Organizers

Rabbit Box is run by volunteers. The board includes Connie Crawley, Pat Priest, Sean Polite, Ashley Garrett, Brittany Barnes, Heather Slutzski, Troy Copeland and Jacob Zoller. Our director is Leara Rhodes. The Advisory Board includes Stevie King, Neal Priest, David Oates and Amy Moss.

Heather Slutzky has lived in Athens for nearly 20 years. She is a secular celebrant and a public speaker on healthcare culture. When interacting with small children she often makes a frog shape with her hands, a skill she learned from a storyteller in her early adulthood. She loves her life of being paid to see beautiful places while holding a microphone then returning home to her son, husband, three dogs, three fish, six snails and a yard cat.

Troy Copeland is a senior lecturer at the University of North Georgia, Department of English. He writes for several publications around Athens and continues to mentor students from his years of teaching at Cedar Shoals High School.

Connie Crawley is a retired registered dietitian that worked for 28 years as a Nutrition and Health Specialist for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Today she spends her time working as a simulated patient for the medical school, volunteering at Mercy Health Center as a dietitian and thoroughly enjoying cultural activities in the Athens area.

Ashley Garrett has been telling stories of gratitude, grief, and growth for years
at BaddestMotherEver.com and is a veteran storyteller and emcee for Rabbit Box. Ashley’s day job is as a professional communicator for a large hospital system with a local branch located near Popeye’s Fried Chicken on Prince. Her other job is teaching her exceptionally good looking and brilliant children how to act like regular people.

David Oates is a poet and the host and producer of WUGA’s radio show Wordland. With degrees in writing from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois-Chicago, he teaches creative writing and has three published books and lots of shorter works in print. He ran the Athens Poetry Slam for six years and has experience in stand-up and improv,
proofreading, and magazine publishing. In the 1980s he wrote for the comic strip Shoe.

Sean Polite is a Navy veteran and distinguished actor having performed in dozens of plays in Athens and Atlanta. As a radio personality, Sean is the host of the weekend editions on WUGA. He works full-time at a local doctor’s office but moonlights as a voice over narrator; he speaks English, French, Spanish, and basic Japanese. Originally from Brunswick with close ties to Sapelo Island, Georgia, he has just finished reading “Anna Karenina” and will discuss it with anyone who has not read it. Sean enjoys being out to dinner with friends.

Pat Priest is an independent writer and producer whose work has appeared on the radio show “Living on Earth,” on Georgia Public Broadcasting, and in the Washington Post. Her husband Neal calls her an event inventor; she founded WUGA’s Artists in Residence series; the concert
series Athens in Harmony (with Mokah and Knowa Johnson); the long-running Stomp Out Domestic Violence and Dancing with the Athens Stars (with Project Safe’s director Joan Prittie); and other fundraising and visibility-raising events for nonprofits. She worked with others to start “Athens News Matters” on WUGA and produced a limited-run series that ran statewide called
“Songsmiths.” She loves books, stories, conversations, and ballroom dancing.

Brittany Barnes is a Research Professional in Forest Entomology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at UGA. When she is not looking for insects in the woods, she enjoys having a nice glass of wine on the porch with her family, friends, and five cats. She finally considers herself an Athenian after living here since 2005! She has told a few stories on the Rabbit Box stage and is ecstatic to contribute even more to bringing stories to our
community.

Jacob Zoller is brand new to Athens and looking to make friends! He and his partner Leigh (‘09 Dawgs) have two kids, 3 and 5, and two schnauzers. After being an evangelical minister for 12 years, he is excited to have a fresh start in Athens as an at-home dad. He especially enjoys hearing and sharing stories of questioning and change around spirituality.

Leara Rhodes has been a writer since she was 9 years old with her first poem published in an anthology. Retired Associate Professor Emeritus from the Grady College of Journalism and
Mass Communication at UGA, she continues to write for magazines, is working on a novel, and has published three books and dozens of journal articles. Her interests include theatre (she’s
directed, costumed, and acted), traveling (long stays in Haiti, Trinidad, Tanzania, England, and Ireland), reading (everything John Irving has written), and her family (2-week summer Camp Baba with 2 grand girls).

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