Executive Management Team

Founding Volunteer (FV):
Jeffrey “J” Prothero

Founding Volunteer (FV): Jeffrey “J” Prothero

Born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, I was blessed to have a dad who required of my having a hard work ethic and the know-how to do things right. On this foundation, my summers were spent working my way through college painting houses. From fall through spring, I studied Finance for the sole purpose of knowing what to do with my paycheck once I entered ‘the real world’. After dabbling in post-graduate studies in MIS and Computer Science, I became bored and restless. It was time for me to go to work and find a company whose opportunities matched my career objectives.

Five years of boot camp with AT&T in hardware sales prepared me for having my own business again, coincidentally in the Finance space. Some 25 years later, I left that company so I could explore my longing to teach and work with kids. By then, it was late 2014 and finding myself perfectly situated at Roswell High School as a parent volunteer in their new Construction Technology program. It was here that I fell in love with the opportunity to be a part of something truly great which had the potential to impact hundreds of kids, many of whom lacked a ‘personal connection’ to public school. So, here I am… never before happier… and a member of an awesome team of Toolbox volunteers who pour themselves into the lives of elementary and middle school kids, so that they might discover more about who they actually are when they get to build with their hands. It is my belief that all the while they are building with their hands, so too are they building that ‘personal connection’ and so too are they building confidence and pride, two things that are imperative to our overarching hope for all children. And, that hope is for them to simply be happy.

Vice Volunteer
Rita Mantel

Vice Volunteer Rita Mantel

Rita was fortunate to grow up in a family that just assumed that anything that was needed for the family, from a major addition to the honeymoon cottage that kept growing with the family, to new clothes for everyone, would be a DIY project. As the eldest of seven, she spent many hours working next to her dad, learning how to use woodworking tools and techniques for various construction projects.

Her knowledge of basic building was useful as CFO and partner in Scale Reproductions, Inc, in Fairhope, Al. With the acquisition of Permatherm, Inc, in 2005 she and her partners managed and grew a specialty building materials company into a leader in their industry.

Vice Volunteer Ken Briggs

Vice Volunteer Ken Briggs

Moved from Detroit in 1974 worked in the HVAC industry for 43 years. I’ve always worked with my hands and think people need to find their passion for the skills they have. Toolbox is a way for kids to experience the creative side of woodworking. Fun to watch the kids succeed at small tasks. I’m retired now and do woodworking and building projects with my son.

Chief Volunteer of Elementary Education (CVEE):
Marcia Mika

Chief Volunteer of Elementary Education (CVEE): Marcia Mika

I always wanted to teach. I began my teaching career in third grade in Montgomery County, Maryland. While teaching, I attended Western Maryland College and received my Master’s Degree in Reading. This began a 43-year love of teaching. I taught 31 years in Montgomery County, and 12 years in Fulton County. I retired in 2013. I then substituted for two years in Fulton County. I began to look for volunteer opportunities. When Jay Prothero called and told me about a vision he had for teaching children construction skills, I was doubtful I could be of any help. I told him that I knew nothing about building and he responded, “True, but you know kids.” While building and constructing, the children are not only learning with their hands, but with their minds. It is amazing to see the growth and skills that these students achieve. And…..I have learned a thing or two myself!

Vice Volunteer Clara Montoya

Vice Volunteer Clara Montoya

Clara was born and raised in Colombia. She has a degree in Civil Engineering and worked in
various roles for an insurance Company before moving with her husband to the United States in
1999. In 2011, she graduated from the Translation and Interpretation Program at Georgia State
University, and later obtained her ATA Certification and became a Certified Court Interpreter.
Clara also loves to teach, and in addition to teaching English to elementary kids back in
Colombia has taught Spanish to adults in the U.S. She enjoys tennis, photography, crochet, and
other crafts.

Clara and Juan Carlos, her husband of 22 years, have one son, Nicolas, who is now a senior at
GA Tech. She is very happy to cooperate with Toolbox in improving levels of satisfaction and
optimism in young students through building with their hands. Clara’s varied experiences will
be put to good use as she assists Toolbox with portions of the instructional video library.

Vice Volunteer Steve Morgan

Vice Volunteer Steve Morgan

When Jim Owen, a fellow Roswell Presbyterian Church member told me about a children’s construction skills class, I was excited to get involved in Toolbox. Growing up I loved using my hands to take things apart and to build things. I had a shop class and a drafting class in my teen years, and I learned key skills to build things and to design and draw home construction plans.  Plus, I learned how to use various hand tools and power tools. These experiences provided me with a strong foundation on how things are made and built. Toolbox reminds me of those years and how excited I was learning these basic skills and what I could accomplish with my hands and mind. I want the students to experience this same excitement when creating and building and learning new skills that will last them a lifetime. Toolbox provides these new skills and expands students’ knowledge in a fun format, and it is exciting to see the students achieve these when completing various Toolbox projects.

Chief Volunteer of Media Relations (CVMR):
Effie White

Effie White

Chief Volunteer Webmaster (CVWM): Effie White

I am Media and Marketing Manager with almost two decades of experience writing, engaging, building and designing in the online space. Although my tools are digital, I am no less dedicated to my craft than those who build in the physical world.

I first learned about Toolbox when I signed up my son for the Young Apprentice Construction Club. As a parent volunteer, I got to see firsthand the joy and pride of the children as they built their projects with their own hands.

I believe that education should be adaptive and accessible to students regardless of income or zip code. I am excited to be a part of the Toolbox team because it offers free, hands-on, real-world education and experience to children, many of whom may otherwise not have such an opportunity.

Chief Volunteer of Technology (CVT):
Tony Pizi

Chief Volunteer of Technology (CVT): Tony Pizi

While growing up in a small town outside of Huntington, WV I developed a curiosity of tools while building tree houses and go-karts. During a college internship, I was attracted to one of the early personal computers at Exxon Corporation and discovered that the tools to work on these were very different. This newfound interest led to an exciting career in software technology where I continue to work today. I’ve founded two high-tech start-ups, served as Chief Technology Officer at UBS, Deutsche Bank, and Merrill Lynch, and had teams that have twice won the Windows World Open. None of this would have been possible if not for those early years spent working with hand tools, for this is what provided the required confidence for me to tackle ever more challenging projects in the world of technology.