DeeGee Lester was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Her father, being a civilian inspector for the US Army, moved his family to France where DeeGee spent many of her childhood years. Today, DeeGee has traveled to 17 different countries throughout Europe, South America, and even India. These unique experiences have helped mold DeeGee into the global citizen she is today. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Belmont University and a master’s degree in museum studies from Middle Tennessee State University. In 1998, DeeGee became the Director of Education at the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee.In this role, she created curriculum and award-winning programs, including special tours for the blind, as well as conducted workshops which presented the Parthenon as a visual teaching tool across every subject area and grade level. Over the years, she ended up working with over 150 student interns, many of whom captured awards of excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums. After 20 years of service, DeeGee eventually retired from the Parthenon in 2018, but that did little to slow her down. She continued to serve as a monthly contributor to the Nashville Arts Magazine, authored six books, wrote numerous articles for magazine and academic journals, and was a contributor to two encyclopedias.DeeGee is now the founder and President of the HICD – USA branch headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jim Hoobler received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia with a double major in history and education, and a Master’s degree in history from Vanderbilt University. He recently retired as Senior Curator of Art and Architecture for the Tennessee State Museum. A recognized leader in Nashville history, art and architecture, he is a former Curator of the Tennessee State Capitol, former Director of the Tennessee State Historical Society, and former Chair of the Curators Committee for the American Alliance of Museums. He is Chair of Property and History for the historic Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville with its incredible Egyptian Revival architecture and impressive pipe organ.Jim has served on a number of boards including Belle Meade Mansion, Belmont Mansion, Historic Rugby, TN, the Inter-Museum Council of Nashville,
Dr. Timothy F. Winters is Professor of Classics and Director of the Honors Program and the President’s Emerging Leaders Program at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. He has been teaching Classical languages and civilization for thirty years.
Dr. Winters studied for his BA at the University of Arizona in Tucson, then did his MA and Ph.D. at The Ohio State University in Columbus where he wrote his dissertation on Kleisthenes and Athenian Nomenclature under the direction of Prof. Stephen Tracy. Dr. Winters spent the academic year 1981-82 at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens studying archeology, history, and Modern Greek. He returned to the American School in 1986-87 as a Fulbright Fellow to work on his dissertation. He worked on archaeological excavations at Corinth, Toroni in Chalkidiki, and Nemea. Dr.Winters has led many student trips to Greece, including four terms as Gertrude Smith Professor for the Summer Session at the American School of Classical Studies. Dr. Winters is married to Mary Winters, and they have four daughters, one of whom is also a professor of Classics.
Dr. Kecia Ray is a strategic thinker and a proven leader in K12 transformation. Her career includes designing technology within the Frist Art Museum and directing technology research through Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Science Outreach programs. She was appointed as a turnaround agent by the Tennessee Commissioner of Education and established award-winning instructional technology programs recognized by the USDOE and Harvard University while in that role.
Dr. Ray was named ’20 to Watch ‘by the National School Board Association, Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, a Top 10 EdTech Leader by Tech and Learning, an ISTE Making IT Happen recipient, and most recently named a Top 100 EdTech Influencer by EdTech Digest.
Ryan Love grew up in the Midwest United States, flying kites and climbing trees with his three brothers. As a teenager, Ryan was writing stories, acting in plays, taking advanced classes in almost every subject possible, and eventually found an affinity for computers. Ryan Love is often described as a modern-day Renaissance man whose list of occupations throughout his life are almost as many and as varied as the famous author Jack London. He was a teacher, librarian, private investigator, game designer, pit boss at a casino, supervisor at a hog slaughter plant, assistant to a college vice-president, a successful political campaign manager, software developer, and he even managed a malt shoppe .Ryan has also volunteered for various organizations throughout his life, including Scoutmaster for the Cub Scouts, Technical Advisor for Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, Advocacy Chair for Relay For Life, and Chair of the Shakopee Economic Council. Today, Ryan is a Technical Manager overseeing the development of software robotics and artificial intelligence. He is divorced with three sons and one daughter.
Theresa Wilkens-Jones works as a Mortgage Loan Originator, in Nashville TN. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1995 after completing the undergraduate requirements in Classics. She later went on to further study finance through the American Bankers Association of Tennessee. After two decades in the financial district, she has a broad knowledge of the financial world and holds Life and Health, Mortgage, and Realtor licenses.
In 2013, she became involved with the Parthenon in Nashville, utilizing the Vanderbilt degree as a docent to provide further knowledge to patrons who visit. She is excited to combine these two worlds through the Hellenic Institute of Cultural Diplomacy.