AAH US Board of Directors

dick burk

Richard "Dick" Burk


AAH President since 2009, Dick served in the Peace Corps in eastern Uganda in 1969-70 working on a project to eradicate a contagious eye disease. He is a former federal government executive with substantial experience in the design, development, and operation of government-wide IT strategic policy, enterprise architecture, and information systems. Dick’s 30-year career at the Department of Housing and Urban Development spanned the research, demonstration ,and management of most federal activities in the fields of community development and housing rehabilitation. AAH has provided him an opportunity to return to his Peace Corps roots, re-engage with Ugandans at the community level, and hopefully make a positive impact in an exciting part of the world.

holly hawthorne

Holly Hawthorne

Vice President

Holly is a native Arlingtonian and a product of Arlington Public Schools. She taught 14 years, was a teacher mentor, and an assistant principal. Holly has been principal at Arlington Traditional School since 1992. She has a “hands-on” leadership style–she spends time observing and participating in the classroom. She is friendly and knows each child by name. She greets the children in the morning and says goodbye in the afternoon. She is accessible to parents, students, and staff. Holly holds high expectations for everyone. Involved with AAH since 2004, Holly has been to Uganda three times.

Janet Hansen


Janet has served as AAH Treasurer since September 2016. She is a retired policy analyst whose work focused on education finance. She worked for a number of nonprofit research organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the RAND Corporation, and the Committee for Economic Development. Earlier in her career, she was a college administrator. She is currently a Trustee of Goodwin House, Inc., and served on the board of directors of the American Education Finance Association. She is an active member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington. She holds a Ph.D. in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

Syril Pettit


Syril is the Executive Director of the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute, an international organization that builds public-private partnerships in application-driven science for improving human and environmental health. She has guided the scientific and strategic direction for the organization for 17 years. Syril has authored or co-authored numerous scientific articles and spoken at international scientific meetings around the world on topics relating to patient quality of life, drug safety and biomedical innovation, global science partnerships, public health, and environmental risk assessment. She holds a Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Health Leadership at the University of North Carolina.

carol ann bischoff

Carol Ann Bischoff


Carol Ann is the Managing Director at Pacific Compass Ventures. She is a TMT policy attorney and education advocate whose career spans service in government, private sector law firms, and the non-profit arena. As CLO of CompTel (now INCOMPAS), she directed all aspects of the premier global telecom industry association’s international, federal, and state representation before international regulatory bodies, the U.S. Executive Branch, Congress, the courts, federal and state regulatory agencies, and state legislatures while managing a $6 million annual budget. Carol Ann served as Telecommunications Counsel to U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE) and was extensively involved on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, developing the law’s universal service and educational access programs.

carole burk

Carole Burk


Carole married her husband, Dick, in Mbale, Uganda, and worked as head of the English Department at a secondary school in Bukedi. She is a former school teacher of gifted and talented, learning challenged, and ESOL students in the City of Falls Church public schools. After earning a Masters in Education specializing in counseling, she worked for 15 years as a counselor in the Fairfax County public schools. Through AAH, she has been able to reconnect with Uganda and work with the local people, who are welcoming, loving, and grateful for all that is being done through AAH. She finds the work gratifying and heartwarming. Uganda will steal your heart.

sarah osinski

Sarah Osinski


Sarah has 15 years of direct marketing experience. She is currently a Vice President at the fundraising consulting firm Chapman, Cubine + Hussey. Her experience includes strategy development and execution for a variety of organizations in the political, advocacy, and charitable sectors. Examples include organizations such as Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, The AARP Foundation, The Democratic National Committee, Environmental Defense Fund, Alley Cat Allies, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Rose Mary Romano


Rose Mary is an internationally recognized expert in communication and social and behavior change related to energy, health, and other development issues global development. For over 25 years, she has designed and managed donor-funded programs in more than 13 countries. As regional director in South Africa for AED, she oversaw donor programs on HIV and AIDS, maternal and child health, malaria, nutrition, and family planning throughout Africa. As the Senior Vice President for Global Development Issues at Fenton Communication, she contributed extensive communication knowledge to private sector, foundation, and government clients. She has served in senior positions in the public, non-profit, and private sector and has managed multi-million dollar communication campaigns around the world.

dean scribner

Dean Scribner


With over three decades of R&D experience as a research physicist and electrical engineer, Dean is currently with the Northrop Grumman Corporations developing electro-optical systems and was with Optical Sciences Division of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory for 23 years. Majoring in physics, he received his Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University. His primary research area is electro-optical systems and components. He has served in various volunteer capacities at St. Michael’s Church in Arlington, VA, which he attends regularly. His leisure activities include golf, tennis, piano, and reading. He’s married to Holly Hawthorne and has two sons, Justin and Garen, who live in Brooklyn, NY, and work on Broadway theater productions.

john wanda

John Wanda

Director, Co-Founder

John graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. In 1996, he and Joyce immigrated to the US after winning a diversity visa lottery. John currently works as Principal and Vice President for Finance at Chapman Cubine and Hussey, a direct marketing firm based in Arlington, VA. John’s work with AAH has earned him Humanitarian of the Year award from the American Chiropractic Association, the Emmett Cock Social Justice Award, and Citizen of the Year from Rotary International District 7610 and numerous other awards. John has been covered by the Washington Post and other newspapers and media and regularly appears on radio programs in Uganda and speaks at various events. Read more of John’s story on our Founders page.

joyce wanda

Joyce Wanda

Director, Co-Founder

After immigrating to the US in 1996 and co-founding AAH, Joyce championed the importance of having equal representation of boys and girls in the AAH program, initiated the teen service program and chaperoned several trips, and was instrumental in initiating a microfinance program for the women of Manafwa district. Mom to JJ, Craig, Christine and Chris, Joyce served for years on the Board of Directors of the North American Masaba Cultural Association and has appeared at the White House to champion change for women and girls. Joyce attended the University of South Africa and George Mason University for her Bachelor’s degree. She currently works as a Payroll and Benefits Specialist for Whole Foods Market.

joann willis

JoAnn Willis


JoAnn has worked in the executive and legislative branches at the Social Security Administration and as a Legislative Assistant covering issues before the Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees in the House, and the Labor and Finance Committees in the Senate. JoAnn then moved to Patton Boggs where she worked as a lobbyist on various Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare related issues. JoAnn served on the Arlington Traditional School’s PTA Executive Board and currently volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club of Washington, DC, and on the board of Opera Lafayette. What brings her true joy is her work as a keeper aide at the Elephant House at the National Zoo.

amy brecount white

Amy Brecount White


Amy is a widely-published writer and award-winning high school English teacher. Over 75 of her articles and essays have appeared in The Washington Post. She’s also written for Washingtonian, FamilyFun, and online publications, and currently writes for Arlington magazine, Bethesda magazine, and Chesapeake Views. Her young adult novel, Forget-Her-Nots, explores the magic of the Language of Flowers. Amy is the founder and owner of Expert Essay Coaching, LLC, a college essay coaching company. She and her husband, Pete, have lived in Arlington since 1993 and raised three children who have deep ties to AAH and its mission. One of their sponsored children, Jacob, was in the first AAH class to graduate from university!

audrey whittington

Audrey Whittington


Audrey Whittington has 25 years experience working in the real estate software industry and is currently the Vice President of Client Services for Move, Inc. Her position entails working on at enterprise level with all aspects of the software industry, including business development, public speaking, team management, project management, product management, sales, marketing, and enterprise-level relationship management.

AAH US Staff

shannon r. bryant executive director

Shannon R. Bryant

Executive Director

Shannon has spent the last 20 years creating, promoting, and leading educational projects and campaigns — stewarding resources and awareness toward populations and places that have been historically underserved. While in college, he joined Jumpstart for Young Children, where he lobbied on the federal level for Head Start and AmeriCorps expansion. Later, as Academic Director for Kaplan K12 Learning Services, he led large teams of supplemental educators working in public schools across the country. In 2008, he helped to co-found a college readiness and scholarship non-profit for promising students who had been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa. Shannon attended Harvard University where he received a degree in Sociology, with studies focused on the intersection of education and race relations. When not spending time with his family, you may find him camping in the woods, enjoying the quiet of nature and sharpening his bushcraft skills.

As the Executive Director for AAH, Shannon coordinates U.S. operations and works closely with the Program Director and staff in Uganda.

Bethany Hu

Operations Manager

Bethany is an operations professional with over ten years of professional experience managing and coordinating international development programs. Prior to joining AAH, she served as the Operations Manager at Development Alternatives, Inc (DAI), for the USAID-funded Further Advancing the Blue Revolution Initiative project (FABRI). She previously served as a Financial Compliance Officer for the International Grants Program at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids where she managed the financial compliance of grant activities in 18 countries around the world. Bethany holds a B.S. in Languages and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University. She lives in Vienna, VA, with her husband and two young children.

I am still amazed at how the AAH project has come along, given the lack of infrastructure and poverty of the student families.


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