Our Staff & Leadership

Rush Otey

Temporary Supply Minister

Rush recently retired from Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church where he served 18 years as the Senior Minister (2002-2020). Rush’s experience includes:
· Ordained in 1973 at Davidson College
· Post Graduate fellowship at Duke Divinity School
· 1973-1980 College Chaplain at Davidson College
· 1980-1982 Director, Uniting Campus Ministry, LSU in Baton Rouge
· 1982-1993 St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Tucker, Georgia (~900 members)
· 1993-2002 First Presbyterian Church, Pensacola, Florida (~1,000 members)
· 2002-2020 Selwyn Avenue Presbyterian Church, Charlotte (500 confirmed members and more than 200 children)
Rush’s wife Deborah is a retired teacher and psychologist, and they have two adult children, Andrew who lives in Washington, DC and Emily who lives in Raleigh.

Lynne Keel

Associate Pastor for Care and Mission

Born in Atlanta, GA, Lynne Keel attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus in advertising.  Through Stephen Ministry, Lynne experienced God’s call to ministry, and she graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary with an M.Div. degree in 2007.  After completing a residency as a Hospice Chaplain in Atlanta, and prior to arrival at FPC Concord, she served as Associate Pastor for Congregational Care at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church.  In her spare time, Lynne enjoys spending time with her husband, Gene, and her daughters Amina, Gabbie, and Gwyneth.  Her hobbies include reading, hiking, and singing.

René Prager

Interim Youth Projects Coordinator

René Prager is the new Interim Youth Programs Coordinator.  She comes to this with thirty-three years of experience in youth instruction and program coordination. Within First Presbyterian Church, René has served as Nursery Coordinator, Junior Church Coordinator, VBS Volunteer, 5-Alive Coordinator, and currently organizes the College Care Package ministry. She has filled the role of Circle Leader, is an active member of the S & D Sunday School Class, and is the current 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, Rene’ 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 sixteenth 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 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

Choirmaster

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 twenty years. They share their home with their two dogs since their two boys have grown and moved to the Raleigh area. 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.

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.

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!

Elders

Deacons

Moderator