR Foundation has its own library and does not ban its members from checking books out because of overdue fines she immediately joined the STAR Foundation Board. When asked why she really joined the STAR Foundation she will tell you with a sports car twinkle in her eye, “I am most passionate about the potential of the students, and how we can communicate and reinforce that for them.”
Jane has a long history in human resource management and is now on Retirement 2. She earned a BBA and later an Executive MBA. Jane and her husband moved to the Golden Isles in 2000 something. Jane has lived in many different places around the country and is wasting no time in becoming involved in the local community.
Elaine is a former contributing editor of design for Better Homes & Gardens, a special projects editor at Elle Décor, and is ranked as one of House Beautiful’s 100 Top American Designers. She is the author of Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming your own Decorator, and has been a guest on the Today Show. A native of Brunswick, Georgia, Elaine is the product of a teacher and the first African-American physician to gain privileges in the Brunswick Hospital. Upon graduating from Glynn Academy, Elaine attended Yale University, followed by graduate study at the New York School of Interior Design. Nine years as a publicist in New York and Paris were followed by design work in the office of architectural genius Peter Marino. Elaine started her own firm in 1999.
Elaine Auten is a native of Brunswick and a graduate of Glynn Academy. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University before returning to south Georgia. Elaine owns Custom Drapery Shoppe and Interiors. Her personal mission statement is “asking that doors will open so that I may serve and that the right people will be in my life.” In addition to being a member of the STAR Foundation Board, her recent civic projects have included work for CMAP, Amity House, Coastal Georgia Historic Society, First United Methodist Church Board of Trustees, and Easter Seals Foundation Board of Directors. Elaine and her husband, Dean, are the proud parents of three sons.
Jane served most of her career in Human Resources, first with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco International, in Winston-Salem, N.C., then with The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. She also spent several years with the New York Urban Development Corporation in New York City, first with construction, then housing management. Jane moved to Saint Simons Island with her husband Joe in 2005. They have one son, Rick, who still lives in Winston-Salem. Jane enjoys golf, reading, biking, boating, travel, cooking, and yoga.
A retired teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, Tina spent her career in education. After helping students as an elementary schoolteacher at St. Simons Elementary School, she became the principal at Golden Isles Elementary School from 2001-2007. A former Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum at McIntosh County School System, Tina brings years of experience to STAR.
Ellen Murphy, a former special education teacher and business entrepreneur, has a knack for discovering a need and then moving to fill it. In the mid 1990’s her for-profit computer business began offering computer camps to local kids. She soon noticed a substantial disparity in the computer skills of the kids from lower income areas versus those from higher income areas. This led her to speculate that teaching computer skills to the parents of those lower income kids might help the parents find better jobs and improve the families’ standard of living. Together with her sister, Katie Orrel, and brother-in-law, Wally Orrel, Ellen founded the STAR Foundation as computer training program for residents of the Brunswick Housing Authority. In the 16 years since then, the program has evolved from computer skills training classes to a life-changing, transformational program for low income residents of Glynn, Camden and McIntosh Counties. Infused into every aspect of the STAR Foundation program is Ellen’s unbridled love of people, fervent belief in the need for everyone to have basic human dignity and her raw determination to help end the cycle of poverty…one student at a time.
Katie Murphy-Orrel, the daughter of a Head Start teacher, grew up knowing the importance and value of education. Over the years she has worked as an Area Director at Kinder Care, a teacher at United Way and even owned her own restaurant. In 1996 Katie and her husband, Wally Orrel, moved back to Brunswick to be closer to family. They joined her sister, Ellen, at Dataline Computer Services. Over the next 3 years Katie, Wally and Ellen developed the original idea for teaching computer classes to help lower income people find better jobs. The idea grew until it became a mission and the Southern Technological Advocacy Resource Foundation (or STAR as it is known today) was born. Since 1999 Katie has served as an instructor at STAR. She is passionate about each and every student that comes through the door at STAR. Through love, determination and a generous sprinkling of dry humor she pushes her students to do their best and strive to reach their goals.
Penny is a former board member and a STAR Angel, a person whose financial and emotional support has been a tremendous help to STAR over the years.
She has a passion for the arts and humanitarian efforts. Over the years she has been very active in her native Buffalo, NY by volunteering her time and efforts to organizations including the Junior Board of the Buffalo General Hospital, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Studio Arena Theatre Board and the Burchfield-Penney Art Gallery.
In 2015 Penny was delighted to join the STAR Foundation board because she was in awe of the incredible love between the Board, the staff, the students and their successes. Penny and Tom have been married for 60 years and now live full-time on Sea Island. They have 4 children and 13 grand-children.