Gurpreet Kaur is an experienced special education teacher with a distinguished career and a diverse background of work experience. She has 20 years of teaching experience in the United States and India. In the United States, she has spent 11 years teaching students with autism and related developmental delays and disabilities. For the first 2 years she taught in the Frederick County’s “Challenges” programs that serves the needs of students with autism and severe communication disorders. For the past 9 years she has been teaching at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD. In India, she taught high school geography and was also a team leader and the head examiner for Geography for the Indian Certification of Secondary Education (ICSE) board, New Delhi.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography, History, and English from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Annamalai University, Madras, India. She has two Masters Degrees from Hood College, Frederick, Maryland that includes Master of Science degree in Special Education (K-8), and a Master of Arts degree in Psychology (Human Sciences).

Her passion involves social work and community service. She has volunteered her time to help a wide range of organizations both in the United States and India, including the UNESCO Center for Peace, Frederick Chapter, the Mental Health Association, Frederick in the US and the Red Cross Society, the Hospital Welfare Society, and the Rotary International District 3070 in India. In 1993, she was a Group Study Exchange (GSE) awardee for France by the Rotary International, District 3070.

Ms. Kaur is a member for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and was the recording secretary for CEC, Hood College Chapter from 1998-1999. She has served on the board of Interfaith Housing Alliance, Inc. for two terms from 2005-2011. She has also served on the board for Teach Autistic Children Today, Inc. (TACT) from 2007-2011. She has been the President of the Indian Association of Frederick (IAF) in 2004 and has served on the IAF Executive Committee from 2002-2005. She is a member of the Diversity Committee at Frederick Community College since 2006. She has served on the board of Asian American Center of Frederick (AACF) since its inception in 2004, and then known as Learning Institute for Enrichment & Discovery (LIFE & Discovery). Currently she is serving as the Interim President of AACF.


Dr. Macri attended Temple University School of Medicine on a Navy Scholarship and graduated with an M.D. degree in 1983. She was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Navy Medical Corps upon graduation, and continued her medical training at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, completing a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1987. After serving a utilization tour as a general obstetrician/gynecologist at the Naval Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, she was selected for Fellowship training in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Macri devoted her entire military career to education at the pre-college, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. She is a nationally recognized speaker on health, gender and educational disparities in college and career preparation, cultural intelligence, leveraging cultural differences, professional development, health literacy, race and economic prosperity, and technology in the context of cultural preservation. She is the author or co-author of over 20 scientific papers, 3 book chapters, and over 200 invited presentations. In addition, she has received numerous community service awards for her innovative youth outreach programs to inspire middle and high school students from educationally, economically, and experientially diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in science, medicine, and technology.

In retirement she serves as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Center of Frederick, Vice President for Education and Integrative Medicine for LIFT A VET, the Executive Committee of the Japanese American Veterans Association, and Vice President for Health Programming for Asian Indians for Community Service.  In addition she serves as the District 8 Representative to the Maryland State Veterans Commission. Dr. Macri also volunteers as a primary care physician in Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties, and is a competitive adult soccer player in Howard, Montgomery, Arlington, and Fairfax Counties in the Washington, DC area.


Before coming to the United States, Dr. Shahid Rafiq, MD first practiced medicine in Pakistan and South Africa as an Internal Medicine Doctor. He developed a background in treating his patients as a whole in addition to concentrating on his area of expertise: neurology.  He also taught for medical schools, which fostered his interest in education, new interventions, and neurological research.

Dr. Rafiq is a board certified neurologist with additional board certifications in Vascular Neurology and Sleep Medicine.  He received his training in Neurology from Seton Hall University, NJ Neuroscience Institute in Edison, and completed his fellowship in Clinical Neurophysiology at the University of Texas, Health Science Center in San Antonio.

As an active member in the stroke education community, Dr. Rafiq is the founder and director of the Frederick Memorial Hospital Stroke Center, which is Frederick County’s only Certified Stroke Center, and he is spearheading a movement to reduce healthcare disparities in minorities in Frederick County. He is on the Board of Directors of the Asian American Center of Frederick, the founder of Frederick Youth Council, and is the Neurology and Stroke Director for Holy Cross. He is also an engaged member of the American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, American Stroke Association, and American Heart Association.


Rev. John Ponnala is the Family Advocate Coordinator and Surgery Chaplain, is an ordained Lutheran minister of the Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church of India, and is a Board Certified Chaplain through APC. John holds a masters of arts degree in history, and a bachelor of divinity degree from the Ecumenical Seminary of The United Theological College in Bangalore, India. He also holds a diploma in the Ecumenical Movement from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland, and advocates for the Dalit people (“untouchables”) of India.


Paul Li is the Founder of Calvin J Li Memorial Foundation, whose mission is to help bridge cultural gap between parents and children, raise the awareness of emotional wellbeing of the children, and promote a more supportive social and family environment for the children to grow and thrive.  Paul also founded FHL Investment Management Company, an investment advisor to individuals and institutions. Previously he was a partner and equity analyst at Brown Advisory, a Baltimore-based financial service company.

Paul came to the US from China in 1991. He obtained his Ph. D and MBA from Cornell University. He lives with his wife and daughter in Rockville, Maryland.


Charlotte Davis has over 20 years of professional experience in government, advocacy and political consulting.  She has spent over ten years working within the Maryland General Assembly most recently as Chief of Staff for a Committee Chair.  She has experience in non-profit management, managing a small organization dedicated to educating and advocating on behalf of Montgomery County, Maryland.  In the fall of 2012, Ms. Davis was a part of the successful campaign to change Frederick County’s form of government from Commissioner to Charter.  Currently, she serves as the Executive Director for the Rural Maryland Council, an independent state agency, which seeks to improve the quality to life while preserving the cultural heritage of Maryland’s rural communities.  She holds a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University.  She lives in Middletown, Maryland with her husband and two sons.


Magistrate Minner is a family law magistrate for the Circuit Court of Frederick County. She has been serving in this position since 2000. As a magistrate, she presides over approximately 2500 court proceedings per year involving divorce, custody, juvenile delinquency and child neglect proceedings. Magistrate Minner has served Frederick County since 1990 working as an attorney with the Office of the Public Defender and then in private practice. She is extensively involved with the community and courts, serving on many committees. Magistrate Minner is a lifelong resident of the area. She grew up in upper Montgomery County. She is a graduate of Poolesville High School and attended Frostburg State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and French. She then attended law school at the University of Baltimore. After graduating law school she settled in Frederick and has lived here for almost thirty years. She lives in downtown Frederick with her husband, Cam, and their children Lucy (age 16) and James (age 12).


A native of Hong Kong, Dr. Thomas Lo has been serving the Crofton/Bowie community since 1984.  He graduated from the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL in 1983.  Over 33 years of his solo practice, Dr. Lo has received numerous proficiency certifications; including: acupuncture, sports injuries, pain management, advanced activator methods, environmental stress management, low-level cold laser therapy and an advanced certification in clinical nutrition.  In his spare time, Dr. Lo remains active in the community.  He volunteers at his church and is a member of the Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce.




Patricia “Pat” Simons comes from a 35 year career in the Banking industry centered in investments, research, business development, and strategic deployment of capital on behalf of institutional bank customers.  She conducted seminars for bank employees in assisting customers, from individuals to Branch business clientele, in maximizing return on short-term, risk-free investments.  She developed long-term investment relationships with major not-for-profit institutions, consisting of state and local governments, labor unions, 501C-3 designees, corporations, and high net-worth individuals, for purpose of maximizing investment income without sacrificing safety or liquidity.