Staff & Faculty


Executive Director
William, H. Gattis


Bill Gattis, a certifed Professional Co-Active Coach, has 45 years of ministry experience in the NC Conference. He completed eight years as Burlington District Superintendent before retiring in July 2012.  Bill also served as Dean of the Cabinet from 2007-2012.  After a brief retirement, Bill joined the Academy in January 2013 as the Excectuive Director.  His pastoral ministry has ranged from rural churches to University UMC in Chapel Hill where he served 18 years before becoming District Superintendent. Early in his ministry, he was the NC Conference Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Bill has received coach training from Spiritual Leadership Inc, Lexington, KY, for the Abide Initiative for the small membership church renewal and Coaches Training Institute in California as a Life Coach.  He is also a graduate of the Clergy Deepening Program offered by the Shalem Institute on Spirituality. He will be a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2012. He is married to Irene, 44 years, and they have one adorable cat, Mercy.

Associate Director
Leah Wiebe-Smith

Leah Wiebe-Smith joined the Academy team in February 2009, initially coordinating the Academy’s events, and currently serving as the Associate Director. For nearly ten years, Wiebe-Smith pursued a career in the arts, managing public art programs for the State of Oregon, and the cities of Aurora, Colorado and Tempe, Arizona. Her most recent position was the Director of the City of Raleigh Arts Commission.

She holds a MA in Arts Management from University of Oregon and a BA from University of Colorado in Humanities, with emphases in Art History and Spanish.

Executive Assistant
Joni Earp


Joni Earp joined the Academy for Leadership Excellence in October 2011. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Throughout her career, she has worked for several non-profit organizations including The General Federation of Woman’s Clubs and the Empty Stocking Fund. Joni currently serves as the Executive Assistant and is excited to have the opportunity to share the vision of the Academy for Leadership Excellence and help fulfill its mission.


Rev. Judy Stephens
Project Bountiful Coordinator

An ordained Deacon in full connection with the United Methodist Church, Rev. Judy Stephens is working with Project Bountiful with The  Academy for Leadership Excellence and attends First UMC Cary. She is also enrolled in the Leading Contemplative Small Groups and Retreats program with Shalem Institute and serves as a Deacon liason with the Deacons at Duke. Judy is serving on the Core Team with the Friends of Christ Spirituality School; has UMC certifications in Camp & Retreat Ministries, Christian Education and Spiritual Formation; and participated in the Spirituality Program at Columbia Theological Seminary. She has served with NC UMC Camp & Retreat Ministries and was on church staffs at St. Francis UMC in Cary and Fuquay-Varina UMC. A graduate of UNCG, with a master's degree from NCSU in counselor education, she is a former English teacher, has counseled families and couples, served as administrative assistant with the Willie M Review Panel and worked for a hometown newspaper part-time while raising her 4 wonderful kids with husband, Wray. They have 5 delightful grandchildren. Judy is current chair of the UMC Spiritual Life Committee and volunteers with the MATCH program (Mothers And Their CHildren) at the women's prison in Raleigh. She and Wray live in Fuquay-Varina.     


Sheila Ahler

Partner, Cherry Bekaert & Holland, LLP

Sheila is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax, attest and consultation services to businesses and individuals. In November 2005, she transferred from Hilton Head Island, SC to the Firm’s Raleigh office, where she continues to serve as a Client Development Partner.

Sheila’s specific areas of expertise include start-up and emerging businesses, not-for-profit entities, real estate/construction companies, common interest realty associations and 1031 exchange transactions. She is a member of the Firm’s Real Estate and Construction Industry Group. Prior to joining Cherry, Bekaert & Holland in 1999, Sheila was the managing partner of a locally-based CPA firm in the Hilton Head area for nine years, and earlier served as a principal in a large South Carolina-based practice. Sheila held many leadership positions at the St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church, and served as chair-elect of the Church Council.

Since moving to Raleigh Sheila’s professional affiliations include membership in the North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA) and the Administrative Section of the NC Bar Association (NCBA). She is chair of the Apex United Methodist Church finance committee and vice-chair of the NC United Methodist Conference Council on Finance and Administration.

Sheila received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, graduating Phi Kappa Phi from The Citadel as a member of The Citadel Honorary Society.

Rev. LuAnn Charlton

Associate Pastor, Hayes Barton United Methodist Church

Rev. LuAnn H. Charlton is currently serving as an Associate Pastor at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC where her ministry focus is Spiritual Formation. Prior to her appointment at Hayes Barton, she served as the Pastor of Bethel United Methodist Church in Snow Camp, NC. She has a Master of Divinity Degree from Duke Divinity School. Before entering ordained ministry, LuAnn served as a Christian Educator at First United Methodist Church of Cary and Apex United Methodist Church. She also served as the Associate Director for Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries of North Carolina. LuAnn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master’s Degree in Training and Development from NCSU. She has also attended the Upper Room’s Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation.

Rev. Rick Clayton

Pastor, Hayes Barton United Methodist Church

Richard T. Clayton (Rick) was appointed to Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, Raleigh in 2004. He has served other Methodists Churches: Saint Francis, Cary; Louisburg ;Saint Paul, Rocky Mount; First Church, Wilson. He is a graduate of Barton College and received a Masters of Religious Education from Southeastern and a Masters of Divinity from Duke. Rick has served as chair of the North Carolina Conference Board of Education and Methodist Home for Children Board of Directors and the Conference Coordinator of Youth Ministries. Other committees include Board of Visitors for Methodist College, Rocky Mount District Committee on the Ministry, Vision 2000 Steering Committee, Annual Conference Planning Committee, Conference Committee on Finance and Administration, Louisburg College Board of Trustees. He has served the community as Lion’s Club President, Child Advisory Board of Directors, Smart Start Board of Directors and as a member of the Area Ministerial Association.

Rick is married to Joy who is a Choral Director for Wake County Schools. They have two children, Ryan and Alyson. Ryan is married to Meredith.

Rev. Doug Gamble
Pastor of Mission Partnerships
Crossroads Fellowship, Raleigh, NC

During 32 years of pastoral ministry, Rev. Gamble has had an opportunity to serve a country church, a small town church, and help plant three churches. He has written a Lifestyle Evangelism course and built a small business. Rev. Gamble has served as an associate pastor four times, as a Serendipity and Navpress Small Group Ministry Trainer, a Christian education pastor, a small group pastor, a pastor of adult ministries, and now, at last, as a missions pastor! Along the way, he has been consultant to pastors and churches and was part of an early national small group pastors' network before Leadership Network emerged. Typically, Rev. Gamble has built, developed, or remodeled ministries in each place he has served. He is an entrepreneurial type pastor who seeks to build long-term partnerships and change our cities into healthy, faith-friendly communities.

Rev. Gamble specializes in ministry design and launching small group or task group efforts. His emphasis is on volunteer recruitment strategies; coalition building; partnership development between faith communities and business and government entities; non-profit fundraising and donor base cultivation; and as a church consultant with a focus in program review, evaluation, and design.

Rev. Bill Gattis

Exective Director, The Academy for Leadership Excellence

Bill Gattis is currently serving in his 45th year of ministry in the NC Conference and is scheduled to retire in July 2012. He is completing eight years as Burlington District Superintendent and has served as Dean of the Cabinet since 2007. His pastoral ministry has ranged from rural churches to University UMC in Chapel Hill where he served 18 years before becoming District Superintendent. Early in his ministry, he was the NC Conference Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Bill has received coach training from Spiritual Leadership Inc, Lexington, KY, for the Abide Initiative for the small membership church renewal and Coaches Training Institute in California as a Life Coach. He is also a graduate of the Clergy Deepening Program offered by the Shalem Institute on Spirituality. He will be a delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 2012. He is married to Irene, 44 years, and they have one adorable cat, Kittles.

Heidi Gailor-Loftin, Ph.D.

Leadership Education and Consulting         

Heidi Gailor-Loflin is a leadership educator and consultant working with organizations to design and facilitate leadership programs, workshops, and coursework. Prior to consulting, she was a member of the faculty at Peace College, now William Peace University. At Peace, Gailor-Loflin launched the leadership studies major and minor and taught courses focused on the basic principles of leadership, contexts of leadership, leadership development, and leadership in the context of social change. Prior to coming to Peace, Gailor-Loflin focused on marketing and new product development at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Gailor-Loflin holds a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her dissertation is focused on leadership development in young women activists. She holds a master’s degree in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a bachelor’s degree in communication from North Carolina State University.

Teresa Holder

Teresa Holder, Ph.D., is currently a professor of communication at William Peace University. She has more than 20 years of experience in college teaching, higher education administration, and nonprofit public relations management. She's led more than 100 workshops, including training on conflict resolution for managers. She’s also published numerous articles on the topic of managing conflict in leadership roles.

Her volunteer work includes lay leadership at her church, with a focus on small group ministry. From personal experience and having grown up as a preacher's kid, she understands the unique joys and challenges that come with working in ministry!

Dr. Lisa Guion Jones, Ed.D.

Professor, Assistant Dean for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University

Dr. Jones holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree and a doctorate in adult and higher education specializing in education administration from North Carolina State University. She has nineteen years of experience in higher education institutions, of which fourteen years are with the Cooperative Extension Service (Extension). Her Extension work focused on faculty development related to program leadership and planning, program design and implementation, program evaluation, and planning programs for diverse audiences. Dr. Jones currently serves on the administrative team within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State as an Assistant Dean.

Dr. Korrel Kanoy, Ph.D.

Korrel Kanoy, after earning a psychology degree from the University of Richmond, went on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she studied Child Development and Family Relationships. A college professor for over 30 years, and now Professor Emeritus at William Peace University, she has taught courses such as adult development, child development, general psychology, and emotional intelligence. She has also served in leadership positions including Dean and Associate Dean.

 In 2004, Korrel co-founded Developmental Associates, LLC, a consulting firm which specializes in developing emotionally intelligent solutions for organizations and their members. Korrel is certified to administer and provide feedback on individual and 3600 instruments related to Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Styles and Organizational Climate, and she is a certified trainer for the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0 and EQi 360).   Korrel specializes in helping individuals and organizations maximize their performance by developing emotional intelligence and leadership skills.  She also works with educational institutions to select and develop the best teachers and leaders and helps them develop programs to infuse emotional intelligence into the curriculum and co-curriculum. She has led professional workshops and delivered keynote addresses for educational, non-profit and public sector organizations. Over 500 people – from students to CEOs -- have benefitted from individual coaching with Korrel. Korrel is the co-author (with Steve Stein and Howard Book) of The Student EQ Edge: Your Academic and Personal Success and an accompanying The Student EQ Edge: Facilitation and Activity Guide and The Student EQ Edge: Student Workbook.  She authored Annie’s Lost Hat, a picture book for 3-6 year olds that teaches emotional intelligence lessons through the story and The Everything Parent’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence.

Ronda Bazley Moore

Organization and Human Performance Consultant

Ronda Moore has over twelve years of experience with financial services organizations and leading management consulting firms.  As a consultant, Ronda has partnered with business and community leaders throughout the country to provide solutions related to talent management, leadership development, learning design and development, communications and stakeholder engagement.  Ronda has a passion for working with leaders to solve problems related to human performance.  Ronda is excited about joining the faculty of the Academy for Leadership Excellence and applying her experience and knowledge to help equip pastors and laity for their important roles in the body of Christ.   

 A native of Charlotte, NC, Ronda completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Ronda earned a Master’s degree in Adult Education from North Carolina State University, where she was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi.  Ronda is married to Warte T. Moore and has a two year old daughter, Bazley Grace.  They live in Raleigh and are members of Edenton Street United Methodist Church. 

Gray Southern

Durham District Superintendent

H. Gray Southern is the Durham District Superintendent (NC Conference of The United Methodist Church). He works with the churches in Granville, Vance, Person, Orange, Wake, and Durham counties as one of the connecting links between local churches and pastors to the larger United Methodist connection. Born in Winston-Salem, NC, he grew up in Smithfield, NC, graduating from Smithfield-Selma Sr. High School. He earned his BA in Psychology and Religion from UNC-CH and then attended The Yale University Divinity School, graduating with a M. Div. Subsequently, he earned a D. Min. from The Columbia Seminary in Decatur, GA. He has also participated in the Lily Endowment’s Pastor-Theologian Program sponsored by The Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton University.

He has served as associate pastor at St. Paul UMC in Goldsboro, pastor of Oriental UMC; pastor of West Nash UMC (Wilson); pastor of Trinity UMC (Durham); and pastor of St. James UMC (Greenville). Gray has been involved in ministries of spiritual formation, children and youth ministries, mission efforts, and camping ministries, we well as, administrative ministries such as pensions, insurance, and sustainability matters. He and his wife, Susan, a public school teacher, have two children, Kirk, a medical student, and Mary-Gray, a college freshman.


Rev Jon Strother

Raleigh District Superintendent

Jon Strothers is currently the Raleigh District Superintendent. He has served in the position since 2009. He also served on the North Carolina Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (1994-2002) and is currently serving a new term (2008-2012). He ministers regularly in Federal Prison, Butner, NC. Jon has traveled throughout the world ministering and sharing his stories. In 1997, he was invited to Sydney, Australia to share in school seminaries as a preacher and storyteller. In 2006, he ministered orphanages in Belarus and preached with ABRO (American Belarusian Relief Organization).

Jon previously served as Senior Pastor of Benson Memorial UMC. He is the founding Pastor of Windborne UMC established in 1999. Other churches he has served include Hertford UMC, Rose Hill UMC, Associate Pastor at Hayes Barton UMC and Macon Charge. Jon is a graduate of Duke Divinity School where he also completed his Masters of Divinity. In 1998, Jon recorded a CD of mostly original music with all proceeds going to Project Agape Armenia. He and his wife, Diana are part of an a capella singing group. They have three children.

Rev. Jeremy Troxler
Project Bountiful
NC Preaching Festival

Rev. Jeremy Troxler is a baptized disciple of Jesus Christ, Margaret’s husband, Ada and Della’s daddy, an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, pastor of Spruce Pine UMC in the mountains of North Carolina, a child of his family’s tobacco farm, a former Morehead Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill, a graduate of Duke Divinity School, a lover of books and good writing, the owner of a rambunctious beagle mutt named Jasper, and a fan of the Atlanta Braves.  He previously served in ministry as the Director of the Thriving Rural Communities Initiative at Duke Divinity School, as pastor of Maggie Valley UMC in Maggie Valley, NC, and as the President’s Assistant serving on the island of Jersey within the Methodist Church of Great Britain.  Jeremy’s sermons have been published on the website Faith and Leadership, and he has been blessed to preach the Gospel in wondrously diverse settings ranging from Duke Chapel, to an auto body shop, to the NC State Fair, to a mud hut sanctuary in the mountains of rural Mexico.

Lisa Yebuah
Pastor, Edenton Street UMC

Lisa Yebuah is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, but claims Summerville, SC, as her hometown. She is a ’99 graduate of Wofford College and a ’04 graduate of Duke University Divinity School.  Her travels to Haiti and South Africa during her seminary career fueled her desire to make the Wesleyan understanding of "love of God and love of neighbor" tangible to United Methodists in the local church. She currently serves as the Pastor of Inviting Ministries at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, NC.