Our Staff & Leadership

Ellen Crawford True

Senior Pastor/Head of Staff

Ellen is originally from Nashville, TN. She graduated from Davidson College with a B.A, in English and received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. She has been the Senior Minister/Head of Staff of Christ Presbyterian Church in Camp Hill, PA since 2012.
During her career Ellen has been a Parrish Associate, a Temporary Supply Minister, an Interim Pastor/Head of Staff, an Associate Pastor of Campus Ministry, and Assistant Director of Admissions at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She is the Chair of the Commission on Ministry for the Carlisle Presbytery in Pennsylvania; she was the Presbytery Moderator in 2013 and served on the Presbytery Council from 2006-2013. Since November of 2018, she has served alongside other Harrisburg area clergy in a Racial Unity and Action Coalition.

Julie Hill

Julie Hill, Temporary Associate Pastor

Julie comes to us from First Presbyterian Church in Norwood, NC where she has been the Pastor since 2010. She has also served as an Associate Pastor at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. Julie is a native of Wilmington, NC. She graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Political Science, after which she worked as a marketing representative for IBM in Richmond, VA. After more than a decade at home while her children were young, Julie received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Charlotte. Julie serves on the Presbytery Council and was on the Presbytery’s Emmaus (Visioning) Team from 2014-2016 and chaired the Strategic Planning Task Force from 2016-2017. Julie and her husband, Thomas Jennings, have two adult sons, Elliott and Sam, who both live in the Charlotte area

René Prager

Director of Christian Education

René comes to this position with thirty-four years of experience in youth instruction and programs coordination. Within First Presbyterian Church, René has served as a Nursery coordinator, Junior Church Coordinator, VBS Volunteer, 5-Alive Coordinator, and most recently was on staff as the Interim Youth Projects Coordinator. She has filled the role of Circle Leader, is an active member of the S and D Sunday School Class, and has been a Moderator for Presbyterian Women.

Hired at age thirteen as a gymnastics instructor for York County Parks and Rec, René began a ten year “early” career in numerous youth related instruction and supervisory positions with York County, VA, including five years as a summer camp site lead, providing programming for 100 youth and managing a staff of three. René graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in Logistics. After graduation, she worked as a pricing analyst for Central Transport, before leaving the transportation industry to raise her daughters. More recently, René worked for Universal Yarn.

René returned to her passion of working with youth in a number of long-term volunteer positions as her children were growing up. She is in her seventeenth year as a Girl Scout Leader at First Presbyterian Church. Outside the church, René dedicated eight years as a volunteer for Sailfish Aquatics. There she led the community outreach Adopt-a-Family program, as well as fundraising, travel trip coordination, and alumni activities.

Born in New York and raised in Virginia, René has called Concord home since 1998. René and husband Chris have been married for more than twenty-six years and have two daughters: Emma and Kate. The family joined First Presbyterian Church in 2001. In her free time, René enjoys hiking, photography, and travel.

Jacqueline Yost

Director of Music/Organist

Jacquie has been the music director and organist at First Presbyterian Church since 2004. In addition to playing the organ for and planning the music in worship services, she oversees the music planning, coordination, and performing of the adult and children’s choirs.  Jacqueline is also a professor in Music Theory and Aural Skills at UNC-Charlotte, where she also serves as the  instructor for applied organ.  She holds the BM and DMA in organ performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester NY, where she also received the prestigious Harold Gleason Emerging Artist Award and The Performer’s Certificate. In addition she holds an MM in organ performance and improvisation from The Cleveland Institute of Music and an MA in Music Theory Pedagogy from the Eastman School of Music.

When not doing music, “Ms. Jacquie” (as she is often addressed by the children at First Pres) loves to run marathons, cook (and eat) French food, and read 19th century British literature. She hopes to never retire and will someday author children’s books.

Jeffrey Price


Jeffrey Price, Choirmaster, has served First Presbyterian Church of Concord since February 2004.  He encourages members of the Sanctuary Choir and congregation to sing and give their best music to God through hymns, anthems, introits and prayer responses.  Jeff and the Sanctuary Choir have led and collaborated on outreach presentations in retirement communities like Taylor Glen, and worked with organizations in the broader community including the Piedmont Choral Society, Central United Methodist Church, the Northeast Foundation, Central Piedmont Community College Opera Theater, and the Festival of Churches at Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, South Carolina. Jeff strives to affirm and enable others to use the gifts God has given them to praise God, and bring joy, inspiration, and comfort to each other.

Suzanne Russell

Church Administrator

Suzanne joins the First Presbyterian staff from Huntersville, NC, where she has lived with her husband John for more than twenty years. They share their home with their two dogs since their two boys have grown and moved out. Before taking this position, Suzanne worked for Ramah Presbyterian Church in Huntersville and Williams Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, as well as several customer service and bookkeeping jobs while working to get her degree in business administration from Northeastern University. A love of cooking keeps her busy in the kitchen during any free time, followed by walks with the dogs to work off all she has eaten!

Kim Mazzola

Financial Administrative Assistant

We are excited to welcome Kim Mazzola to the church staff as our new part-time Financial Administrative Assistant. Kim will be in the office part-time Monday – Thursday each week.
Prior to joining our staff, Kim worked as an Executive Assistant to an Executive Vice President at S&D Coffee for six years (2014-2020), and before then, she worked at The Finley Group in Charlotte from 2006-2014.
Kim and her husband Johnny moved to Charlotte from Houston, TX in 1993, and then north to Concord 20 years ago. She enjoys the outdoors, home projects, reading non-fiction, history, and her Bible Study.

Heath Ritchie

Maintenance Superintendent

A native of Concord, Heath has handled maintenance and upkeep responsibilities for the church since 1998.  He has served as a Cubmaster and on the boards of several local organizations, including a term as chairman of The Historic Preservation Commission of the City of Concord.  He is currently a member of the Concord Lions Club and the Food Policy Council of Cabarrus County.  Heath and his wife Carolyn have two children, Elizabeth and Bennett.  He enjoys, gardening, watercolor painting, local history, spending time with family, and caring for their four dogs.  Heath’s greatest claim to fame, however, may be his homemade cheesestraws!

Maureen O’Bryan

Director of First Kids Preschool

Maureen has served as the director of First Kids Preschool since 1992.  Originally from Louisville, KY, she has earned BA degrees in both Special and Elementary Education from the University of Kentucky and an MA degree in Early Childhood Education from UNCC.  Before joining our staff Maureen was a teacher for Iredell Co.  Schools and for the past ten years has worked as an adjunct instructor in the Early Childhood Education Department at RCCC.   Maureen is deeply devoted to improving the lives of young children in our community and serves as a volunteer in many organizations including the Cabarrus Partnership for Children. She is a past recipient of NC Child Care Resources T.E.D.D.Y.  Award and the CRSAEYC Anne Laukitis Pulling for Children Award, for her service and advocacy for young children.  Maureen’s family includes two sons, Chapman and Patrick, daughter-in-law Kellie, and a furry crew of rescued animals.



Amy Woolwine

Administration & Personnel

Merl Hamilton, Moderator
Anita Brown, Vice-Moderator
Janna Mitchell

Buildings & Grounds

Kevin Barbee
Marc Niblock
Dave Rogers
JIm Wall

Christian Education & Technology

Sallie Dotger
Amy Murphy
Aaron Rotan
Harriett Phillips

Finance & Stewardship

Dale Carpenter, Co-Moderator
Harris Morrison, Co-Moderator
Jim Monroe
Valerie Thomas
Susan Brooks

Worship & Music

Susan Otteni, Moderator
Susan Smith
Cathy FLoyd
Amy Woolwine
Kara King



Dakeita Vanderburg

Congregational Care

Susan Hannah, Chair
Sally Cochrane, Co-Chair
Scott Verner
Dakeita Vanderburg


Linda Barnett, Co-Chair
Cindy Wise, Co-Chair
Amanda Williamson
Jenny Chikes


Kimberly Leatherman, Chair
Betsy Morrison, Co-Chair
Ellie Sherrill
Rindy Moore
Chris Hahn
Susan Simpson


Elizabeth Anne Dover Bishop, Chair
Jonathan Ewart
Jeff Nelson
Tripp Carpenter
Fritze Leigh Batts
John Benbow

Commons Prayer Room

Jonathan Ewart, Chair
Kimberly Leatherman
Sally Cochrane

Racial Equity

Scott Verner, Chair
Elizabeth Anne Dover Bishop, Co-Chair
Fritze Batts
Linda Barnett
Cindy Wise