Press Release: Sheltering Arms Welcomes New Board Members

January 18, 2018 – Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, is pleased to announce the addition of five new members to its board of directors: Michelle Horstemeyer, Nicole Layne, Andrew McConnell, Ursula L. McNeill and Kshipra Pitre.

“It is an honor to welcome such highly accomplished leaders of diverse backgrounds and skill sets to the Sheltering Arms board,” said President and CEO Blythe Keeler Robinson. “As we celebrate 130 years of providing high-quality early childhood education and family support services, it is exciting to know that these very capable individuals will bring a unique ability and expertise that will help advance our work to transform the lives of children, families and communities across metro Atlanta.”

Michelle Horstemeyer is division director of Land Development and Entitlement with the Pulte Group (previously John Wieland Homes), where she designs new communities. Michelle has spent her career in the residential construction industry. Beginning as a builder for John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, Michelle advanced quickly into management and executive roles. Driven by a passion for homebuilding and place making, she has expanded her expertise into the land planning and development capacities.

Nicole Layne is the senior manager for Interconnected Experience Strategy at The Home Depot. Prior to her position at The Home Depot, Nicole was the director of strategy at Spanx, where she led the strategic planning process. Nicole was also a consultant with McKinsey & Company, serving clients across a wide range of industries, including retail, telecom, energy, and high-tech. She also worked across a range of functional areas, including general strategy, marketing, organizational strategy, and pricing. Nicole has served as a mentor for Minds Matter, a non-profit that helps underprivileged students prepare for the SAT, the college application process, and college. She is currently involved with the Elaine Bryan Foundation as a speaker during their career prep sessions for high school students.

Andrew McConnell is chief executive officer at, with extensive experience in technology, strategy and organizational effectiveness. At, Andrew works with more than 1,000 professional rental managers to ensure that vacation homeowners and property investors get more from their homes: consistent income, professional care, and guaranteed use. Prior to, Andrew worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and a director of managed services at Axiom Global, Inc.

Ursula L. McNeill is a human resources executive with IBM in its Watson and Cloud Platform Division. Ursula has more than 15 years of diverse leadership experience and more than 20 years of progressive HR experience. In her role at IBM, she provides strategic HR leadership to senior executives and their executive leadership teams. Aside from her corporate responsibilities, Ursula helped establish The Lorde-Rustin Giving Circle (LRGC), a philanthropic group that has contributed over $150,000 to several organizations in the metro Atlanta area since its inception in 2013. In addition to being a founding and executive board member of the LRGC, Ursula also serves on the Board of Trustees for Annandale Village in Suwanee, Ga.

Kshipra Pitre is chief operating officer and senior vice president of Products at InfoTycoon. She is a strategy and transformation leader recognized for delivering results with more than 14 years of global experience in leading transformations in small and medium-sized companies, including transactions, technology implementations, market expansions and product development. She has significant experience in developing cross-functional relationships to bring complex solutions to meet market needs and to increase wallet share.

Returning board members include:

Jeff Kammerer, PricewaterhouseCoopers – Chair
Leona Rapelye, UPS Capital – Vice Chair
Helen Cease, SunTrust Bank – Treasurer
Martha Abbott-Shim, Georgia State University Professor Emerita – Secretary
Michael Smith, The Smith Group LLC – Immediate Past Chair
Chad Aron, Porsche Cars North America
Leah Austin, Southern Education Foundation
Ashley Brightwell, Alston & Bird LLP
Mark Dvorak, Golin
Steve Floyd, August House Publishing
Brian D. Granville, Granville Shy LLC
Martha Taylor Greenway, Greenway Strategy Group LLC
Kevin Hamada, UPS
Lori Kaczynski, Graphic Packaging International, Inc.
Jill MacRae, Anisa International, Inc.
Pegui Mariduena, StarMar Consulting LLC
Canditra McLemore, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Julie McNulty, CohnReznick LLP
John Mears, Rivers Residential LLC
John C. Pelick, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Grant Rivera, Marietta City Schools
Yasmin Tyler-Hill, Morehouse School of Medicine

To view images of Sheltering Arms board members, visit

About Sheltering Arms
Sheltering Arms is Georgia’s largest nonprofit early childhood education organization and has provided high-quality early education, child care and family support services since 1888. Based in Atlanta, Ga., the agency serves more than 3,600 children and their families each year at 16 centers located in Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Sheltering Arms consistently meets accreditation standards by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. On average, children attending Sheltering Arms score in the 90th percentile for language and literacy, exceeding developmental milestones for kindergarten readiness. Visit or more information.

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Press Release: Sheltering Arms Celebrates Fundraising Success

Sold-Out Event Raises an Estimated $270,000 for Scholarships, Literacy Materials and Teacher Training

Close to 300 sponsors, partners, supporters and guests attended Sheltering Arms’ annual fundraising event to raise money for need-based scholarships, literacy materials for the agency’s 2,400 enrolled children and teacher training.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms to Honor Atlanta Speech School’s Comer Yates at Fundraising Dinner

September 14, 2017 – Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, will host its annual fundraising event, Celebration Dinner, presented by Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, on September 30, at Porsche Cars North America and will honor Comer Yates, executive director of the Atlanta Speech School.

Fact Sheet: A Two-Generation Approach

While Sheltering Arms has long supported families by offering affordable, high-quality education and care to children, we’ve also embraced a higher standard: a two-generation approach, a responsive philosophy and an intentional practice of serving children and the adults in their lives simultaneously.

Fact Sheet: Sheltering Arms

In 1888, a group of concerned Atlanta women began Sheltering Arms’ first “center”—initially a safe space for the children of textile workers while their parents toiled in the mills.

Today, we provide more than 3,600 children and their families with world-class early childhood education and family support services each year.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Announces Opening of New Facility, Launch of New Brand

August 23, 2017 – Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, today announced the opening of its newest center during a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on the campus of Barack and Michelle Obama Academy (formerly D.H. Stanton Elementary School).

Fact Sheet: Sheltering Arms Center at Obama Academy

The Sheltering Arms Center at Barack and Michelle Obama Academy is a physical manifestation of our commitment to providing children with the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive support they need from the earliest possible moment.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Announces Kaiser Permanente as Presenting Sponsor of Annual Fundraising Dinner

July 19, 2017 – Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, has announced Kaiser Permanente of Georgia as the presenting sponsor for its 2017 Celebration Dinner, a signature fundraising event that will take place on September 30 at Porsche Cars North America.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Receives $2 Million Grant from the Goizueta Foundation

June 8, 2017 – Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, today announced that it has been awarded a $2 million grant from The Goizueta Foundation.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Hosts Hiring Event

May 17, 2017 ‐ Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, today announced that it will host a hiring event to fill teacher and food service positions for its newest center, which will open at the start of the 2017‐2018 school year. The agency also hopes to fill current positions at its other locations.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Continues to Encourage Early Literacy Through Annual Read-A-Thon

April 13, 2017 – Sheltering Arms, Georgia’s largest nonprofit early education and child care organization, is preparing for its annual week-long read-a-thon and is inviting the community to participate by reading to a class or making a donation to help children get new books for home.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Board of Directors Appoints New Chair, Welcomes New Members

March 7, 2017 – Sheltering Arms is pleased to announce the appointment of its new board chair, as well as the addition of five new members.

Press Release: Sheltering Arms Announces Completion of Successful Capital Campaign

February 16, 2017 – Sheltering Arms, the Atlanta-based non-profit agency that provides high-quality early childhood education and family support services, announced today that it has successfully completed its D.H. Stanton capital campaign.

Alumni Success Story: Dr. Erika Sibbie

“My mom was a single parent struggling to support two kids,” says Dr. Erika Sibbie, “but she made sure I had the strongest start possible.”

Media Files


Seeds of Success

The Seeds of Success Program is a monthly giving initiative for former parents, current parents and the alumni of Sheltering Arms to give back to the next class of children and their families who need assistance with tuition. We suggest a monthly gift of $18.88 (based on the year Sheltering Arms was established in 1888).

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”
— Vladimir Lenin

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