Who we are
We rescue and protect companion animals by providing for their wellbeing, uniting them with loving homes, and advocating for a compassionate society.
We envision a society where all dogs and cats have a loving home and the bond between pets and people is celebrated.
AAHS Staff Members
Cheryl McCormick is a nonprofit CEO with a passion for fund development, board relations and strategy development and execution. Her highest calling is generating excitement and momentum around an inspiring vision that strengthens organizational commitment and attracts donor investment.
Dr. McCormick is the CEO of the Athens Humane Society and Founder of Ascend Nonprofit Consulting & Executive Coaching, providing fundraising services, strategic planning, and board training to small and mid-sized nonprofits. She has served as Executive Director of several California-based NGOs, including AIM Youth Mental Health (Carmel), Lindsay Wildlife Experience (Walnut Creek), YWCA Monterey County (Salinas), and the American Cetacean Society (Los Angeles). She also served as Director of Conservation at the Santa Lucia Conservancy (Carmel).
Dr. McCormick received a BA in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, MA in Geography (GIS & Remote Sensing) from the University of Georgia, and Ph.D. in Ecology from the Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia. In 2018, she received an appointment as Visiting Research Scientist at the Center for Geospatial Research at the University of Georgia, directing graduate research investigating anthropogenic impacts in the Loreto region of the Peruvian Amazon.
In 2019, Dr. McCormick received a Certificate in Fund Raising Management (CFRM) from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indiana University. She was certified in 2012 as an executive coach through the International Coach Federation. She is an active member of the Grant Professionals Association (GPA) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
Dr. McCormick is a co-author of Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants on Florida’s Natural Areas (2nd Edition), and has published numerous literature reviews, statewide invasive species management plans and research articles. She has served on a number of nonprofit boards, most recently the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Monterey Bay Chapter and BlueVoice.org. In her personal time, Dr. McCormick enjoys long distance trail running and creating unforgettable artisanal buffalo milk gelato.
Jed began his professional career with animals in the year 2000 at Bowdon Animal Hospital in his hometown, Bowdon, Georgia. He has always had an affinity for all animals, owning several family pets and farm animals. A particular favorite of his is the humble goat, for their quirky personalities and their cute appearances. Jed would work there until graduation in 2004 before moving to Athens, GA and landing his next job in the veterinary field at South Athens Animal Clinic. He would where he worked until 2014, before becoming a part of the AAHS family in August of 2014 as the Kennel Manager of what used to be just a cat shelter. He would go on to implement a dog rescue program, our widely known food bowl program, a foster/volunteer program, a transport program, and so much more. With his guiding hand and heart, AAHS put itself on the map as Athens' favorite animal rescue. It wasn't long before he was working his way through the ranks and earning himself the title of Shelter Director with 6800 + pets adoptions under his belt and with so many more lives to save. Even as an administrator, he still finds himself amongst the day-to-day action, like personally driving our transport vehicle across state lines for the sake of disaster pet rescue relief during hurricane season. Jed Kaylor now serves as our Program Director, where he hopes to impact more lives and extend our reach even further.
Born and raised in Georgia, Erin attended the University of Georgia, graduating in 2017 with degrees in Psychology and Communication Studies. She spent a few years trying different things and fell in love with non-profit work. While spending two years in Development at the Clarke County Mentor Program, Erin began a part-time position with us as our Donor Relations & Stewardship Coordinator. When the opportunity arose for Erin to dig deeper into fundraising, she couldn’t wait! As of July 2021, Erin is our Associate Director of Donor Relations and helping build relationships with the folks who make our program what it is.
While growing up with pets, Erin didn’t fall in love with animals until adopting Cali, a tortie, from the Athens Area Humane Society in 2015. Erin currently resides on a few acres in Oglethorpe County, with her husband, two cats (Cali & Archie), dog (Brooks- AAHS Alum too!), five chickens, and one rooster (Peggy!).
Being an animal lover since childhood, her beloved pets have always kept her grounded across countless moves nationally and internationally. A verified "crazy cat lady", she couldn't be more thrilled that the house she recently bought in Athens came with its own feral cat colony of 13 cats to join her two indoor kitties, Lila and Cookie. She has a special place in her heart for senior pets and community cats.
When Kelsey's not busy cuddling her two indoor cats (successfully) and her 13 feral cats (less successfully), she can be found testing out her life motto: try anything once. Her hobbies include figure skating, sewing skating costumes, mixed martial arts, digital art, reading, writing, singing, or fiddling around in her ham shack. She is a licensed amateur radio operator, call sign: KQ4GUW.
Heather studied accounting at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, GA and her background is in banking and construction accounting.
She grew up in Flowery Branch, GA and has resided in the Banks County area for the last 20 years. Heather currently lives on a small/hobby farm in Carnesville with her husband, 4 children, 2 dogs (Birdie & Bug), 2 cats (Pinky & Fatty), 8 goats & 20+ chickens. 🐐 She also enjoys gardening, beekeeping and DIY projects around the farm.
Her love of animals began early at the age of 5 when her brother gave Heather her first pet, a kitten she named Bandit. She was fortunate to have Bandit until she was 17. Her parents and siblings also share this love and they've had many family pets during her childhood.
She is very excited about her position here at AAHS because she can put her professional experience to work helping improve the life of cats and dogs, because they have brought so much joy to her life.
Katrin's favorite animal as child (beside her family dog) was her very own donkey, Pedro, who she got to love and take care of for over 25 years.
After living in Germany all her life, Katrin and her family moved to the US last year, and she fostered dogs and helped a local rescue with administrative work. Dedicating her life to animals was what she has always aspired to do!
Katrin lives in Jefferson with her husband, two teenagers, three dogs and a leopard gecko, but there is always room for more animals in her heart and house.
Katrin loves the outdoors, taking pictures, camping, and traveling the world. She feels blessed to be part of the AAHS family and is dedicated to being the best Guest Experience Coordinator she can be.
Dr. Simpson graduated from UGA Veterinary College in 2016. Prior to veterinary college, she worked in her hometown with a private practice that provided surgeries for the local humane society in Greenville, SC. After graduating, she worked for 3 years in small animal private practice before deciding to work with a local nonprofit in Duluth, GA. She has been there for the past 3 years serving pets and people in need. During that time, she discovered a passion for surgery, shelter medicine, and rescue veterinary work. Dr. Simpson and her family have been living in a small camper for the past year while waiting for their home to be built here in Athens. Dr. Simpson currently has 2 older dogs, Pepper (Catahoula mix), and Zeke (Great Dane), who saw her through vet school, and recently adopted kitty foster failures, Maybelline and Dior. When not at work, Dr. Simpson enjoys traveling with her husband, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.
Fun Fact: Dr. Simpson used to breed and show betta fish, and she had over 300 betta fish in the basement of her home. Time will tell what the next adventure will be!
Dr. Calvird is a 2019 graduate of the University of Tennessee’s college of veterinary medicine. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Biology at the University of Georgia, so football season is always exciting for her! Dr. Calvird completed a shelter medicine externship at Young Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, then spent 3 years in private practice as an ambulatory veterinarian in North Georgia. Her favorite part of veterinary medicine is helping people through caring for the animals they consider family. Outside the clinic, Dr. Calvird enjoys camping and hiking adventures with her dog Dale as well as running and cycling. She is thrilled to be home in Athens again to serve the community she loves!
Dr. Varner is a recent graduate (Class of 2021) of The University of Georgia’s College of
Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Varner also received her Bachelor of Science, as well as her Master of Animal and Dairy Science, from the University of Georgia making her a “triple dawg.” Dr. Varner is from a small town near Savannah, Georgia but always had big dreams of becoming a veterinarian. She enjoys preventative care, dentistry, soft tissue surgery, and client communication and education. Dr. Varner is married to her husband, Brandon, and has 2 beautiful dogs named Chesney and Millie.
When not at work, Dr. Varner enjoys Zumba and relaxing at home watching TV. She’s also an avid Disney fan and frequents Disney World multiple times a year.
Athens Area Humane Society Board of Directors
Community leaders and animal philanthropists
Tom’s work experience includes positions as Regional Manager; National Franchising Manager; General Marketing Manager and Customer Satisfaction Manager. He has worked extensively with automotive and refrigeration dealer networks.
Tom and Ginny have three grown children in Cincinnati and the Twin Cities and are lifetime dog lovers who previously owned a Golden Retriever and Shetland Sheepdog.
Tom joined the Humane Society Board in January, 2021 after retiring from Carrier in 2020.
Laura's love for animals began at an early age, but strengthened after she adopted Rooster, a fearful Australian Cattle Dog who came into the shelter as a stray. Rooster needed a lot of training but earning his trust and affection over the past year has been one of the most rewarding experiences of Laura's life! She's excited to embody servant leadership in order to learn from, contribute to, and drive forward the mission of Athens Humane.
She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
Makayla is from Oconee County and resides in Athens Clarke County with her three rescue cats, Toothless, Cricket, and Minnie. Makayla adores all animals but holds a special place in her heart for senior and special needs pets, as well as a strong admiration for those who provide love and life-saving care for all animals.