2016-2017 Board of Trustees

Chairman: John New
Vice Chairman James Kirkland
Secretary: Camille Jones
Treasurer: John Whybrew

Lee Driver
Anita Hamilton
Darrell King
Bethany Lawrence
Geoffrey Lindley
Ryan Porter
Sarah Pucek
James Robinson
Jason Sammons
Nathan Spencer
Kathryn Tucker
Jeff Watlington

Alumni parent becomes USJ Board Chairman

Richard Ayers, a veteran of finance with more than four decades of experience as an accountant and chief financial officer, stepped into his new role as chairman of USJ’s Board of Trustees this summer.

Ayers has been a board member for six years, serving as chairman-elect and treasurer for the past two. He also has chaired the finance committee and the search committee that recommended Head of School Stuart Hirstein. He joined the board after serving on the advisory committee that recommended former Head of School Clay Lilienstern.

“I really saw it was something I wanted to do because I felt our children had received a wonderful education, and I wanted to give something back,” Ayers said.

His son, Will, Class of 2005, is a graduate student and teacher assistant in music theory at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. His daughter, Sarah, Class of 2008, is a pharmacy student at Belmont University in Nashville.

Ayers and his wife, Teresa, Director of Surgical Services at Regional Hospital of Jackson, were USJ parents for seven years.

The school provided a great return on the investment in his children’s education, he said. Besides the many educational opportunities, USJ offers fabulous extra-curricular activities, superior athletics, and excellence in arts, he added.

“It’s a wonderful college-preparatory school.”

Ayers has extensive qualifications to lead the 17-member board that provides guidance and oversight for the school’s administration.

He was recently named chief executive officer of The Jones Companies in Humboldt where he has worked for 28 years.          

A certified public accountant, he joined The Jones Companies after 13 years in public accounting with national and regional firms. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Tennessee Society of CPAs.
He majored in accounting and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

His experience on boards includes the Tennessee Society of CPAs,  the society’s Memorial and Education Foundation, the National Cotton Batting Institute, the Jackson State Community College Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Humboldt Chamber of Commerce where he served two terms as president.

USJ, he said, is a financially sound institution. Ayers praised Hirstein, his administrative team, and the faculty.

His role as chairman is to understand the needs of the school and make sure the organization addresses them, he said.

He plans to spend time listening to different USJ constituencies and expand his knowledge of independent schools in order to keep USJ focused on its mission: preparing students for life.