Staff:Sarah Chapman, Program Director
Erica Cook, Marketing & Communications Director
Marissa Cremeans, Registrar & Database Manager
Tom Eblen, Literary Arts Liaison
Zachary Hall, Registrar
Brittany Jackson, Development & Program Associate
Marcia Thornton Jones, Author Services Coordinator
Carol Jordan, Tutoring Director
Shayla D. Lynch, Executive Director
Claudia Love Mair, Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative Coordinator
Jennifer Mattox, Development Director
JC McPherson, Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative Associate, Safety Officer, & Building Manager
Connie Meyers, Literacy Specialist (Reading)
Anniseh Said, Literacy Specialist (Math)
Jamari Turner, Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator
Paige Bensing, Vice Chair
Claudia Marin Goggin
Sarah Chapman is a mother, wife, writer, and Carnegie Center groupie. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Washington & Lee University and a Masters of Education in Human Resource Development from Vanderbilt University, along with years spent in both the music industry and the nonprofit world. She’s written two novels and won a Carnegie Center writing contest (sponsored by the National Society of Arts & Letters) that granted her the use of a Nikky Finney writing cubby for a year. That’s about when she decided that the Carnegie Center was her writing home. She finally talked them into hiring her as Office Manager and Registrar in 2015 and then in 2019, she transitioned into a new role as Program Director.
Erica Cook served as Carnegie Center's marketing intern and AmeriCorps VISTA in 2014 prior to being hired as the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator in 2016. Equipped with a Communication degree from Berea College and a background in marketing and design, Erica is thrilled to transition into her new role at the Carnegie Center as the Director of Marketing and Communications. A native of Florida, Erica moved to Costa Rica as a child where she lived for 10 years, and applies her bilingual ability to engage with Spanish speakers. In addition to working full time at the Center, Erica manages her small art business Concinnity by Erica Cook, where she creates whimsical watercolor paintings and teaches hand-lettering workshops at the Carnegie Center and at the UK Fine Arts Institute. Erica is passionate about highlighting her vibrant community and serves as a volunteer for Creative Mornings Lexington, a free breakfast lecture series designed for creative communities in cities all around the world. When she isn't working or painting, Erica enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and three cats.
Marissa Cremeans is the Carnegie Center’s Registrar & Database Manager. A graduate from the University of Kentucky with degrees in English and Psychology, she has spent 8 years working in multiple library systems, where she hosted story times and after school programs for children of various age groups in the community. In her free time she writes YA fantasy stories as well as the occasional poem, and she also enjoys playing the ukulele, painting, and spending quality time with her cat.
Tom Eblen, a journalist, writer and photographer, is the Carnegie Center’s literary arts liaison. He was metro/state columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader from 2008 to 2019 and the newspaper’s managing editor from 1998-2008. Tom returned to his hometown in 1998 after 14 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and five years with The Associated Press. He contributed a chapter to the book Bluegrass Renaissance: The History and Culture of Central Kentucky, 1792-1852, published in 2012 by the University Press of Kentucky. His photographs have appeared in newspapers, books, and magazines, including Newsweek and Garden & Gun. He has won many awards, including the 2013 media award in the Kentucky Governor’s Awards in the Arts. He was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2016. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Tom is president of the Bluegrass Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He formerly served on the national board of Associated Press Media Editors. Tom taught journalism ethics at the University of Kentucky for four years and has been on the faculty of The Mountain Workshops, an annual documentary photojournalism workshop, since 1995. He and his wife, Becky, have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.
Zachary Hall is a Lexington native. He graduated from Transylvania University in May of 2021 with Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Religious Studies. Following graduation, Zach completed an artist residency at Cozy Nook Gallery in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. This residency culminated in his first solo exhibition, "Forms and Accidents," which ran from January to April of 2022. In addition to his show, Zach has collaborated with his sister-in-law to illustrate a therapy workbook for children. As a member of the Carnegie Center team, Zach hopes to continue collaborating with members of the Lexington community, whether it be through art or dialogue. When Zach is not creating, he is reviewing poetry with his writing group, taking long walks outdoors, reading, or discussing the complexities of theology (a subject on which he hopes to someday teach as a professor).
Brittany Jackson joined the Carnegie Center in November 2017. As the Development Associate, she assists with grant writing, fundraising, and database management. She also assists with planning writing classes and the Books-in-Progress Conference as Program Associate. When she’s not working on her own novel, she teaches writing classes on science fiction, fantasy, and horror, leads writing groups, and mentors. She is a University of Kentucky graduate with degrees in English and Psychology. She spent many years before this managing the fiction section at a local bookstore. She also currently facilitates Wildacres Writing Retreat & Workshop and is a board member of the Lexington Writers Room. She delights in creating supportive environments for writers.
Marcia Thornton Jones is an award-winning author who has traditionally published more than 135 books for children with sales totaling more than 43 million copies worldwide. Her works include Woodford Brave, Ratfink, and Champ. She is also the co-author of seven popular series including “Keyholders” and “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids” for which she is an executive producer of the live-action series optioned by Bardel/Rainbow. She is also the co-author of the re-imagined graphic novel series "Adventures of the Bailey School Kids” published by Graphix by Scholastic Inc. Marcia lives in Lexington, Kentucky where she is the coordinator of the Carnegie Center Author Academy, and the after-school tutoring program associate. She also teaches writing, serves as a workshop facilitator, is a frequent presenter at schools, and mentors adult writers of picture books, chapter books, middle-grade fiction, and journaling. In addition to the graphic novel series, her other recent books include Writing Kids Books: The Ultimate Guide, and the e-release of her midgrade novel, Ratfink, both exclusively found on Amazon.com
Carol Jordan has been Tutoring Director since 2011 and loves being at the Carnegie Center. Her background is in teaching, so she enjoys the times when she gets to be with the kids. Her favorite things about the Carnegie Center include the mission, the families who come every week, Carnegie Classics, getting to meet so many Kentucky authors, the beautiful building, the wonderful supportive staff, and of course, the fact that we give away free books! Carol serves on the board for Guatemalan Educational Outreach, which supports an English immersion school in rural Guatemala. For 2021, she also serves on the board for Bluegrass Indo-American Civic Society. She has two grown children, who don’t visit Lexington often enough. Carol loves to travel (to visit her children) and loves to read. She also runs off to Raven Run or the Gorge to hike as often as she can.
Claudia Love Mair is a writer, artist, and Ringmistress of the Beautiful Soul Circus, a private Facebook group for creatives, queers, and tender souls. She's an Inspirationalista who, when she's not creating something herself, helps other creatives tap into their deepest intuition and longings through writing and paint. She is the Coordinator for the Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative. Claudia lives in Lexington, with two of her adult children, and three cats, including one who thinks he's a dog.
Jennifer Mattox became the Carnegie Center’s Development Director in 2004. Like other staff working at this small nonprofit, she is directly involved with program planning and administration, especially for those programs involving the literary arts. In addition to coordinating the Kentucky Great Writers series, she teaches writing workshops and seminars–in the center, at outreach sites such as central Kentucky public libraries, and online. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Bluegrass Chapter and previously served nine years on their board. Jennifer has more than 20 years of professional writing experience in fundraising, marketing, and journalism. She is a two-time Kentucky Foundation for Women artist enrichment grantee and is a featured artist on Art of the Rural’s “PlaceStories” website. "PlaceStories" website.
Col. JC McPherson, Kentucky Colonel Goodwill Ambassador, has a background in writing, electricity, and general troubleshooting. During his time at the Carnegie Center, he has worn many hats. Currently he is an agent for the Kentucky Black Writers Collaborative, Creative Writing Instructor, Rental Staff, and Staff Support. He is the author of On My Mind (blacoetry press), Jupiter’s Child (Winged City Chapbooks), and Hey Batta Batta (Lefthanded JuJu). In his spare time, he likes to cook, drink ice cold Pepsi, garden, build model rockets, and listen to music.
Holly Sanders recently joined the Carnegie Center team in March of 2022 as Tutoring Associate and Rental Coordinator. Holly is a Lexington native and previously enjoyed completing an internship with the Carnegie Center in 2012. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Evansville. She also has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Kentucky and is licensed as a Certified Social Worker. Holly has always enjoyed working with kids, both through spending her
summers as a counselor at Bluegrass Christian Camp and through working as a foster care therapist. She is excited to be a part of the tutoring program and get to know the tutors and kids who come to the Carnegie Center. In her free time, Holly enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dog, hiking, traveling, reading, and visiting local restaurants and coffee shops.
Jamari Turner is a Lexington native and a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she studied history. Jamari served as a Carnegie Center tutor prior to being hired as the Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator in January 2022. She is interested in the rich, unfamiliar histories of Kentucky and its people. Her experiences growing up in Kentucky seeded her passion for people, particularly under-served populations and youth. Jamari has organized community projects promoting literacy and connectivity with Near Things including the Beyond Book Fair and the Lexington Postcard Project. Jamari also currently works as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Community Inspired Lexington (a Lexington nonprofit) and interns for UK's Bitter Aloe Project in addition to coordinating Carnegie youth programs such as Family Fun & Learning Nights, Young Black Voices contest, and Kentucky's first Youth Poet Laureate.