About the AHA | Board of Directors

Board Of Directors

The following are current members of the American Humanist Association Board of Directors as of January 1, 2013. Board Members are elected by the membership and serve four-year terms.

Click here for information on the 2014 Board of Directors Elections

 


 

Debbie Allen

DEBBIE ALLEN (Board Member since 2013) currently serves as President of the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego. During the summer of 2009 Debbie organized the San Diego Coalition of Reason, and still serves as its local director. Since its debut three years ago, San Diego CoR has grown from ten to 18 cooperative freethought organizations. For the past two years Debbie has served as the co-facilitator of Recovering from Religion—San Diego, and last year she reestablished the San Diego Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and serves as its president.

In 2011 Debbie became a Humanist Chaplain in order to provide services for nontheists in the military and to advocate for their rights. She established the first ever humanist meeting at a military base in San Diego, and volunteers at the VA hospital in La Jolla. Prior to her activism in secular causes, Debbie was an active volunteer at her Reform synagogue, serving (as a Secular Humanist) on the board of directors and chairing several committees including Education, Social Action, Outreach to Interfaith, and Membership. She is retired from a career as a psychotherapist in private practice and investigator in neuropsychological research at UCSD.

As a member of the AHA Board, Debbie would like to focus on 1) coordinating the AHA national resources to better serve the needs of local groups, 2) creating easily accessible humanist education for children and families, and 3) growing AHA membership.

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Robert Boston

ROBERT BOSTON (Board Member since 2009) is assistant director of communications for Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) and the assistant editor of AU's monthly magazine Church & State. He is recognized as a leading writer and researcher on church-state topics and an articulate advocate for the separation of church and state. He frequently writes about the political goals of the Religious Right and other church-state issues, such as religion in public schools, tax aid to sectarian education and religious freedom. He covers the U.S. Supreme Court for Church & State and has attended oral arguments in every church-state case at the high court since 1988.

Boston is the author of three books: Close Encounters with the Religious Right: Journeys into the Twilight Zone of Religion and Politics (Prometheus Books, 2000); The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition (Prometheus Books, 1996) and Why the Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State (Prometheus Books, 1993; second edition, 2003).

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Rebecca Hale, AHA President

REBECCA HALE (Board Member since 2005) is the President of the American Humanist Association. A lifelong Humanist, although she didn't know there was an AHA until 1996. She was born in New York City to Humanist parents, although they called themselves Unitarians. Throughout her upbringing and life the focus has always grounded on a life philosophy of personal responsibility. If there is something that needs doing it is incumbent on each of us to do what we can towards getting it done. This carries through on all aspects of life; from cleaning up after dinner to cleaning up the environment.

The unexplained has always been that which science does not yet understand. After her own due diligence Rebecca has come to appreciate the value of laughter, beautiful music, friendship, a walk on the beach and good nutrition. As the late great Albuquerque humanist, Harry Wilson, wrote in Freedom from God there is this sense of wonder and awe, the “oceanic” feeling one gets when confronted with the magnificence of nature.

In 1976 Rebecca received her MPA (Master in Public Administration) and embarked on a career in government, real estate development, and college administration. In 1993, observing the unsavory effects of the rise of evangelical Christians in Colorado Springs, her husband and she started the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs and subsequently their web based business, EvolveFISH.com. In 1997 EvolveFISH was asked to take over the Humanist Book store, by its founder Lew Dunlap. They attended the 1998 AHA convention and every convention since (except 1999, that is the weekend their daughter, Tani, was born!) Attending the conventions she discovered the AHA and found her philosophical home. Being a humanist makes Rebecca a better person.

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Jennifer Kalmanson, AHA Vice President

JENNIFER KALMANSON (Board Member since 2011) is the Vice President of the Executive Committee of the American Humanist Association & a space systems engineer. She has provided system engineering support to the Hubble Space Telescope servicing Mission 4, the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt, and supported a Phase A study to design a mission to fly humankind’s first operational solar sail. She is a board member and chapter coordinator of the Washington Area Secular Humanists-DC Chapter and a Humanist Celebrant. She lives in Laurel, Maryland.

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Howard Katz

HOWARD KATZ (Board Member since 2011) is president of the Humanist Society, an adjunct of the American Humanist Association which certifies Humanist Celebrants. He has been a Celebrant for over seven years. Howard has been active with the Americans Civil Liberties Union and was awarded the ACLU of Illinois’ Volunteer of the Year award. He’s a former officer of Illinois National Organization for Women (NOW), board member of the local Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and board member of the Humanists of West Suburban Chicagoland. He’s held multiple public offices and is currently parliamentarian of his County Democratic organization. He’s been a member of the AHA for over 30 years after being introduced to humanism in his 20s.

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Raul Martinez

RAUL MARTINEZ (Board Member since 2009) was introduced to skeptical thought by his father at a young age, borrowing copies of the Skeptical Inquierer magazine. He read the Humanist Manifesto before he was ten, and identified as a humanist when he was twelve, what he refers to as "the age of reason". Born in Mexico City, he moved to the United States in 1996, becoming a citizen in May of 2001. He joined the Humanist Association of Las Vegas and Southern Nevada in 2002 and was elected Vice President of the organization in December of 2003. He became a board member of the Las Vegas Freethought Society in December of 2004.

Martinez has a BA in Marketing from the Institute of Technological Studies of Monterrey and worked in many fields since then. In spite of working full-time and spending time with his wife and two sons, he dedicates a large portion of his time to humanist causes. He is also the author of the children’s book, There is a Purple Dragon in my Washing Machine, a book introducing atheism to children.

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David Niose, Immediate Past AHA President

DAVID NIOSE (Board Member since 2005) is the immediate past president of the American Humanist Association. He currently serves as the legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, running the AHLC's Massachusetts office. Having practiced law in Massachusetts since 1990, Niose has also worked in print and broadcast media, taught both history and law, and written extensively on a wide array of issues. Upon joining the AHA board in 2005, Niose initiated and helped develop the AHA's media campaign. Niose has appeared in national media and spoken to groups around the country, emphasizing the importance of utilizing mass media to inject humanist ideas into the public dialogue, improve the public image of humanists, and sway public opinion away from the religious right.

As an attorney, Niose has advocated for church/state separation and the rights of humanists and other nontheists, and he is currently involved in implementing a legal strategy to enforce the rights of humanists and other nontheists via the avenue of equal protection law. He has worked with the Secular Coalition for America in various positions to help advocate for the rights of Secular Americans, and has served on the boards of Greater Worcester Humanists and Greater Boston Humanists.

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Anthony Pinn

ANTHONY PINN (Board Member since 2013) completed his undergraduate degree (BA) at Columbia University, and he received the Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University Divinity School, as well as the MA and PhD from Harvard University in the study of religion. Anthony taught at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) before becoming the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. He is also the founding director of the Houston Enriches Rice Education Project – a program meant to foster creative partnerships between Rice and the larger Houston community that impact both the work of the University and the quality of life in Houston.

Related to his research, he is the author/editor of twenty- six books, including By The Hands: A Documentary of African American Humanism (2001); African American Humanist Principles: Living and Thinking Like the Children of Nimrod (2004); and, The End of God-Talk: An African American Humanist Theology (2012). He is also the director of research for the Institute for Humanist Studies. In 2006, he was named the Harvard University Humanist Chaplaincy "Humanist of the Year." In 1999, he received the African American Humanist Award from the Council for Secular Humanism.

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Susan Sackett, AHA Secretary

SUSAN SACKETT (Board Member since 2005) is the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the American Humanist Association. She grew up in Connecticut and Florida and received both her BAE and MEd degrees from the University of Florida in Gainesville (1964;1965). After teaching elementary school in Miami for two years, Sackett moved to Los Angeles in 1968, where she taught for a short time. But her lifelong dream of working in Hollywood persisted, and she quit her teaching job to work in the entertainment industry. In 1974 she landed a job as assistant to Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, and worked with him until his death in 1991. Her career with Roddenberry encompassed both production work and writing. She is the author of ten books and co-writer of several teleplays. It was Roddenberry who introduced Susan to humanism. Realizing that she, too, was a humanist, she joined the American Humanist Association in 1989.

In 1994 Susan left California and relocated to Arizona, where she became active in her local AHA chapter, the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix (HSGP). She was president of HSGP from 2000 to 2010. Susan has been a certified Humanist Celebrant since 2001.

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Herb Silverman

HERB SILVERMAN (Board Member since 2009, previously from 1999 to 2006) became involved in religious freedom issues when he won a unanimous decision in the South Carolina Supreme Court striking down a statute in the state constitution prohibiting nontheists from serving in public office. He then founded the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry in Charleston, SC, and also founded and serves as a faculty advisor to the College of Charleston student Atheist/Humanist Alliance. He is a national board member of the Atheist Alliance International, an advisory board member of the Secular Student Alliance, a state board member of the South Carolina ACLU, a member of the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a board member of the Humanist Institute, and the president of the Secular Coalition for America.

Silverman has appeared in a number of debates representing the humanist point of view, including one at the Oxford Union in England on the topic: Does American Religion Undermine American Values? He has spoken at a number of conferences and written articles for the Humanist and other freethought publications. He also has a mathematics book on Complex Variables and a chapter called "Innerancy Turned Political" in The Fundamentals of Extremism.

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Jason Torpy, AHA Treasurer

JASON TORPY (Board Member since 2009) has been involved with the nontheist and humanist movement for over a decade - specifically through the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF), which he helped grow from an email listserv to a widely-recognized 501c3 organization. MAAF is now a member organization of the American Humanist Association.

Torpy has spent the last several years building coalitions among nontheist organizations.  He collaborated with American Atheists for the Veteran’s Day 2005 "Atheists in Foxholes March on the Mall" in Washington, DC.  Through SCA, he successfully lobbied the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate unconstitutional proselytism at Army training bases. He also serves on the board of the Secular Coalition for America.

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Kristen Wintermute

KRISTIN WINTERMUTE (Board Member since 2009) is a lifelong Humanist who attended the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis (FUS), led by Khoren Arisian, throughout her childhood and teen years. At first she was enrolled in their “Humanist Education Program,” and in high school she became a classroom teacher. As an undergraduate student at the University of Montana, she used this curriculum at the Unitarian Fellowship of Missoula, Montana. Following graduate work at the University of Maine, Wintermute returned to Minneapolis and FUS. Seeing a need for a younger generation there, she began the twenties and thirties group. The goals were to learn more about Humanism through reading and discussion as well as to be in a community with like-minded individuals of our generation. The group's greatest accomplishment was a very well received Sunday Assembly on Generation X.

After pursuing a career for a number of years as a family therapist, Wintermute made a decision to leave the field of social work to become a stay-at-home mother. She pursued part-time work from home and was hired by the North American Committee for Humanism (NACH) to be their executive director in 1998. In 1999, NACH and its subsidiary, the Humanist Institute, became one organization. She became the business manager and is now the administrator of the Humanist Institute. She is also the full-time office manager for Schlenker and Associates and mother of two, Anya (age 8) and Ari (age 5).

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