Our Board of Directors

Gwendelyn (Wende) Ballew, MBA

Executive Director

Our executive director, Wende Ballew is our artistic and administrative leader. They founded Reforming Arts in 2010 as an arts and humanities education program for people incarcerated in women’s prisons in Georgia.

Wende has taught at Kennesaw State University and continues to teach and direct Reforming Arts classes inside women's prison facilities in Georgia and facilitate Reforming Arts’ Theatre Reentry Project. Wende is a co-founder of the Georgia Coalition of Higher Education in Prison and the Southern Higher Education in Prison Collective. Wende has a bachelor’s degree in Theatre, a MBA, a Master in American Studies, a graduate certificate in Women's Studies, and is a PhD candidate in Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methodologies at the University of Georgia.

In 2018, Wende was named a Woman Making a Mark by Atlanta Magazine and a Woman to Watch by Weight Watchers Magazine. In 2019, The Arts Xchange awarded Wende and Reforming Arts with an Elon Dooley Arts and Social Justice Champion award.

Christine Gautreaux, MSW

Board President

Christine holds a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Social Work and is dedicated to the pursuit of play, joy, art & social justice.  She is co-author of Stillpoint: A Caregivers Playbook to find ease and to take a deep breath and reclaim joy.  Christine’s superpowers include connecting people, helping folks manifest their dreams, standing up against injustice, and using art to make a difference in the world.  She currently uses performance art, movement, poetry, storytelling, and Interplay to address issues of oppression with women who are incarcerated, people living with severe and persistent mental illness, women refugees, and homelessness.  Christine believes in the power of body wisdom and somatic play to help heal trauma and is a certified InterPlay leader.  She also works with activists and artists to maintain balance and self-care during these intense times we find ourselves living.

In 2018 Christine at The Parliament of World Religions in Toronto and recently returned from speaking at the Status on the Commission of Women at the United Nations.

Anna Schachner, MFA

Board Secretary 

Anna Schachner has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in many journals and magazines, including Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review, and The Sun, and she writes about books and literary culture for publications such as The Guardian and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  She is a frequent guest lecturer in Emory University’s creative writing program, speaks at writing conferences and book festivals all over the South, runs a series of writing workshops for veterans, and volunteers with Reforming Arts to teach writing in the Georgia prison system.  Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and now lives in Atlanta, where she is a professor at Georgia State University.

Shannon Smith, 

Reentry Navigator

Shannon holds an Associate degree in Positive Psychology, is a certified Compassion and Integrity Trainer, and two certificates in Theatre-Infused Liberal Arts from Reforming Arts. Shannon coordinates Reforming Arts’ reentry projects.

Joshilyn Jackson, MA

Board Member

​Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nine novels, including gods in Alabama, Someone Else’s Love Story, and Never Have I Ever (July, 2019).  She teaches creative writing seminars all over the country and has taught courses at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Emory University. Her work is greatly influenced by Southern Gothic tradition; she writes page-turners that revolve around women’s issues and faith and justice issues. She lives in Decatur Georgia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her website at http://www.joshilynjackson.com/.

Chartisia Griffin

Board Vice-President

Caitlin Highland

Board Treasurer

Tairon Brewster

Board Member

JoVantreis Russell