Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of American Atheists is made up of dedicated volunteers who oversee the operations and continued success of the organization.
David Silverman is President of American Atheists and was the creator and Executive Producer of the 2012 Reason Rally. He attended Brandeis University, where he completed his Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science while honing his debating skills with theists in numerous informal debates. Dave served as a professional inventor at Bell Labs for 8 years (74 issued patents) and a Marketing Director for Natural Microsystems.
He has been an atheist since he was 6-years-old. Dave became an activist in 1996 and soon became New Jersey State Director. He also founded the Alliance of Lucent and AT&T Atheists and Secularists, the first employee club of its kind. He was tapped to be the National Spokesperson in 2004, and then was named Vice President in 2008. The Board of Directors elected Dave as President in September of 2010.
Mr. Silverman has appeared on most major news programs including The O'Reilly Factor (spawning the famous "WTF meme-face"), Scarborough Country, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, CNN's Paula Zahn NOW, Nick News, Hannity and Colmes, FOX and Friends, NPR's All Things Considered, and many more.
Dave can be reached via email or at (908) 276-7300 X5.
Kathleen Johnson is Vice President of American Atheists and has served American Atheists as an activist since 1997. She previously held the position of Military Director for American Atheists, a position she helped create to help American Atheists better serve and assist the military population and engage in military-related activism.
Mrs. Johnson served more than 22 years on active duty with the Army, retiring in 2008 at the rank of First Sergeant and continues to serve the Army as a civilian employee. During her service, she served in several active combat zones, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Also while on active duty, she earned a masters degree in Forensic Science from the University of Florida as well as a masters degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.
Mrs. Johnson was raised Christian but knew from a very young age that she was an atheist. She recalls attending bible school, where she attempted several times to be "saved", but gave up because it "wouldn't take". After many years of service, she joined American Atheists after experiencing religious discrimination and harassment at the hands of a commander. Immediately after joining American Atheists, she searched for a military-related activist group and finding none, she founded the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and served at its first president until 2001 when she stepped down to become American Atheists' first military director.
Mrs. Johnson's activism includes appearances on Fox News, extensive quotes in news articles in Newsweek, Alternet, Huffington Post, and other media outlets, and she organized a rally on the steps of the Texas state capitol to protest the removal of Thomas Jefferson from social studies texts.
Neal's first work for American Atheists was in 1993 when he volunteered to help echo press releases through the old American Atheist FAXNet. He was one of the original volunteers who helped expand American Atheists in the eastern part of the country. Neal has served as a member of the American Atheists Board of Directors since 1995 and has served as Chairperson since 2009.
In addition to his Board service, Neal was the National Outreach Director of American Atheists from 1996 through 2001. During Neal’s tenure as National Outreach Director, he headed the American Atheists Volunteers, and organized a new national system of State Directors geared toward Atheist activism. Neal wrote the "American Atheists Activists Handbook" and the "State Director Handbook." As National Outreach Director, he began the annual American Atheists Letter to the Editor Competition in 2000 and ran it through 2010.
Ellen Wingrove is the Treasurer of American Atheists and the CFO of Beltway Atheists. Ellen was raised as an Episcopalian, from an old Virginia family (related to Thomas Jefferson), and began her road to Atheism during her confirmation classes, when she irritated the priest with her incessant questions. She abandoned all belief while in high school religion classes, and went to church in college only to sing in the choir. She met Rick Wingrove, currently the Capitol Area Director for American Atheists, 30 years ago, and he convinced her to finally come out as an Atheist.
Ellen works for a think tank, still hoping to convince the federal government to do the right thing with its computers. She has a BS in Computer Science and Psychology from Duke University and a MS in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Ellen and her husband Rick live in Northern Virginia, near Washington DC. Besides helping to turn a red state blue and spreading understanding about atheism, Ellen loves to sail and ski.
A member of American Atheists since 1973, life member since 1981, gold life member since 2013, and a board member since 1991, Chris Allen served as co-director of the Utah Chapter of American Atheists for 12 years then co-led Utah Atheists / Salt Lake Valley Atheists for eight more. As an activist, Chris campaigned against the tax-exempt status of church-affiliated "nonprofit" hospitals to protest their diversion of funds to churches.
As chapter director, he filed four lawsuits in Utah challenging graduation and city council prayer. In 1993, he served on a committee for the Utah legislature and was successful in derailing a constitutional amendment designed to weaken state-church separation. In 1994, he co-wrote the official voters' guide argument against another constitutional amendment promoting religion in public schools and helped win the defeat of that amendment at the polls.
In 2005, he filed a complaint against the State of Utah and the Utah Highway Patrol Association contesting their 12 foot steel crosses with UHP logos on them, erected on public property to memorialize troopers killed in the line of duty. American Atheists filed suit and won a permanent legal victory (American Atheists v. Duncan) in 2011, forcing the removal of the crosses to private property.
Seth Andrews, a former Christian broadcaster and believer for 30 years, ultimately escaped the bonds of superstitious thinking to embrace the more satisfying explanations that science provides. A professional video producer, host of a weekly podcast with 600,000 monthly downloads and founder of one of the most popular atheist communities on the internet, The Thinking Atheist, Mr. Andrews now uses his abilities to publicly challenge the religious beliefs that defined his youth.
Mr. Andrews was elected to the American Atheists Board of Directors in 2016.
August Berkshire co-founded the modern atheist movement in Minnesota in 1984 with the Twin Cities Chapter of American Atheists (which became Minnesota Atheists in 1991). He is chair of the Minnesota Atheists’ legislative committee. He has testified at the Minnesota State capitol numerous times, has authored a bill legalizing atheist wedding celebrants that is currently before the state legislature, and has co-authored a friend-of-the-court brief on marriage equality.
He is the author of numerous pamphlets on atheism and related topics. His friendly atheism has garnered him repeated speaking engagements at Christian high schools and colleges, among other places. Since 2002 he has owned the ATHEIST car license plate for Minnesota.
He served on the American Atheists national board of directors in the late 1980s and is pleased to return to duty in 2015.
Marsha Botzer has served the LGBT community for more than 30 years and is the founder of Seattle's Ingersoll Gender Center. Marsha has twice served as the co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was the national co-chair of the 2008 Obama Pride Campaign, and is a faculty member of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center's Emerging Leaders Program.
Ms. Botzer has won numerous awards for her activism and leadership and is a vocal advocate for atheists in the LGBT community.
Ms. Botzer was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016.
Matt Dillahunty is a former Southern Baptist who has been hosting The Atheist Experience for over a decade. In addition to being a highly regarded public speaker and debater, Matt also produces videos designed to help atheists become more comfortable and proficient at debating.
He enjoys performing magic and mentalism, especially when they can be used to teach lessons about skepticism. Matt lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Beth.
Mr. Dillahunty was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015.
Board Member, Director of State & Regional Operations
Ken Loukinen oversees the State & Regional Directors of American Atheists. Ken is a founding member and past president of FLASH (Florida Atheists and Secular Humanists) and a member of the American Atheists Board of Directors. Mr. Loukinen started working with American Atheists as the South Florida Regional Director and was appointed to his current position in 2010.
Mr. Loukinen is a retired Paramedic / Firefighter and served in the United States Army as a Combat Medic. He has appeared on a number of local, state, and regional television and radio programs and is an outspoken advocate for increased science standards in Florida public schools.
Steven Lowe is an atheist activist based in Washington, D.C. Steve grew up in rural Virginia and attended the University of Virginia. After earning a BA in mathematics, Steve joined the Peace Corps where he served for two years in Zaire teaching secondary school mathematics in French. He recently retired from a twenty-year career in sales and operations with various US telephone companies.
He has been active in the Freethought, Humanist, and Atheist movement since 2001, when he discovered the illuminating works of the Four Horsemen (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Dennett). He has researched and published articles about Robert G. Ingersoll, gives walking tours about Ingersoll's life in Washington, D.C., and founded the Robert G. Ingersoll Oratory Contest, which has been held three times.
He is a longtime member of the board of directors of the Washington Area Secular Humanists. Mr. Lowe was elected to the American Atheists Board of Directors in 2015.
Mario Stanton is a paramedic/firefighter and founder of the Black Atheists group on Facebook. Since 2009, Black Atheists (BA) has grown to about 7000 members with hundreds of posts daily. The group had been featured in The New York Times and The Griot. It had also spawned several other Facebook groups.
Mr. Stanton has been an activist and mentor since he was in high school. In 11th grade, he held talks with several junior high and middle school students about self-esteem and non-violent conflict resolution. At 17 years old, he volunteered for a local environmental group and would canvass door to door for donations or to inform the public about projects that would adversely affect Missouri’s natural treasures. He volunteered with many political campaigns and was involved in the labor movement. He also volunteered as a youth baseball coach and still mentors young, at risk, inner city youth.
Mr. Stanton believes in secular humanistic values such as charity, kindness, fairness, and empathy. He is known for his generosity, outgoing nature, courtesy, kindness, and sense of humor. He was elected to serve on the American Atheists in 2015.
Mandisa Thomas is the founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism, and Islam.
Ms. Thomas has a number of media appearances to her credit, including CBS Sunday Morning, CNN.com, and JET magazine. She has been a guest on podcasts such as Life After God, The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. Mandisa served on the Board for Reason Rally 2016, and previously for Foundation Beyond Belief, and the Secular Coalition for America. She has presented at conferences/conventions for American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, and many others.
As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Ms. Thomas works to encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones.
Ms. Thomas was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016.
Frank Zindler was the Interim President of American Atheists in 2008 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. Frank has served as the editor of American Atheist magazine and is the Director of American Atheist Press.
A former professor of biology, psychobiology, and geology, Frank is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Academy of Science, Society of Biblical Literature, and American School of Oriental Research. Frank is an active debater and author, and has written and spoken extensively on Biblical history, creationism, and evolution. Among his many books are "The Jesus the Jews Never Knew," "Through Theist Eyes: Scenes From a World That Won't Reason" (4 volumes), and "Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth."
Indra Zuno is a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She enjoyed a successful career as an actress on stage and television in Mexico before moving to Los Angeles, California in the late 1990s. Ms. Zuno now works as a Certified Spanish Court Interpreter in the Federal and State Court systems, for the US Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California, and for private civil litigation attorneys. Active in her community, Ms. Zuno has also been an long time participant in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program.