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 (vice chair), interim executive director of Library Development with UNC-CH University Libraries.
  • Delores Bailey, executive director of EMPOWERment Inc., a non-profit in Orange County, NC.
  • William "Bill" Blackman, former Certified Public Accountant, having retired from a 47-year career, and a founding partner of Blackman & Sloop, CPAs.
  • Richard Blankenship (chair), chartered financial analyst and partner and senior portfolio manager with Franklin Street Partners of Chapel Hill.
  • Sue Coppola,clinical professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UNC School of Medicine.
  • Stephen Elkins-Williams, former rector of the Chapel of the Cross.
  • John P. (Jack) Evans, former faculty and dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-CH.
  • Audrey Galloway (secretary), associate state director for AARP North Carolina.
  • Josh Gurlitz, architect and owner of JGA Architects.
  • John Hawkins, architect with experience in community planning and preservation.
  • 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.
  • Betty Hughes (resident. ex-officio) former computer literary educator.
  • Melvin Huston, senior vice president of professional and support services for UNC Hospitals.
  • George Lensing (resident, ex-officio) retired Mann Family Professor of English at UNC-CH and served for more than 40 years on the Board of Directors of the Chapel Hill Inter-Church Council Housing Corp.
  • Larry McManus (treasurer), financial advisor at LFM Wealth Management and a certified financial planner and chartered retirement planning counselor.
  • Tom Miller, retired professor of medicine in the division of general medicine and clinical epidemiology at UNC.
  • Marianne Ratcliffe, president and CEO of Carol Woods.
  • Margarete Sandelowski (resident), former faculty member of the School of Nursing at UNC.
  • Adam Stein (resident), lawyer with 50-year career specializing in civil rights cases.
  • Crystal Torain, director of nursing at Piedmont Health Services Inc.

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

  • Dwayne Copeland, Director of Dining Services
  • Ann Bradford, Director of Home Services and Community Relations
  • James Best, Director of Facilities and Safety Officer
  • Tommy Best, Vice President of Campus Operations
  • Nikki Cooper, Vice President of Risk and Compliance 
  • Gerald Elliot Jr., Manager of Campus Safety and Security Services
  • Jessica Fines-Crawford, Nursing Home Administrator
  • Margaret Helton, Medical Director
  • Melanie Johnson, Lead Nursing Engagement Coach
  • Gretchen Likins, Director of Admissions and Public Relations
  • Eric Panknin, Director of Information Technology
  • Ken Reeb Jr., Chief Financial Officer 
  • Wanda Rone, Manager of Housekeeping
  • Jennifer Schilkowski, Manager of Grounds
  • Liz Tomajko, Vice President of Human Resources
  • Veronica Watts, Manager of Housekeeping
  • Jen Wilson, Vice President of Well-Being