”The kids are always so excited to see their bags. It’s the first thing many of them ask about on Fridays.”
— Heather Cassidy, 3rd Grade Teacher

Cecilia Rawlins

Honorary Chair

Cecilia Rawlins worked from July1993 to December 2007 as the principal of Wiley International Magnet Elementary School. During that time she had the opportunity to work with many fantastic teachers, parents and students.  Upon retirement she was a consultant with Communities in Schools; spent 2.5 years as a principal in Osaka, Japan; moved with Dave to their vacation home in Hot Springs, NC; and then bought a new house and moved to Asheville, NC.

In Asheville, Cecilia is very involved with her church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville as the co-chair of the Annual Budget Drive for 2017-2018.  She is a Pastoral Visitor, a member of the Welcome Team, a member of the anti-racism social justice action group, and volunteers at a local food bank and with the Voter Engagement Coalition. 

She is an active volunteer at Ten Thousand Villages, a board member at Francine Delaney New School for Children, and a longtime board member of Hot Springs Community Learning Centers.    Cecilia loves to travel and misses her days at Wiley and is continually grateful to the CRF Board for their hard work.  She is the life-partner of Dave Penrose, owner of Penrose Consulting, and the mother of Ashley Lindsey, a choreographer-dancer based in New York City.


Asit Sharma


Asit is a senior consumer goods and industrials stock analyst with the investment advisory service The Motley Fool. A certified public accountant and certified management accountant, Asit also advises closely held businesses on finance and strategy through his company, Finosus, LLC. His three sons (now in middle and high school) attended Wiley Elementary. Asit tries to keep in physical and mental shape by coaching a high school boys' recreational soccer team, as well as the Ligon Middle School chess club.


NICK Woomer-deters


Nick is the father of two, including a Wiley 2nd grader and kindergartener.  He is an attorney at the Office of the Appellate Defender in Durham, where he represents indigent criminal defendants who are appealing their convictions - mostly serious felonies - to North Carolina's two appellate courts. Nick has lived in Raleigh for almost 11 years. Nick grew up in Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a degree in philosophy in 2002 and attended law school at the University of Minnesota. 


Teacher Liaison

Kathy is a literacy intervention teacher at Wiley Elementary.  She holds a Masters of Education and has taught for 13 years in both regular and special education settings.  She worked for several years as a Title I teacher as well. Kathy lives in Raleigh with her husband and two children.  She loves to bike and spend time with her family in her spare time.


SHeri Erhart

Events Co-Chair

Sheri graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering in 1996.

She is an Executive Vice President for CMC Hotels.  CMC Hotels specializes in the development, construction, and operations of upscale limited and full service hotels. Sheri is involved in operations, sales, and marketing for the company. She also oversees the procurement and design, managing all property improvement cycles, new build design and refurbishment projects.

Sheri has one child at Wiley (1st) and one alumni.  In addition to the Cecilia Rawlins Fund, Sheri is also a current Board Member for Arts Together and Cary Visual Arts.


Aij Patel

Events Co-Chair


Kathleen lowe

Backpack Buddies and Requests Liaison

Kathleen has spent her career making change through public policy analysis and advisement, advocacy and corporate and foundation relations. 

Kathleen currently consults with non-profits and public entities on advocacy initiatives and navigation.  She managed the successful campaigns of NC Court of Appeals Judge Lucy Inman and NC Representative Deborah Ross.  She has provided legislative analysis and policy advice for US Senator Carol Mosely-Braun, The ACLU-IL and Prevent Child Abuse America.  Before moving to Raleigh, Kathleen spent five years in London as the Human Rights Policy Advisor for the Law Society of England and Wales representing the views of UK lawyers to Members of Parliament. 

She holds a Masters of Social Work/Public Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned a Certificate of International Human Rights Law from the London School of Economics.  Kathleen is the Co-Chair of Deborah Ross for US Senate’s Women Trust Ross and has two sons, one attending Wiley (2nd) and one alumni.



Assistant Backpack Buddies and Requests Liaison

Claire has two children at Wiley Elementary (K/2nd).  Claire received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from North Carolina State University and worked at SAS in the Financial Services Sales group for 8 years.  After leaving SAS, Claire trained under several top image consultants and now owns her own image and wardrobe consulting business - Claire Roberts Style.  Claire and her husband Taylor, their two kids, and pet hedgehog (Julia Roberts) live in downtown Raleigh and are dedicated to a strong community in downtown Raleigh and at Wiley Elementary.  


Patti Merz


Patti has two daughters that went through the Wake County Public School System as magnet students, starting with Wiley Elementary. She has served on the PTA at Martin Middle School, and as a VP for Special Events with the Enloe PTSA. Her background is in marketing and public relations, and she began her career as an account executive for an advertising agency in Atlanta before moving to Cary in 2000. Currently Patti works for American Airlines, a position that allows her and her family to travel and experience the world. In 2016 Patti and her husband Rob realized a dream they'd held since their Wiley days, and moved to downtown Raleigh where Patti has worked with community groups such as the Mordecai Citizens Advisory Committee.

ILIna Ewen

Past President

Ilina writes at Dirt & Noise and Handmade NC. She is a seasoned marketer with over 25 years of marketing, brand strategy, communications, and writing experience. Her professional background includes creating brand awareness and promotional campaigns for companies such as American Express, Kimberly-Clark, and No Nonsense. Her experience on both the agency and client sides of marketing communications affords her a keen understanding of both perspectives. She has an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a BA in History from the University of Virginia. Along with serving the UN Foundation's Shot@Life program, Ilina works with her local food bank and serves on the board of SAFEchild to help eliminate child abuse.  Ilina also advocates for public education and serves on the North Carolina State Superintendent Parent Advisory Council and the Statewide Summative Assessment Task Force. She’s a doting mom to two sons.


Board Meeting Minutes

August, 2018 January, 2019

September, 2018

October, 2018

November, 2018

December, 2018