MEET THE STAFF
Rev. Will Zant
Will is from Jackson, Georgia, and grew up in the Jackson United Methodist Church. He received his Master’s of Divinity from Duke Divinity School. While at Duke, he met his wife, Blair, who is also a United Methodist minister. They have two children, Katie and Bethany. One of Will’s passions is to create a church that welcomes newcomers who are new to Haygood and to the faith. A lesser known fact about Will is that he served a summer church placement in Uganda.
Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation
Ashley is a native of Panama City, Florida. After getting her Master’s in Divinity from Duke Divinity School, she served as an Associate Pastor in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ashley then found employment at Haygood in 2015 leading family and children’s ministry. She loves to create space in the church for kids to explore God’s love at every age and stage of their development. She married Drake in 2016 and loves her two dogs, Apollo and Beau, as well as Swedish Fish, napping, gardening, and sewing.
Director of Youth Ministry
Erich received a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of West Georgia and a Master’s of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Before coming to Haygood, he was a youth pastor in Wedowee, Alabama, and Marietta, Georgia. Most recently he served as senior pastor for two small churches in Maysville, Georgia. Erich has been married to his wife, Rachel, for three years, and in their free time they enjoy cheering on their favorite college teams, UGA and Virginia Tech.
Director of Outreach and Care
Wally Rice is a native Floridian, born in Jacksonville and raised in Ocala. After working in the restaurant industry for 15 years, in 1990 he moved to Moscow, Russia. He helped start a church in the Solntsevo section of Moscow that became part of the newly formed Russia Conference of the United Methodist Church. He met his wife, Julia, at a Bible Study there. They moved from Moscow, Russia, to Moscow, Idaho, in 1998. He joined the Haygood staff in 2002 and received his Master’s of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology in 2003. He loves singing in the Haygood Chancel Choir, serving at Wednesday Night Suppers, and leading and participating in small-group Bible study. He and Julia treasure their three children and their escapes to Florida beaches.
Director of Music
Haygood is honored to have Tim direct its Chancel Choir, Handbell Choir, and Children’s Choir program. He holds a B.A. in Music Education and a Master’s of Music and is an experienced leader in choral music, music theatre, and general music in schools and churches in the metro area. As a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, he performed many seasons under the batons of Maestros Robert Shaw and Yoel Levi. Tim is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and numerous honors organizations. At Haygood, Tim’s music programs serve more than 75 children and adults, with others more than welcome! He enjoys travel – and his dogs are always schnauzers.
Director of Weekday Children’s Ministries
Whitney joined the staff of Haygood in 2014. Originally from Atlanta, she received her undergraduate degree in Art History from Washington University in St. Louis and her Master’s in Education with a concentration in early childhood education from the University of Georgia. She received her leadership endorsement from Georgia State University. Whitney was a teacher and administrator with Atlanta Public Schools before coming to the wonderful world of preschool. She is a certified L-5 Georgia educator, in addition to being ESOL-certified and Orton Gillingham-trained. Whitney is married to her high school sweetheart, Ted. They have three children, one of whom is a current Haygood student. In her free time, Whitney enjoys reading, running, sewing, community service, cheering on the Atlanta Braves, and traveling.
Director of Recreation
Debbie holds a number of titles on and off the court. Many of her basketball records at Boston University, where she graduated cum laude, still stand. She was a U.S. Olympian, competed as a professional in Europe and South America, helped pioneer the American Basketball League, and was the general manager for the Atlanta Glory. Debbie founded Top of the Key, a premier provider of basketball training, camps, and clinics for players and coaches – and she is a children’s book author. She leads our beloved Haygood Hoops, now 90 teams and approximately 900 players in five gyms. Debbie received the Atlanta Hawks’ 2018 True to Atlanta Award, presented by Kaiser Permanente to honor leaders who build bridges in their communities.
A lifelong Methodist, Ellen was born and raised in Selma, Ala. She holds a B.A. in Art from Montevallo College, Montevallo, Ala., and a Master’s of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. As a member of the North Georgia Conference, Ellen has held two appointments as senior pastor and five as a certified church business administrator. Ellen’s current tenure at Haygood is her third time with us! She and her two daughters attended here when Ellen was in seminary, she served as our business administrator 2005–2012, and she joined us again in the fall of 2018. We are happy she is “home”! Ellen enjoys spending time at the family cabin at Lake Junaluska, N.C.; painting with oils; and playing with her beautiful grandson.
Mary Ann Green
Mary Ann is a native Atlantan, and has lived in Morningside for more than 30 years. After graduation from the University of Georgia, she held leadership positions at Delta Air Lines and Turner Broadcasting System. She has been active in the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), serving on the board of the TAG Education Collaborative. Mary Ann spent several years on the board of directors of Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta, serving as chairman of the board and a member of the executive committee. In her free time, Mary Ann and her husband Peter enjoy hiking, traveling, and spending time with their 2 daughters (who attended Haygood Preschool).
Larry is from East Point, Georgia, the 12th of 13 children and a graduate of Russell High School. Larry is the proud father of three daughters and five grandchildren. He enjoys art and reads National Geographic— and he’s also a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and Alabama football and reads Track and Field. At Haygood, Larry says the staff and church members have created a warm, caring environment and are always ready to pitch in to help. He especially enjoys working around the kids. “They’re awesome,” he says!