Directors & Staff

The Northern Star Board of Directors is composed of local community members who passionately support the mission of Northern Star, and who have committed to creating and overseeing a program that will aid young adults in becoming successful members of the community.


Susan Lancaster portrait

Board Chair

Susan retired from a career in telecommunications with AT&T and MCI and moved to Dahlonega along with her husband Anthony in 2001.  Since then, she has spent time working with her husband in a new business, traveling, and doing volunteer work with local organizations and her church, Dahlonega United Methodist.  It was her experience as a volunteer CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) for foster children that inspired her to volunteer with Northern Star, understanding from this continuing experience the great need for the service Northern Star will provide.

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Tabitha has been a  member of the Board of Directors since Northern Star’s inception in early 2014. She previously held the position as Vice Chair, and is now the Secretary.  A graduate of UNG, she has a degree in Writing & Publication and is currently the Marketing Manager for Kipper Tool Company in Gainesville, GA. She lives in Hall County with her husband, Nicholas, and two children. Tabitha is determined to expand Northern Star’s reputation throughout our 13-county service area. 



Joy Dunbar

Joy’s organizational skills and attention to detail keep help keep events punctual and running smoothly.  Joy has been dedicated to Northern Star since it was just an idea in the beginning.  She resides in Dahlonega with her husband and two children.  Joy is also a member of Dahlonega Baptist Church where she leads a moms group.


Wes Chambers

Wes, who was born and raised in Toccoa, Georgia, has lived in Dahlonega since 2004.  He is a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran and a 2006 graduate of North Georgia College and State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  Wes is currently involved with a variety of professional endeavors including real estate, financial services and education/childcare services (Wes and his wife, Heather, own and operate Dahlonega’s largest childcare center – Dahlonega Country Day Academy).  Wes is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing golf, and supporting his children (Alyssa, Jac, and Molly Beth) in their many activities. Wes was introduced to Northern Star during his involvement with Leadership Lumpkin County in 2017 and he has been excited about the Northern Star mission ever since.


Casey Caine

Casey joined the board of directors in 2018 bringing his passion and experience serving youth.  He is married to his wonderful wife Jammie. They have been married for 8 years and have 2 wonderful children. Their boy Bentley is awesome and so sweet and their daughter Jameson is awesome as well, but a little spunky.  Casey is blessed and honored to be a pastor at The Torch Dahlonega.

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Samantha Black

Samantha is a recent graduate of The University of North Georgia with a degree in marketing. During college, she was an active member of the Delta Zeta Sorority. She heard about Northern Star through a co-worker and has loved their mission ever since. She currently resides in Cleveland with her husband and son.



Mandy Williams


Mandy is the founder and director of Northern Star Inc. The idea of a program to support and teach life skills to teenage youth came from Mandy’s teaching and counseling background along with her and her husband’s passion for fostering children. Mandy and her husband Larry have 4 children and have fostered 15 children over the past 5 years.

Northern Star became incorporated in December 2013, followed by the establishment of the board of directors and becoming a nonprofit in 2014, finding the perfect property in 2016 and opening the doors for the first participant in 2017.

Mandy’s vision for Northern Star has become a reality over the past four years and now each day the program is making a difference in the lives of youth aging out of foster care.


Kari Bottoms


Kari became the Life Coach for Northern Star’s Independent Living Program the beginning of 2018. She enjoys meeting with youth weekly, planning and teaching life skills, building trust and relationships, and just taking the time to listen and get to know each of them.

Kari worked in youth ministry for several years alongside of her husband in Texas. She enjoys mentoring and counseling youth in difficult situations. Kari has her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and Christianity and is currently working on her Master’s in Social Work.

Kari and her husband have a passion for children in foster care as well and became foster parents. They have 4 children and another coming in Fall of 2018.


Codah Guerra

Codah joined the staff of Northern Star after three consecutive internships while obtaining her Human Services Bachelor’s degree from UNG.  Her dedication and passion for Northern Star’s mission were evident after her asking to continue her internship after the first semester.

Codah serves as the assistant director for Northern Star. She works alongside Mandy and Kari to ensure all of the youth in the program’s needs are being met. She is great when it comes to organizing and carrying out day to day tasks.

Codah is local to Dahlonega and her and her husband look forward to supporting youth aging out of foster care in her hometown. They are excited to welcome their first child in the Fall of 2018.