Carol Woods values collaboration between board members, residents and staff. Carol Woods is a single-site, not-for-profit community, and a local, all-volunteer board of directors has ultimate fiduciary responsibility for the community.

From its inception in the 1970s, resident initiative has been a cornerstone of the Carol Woods community. Residents serve on the board of directors and advisory committees. They also make up more than 80 committees and interest groups that plan activities and give input into day-to-day life at Carol Woods.

Our CEO has an open-door policy, and encourages all residents and staff to contribute to making Carol Woods the standard of excellence among continuing care retirement communities. With a flattened organizational structure, an educational mission and a policy of promoting from within, Carol Woods strives to develop employees and interns into leaders with a passion for the field of aging.

Board of Directors

The Carol Woods Board of Directors includes 16 members selected from and broadly representative of leadership in the larger Chapel Hill/Durham communities. In addition, four Carol Woods residents and the Carol Woods president/CEO serve on the board. The board provides strategic direction to management and receives input directly from residents. The board, residents and staff work collaboratively to ensure Carol Woods retains its position as a leader in the field of aging and as a desirable place for present and future residents to live.

Our Board

  • Jess Aylor, independent consultant for nonprofits and foundations, specializing in social impact, organizational development, and philanthropy.
  • William "Bill" Blackman, former Certified Public Accountant, having retired from a 47-year career, and a founding partner of Blackman & Sloop, CPAs.
  • Richard Blankenship (vice chair), chartered financial analyst and partner and senior portfolio manager with Franklin Street Partners of Chapel Hill.
  • Carol Candler (resident), former staff member in alumni affairs at Northwestern University.
  • John P. (Jack) Evans, former faculty and dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-CH.
  • Anne Fishel (resident), former faculty at UNC-CH who taught psychiatric nursing and did research on various family issues.
  • Audrey Galloway (secretary), associate state director for AARP North Carolina.
  • Josh Gurlitz, architect and owner of JGA Architects.
  • John Hawkins, architect focused on educational and institutional structures including buildings in the UNC system.
  • Charles House, since 1980 has been the owner of University Florist, a local fixture since 1946. He is an Army veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
  • Melvin Huston, senior vice president of professional and support services for UNC Hospitals.
  • Jim Kitchen, professor of entrepreneurship and an entrepreneur-in-residence at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School.
  • Larry McManus (treasurer), financial advisor at LFM Wealth Management and a certified financial planner and chartered retirement planning counselor.
  •  Brenda Mitchell, associate professor and associate chair for Student Services and Area Health Education Centers operations in the Department of Allied Health Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill and is on the faculty in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
  • Marianne Ratcliffe, president and CEO of Carol Woods.
  • Mark Royster, pastor and former banker.
  • Robert (Bob) Saunders (chair), tax and business lawyer with experience in the nonprofit sector.
  • Adam Stein (resident), lawyer with 50-year career specializing in civil rights cases.
  • Marian Stephenson (resident), retired dental hygiene educator and associate professor.

Resident Council

The Resident Council is a nine-person resident board that is elected annually by all Carol Woods residents. The president and vice president of the council serve as ex officio members on the Carol Woods Board of Directors. Each month, all Carol Woods residents gather for a Residents’ Association meeting to hear a report from the council and the Carol Woods CEO, and to discuss any issues facing the community.

Management Team

The Management Team oversees general operations for the community. Departments also have Resident Advisory Committees that assist in the guidance of decision making.

Marianne Ratcliffe, President and CEO

Marianne joined Carol Woods in 2021 after a career in senior health services, most recently with Piedmont Health Services, Inc. where she developed Piedmont Health SeniorCare, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. PACE is a full-risk model of care providing frail seniors with comprehensive medical and social services needed to age safely in their community. Prior to Piedmont Health, Marianne worked as a program manager for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation and was a program officer for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. In both roles she focused on initiatives supporting healthcare access for vulnerable populations.

Marianne is a graduate of Skidmore College and earned her master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.


Additional team members

  • Leah Adeniji, Vice President of Campus Services
  • Dwayne Copeland, Director of Dining Services
  • Ann Bradford, Director of Home Services
  • James Best, Director of Facilities and Safety Officer
  • Tommy Best, Manager of Grounds
  • Nikki Cooper, Vice President of Technology and Compliance 
  • Gerald Elliot Jr., Manager of Security, Communications, and Transportation
  • Melanie Johnson, Lead Nursing Engagement Coach
  • Gretchen Likins, Director of Admissions and Public Relations
  • Gavin Locklear, Nursing Home Administrator
  • Ken Reeb Jr., Chief Financial Officer 
  • Wanda Rone, Manager of Housekeeping
  • Liz Tomajko, Vice President of Human Resources
  • Veronica Watts, Manager of Housekeeping
  • Jen Wilson, Vice President of Well-Being