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Faces of Peachtree Corners

Faces of Peachtree Corners (2022)



Outstanding individuals who help keep our city interesting and thriving

Written and Compiled by Arlinda Smith Broady and Karen Huppertz. Photos by George Hunter.

Faces are generally how we recognize people we know. In Peachtree Corners, the diversity of people who inspire and make the community a great place to live are perhaps our greatest asset. So, for this edition, Peachtree Corners Magazine is highlighting a few faces who make us shine.

When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing
Just the way you are

— “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

Kiko and Olga

Kiko and Olga (studio photos by George Hunter)

Kiko and his wife Olga were high school sweethearts in Monterey, Mexico before getting married and coming to the U.S.in the mid-1980s. By that time, the now owners of Kiko’s Tacos & More, 3435 Medlock Bridge Road, were seeking additional degrees in English to support their careers as elementary school teachers back in Mexico.

“Bilingual teachers in Mexico were making a lot of money,” said Kiko.

But life took a turn. The opportunity to become U.S. citizens presented itself and they began working with Kiko’s sister at her Mexican street food restaurant in Norcross, El Grille. In 1986, the couple opened Los Arcos on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, which relocated in 1995 to Peachtree Parkway, long before Peachtree Corners was a city.

In April 2012, the couple allowed their lease to expire. They closed Los Arcos and reopened around the corner as Kiko’s Tacos & More. Their customers moved with them.

On any busy Friday night, one or more of the couple’s four grown children may be found greeting customers or waiting tables. This family business caters to the families in and around Peachtree Corners. “We belong to the community,” said Olga.

The couple takes great joy in watching kids who first came to the restaurant with their parents now returning with their own families for their first taco.

“I love walking out of the kitchen and hearing laughter,” said Kiko. Olga agreed, “When the restaurant is full, seeing people enjoying each other, making friends with each other makes me happy.”

Like all small business owners, the couple’s biggest challenge has always been juggling the demands of a growing family with the business. Often one would be at a football game while the other covered the restaurant.

Olga shared that one thing people probably don’t know about them is their real names. Olga, known to most as “Kiko’s wife,” is Olga Cazares-Alanis. Kiko is in fact a nickname for the restaurant’s namesake. But Higinio Alanis Delgado is delighted to be Kiko to everyone seeking a family-friendly night of Mexican food in Peachtree Corners.

Tiffany Broussard Anderson

Several readers nominated Tiffany Broussard Anderson “for all the wonderful work she does with the kids in her classroom.” The educator and pre-K coach has won the respect and admiration of parents across the area.

Regarding an afterschool program at the YMCA her son attended when he was small, Deanna Riley said, “She is one of the only teachers/caregivers that I even remember. My son is now 18½; he was in elementary then.”

“She stood out because she was so very sweet and kind to the children, Riley added. “She kept it fun and interesting for the children. They all seemed to love her. My son didn’t exactly have great luck with teachers in school, but Ms. Tiffany made an impact on him as well as myself.

“I do not know all the things she has accomplished since then, but I know she has continued to work with children over the years. She has never lost focus of the children and she is making a difference in so many lives. She is the kind of woman who is changing the world for the better through the children (and parents) she interacts with. She is like an angel sent from above to bring light and love into this world. She should definitely be awarded for all of her efforts, dedication and commitment to helping the children. She is amazing!”

And there’s this from Daniela Palacios: “She is the best teacher. She taught my daughter six years ago and now she is the teacher of my son. I have never met a person like her who loves her job, love kids. She is so passionate about what she does.”

Jacob and Katie Moebes

Jacob and Katie Moebes are seniors at Norcross High School. Both of them are an active part of the community and school.

Jacob is a member of the National Honor Society and the National Spanish Honor Society, and he has received a Congressional Award silver medal. He takes part in the Gwinnett Youth Honors Orchestra and Metro Youth Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

A member of the Boys’ Varsity Lacrosse Team for four years, Jacob also played four years for the Brookwood/Norcross Ice Hockey Team, serving in the 2020-21 season as assistant captain and in the 2021-22 season as the captain.

He was involved in an Eagle Scout project building book cubbies for the “Mommy and Me” Literacy Program, a part of Friends of Refugees. Jacob has logged over 200 service hours with a variety of organizations including Honduras Outreach International (HOI) and Thornwell Children’s Home.

He plans to attend the University of Georgia where he will pursue majors in sports management and music.

Katie Moebes, also a Congressional Award silver medal recipient, is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society and National English Honor Society. She serves as President of the Random Acts of Kindness Club and the Women Empowering Women Club at NHS, plays percussion and is a member of the Wind Symphony.

A four-year varsity cross country runner, Katie also has played soccer for four years and varsity lacrosse for one year.

She worked on a Girl Scout Gold Award project of creating and leading the Women Empowering Women Club at NHS. Katie has over 250 service hours, volunteering with a variety of organizations — including HOI and Thornwell Children’s Home — and as a poll worker and assistant coach for the Pinckneyville Middle School Girls Soccer Team.

Katie’s future plans include attending the University of Georgia to pursue a double major in political science and international affairs.

Chris Lindenau

Leadership is about trust and mutual respect, according to Christopher “Chris” Lindenau, Chief Executive Officer of Fusus. They are qualities he attributes to his five years as a military officer in the Navy. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, Lindenau served as a military officer, navy diver and supply corps officer while serving on the USS George Washington, as well as various locations overseas. He later obtained his MBA at Georgia Tech.

“The military taught me a lot about leadership,” Lindenau shared. “It taught me that the way to motivate people is not through rank; it really is building trust and mutual respect. I think when you’re young and a 22-year-old out of college, that some kid from the streets of Detroit is not going to listen to you just because you’re an officer, but you’ve got to earn that respect. The way you do that is lead from the front, so a lot of what I learned in the military has been kind of a corollary for what I do here in the business world.”

As CEO of Fusus (Latin for fusion), Lindenau is helping chart a course for his company, which specializes in helping law enforcement agencies provide more effective public safety. “We take all these disparate license plate readers, video surveillance, 911 dispatch, gunshot detection systems, burglar alarm and fire alarm systems and unify their technologies to make them accessible,” he explained.

When not working, Lindenau can be found coaching his son’s lacrosse team. He and his family like living in Peachtree Corners because of the fun lifestyle and tight knit friendships.

He also finds it easier to attract young professionals to join the Fusus team of about 75 employees because of the city’s mission to become a major part of the area’s Silicon Orchard. Lindenau believes current and future employees can find the work/life balance they’re seeking in Peachtree Corners.

Lacy Gilbert

Lacy Gilbert, Wesleyan School Athletic Director, has worked in Peachtree Corners for 25 years, lived in the area for 15 years and has played a significant role in shaping the city’s largest independent school, Wesleyan School. While her role as the school’s athletic director is not typically held by women, she coached the Wesleyan Varsity Girls Soccer Team to its first state championship in 2017.

Originally from the metro Atlanta area, Gilbert first lived in Peachtree Corners back when it wasn’t a city and Neely Farm was still an actual farm. She began working at Wesleyan 25 years ago as a middle school physical education and high school health teacher. Gilbert has also worked in athletics administration, first serving for nine years as assistant athletic director and then taking the helm of the department in 2020 as the athletic director.

In the early years of the school, Gilbert was part of the faculty team that launched one of the school’s flagship service programs — domestic and international mission trips. Since Wesleyan’s first mission trip to Honduras in 2000, she has led over 20 mission trips with Wesleyan chaperoning hundreds of students to destinations that include the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, South Africa, Jamaica, New Orleans, Bulgaria, Tanzania, France, Ukraine and Romania.

“The missions program is an integral part of the Wesleyan high school experience,” said Chris Cleveland, head of Wesleyan School. “These trips are a foundational part of our students’ time at Wesleyan, and this program would not exist were it not for the investment of faculty members like Lacy Gilbert.”

Wesleyan’s athletic program has experienced growth and success that make it another hallmark of the Wesleyan experience. Over 80% of Wesleyan high school students participate in at least one sport each school year and the program has won 65 state team championships and 134 individual state championships. It has also won the GHSA Director’s Cup, an honor is presented to the top overall athletic program in each classification, ten times.

Taffeta Connery

Although Taffeta Connery doesn’t have any biological children, she’s a mother many times over as the principal at Simpson Elementary School. “I just think the good Lord knew what part of my future was. And he just blessed me with 1,000 students to take care of,” she said.
Connery became the school’s principal one month before schools went virtual. Although Gwinnett County Schools had systems in place for distance learning, it was a challenge for everyone to do it every day. And not every student opted for at-home instruction.

A lot of the teachers taught concurrently, which is basically having a dual schedule. “They would still do a mini lesson or virtual lesson with the camera pod in their classrooms and then have the students go into breakout groups while the teacher continued to do guided lessons in person in class,” Connery explained.

When asked about the end results, she smiled. “We were building that plane as we were flying it,” she said. “But it ended very well. It was new for veteran teachers, it was new for beginning teachers — and we just basically went with the flow.”

Just as any parent would, Connery looks for ways to enrich the lives of her students. After more than a year of distance learning, she worked hard with her staff to make sure this school year was as rewarding and purposeful as the learning experience had been before the pandemic.

“I like to bring passion and excitement into everything that I do,” she noted.

During Black History Month, the school celebrated in special ways. “Every year we try to add on a little bit more to the celebratory events that have happened with African Americans. Last year, we were in the midst of a pandemic, so we did a lot of awesome things virtually,” Connery said.

In addition to speakers and essays, students dressed up as favorite heroes and historical figures. There were Black History Month facts during the morning announcements, field trips, art displays and a virtual wax museum.

As a resident of Peachtree Corners, Connery is at home with the community. “I’ve been living in Peachtree Corners since 2012, and I love being here in the community. I like to call it friendly, my bubble, because I love to work, play and enjoy the wonderful town center,” she said. “At any time you can find me at The Forum, having dinner with friends or family, and I always see our students in the community.”

At the end of the day, however, Connery said her success is due to her incredible staff — administrators, teachers, classified clerical and managerial staff as well as custodial and food service staff. “We’re all part of a team at Simpson Elementary School. That’s the only way to be successful.”

Jean Yu

During the pandemic, Jean Yu, a junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, began a community project to serve seniors isolated due to COVID regulations at assisted living and other senior homes. She wanted to help keep them connected and practicing stress-reducing activities.

Yu started her project in 2020 and spent close to 200 hours bringing the project to life — and it is still continuing and supporting the community today. She led weekly mindfulness sessions over Zoom to more than 50 senior living communities. One of the most popular was her Nature and Sound-Based Mindfulness live interactive Zoom class.

Another way Yu serves is by sharing her musical talent. She has performed concerts during holidays such as the Fourth of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. She performed a winter concert and a holiday concert through her YouTube channel and Zoom. She even took requests and played songs like “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

She even made dozens of handmade cards for senior living residents.

A bright and caring member of Girl Scouts and an active community volunteer, Yu received the Gold Award, the organization’s highest honor that is earned by only 6% of Girl Scouts.

Lauren O’Connor

A teacher at Paul Duke STEM High School, Lauren O’Connor helped form the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) chapter’s installment in 2018. Since then, the school has doubled its number of members and competitors.

“We began our first year with 20 students and through the pandemic we were able to continue growing, even when we had students learning online,” O’Connor said. “This year we have over 60 members and more than half of them were competitors this year. We had 21 placements at the regional level, 15 placements at the state level and we are taking 12 competitors to the international conference for competition in late April. We had so many placements at the regional level that we placed third in the district.”

DECA’s mission is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. O’Connor explained that in these competitions, business professionals judge students either through role play of a problem in the marketing industry or through a paper and presentation based on marketing ideas.

In addition to sponsoring a Career and Technical Student Organization, O’Connor also advises the school store for Paul Duke STEM and advises the yearbook. “The school store is a learning lab for my third-year marketing students to see the principles of marketing come to life. Students act as employees and managers operating the store and preparing the deposits,” she said.

The yearbook is also one of her passions. “I have been an adviser for 14 years and enjoy memorializing the school year with a student staff,” O’Connor said. “My staff gets to design the book from a blank piece of paper and fill it with images and stories of the faculty, staff and students.”

In 2018, the year Paul Duke STEM opened its doors, she was named the inaugural Teacher of the Year. “I believe my peers chose me for my work in helping to build the school culture and form its traditions, something I insisted [Principal] Dr. Wetherington allow me to do when I joined the staff.”

In July 2021, O’Connor was named the Georgia Marketing Educator of the year. She does a great deal of work helping support teachers across the district and state. “I hold two lead teacher roles with Gwinnett County and support teachers with curriculum and instruction for the upper-level marketing courses and using the school store point-of-sale,” she said.

Recently, she was named one of Gwinnett’s Shine Teachers of the Year. “I shine because I help students bring out the best in themselves every day,” O’Connor explained. “I help them discover who they are and what they are capable of.”

Philip Peavy

As an adviser of Career & Technology Student Organizations (CTSOs) at Paul Duke STEM High School, Philip Peavy advises several organizations.

“Our student and teacher awards and recognitions extend beyond our city limits across the county, state and nation. Through the pandemic, we have worked harder than ever to help our students express the best of who THEY are as we were presented with many challenges,” Peavy said. “Our clubs extend what kids are thinking and learning about in the classroom and add critical thinking, problem solving and 21st century skills. To say we are passionate about our subjects, clubs and students would be an understatement.”

He has been the founding Technology Student Association advisor at Paul Duke STEM since the school’s founding year in 2018. Each year the chapter numbers have increased, as well as the success, Peavy reported, “to this year having 17 events at the State Leadership Conference place in the top 10 with seven of those events being in the top three. We came away from two student events with the first-place finish, and they will be continuing their success at nationals this summer.”

Peavy is also the CyberPatriot advisor at the school and has grown the club from six members to over 50 active members. “This year we had eight teams, with one team placing second in the State round for the Silver Level that went on to compete nationally where they placed 10th in the nation in the Silver Level — and was also the top team in Georgia,” he said.

In addition, Peavy has been named the Gwinnett County Public Schools High School Teacher of the Year for 2021 and the National Educator Recipient for the National Center for Women in Technology in 2021 for increasing exposure and opportunities for young women and underrepresented students in computer science.

Lily Owenby

Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC) eleventh grader Lily Owenby has gained resilience in many ways over the past two years, cultivating a healthier mentality and mindset. As a competitive student and volleyball player at GAC, she has learned that self-talk and attitude are the most significant contributors to success in all areas of her life.

Owenby has been an athlete for many years and started playing volleyball in the 5th grade. Her current team role at GAC is the libero, which requires her to be the “voice” of the back row. Her keen eye must locate open spots on the court for the hitters and talk through seams during serve-receive. Connecting with the action and her teammates requires both focus and positivity.

A shiny Volleyball State Championship Trophy is a friendly reminder. Much of Owenby’s grit gained on the court has transferred to her schoolwork and personal life. When the country shut down in March 2020, she found that virtual school made it challenging to grasp complicated concepts fully. Having the confidence to share her needs led her to take advantage of help sessions and one-on-one meetings with her teachers. She learned that she could overcome any difficulties if she remained communicative and optimistic.

“Willingness to dig deep and develop in every aspect of my life: academically, socially, spiritually and mentally, has helped me gain resilience during these COVID years,” Owenby said.

Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw is the managing partner for J.R.’s Log House Restaurant, a local business known for its community spirit. “J.R.’s has been a neighborhood favorite for more than 30 years, and we believe they have some of the best biscuits in Atlanta,” wrote one nominator. “J.R.’s supports so much in our community. I know they serve meals at various churches in the area and do so much they never talk about.”

Shaw is married to Wendy and has four children and three granddaughters. Recently, he and his wife have become empty nesters and enjoy traveling together when time allows.
As a member of Perimeter Church, Shaw is active in Men’s Discipleship. In the past two years, he has been a community coach and helped with the Duluth High School baseball team.

In 1983, Shaw opened J.R.’s Log House as an employee with J.R. himself — Jerry Romano. “In the 39 years of doing business, we have had thousands of employees,” he shared. “Over the years, we have been the place where many have had their first job. Watching young people grow in ability, maturity and confidence always brings me great pleasure.”

He said that sometimes past employees make him feel old by coming to visit and bringing their children. “Right now, I have an employee working for me whose mom and dad I worked with the year we first opened J.R.’s!”

Shaw is thankful to have been part of the Peachtree Corners community for nearly 40 years.

“My goal each day as a business owner remains the same — to provide a great dining experience and a place for fellowship for our customers, whether you’re eating in the restaurant or we’re catering at your home or business,” he said. “I’m especially grateful for the support our community has shown J.R.’s the past two years and that so many of you continue to let us serve you.”

“Lastly, I am proud of the people I work with every day,” Shaw continued. “Of the 40 employees, more than half have worked for me for more than 15 years, some as many as 25. I appreciate that and, as a customer, I know you do as well!”

Wendy Willis

Wendy Willis has been an active member of the Peachtree Corners/Gwinnett community, since 1995. She is a wife and mother of two adult daughters and has made notable contributions to the Southwest Gwinnett area.

Her positive energy, vibrant enthusiasm and commitment to service in her community is evident. Willis currently serves on the Executive Board of the Southwest Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries Board of Directors, Sugarloaf Rotary Club Board of Directors, Community Advisory Team for Paul Duke STEM High School and University of Tennessee Women in Philanthropy. She is a member of the Peachtree Corners Business Association, volunteers as a student mentor in Gwinnett County Public Schools, Junior Achievement and is a champion in childhood hunger relief serving with several organizations.

Willis’ past service includes time on the Board of Directors for Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence and PTA service at Simpson Elementary, Pinckneyville Middle and Norcross High Schools.

She was instrumental in the creation and execution of a summer-long lunch program “Smart Lunch Smart Kid” for six years, in partnership with Action Ministries, a program that focuses on feeding at-risk children who might not eat lunch because they are not in school. The program engaged hundreds of community volunteers who gave time and resources to assemble and serve food to approximately 100 children a day, create enrichment and recreational activities for them and build relationships with the kids and their families.

Willis was also part of the two largest single food donations (25,000+ canned goods) and volunteer servers to-date for the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries before the pandemic. Both projects took place while she was working as Director of Missions & Connections at Simpsonwood United Methodist Church, a position she held for six years, after working part-time at Perimeter Church in Community Outreach while she was raising her children.
Willis has left another lasting impression on our city. After Peachtree Corners’ formation, she served on the design team to create the city’s logo.

Georgia Thomas

Georgia Thomas, a 12th grader at Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC), caught the acting bug in fourth grade. However, no amount of preparation could have readied her for performing in a facemask, being physically distanced from other actors or auditioning via Zoom. Yet she ascribes those challenges to better crafting her skills.

As the pandemic emerged, New York’s Broadway canceled their shows and the rest of the country followed suit, causing many performers to lose passion or drop out. However, Thomas seized the opportunity to hone her skills with online lessons and masterclasses. Over time she became proficient in Zoom shows, self-taped auditions and performing in an online space.

Thomas quickly adjusted her techniques to sing through a facemask and express with only the top portion of her face.

“I was in a one-act version of “The Misanthrope” [at GAC] that was performed socially distanced, which was a great exercise in acting with other people while not having any physical contact or closeness with them,” she said.

Her determination to cultivate innovative ways of acting led to a plethora of roles. She performed as Katherine Plumber in “Newsies” and Katherine Blake in “Freaky Friday” in late 2021. Thomas also played Mama Noah in “Children of Eden” and Crystal in “Little Shop of Horrors.” In 2022, she earned the lead in “Anastasia” with GAC’s theatre program and Fantine in “Les Misérables” with Christian Youth Theater (CYT) Atlanta.

In addition to these roles, Thomas also competed in the 2021 Georgia National Association of Teachers of Singing (GA-NATS) Competition and was awarded first place in the Upper High School Musical Theatre division. She represented the state of Georgia at the Southeastern Region Competition at Florida State University.

James “Jim” Blum

James “Jim” Blum and Kristina Hammer Blum

Attorney James “Jim” Blum is a partner with the Peachtree Corners-based Blum & Campbell. His practice specializes in real estate and construction litigation, tax, title and other property matters, as well as things that he admits could be boring to many. He and his partner, Jody Campbell, counter that potential boredom by emphasizing personal relationships and communication with their clients.

Jim Blum, his wife, Kristina Hammer Blum, and their two children moved to Peachtree Corners in 2005. He was here to support the area becoming its own city, and for those first six years after the city incorporated, Jim volunteered on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Recently he was asked to join the Planning Commission. Both positions work with the city staff to review zoning and permit requests before making recommendations to the mayor and city council on what actions might be appropriate.

“The toughest part about the planning commission is knowing what the future will hold, and nobody knows that,” Jim stated. “Everybody wants development, everybody wants the newest and greatest hotels and mixed-use developments, and everybody wants such a cool place to live, but that comes at a price.”

For him, the challenge is finding a way to balance the interests of all citizens while helping to ensure the city grows and prospers.

When not working or volunteering with the city, Jim and his wife enjoy scuba diving – recently with great white sharks — and camping with friends. He is also a member of the home brewing PC Mashers Club.

The couple is very proud to have raised their children in Gwinnett public schools. “Our kids were able to walk to both elementary and middle school,” Jim said.

Having put down roots here, both professionally and personally, he added, “There is no way in the world I’m leaving Peachtree Corners.”

Kristina Hammer Blum

If Peachtree Corners had a cheerleading squad, Kristina Hammer Blum and her husband, Jim Blum (also featured) would most likely be co-captains.

Kristina currently serves as Gwinnett County’s Chief Magistrate Judge. Her court handles everything from arrest and search warrants to civil claims and protective orders related to domestic abuse.

“My court is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Kristina. “Public safety is a big component. But more than that we also are the guardians of everyone’s due process rights. During COVID, we were the ones trying to get people out of jail. We were the ones making sure people were in jail based on the requisite finding of probable cause.”

Kristina, and those she works with, found extra time during the pandemic to “reimagine” how they might serve the community better. Working with the HomeFirst Gwinnett initiative and Project Reset 2.0, an emergency rental assistance program, her court was able to decrease eviction filings by 40%.

This model for “holistic justice” worked to keep people in affordable housing. “I choose to believe we see good people on their worst days,” noted Kristina. Helping people navigate through these tough situations is forefront in her mind.

Perhaps because she often sees people at their most challenged, Kristina has taken the Latin phrase “carpe diem” to heart and looks at every day as a gift.

Her long list of activities includes skiing, CrossFit, camping — or, as she calls it, glamping — mountain biking, scuba diving and guitar playing with a local band, “Honey & Oates.”

Having her children remain in the same public schools from elementary through high school has been important. “It’s a big deal for me because I grew up in the military and lived a little bit of everywhere,” Kristina said. “I went to five different schools in five different states in five different years and I, well, I fell in love with Gwinnett County and Peachtree Corners.”

Zachary Schlueter

A senior at Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC), Zachary Schlueter has volunteered at a variety of organizations with his mother, Mikki Schlueter, over the past four years. Serving others had always been a part of the Schlueter family’s values and activities, but the pandemic quickly altered when and where they could serve.

“Volunteering during the pandemic showed me how important serving others is, Schlueter said. “Everything slowed down out of caution [during the initial phases of the pandemic] but many places were even more desperate for help than ever before. Volunteering with my mom taught me about the non-stop needs of many organizations — no matter what was happening in the world.”

He and his mother founded the Young Men’s Service League, a four-year program for mothers and their sons in high school, which is a great conduit for getting service hours while also branching out and trying something new together.

The “Men’s Club” at Sunrise Senior Center quickly became a hit with the residents, and a way for them to share their life stories with the young men. But once the pandemic hit, volunteering in person ceased, so they searched for alternative opportunities. Sending in food, games and various supplies helped during the early months, but Schlueter and his mom preferred the hands-on experiences.

As the pandemic restrictions lightened, a need at Veterans Walk presented itself, so they went to work scrubbing the monuments and marble benches, picking up trash and polishing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. They also found the opportunity to serve lunch on Sundays at Seven Bridges to Recovery’s “The Garden”.

Rebecca McGlothlin

Rebecca McGlothlin provides cardio tennis in Peachtree Corners to people of all ages and skill levels. She also captains multiple tennis teams here and volunteers her time to help the needy. In addition, she organizes free fun runs for New Years and Thanksgiving and tirelessly fundraises every month to help the Jones Bridge Swim and Tennis Club.

Since retiring from the corporate world, McGlothlin has stayed busy teaching, volunteering, fundraising, traveling and being a wonderful person, wrote the person who nominated her, adding that she is the ultimate role model, selfless and trying to ensure everyone has a good time.

“I retired almost eight years ago. Since I really liked tennis and like being active, I got certified to teach cardio tennis,” McGlothlin said. “I have a blast teaching four to five classes a week. It keeps me active, and I’ve developed some close friendships in the tennis world.”
She said she plays ALTA and USTA, but when USTA over-55 started sending the team to far away matches, “I created a fun league on Wednesdays. We play year-round. We are just a bunch of ladies who love playing tennis and we love the no-pressure, fun tennis and enjoy each other.”

McGlothlin has a walking group that walks three miles Monday through Friday and often farther on Saturdays. “And I’ve also started a drop-in pickleball league. Since I really like tennis, I run a fundraiser for our club one time a month,” she said. “We have a tournament called triples. It is a signature cardio tennis game; you play three on a side, one at the net and two at the baseline and rotate every point.”

Low-pressure balls are used for safety, as well as cardio. “The points last longer with these balls so you can burn some serious calories while having a blast,” she added.

The running/walking group has regular events such as an annual half marathon/10K on Thanksgiving Day, a Christmas light run and a New Year’s Day resolution run. Some of these things having been going for 20 years,” McGlothlin said, noting “I have been very blessed with good health and try to be thankful for it every single day.

Hannah Creedon

A senior at Duluth High School, Hannah Creedon is a native of Peachtree Corners. She is a well-rounded, naturally curious teenager who makes the most out of every day and every experience.

Creedon has devoted herself to giving 100% in every activity she decides to pursue. Whether she is participating in local school or church programs, volunteering her time, participating in internships or working to earn some extra cash, she approaches each activity with a can-do attitude and a smile.

Some of her activities, in addition to her classes, include: president of Student Council, Gwinnett Student Leadership Team, Governor’s Honors Program, Gwinnett County Public Schools Superintendent Student Advisory Committee, treasurer of Theatre and International Thespian Society Troup 5160, National Honor Society, BETA Club, Interact Club, secretary of the Young Democrats Club, school orchestra, track and field team and the volleyball team.

In the fall of 2021, Creedon interned with the City of Peachtree Corners and she is part of Growing Leaders for Spring 2022.

Rachel Todebush

A junior at Greater Atlanta Christian School GAC), Rachel Todebush serves as the junior athlete representative for the State to the USA Swimming Association. USA Swimming is the national governing body for competitive swimming in the United States and is charged with selecting the Olympic team as well as the organization and operation of swimming within the country.

Todebush represents the state of Georgia within USA Swimming and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Georgia Swimming. Winning a statewide election for this position, she will serve a two-year term. Todebush became the Athlete Rep in 2021 and works hard to preserve in her own swimming as well as to enhance the sport of swimming for those around the state.

“Georgia Swimming will increase opportunity, recognition and growth in competitive swimming. We believe that swimming provides life-changing experiences for young people,” she said.

Todebush swims with the Peachtree Corners North Manor (PCNM) Waverunners for summer swim league and has been a Waverunner for over 12 years. She has volunteered as an intern on the team, and she has spent countless hours teaching swimming to Peachtree Corners youth.
Outside of the pool, Todebush has organized food drives with Georgia Swimming and the PCNM Waverunners to support local food banks. She has also supported Swim Across America, USA Swimming’s foundation for Cancer Awareness and Fundraising.

Todebush is a member of the President’s Honor Roll at GAC, and a member of the National Honor Society, Tri Beta (a science service club), and Phi Mu (the math honor society).

A member of Senior Girl Scout Troop 4488, Todebush has been a Girl Scout for 11 years. She received the Girl Scout Silver Award and represented Peachtree Corners as one of only 11 girls from across the country — and the only one from Georgia — to participate in the San Juan Islands Girl Scout Destination.

Todebush is a member of Mary Our Queen (MOQ) Catholic Church where she participates in youth group and volunteers her time at the MOQ food pantry. She is looking forward to pursuing a career in biomedical engineering and competing as a collegiate swimmer.

Jeremy Evan Pruett

Jeremy Evan Pruett, 14, is in the 8th grade at Pinckneyville Middle School. To say that he is versatile and accomplished is an understatement. He fully believes that if he can think it, he can “be it or do it.” — and his activities support that belief.

Not only is Pruett an A-B gifted student at his school, but he is also a member of the school’s News Crew and a musician in the school’s Symphonic Winds advanced band, where he plays euphonium.

He has excelled on the neighborhood swim team, the Jones Bridge River Station Rapid Barracudas, for eight years and was awarded Barracuda of the Year last summer. Pruett was awarded the Iron Eagle award for 2019-20 and consistently earns high points during meets. As a beloved junior assistant coach, he helps the youngest Barracudas during the summer.

He is an active member of Simpsonwood United Methodist Church and participates in the youth group. At the time of this writing, Pruett is the only teenage video camera operator on the technical support crew.

Another role he plays is an essential assistant in his mother’s home craft business, Chili P Designs. Pruett established the company’s website, does research on financial and logistical software options, tests new equipment and provides IT support. In his family home, he installed a theater system, lighting and smart home system throughout the house. He even performs small electrical and plumbing work when needed.

It’s apparent that Pruett is a well-rounded, intelligent young man with principles. He understands commitment and focuses on doing a job well. With a servant’s heart, he donates his time and many skills to his family, his home and his community.

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Peachtree Corners’ First Lady Debbie Mason



Debbie Mason

My husband Bob and I had the pleasure of volunteering with Mike and Debbie Mason for at least two decades. We worked alongside them volunteering with middle and high school drama projects and volunteered as chaperones for the 2004 NHS drama trip to NYC.

She supported Bob’s Crooked Creek clean-up efforts where he served alongside Debbie on the City’s Green Committee. In 2012, Debbie approached me to volunteer with vendor call marketing projects with the Peachtree Corners Festival.

Subsequently, Debbie asked me to serve as board secretary, capturing meeting minutes and assisting her further in vendor projects. She was an amazing community volunteer all the way around!

Bob and Lori Howard

Debbie Mason
Debbie and Mike Mason with former Congresswoman Carolyn Bourdeaux

PTC has been my home for my entire life and is where we now raise our children. Debbie has been a fixture of Peachtree Corners for many years, and throughout my life, starting at about 15 years old as a freshman in NHS Theatre.

Nick [Mason, Debbie’s son] was a role model for me as an aspiring actor, but more importantly, as a respectful and high-integrity young adult. Over the years, it became more and more obvious where Nick got his kind and charismatic nature.

Debbie was always so supportive of our theatre troop and continued to be a comforting smile and source of inspiration until the end. Her presence will be missed by many and remembered by all.

Sam Hoover, Brazilian Wood Depot

It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to our City’s first lady, Debbie Mason. She always had a smile for the camera. From the first time I photographed her, back in 2014, she was always kind and exuberant.

Words are not my strength, so I wish to share just a few of my photos.

Ludwig Keck, Photographer

Words cannot express how deeply sorry I was to learn of Debbie’s passing. The thought of not seeing her smiling face again makes me so very sad.

Debbie brought, and leaves behind, a great light and legacy to our City and to all who had the pleasure to know her. I am blessed to have been able to call Debbie my friend and will forever think of her with love in my heart and the memories of her will always bring a smile to my face.

Alan Kaplan

Being a community leader is not an easy task. She faced the conflict between responding to the needs of her family and the collective needs of our community. Debbie was always able to balance these needs and secure the resources necessary to accomplish the task at hand. 

She engaged the support of her family in everything she did and made them a part of the solution. That made her a magnet for any task needed. She not only showed the way, but she made things move.

Being friends and neighbors for 38 years, it was a privilege to work together on projects you championed. You will be greatly missed, dear lady, but never forgotten for all the gifts you gave us of time, talent, and treasure. Rest in peace.

Nick Mason with his Mom
Nick Mason with his Mom

Lorri Christopher

I first met Debbie early on in researching the City’s history. I’ll never forget her enthusiasm and love for Peachtree Corners or her razor-sharp memory of the events that culminated in the YES campaign. Mrs. Mason was a true community hero.

Carole Townsend

I met Debbie Mason in February of 2011 when we were brought together by a mutual friend to discuss the idea of organizing a festival for Peachtree Corners. Although neither one of us, nor any of the people we brought into the project, had any idea how to put on a festival, we found a way.

Debbie and I always had a great relationship and not just because of the festival. We learned so much together.

I always admired her work ethic and principles. She taught me “You can’t fix stupid,” and she was sure right about that. I was lucky enough at the 2021 Peachtree Corners Festival to find a plaque from one of our vendors with that very saying, and I got it for her.

Debbie absolutely loved the Peachtree Corners Festival. This photo exemplifies how much fun she and her adoring husband Mike had every year. No one had a bigger smile.

I will always miss her. 

Sam Hoover and his wife Vanessa with Debbie Mason (center) during a Peachtree Corners Fall Festival

Linda O’Connor

Debbie Mason was a great and enthusiastic leader and supporter of the Gwinnett County Public School system during the years her two sons were students in our schools and for many years after they graduated.

As parents in the school system, Debbie and Mike Mason were co-presidents of the Pinckneyville Middle School council, leaders in the development of the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence, and among the parents who went with Mrs. Gina Parish and her student actors to see live theatrical performances in New York City.

Whatever the need in the schools, [the mayor and first lady] worked to meet it. They supported scholarships for Norcross High School students through the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association.

They supported the naming of Paul Duke STEM High School and the opportunities provided to Duke students to experience internships with businesses in Norcross and Peachtree Corners.

Debbie Mason served our community in many roles, but never in a more important role than as a supporter of public education for all students and their families in Norcross and Peachtree Corners.

We will miss her greatly.

Mary Kay Murphy, Ph.D., District 3 School Board Member

For 19 years before Peachtree Corners became a city, the United Peachtree Corners Civic Association (UPCCA) was the de facto government for land use in our area. Debbie Mason was unquestionably one of the engines in UPCCA that drove our pride of place and the quest for our ultimate cityhood in 2012.

One of UPCCA’s big successes was to improve the look of the ragged highway medians along Peachtree Parkway. Debbie, herself a consummate gardener, administered that detailed landscape job for six years.

She dreamed up the Peachtree Corners Festival, believing deeply that we all needed space and time to celebrate Peachtree Corners and make memories.

Her thousands of volunteer hours were distributed in so many more places. 

Gay Shook

I met Debbie in July 2021 when Rico sent me to take photos of her for a feature article they were writing. She shared her story with me about her recent diagnosis and her hopes and fears for her future. I felt as if I had always known her.

We enjoyed roaming through her luscious garden and stopping to take pictures as we went. She was wearing a bright green sweater that complemented the colors in the garden perfectly. Her smile was beautiful, and her sense of determination came through in every photo.

It was a very special time, and I had no idea that one of those photos would become what Mike Mason calls her “signature photo.” 

Tracey R. Rice

There was no cause too great and no task too small for Debbie Mason. She was always ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work without a thought as to whom would get credit. She was in the foreground when necessary, but also a humble and diligent worker behind the scenes.

Debbie often said, “You can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit.” What she accomplished through the gift of her time and tireless efforts on behalf of our City will live on in perpetuity.

Lewis and Amy Massey

Debbie had many titles, some official and some unofficial, but after wife, mother, and grandmother, she was proudest of being the first First Lady of the City of Peachtree Corners. 

She and Mike were true partners, and she was instrumental in creating the vibrant community in southwest Gwinnett that became the City of Peachtree Corners in 2012. For the past 10 years, Debbie has supported the development of the City in many ways, both large and small. 

Debbie will be missed deeply by the entire PTC community.

Eric Christ, Council Member, Post 2

For those of us fortunate enough to know Debbie Mason, it is impossible to overestimate her contributions to our community and city. She was involved at some level with so many worthwhile organizations that make this area such a wonderful place to live.

It was my privilege to work with Debbie on the Peachtree Corners Festival committee, the festival she helped to found. She was always thinking of ways to make the festival more fun and meaningful for our attendees, vendors, and sponsors.

If I had to describe Debbie in one word, it would be “selfless.” She knew so many people in our community and she knew how to get things done. She is truly irreplaceable.

Dave Huffman

The City of Peachtree Corners has lost a shining light. Our first lady, Debbie Mason, lost her battle against cancer, and we lost a great lady. Watching Debbie accomplish goal after goal was not surprising because she had such a positive attitude and a strong belief in others. When she spoke, you were compelled to act. 

Many times, I would see Debbie quietly working in the background to do something that would benefit our community. Long before there was a city, and long before there was a title of First Lady, Debbie was working to improve the neighborhoods we love. I remember Saturday mornings, Debbie giving of her time to clean 141. 

Anytime Debbie was asked to be involved, she did so with great enthusiasm. Christmas Parades and The Peachtree Corners Festival are both a result of her strong desire to create a better community.

There is no question about her love for family, friends, and our city. It was evident in all that she did. She will be missed by all, but her imprint on our hearts and our great city will remain forever.

Nancy Minor

Debbie Mason has had a tremendous impact on the City of Peachtree Corners. She was the type of person who was willing to not only get involved in a project but also take a leadership position to help it be more successful.

She sacrificed much of her time and effort to bring growth and progress to our community. She did so much for others and had a burning drive to bring about positive change. She was a hard worker and knew how to make things happen!

Debbie was also a great wife, mother, and grandmother. She was very devoted to her husband Mike, and it was rare to see one without the other. I’m grateful to have known Debbie and for the positive example, she represented to me and many others.

Phil Sadd, Council Member, Post 1

Debbie Mason was a person of courage and leadership, who demonstrated a “can do” attitude and a never-ending love for her family and friends. Once Debbie set her mind to getting something done, she believed failure was not an option, and she would rally the people and resources around her until she got the job done.

Her footprint laid part of the foundation for the City she loved so much. She will be remembered for the love, guidance, and support she showed to her family and friends. The Peachtree Corners Community will continue to grow and develop because of the seeds she planted and shared with us all.

Lisa Proctor, President, Sanford Rose Associates – Lake Lanier Islands

Debbie was an incredible individual whose presence lit up every room and created an amazing environment for everyone. We learned at her funeral service that Debbie had an army of resources at her disposal.

But what is remarkable for me was the gift of love that she showered to her team of volunteers — and the community at large. Debbie was generous and gave to us without hesitation whenever we asked.

She welcomed us to Peachtree Corners and made us feel like family. I am blessed to have known her and I will forever miss her.

Thank you so much, Debbie Mason. We lost an angel.

Helen Odundo-Wanda, CPA, MBA

I had the good fortune to interact with Debbie a number of times for a number of different reasons. Debbie was a shining light in our community and meant so much to so many. Debbie was, and always will be, The First Lady of Peachtree Corners!

Gene Witkin

Peachtree Corners resident since 1994

I wish to send my sincere condolences to Mayor Mike Mason. I regret I never got to meet Debbie! Mike Mason is a great mayor and I assume the First Lady of Peachtree Corners was very supportive of her husband and his activities on behalf of Peachtree Corners residents. May Debbie rest in peace!

Clément Desaulniers

I had the privilege and honor of volunteering with Debbie for more than 20 years — UPCCA Board, PTC Tour of Homes, and the PTC Yes Campaign. We sat around many tables together. It was a joy to work with her. You knew if Debbie said she was going to do something, she did and gave 110%. And she was an A+ hostess who made the best lasagna. RIP, dear Debbie.

Pat Bruschini

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Faces of Peachtree Corners

Nominate People for our Annual Faces of Peachtree Corners



Faces of Peachtree Corners 2022

It’s been a monumental two years of change in everything from the way we attend school, work, and travel to how we study, buy groceries (think Instacart), and invest our savings (think Cryptocurrency and Coinbase) This year’s Faces of Peachtree Corners highlights the students who have shown ingenuity and resilience in light of today’s challenges. Plus, those entrepreneurs, influencers, creators, everyday citizens and leaders that have contributed to the community in a significant way.

Ages 12 and up. We’re celebrating those that we feel express the best of who we are. We’re seeking nominations of students (public and private schools, and colleges) plus everyday citizens, leaders, and community members.

Nominations are welcome from teachers, counselors, administrators, parents, colleagues, community leaders, neighbors, and organizations. And yes, self-nominations are fine too.

Here is the information we need:

  • Nominator (name, relationship to nominee and contact information)
  • Nominee
    • For students: name, age, grade, school, parent or guardian names, contact information
    • For adults: name, profession, company, contact information
    • Must reside or work full-time in the City of Peachtree Corners.
  • Characteristics and service: Please provide a paragraph describing why this nominee deserves recognition. Include service projects, goals, accomplishments and areas of interest to help illustrate your point. Please try to keep it under 500 words.
  • A high resolution photograph (1MB in size or more) in any setting – though we’ll be doing a photo session with each of the final chosen we’d appreciate any photos available for possible use.

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, March 1, 2022. The results will appear in our April/May 2022 issue.

Please email nominations to our publisher Rico Figliolini at
editor [@] livinginpeachtreecorners.com. We’ll have an online form up in a few days for convenience.

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