James Wilkinson, Board Chair

James Wilkinson is a senior associate with Skeo, a local consulting company, where he works on environmental, social equity and land use planning projects. In addition to serving as Board Chair, he is a parent and student at The Front Porch. Originally from England, he is an avid gardener, musician, writer, and fervent Liverpool F.C. supporter. He holds Master’s degrees in literature and environmental planning from Cambridge University and the University of Virginia.

Cay Lee Ratliff, Vice Chair

Cay Lee has a background in education that includes teaching at the preschool, elementary and high school levels.  She also has experience in a variety of other fields, including real estate, financial management, insurance, and higher education admissions.  Cay Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in education administration, both from the University of Virginia.  She currently resides in Charlottesville.

David Cathcart, Treasurer

David Cathcart is a businessman with over 35 years of experience. As a partner in the firm Schieren Accociates, Ltd., based in New Jersey, he was responsible for the financial oversight of a sales and product development business that averaged $5 million in annual revenue. After moving to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1999, he, as Vice President of Development of Cathcart Properties, managed a portfolio of large-scale multifamily development projects in the Charlottesville area. Now retired, David enjoys investing and supporting his favorite activities such as bluegrass and traditional music.

Mandi Montgomery Smith is a partner in the Staunton, Virginia law firm of TimberlakeSmith. Her practice focuses on counseling and representing public school divisions throughout Virginia about the variety of issues that confront school boards, educators, and administrators. Not a musician or performer herself, Mandi has a deep love for music of all genres and is frequently in the audience of music shows and festivals around Virginia and elsewhere. She holds a bachelor of science in Agriculture and Applied Economics from Virginia Tech, and received her J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Dhara Goradia, Board Member

Bassist, composer and band leader Dhara Goradia grew up in Charlottesville, VA, where she learned jazz at her junior high school in the jazz band starting on piano and electric bass before eventually dedicating herself to the upright bass at the age of 16. In 2011, Dhara attended Berklee College of Music on a scholarship, where she gained the invaluable experience of focusing on her musical development related to performance and composition, while also nurturing a passion for what she feels is one of the most powerful aspects of music — collaboration with her incredibly talented peers from across the globe. In addition to a busy life as a professional musician, Dhara also holds a formal degree in Architecture and is currently working as a designer for Bushman Dreyfus Architects.

Elliot Jennings, Board Member

Elliott Jennings is a certified Journeyman Farrier who moved to Charlottesville five years ago. He is currently studying for his BA in elementary education. Elliott’s love of traditional music began in his homeland of England where he enjoyed the traditional Irish Folk music of The Pougues and Dubliners. He is seldom without song and began playing banjo two years ago in an effort to expand his musical range and interest. In addition, Elliott is currently studying for the Associateship of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. Elliott has a passion for promoting and developing education in traditional arts and crafts.


Emily Morrison, Executive Director

Emily is a lifelong educator. Hailing from Ferrum, Virginia, she grew up in a family of musicians and educators in a region steeped in traditional music. She’s worn lots of hats since moving to Charlottesville to teach high school English in 2000, including founding and operating a summer day camp for children and directing a performing arts program at a pre-K – 8th grade Montessori school. Emily’s passion is in helping others express their innate creativity. Emily holds a B.A. in English and an MAED from The College of William and Mary.

Jess KnicelyDirector of Operations

A native of Charlottesville, Jess is an Old Time fiddler, and freelance designer. She comes from a family steeped in mountain music tradition and harbors a deep passion for the sharing and preservation of traditional arts and music. Jess has previously worked as a Media Archivist, specializing in Old Time music, for the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Jess also holds experience in business development, marketing, design, merchandising, and art installation as a Senior Visual Manager and Acting District Visual Manager for the retailer Anthropologie.

Emily Kresky, Community Outreach Coordinator

After falling in love with music in her college years, Emily moved to Charlottesville in the winter of 2014 from New Jersey and dove headfirst into songwriting and the local music scene. She is a firm believer that musicianship is about connection and not competition and she is dedicated to being an active participant in strengthening and growing the Central Virginia music scene. Emily organizes an annual music and arts festival called Jam Fish that supports local and regional music. She is also a singer-songwriter and performs in various groups including Garst and Company and the folk duet, Together Soul.