Our Staff

Executive Staff

Click on a staff member below to view their contact information and to learn more about our team.

Malcolm Ratchford Executive Director

Malcolm Ratchford is the 4th Executive Director of Community Action Council for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties. Malcolm has been with the Community Action network since 1996, having previously served the organization as the Senior Manager for Neighborhood and Community Services and as Head Start Director. Malcolm earned his Bachelor's Degree in History Pre-Law from Talladega College and holds a Master's Degree in Family Studies, Early Childhood Education from the University of Kentucky. He has dedicated his career to advocating for equity and access to opportunity for all people through his work with structural racism, addressing the achievement gap, convicted felons rights and employment, inner-city youth, urban and rural poverty, immigration reform, and a variety of other conditions that serve as systemic barriers within our communities. His vision for Community Action Council includes making intentional investments in individuals and communities while advocating for the elimination of structural barriers that block access to opportunity for America's most vulnerable.

Show Malcolm's Questions  

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

Watching my favorite teams (basketball & football).

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

Being in the front row of the music awards when Michael Jackson did the moonwalk for the first time. A future event would be to see the Dallas Cowboys play at home.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

Read the news online and roam Facebook.

What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

When I got my new job I realized I had to expand my leadership capabilities which in turn made me stronger.

Catrena Bowman Director of Community Services / CSBG Director
Catrena was a Head Start child in the early 1970s. She credits Head Start with giving her a desire to learn and explore all the many possibilities the world has to offer. Today, as the Council’s Director of Community Services, Catrena oversees operations at all of the Council’s Community centers. She finds it rewarding to provide services and crisis assistance to families, giving them a toolkit of resources to help them reach their economic, social, and personal goals. Catrena holds a B.A. in Family Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on non-profit management. A mother of three, she loves gospel music and is a liturgical dancer at her church. She is also a shopaholic and a self-professed fashionista.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

I don’t have an iPod however, I listened to Ty Tribett, old school (90’s R&B and rap) when I was in high school. I loved Guns and Roses

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Pay all my and my mother’s bills.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Attorney and a Fashion Model.

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Staying out past my curfew partying with friends.

Betty Jones Director of Property Development and Services
Betty has been with the Council since 1991. A graduate of the University of North Alabama with a degree in Management Information Systems, she is responsible for the management of all the Council’s properties and facilities, ensuring that they meet all statutory, regulatory policy and procedural requirements. In her free time, Betty loves watching westerns on TV.

What’s your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?

Reading.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

The coming of Christ.

When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?

Let my mind wonder.

What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?

The passing of my Mom.

Melissa Kane Director of Planning, Communications and Advancement
A native of Chesapeake, Virginia, Melissa came to Kentucky from Baltimore, Maryland in 2011. Melissa’s office is responsible for the Council’s strategic planning, data collection and analysis, public communications, fundraising, and developing grant proposals. Melissa obtained a Baccalaureate degree in Psychology from Bridgewater College and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from The Johns Hopkins University. Melissa resides in Lexington and is currently engaged to be married. She is a fan of the Kentucky Theatre and The Local Taco Restaurant.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Spaghetti and meatballs. It’s still a favorite food!

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

35 felt like a pretty good year.

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

True story. When I was 16 and working in a video store, Silence of the Lambs came out on video. So many people returned the movie and said I looked like Jodie Foster’s character Clarice in the movie. All I could see is that we both had shoulder length brown hair.

When was the last time you had an amazing meal?

It really doesn’t take much to please me. So, last weekend! Grilled hamburgers and homemade guacamole.

Sharon Price Director of Child Development / Head Start Director
Sharon Price has 25 years of experience working with children, families and the community to empower people with low income. Sharon graduated from Southern University, with the original plan of teaching history to high school students. It was during her search for high-quality child care for her own children that Sharon’s focus switched to young children. To this day, Sharon’s dedication comes from her belief that all parents love their children and wants the same quality of care and education for their children that she wanted for hers. As a mother of four and a former Head Start parent—as well as a teacher of children from infancy to school age—Sharon’s experience working with and for children is extensive. She believes that her role is really all about serving others, doing what she can to help make a difference in the life of a child or family.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Oh, I hate doing laundry. I really think that I do at least 100 thousand pounds of laundry each week. I have the clothes that they wear to school, the clothes that they work out in, the clothes that they wear from the work out, the clothes that they tried on and never put back in the closet that made it to the dirty clothes. Clothes...Clothes…Clothes…

What is your favorite childhood memory?

I have two. First, I grew up on a farm in Louisiana, which means that we ate what we grew. There was really no such thing as eating out. But, I remember when McDonald’s opened in the town where I lived. I wanted to go there so bad I could hardly stand it! I’m the youngest of 12 children so one of my brothers brought me there when he was home from law school. It was the best hamburger I ever had in my life!! And, to top it off, Ronald McDonald was there!!!!! Second, My first time going to the circus was amazing! I remember a beautiful lady swinging by her neck and dancing in the air with a flowing garment on. I would take my mom’s lace that she used to sew onto dresses and tie around my arms and waist so I could flow too. I used to pretend that I was that lady and turn round and round and around until I’d get dizzy. What a treat!

What are some songs that you love?

“I’m the man!” I just love to listen to it over and over again—Stand up and face the sun! Be a king when kingdom comes!! “Wooly Bully” It’s a favorite of my family—Kinda like a family theme song. We have a dance that we do to it and everything. “Matilda, I Cried for You” It makes me tear up nearly every time I hear it.

Bridgett Rice Director of Human Resources
Bridgett began her employment with the Council in 1994 as the Human Resources Manager. She currently has over 30 years of Human Resources experience, 20 of which have been in a leadership role. Bridgett currently serves as the Director of Human Resources with a strong knowledge in recruitment, employee relations, employee development, payroll, training, compensation, benefits and worker’s compensation. She has provided Human Resources services in both the public and non-profit sectors. Bridgett earned her BS in Business Administration and Economics and a MS in Public Administration, specializing in Human Resources. Bridgett has been a certified community action professional for the past 14 years. She is an active member of Society for Human Resources Management. Bridgett has been married for 34 years and is the mother of two children. She serves faithfully in her church and is a life member of the illustrious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Being of “Service to All Mankind”, is the motto in which Bridgett plans to live the rest of her life by.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Take me to the King.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Go to Vegas and double it.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Forensic Profiler.

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Skipped school.

Karen Thomas Office Manager for OED
Karen Thomas was born in Bradenton, Florida and grew up in Nicholasville, Kentucky. She has been with the Council since 2011, working first in an Administrative Assistant position and then an Office Manager in the Executive Director’s office. Karen is currently working on her Associates Degree in Business Management and Marketing, after which, she will be going towards her Bachelors Degree in Business Management. Karen is newly engaged and is the proud mom of two teenage children who keep her busy living the “taxi cab” life.

What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Washing dishes by hand or folding laundry.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

Billie Holiday and Nikola Tesla.

What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?

Skyscraper - Demi Levatto, Crazy - CeeLo Green, Three Little Birds - Bob Marley, Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson

What story does your family always tell about you?

I’m terrified of clowns. About 9 years ago we went to Golden Corral (on a Tuesday...kid’s night...never again) and sat in a booth with me sitting on the inside of the booth. Not long after sitting down we notice a clown come in and start makingballoons for kids. As he makes his way around the room I get really nervous. I kept my eye on him the entire time but the very second I took my eye off him, he was at OUR table. I don’t know what happened but something kicked in and I jumped over the booth seat I was in to the one behind me and took off. I was terrified and my family just sat there dying laughing at me. I didn’t find it very funny.

Karla Underwood Director of Information Technology
Karla has been with the Council since 1993 and has served as Director of Information Technology since 2007. Her unit manages the Council’s computers, telephone systems, wireless accounts and databases, maintains system security, and provides training on Council’s data tracking systems. Karla is a graduate of Ohio University with a degree in Social Work. She was originally hired to provide administrative support for the Council’s Operation Family, a comprehensive child development Program that was part of a national pilot project for what would become Early Head Start.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

On my iPhone it is "Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me," the NPR quiz show.

If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?

Go on an extended vacation.

What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

Fighting with my brother.

David Webster Chief Financial Officer
David lives in Georgetown, Kentucky with his wife and two Chihuahuas. He grew up in the Winburn subdivision in Lexington and attended Morehead State University receiving his education in Accounting and Music. His business career has included business manager of a nonprofit and Chief Financial Officer of an Engineering Design firm in Lexington, KY. After receiving a Master’s degree in Education and teaching in public schools for a brief period, he has found his home with the Community Action Council. David has played saxophone with groups such as The Trendells, Men of Note, The Metrognomes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Percy Sledge. When not crunching numbers or making music, his passion is spending time with his wife and adult children.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

My mom made the best tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich.

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

I remember when I was 36 and both my kids were starting grade school. That was the best!

Which celebrity do you get mistaken for?

Charles Groden – He has a dry humor and I looked like him when I had more hair.

Board of Directors

From the start, citizen participation has been an essential element and goal of Community Action. We listen to people with low income and let them take the lead in finding solutions to poverty in our community. By design, the Council's volunteer Board of Directors has a tripartite (three-part) structure. One part consists of individuals with low income who live in the community, while the other two parts are staffed by public officials and representatives from the private sector such as civic and business leaders. Together, these diverse segments of the community provide a range of perspectives to meet unique local needs.

Mr. David O'Neill Fayette County PVA
Ms. Michele Lee Lex-Fayette Urban County Housing Authority
Ms. Debra Jones-Relford CAC South Lexington Center
Mr. Jim Gray LFUCG Mayor
Dr. Ann Vail UK - College of Social Work
Ms. Jackie Brown CAC Fayette West Center
Mr. Art Crosby Lex. Fair Housing Council
Mr. Joshua G. Lewis US Bank
Ms. Tyrona Nelson CAC East End Center
Ms. Theresa Maynard LFUCG Dept. of Social Services
Ms. Patricia White Mt. Calvary Baptist Church
Ms. Roberta Davis CAC Nicholas County Center
Ms. Kelly R. Duffy Catholic Action Center
Ms. Natasha Begin Transylvania University
Ms. Bryanna Carroll Kentucky League of Cities
Dr. John Riley Fayette County Board of Health
Judge Kathy Stein Fayette Family Court
Mr. Richard Heine League of Women Voters of Lex., Inc.
Ms. Elizabeth Villafuerte CAC Harrison County Center
Dr. Janet P. Ford UK College of Social Work
Mr. Edward Prentice United Auto Workers
Ms. Denise Beatty Division of Family Support
Mr. Alex Barnett Harrison County Fiscal Court
Ms. Rowena Mahloch CAC Russell School Center Area
Ms. Delilah Leavell CAC West End Center
Mr. Michael R. Williams Bourbon County Courthouse
Ms. Maria Rutherford Bluegrass Community & Technical College
Ms. Michele Leach CAC Winburn Center
Mr. Mike Pryor Nicholas County Courthouse
Ms. Cynthia Kay RSVP/Foster Grandparents Policy Council
Ms. Michelle Hood Fayette Project Independence
Ms. Mary C. Morton CAC Russell School Center
Ms. Eileen Cooper CAC Bourbon County Center