Meet the BTW Society Team
The Society is fortunate to have many talented volunteers and individuals available as needed to perform several functions and tasks as needed, without which the society would not be able to accomplish its goals and objectives.
Ronald Court, Founder and President
Ronald Court founded the Booker T. Washington Society to bring Dr. Washington's philosophy - grounded in three fundamental values: personal responsibility, a useful education, and economic independence - to today's new generation of young Americans.
He spends much of each year going about the country to talk about Booker T. Washington as an American Hero and real role model for all young Americans today, regardless of complexion.
Ron attributes his motivation to promote the vision and values of Booker T. Washington to seeds planted while graduating from Boston University in 1965 as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the Commencement address. In it, Dr. King declared "We must all learn to live together as brothers, or we will all perish together as fools."
Upon graduating, Ron was commissioned Lieutenant in the US Army and served in Vietnam ('66-'67) and was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman's Badge. Upon returning to civilian life, he moved to the Green Mountains of Vermont.
He has served as a Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, VT. In thirty+ years as a Rotarian, he has served as an Officer or Director of several Rotary Clubs. He was a Founding Director of 'Vermonters for Educational Choice', and elected Trustee of both The Essex Alliance Church and Trustee of the Village of Essex Junction, where he resides when not on the road.
Preston Dobbins, Big Mouth Presentations
Preston (aka: "The Rapper Jesse") Dobbins has been a key student presenter for Big Mouth Presentations since 2004. Prior to this, he worked with youth in after school programs and spent much of his time creating music. As a national recording hip-hop artist, under the name "The Rapper Jesse Thomas", his music has been heard throughout the US, as well as the UK and Mexico.
Preston uses his musical abilities to impress the importance of good character on youths across America. With his broad range of experiences - 13 years working with youths, 7 years in public speaking, and 15 years in music, Preston is a huge asset to Big Mouth Presentations. His expertise is presenting to students K-12 and helping to create new shows for youth.
Christopher Priebe, Big Mouth Presentations
Chris Priebe joined Big Mouth Presentations in 2007 as a top motivational speaker to K-12 students. In 2010, he assumed the additional role of Executive Director.
He continues to speak to students, inspiring hundreds of thousands to date, and conducts training sessions for educators and parents. Before joining Big Mouth, Chris ran a successful multi-media business with his wife and spoke to numerous select groups.
Jennifer Therrien, Free-Lance, All Around
During her time with the Society, Jennifer Therrien managed the website, designed graphics, and created newsletters, brochures, and publications.
Born in Basingstoke, U. K., she moved to Austin, TX in 1995 and to Vermont in 2010. She resides in South Burlington with her husband Michael (below).
She loves eating sushi, spending time with her Persian cat, Mia, is a big fan of the NY Yankees, and is always ready to pitch in then the Society needs an extra hand!
Michael Therrien, Web Master
Michael Therrien, originally from Gorham, NH, came to Burlington to attend Champlain College. Mike was the man on call when founder Ron Court called the college Help Desk for assistance. Mike readily demonstrated that he really knew his stuff. Ever since, Mike has been Ron's 'go to man' for all things computers, even after Mike graduated in 2009.
Mike's degree in Computer Networking & Information Security led to his current position as IT Director for a large chain of retail auto-parts stores.
(FYI: Back in april 2010, Mike responded to Ron's call for assistance, and met Ron's new associate: Jennifer. They were married December 30, 2011 in a beautiful snowy winter wedding.)
Peter Ambush, Artist
Peter Ambush, born in Frederick, Md., knew from an early age, that he wanted to be an artist. He received his bachelors's degree in fine art at the Maryland Institute College of Art and has studied and taught at the duCret School of Art in Plainfield, N.J.
Peter works in many fields of art such as greeting cards, caricatures, children's books, computer graphics and portraiture. For more than a decade, he was graphic artist and illustrator for the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, creating over 400 covers for its weekly "Scanner" TV guide.
Peter lives in Stroudsburg, Pa. with his wife and daughter, is a member of the Pocono Arts Council and of the International Guild of Realism.
Peter has generously donated much of his time and talent to the Society in painting his amazing portrait of Booker T. Washington and in providing graphic design expertise for the Society's publications.