The Rev. Mike Watson – Pastor
Mike grew up nearby in the golf capital of the world, Augusta, Georgia. However, as his golf career was clearly not going anywhere, he soon found his call to ministry while at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina. He attended seminary at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. After pastoral residencies at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia and Southminster Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Mike was called to University Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the summer of 2012 where he worked with the Christian Education program, youth groups, and college outreach. Mike and his wife Melody were married in March 2016. They enjoy live music, going on adventures, and now caring for their newborn daughter, Hazel. In his spare time, Mike enjoys running and pickin’ on his guitar and mandolin. Mike was called to OPC in January 2017 and has felt at home in this loving, authentic community.
The Rev. Dr. Linda Hawthorne – Parish Associate
Linda, Parish Associate, is an ordained Presbyterian minister who served as an intensive care chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She and her husband, Charles, have two daughters. Linda is originally from Texas and in previous careers was a professor of Special Education and a school psychometrist. She earned a Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Her favorite activities are playing with her grandsons and traveling with Charles. Her ministry focuses on pastoral care and women’s ministry.
Leslie Ollinger – Office Manager
I grew up in Dalton, Georgia and am the youngest of 6 sisters. I moved to Atlanta with my two lifelong friends in 1996 to finish college at Georgia State University where I earned my degree in business management. I’ve lived in Tucker for 12 years with my husband Bo, son Eli (15) and daughter Lily Anna (11). Eli and Lily Anna attend Chamblee Charter High School and Kittredge Magnet School so needless to say I stay very busy. In my non-existent spare time, I enjoy hiking with my dogs Macy and Henry, reading, cooking and traveling. I was the church administrator at Rock Spring Presbyterian for 6 years until they closed last month. I look forward to being a valuable asset to the church staff and getting to know all the parishioners, so feel free to stop by the office to say “Hi!”
Nicholas Johns-Cooper – Director of Music
Nicholas Johns-Cooper has a Bachelor of Music degree in organ and piano performance from Georgia State University where he was a Presidential Scholar, played the piano with the GSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and sang with the University Singers. While at GSU, he studied organ with Sarah Martin and piano with Geoffrey Haydon, and was the recipient of the Tom Schneider Memorial Scholarship, the Atlanta AGO Scholarship, and the Atlanta Music Club Scholarship. Nick began his piano studies at the age of five with Martha Melton. Early on in his childhood he developed a curiosity for the pipe organ and in high school began studying the organ with David Houston as well as spending a summer studying piano, organ, and conducting at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. He has conducted orchestras for the musicals Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, 1940′s Radio Hour, and Les Misérables an was the drum major for his high school’s marching band. He is a first prize winner of dozens of annual competitions such as the GMEA and GMTA All-State Piano and Chorus competitions, DMEA and DMTA piano competitions, the Margaret A. Guthman piano competition. He has previously held positions as Director of Music and/or organist at Good Shepherd Catholic Church, St. Brigid Catholic Church, Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, and Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church. He is the keyboard player/backup singer in Atlanta based rock band Brother Hawk touring around the US and Europe.
Rachel Sutphin – Pastoral Intern
Rachel grew up in Christiansburg, VA and was actively involved in her church and presbytery from a young age. Feeling a call to ordained ministry, Rachel studied religion and culture and human development at Virginia Tech. Graduating as valedictorian in 2018, she moved to Decatur, GA to continue her studies at Columbia Theological Seminary in their dual degree program: Master of Divinity and Master of Practical Theology specializing in pastoral care. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys kayaking, baking, and crocheting. She is excited to begin her time at Oglethorpe Presbyterian and introduce everyone to her Sphynx kitten, Esmé.
Beverly Moon – Preschool Director
Beverly has been the Preschool Director since 2004. Prior to that, she was the Assistant Director and a teacher at OPP for four years. She lives with her husband, Chris, and two girls, Grace and Hannah, in the Ashford Park/Brookhaven community. Beverly attended the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston while studying nursing. In 1993 she moved to Atlanta and finished her BA in Business Management at Georgia State University, Child Development Associates w/ the University of Georgia and the National Administrator Credential Certificate (NAC). She has been actively involved in our local schools on several PTA Executive Boards for ten consecutive years and Governance Council Chair for three years. She loves children and spends much of her time reading recent trends in early childhood development.
Lynnette Kachel – Preschool Assistant Director
Lynnette Kachel is the Assistant to the Director of Oglethorpe Presbyterian Preschool. She and her husband, Bryant, have been residents of Brookhaven for thirty years and are parents to Emma. Lynnette was raised in Defiance, Ohio, and came to Atlanta in 1979 where she worked as a chiropractic assistant and office manager until 2002. She came to OPP in the Spring of 2003 and worked as a teacher in the toddler (“Busy Bee”) classroom until August of 2007 when she became Assistant Director. In her spare time, Lynnette enjoys art, music, and movies.
The Rev. Fitzhugh Legerton – Pastor Emeritus
Fitz Legerton has been Pastor Emeritus since 1992. During his time in Atlanta, Fitz served as Clerk and Moderator of the Presbytery, as well as serving on many committees. Fitz also served the church at the Synod and General Assembly levels, attending as a commissioner in 1955, 1964, and 1969. He also participated in exchange pastorates in Oregon, Bridgwater (England), and Rotorua (New Zealand). Fitz also taught courses at Oglethorpe University and Columbia Seminary.Fitz was very active in civic activities as well, serving on the boards of Pace Academy, Oglethorpe University, the DeKalb Community Council on Aging, and on the Advisory Council of the Montreat Mountain Retreat Association, among others.