Our Leaders


Bonnie Jones

Executive Director

Bonnie Jones, an Atlanta native, is a graduate from Auburn University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Bonnie has more than a decade of experience in non-profit … Read More


Charlie Schroeder

President and Treasurer, Founding Member

A native of Rome. Graduated East Rome High 1967. Georgia Institute of Technology, Textile Management 1971. Served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Married to Suzanne Barnett Schroeder and … Read More


Barbara Monday

Vice President, Founding Member

Barbara is a mother of two sons with speech/language problems. Due to their disabilities, Barbara returned to school and earned her degree in Speech-Language Pathology and CCC. She worked in … Read More


Rita Lawler


Rita moved to Rome in 1979 with her husband, Dr. Peter Lawler. She has a BA in Government from Centre College, and an MA in Government from the University of … Read More


Virginia Word

Board Member

Ginny Word is a retired special education administrator. Beginning her career as a teacher assistant, she has held various roles including director of special education and instructional support teacher. After … Read More


Mary Patton

Board Member

Mary was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Atlanta Public schools and Graduated from Reinhardt Junior College with an AA degree in 1974. Mary is married to S. Stephen Patton. … Read More


Winston Sirmans

Board Member

Winston Sirmans is an experienced, licensed real estate broker with a degree from the University of Georgia in Journalism and Public Relations.  A native of Waycross, GA, he and his … Read More


Gaines Dempsey

Board Member

Gaines is the owner of Dempsey Appraisal. He served previously with Dempsey Auction Company for 15 years. His other accomplishments include graduation from Darlington in 1994 and the University of … Read More


Kimberly McGuiness

Founding Member, Web Content Manager

Kimberly has been involved in special education for some 19+ years. Because of her own daughter’s life journey of living with deaf autism, Kimberly has stepped up to become an … Read More


Jean Battle

Founding Member

Jean is a retired teacher of 32 years from Pepperell High School. She is married to a wonderful husband of 43 years with two wonderful sons and a grandson. Jean … Read More


Lamar Paul

Founding Member

Lamar was born and raised in Plains, GA. In 1969, he moved to Rome with his wife, Barbara, and their five children. He helped in the construction of many power … Read More


Mary Williams

Founding Member

Mary is a retired school administrator. She was a special education teacher before becoming an administrator. Mary became involved with DIGS because of her sweet son, Noah. She had no … Read More


Laura Harrison

Founding Member

Laura is a DIGS, Inc. founding member. She has had a variety of interesting occupations to include small business owners, bridal consultants, and activity directors for assisted living. Laura is … Read More

Not pictured

Dora Nichols, Peer Representative

John Schroeder, Board Member

Kathy Brandon, Board Member