Linda Dunlavy, RDI President, serving since 2001
Linda Dunlavy is the Executive Director of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG). She has worked for the FRCOG since 1993 and has been Executive Director since 1999. The FRCOG serves the 26 towns of Franklin County and provides regional services that include economic development, transportation, emergency preparedness, natural resource, and teen health advocacy planning, as well as municipal services including building inspection, public health and town accounting. Over her career, Linda has worked with many regional partners to improve the conditions of Franklin County and western MA. In addition to being chair of the board of Rural Development, Inc., Linda is the gubernatorial appointment to the Board of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute and Massachusetts Rural Policy Advisory Commission of which she is chair, recently sat on a committee formed by the Lt. Governor to address how the Commonwealth can attract workers to municipal service and sits on several other regional and state boards and committees.
Christopher Sikes, RDI Vice President, serving since 2014
Christopher recently retired from his 30 years tenure as the CEO of Common Capital, a community development financial institution. He currently works with nonprofits on community projects that require financial development. His main focus is on developing local supply chains for the agricultural economy.
Clare Higgins, RDI Treasurer, serving since 2011
Clare has been the Executive Director at Community Action Pioneer Valley — the Federally designated anti-poverty agency serving more than 30,000 of our neighbors in Franklin, Hampshire, Western Hampden, and North Quabbin regions, since 2011. Clare worked as an early childhood educator, working with children birth through five years old for many years. She was the Young Parent Childcare Director for Sojourn, Inc. before becoming a Childcare Center Director and then the Child Care Program Director at Hampshire Community Action Commission from 1990-1999. Clare is perhaps most widely recognized for her lengthy political career after having served three terms on the Northampton City Council and six terms as Mayor of the City of Northampton from January of 2000 to September of 2011.
Clare has served as a member of the Massachusetts Rural Services Commission, the Special Commission on Early Education and Care Operations and Finance, Commissioner of the Northampton Housing Authority, and a member of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She is currently a trustee of Greenfield Community College, and a member of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Wayfinders boards. She has been a member of the Rural Development Inc. board for nine years.
Regina Curtis, RDI Secretary, serving since 2000
Regina serves as the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Greenfield Community College in Western Massachusetts, working to support and promote the College through Foundation and Grants fundraising and Government/Community Relations. Prior to joining the college in 2005, she worked in the Massachusetts General Court, serving on the legislative staff of State Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) as District Coordinator for six years, a position she accepted after twenty years working in the fields of municipal government and human services.
She is a staunch supporter and beneficiary of public higher education. In addition to her fifteen years in support of student success at Greenfield Community College, she is also a proud alum of that institution, where she attended as a non-traditional student in pursuit of her Associate’s Degree. She continued on to obtain her Bachelor’s at Mass College of Liberal Arts and her Master’s in Business Administration at Fitchburg State University.
Ms. Curtis has also supported her community through decades of involvement in a number of civic activities, including serving on the Boards of LifePath, the area elder services agency, and Rural Development, Inc., a nonprofit rural affordable housing development organization. She is also a supporter of programs that address literacy, domestic violence, children’s services, animal welfare and food insecurity.
Leslie Brown, RDI Director, serving since 2014
Leslie is a life-long resident of Franklin County, growing up in Conway and living in Erving for the past 43 years. Her career has focused on finances.
Her first experience with Public Housing Authorities was working at the Greenfield Housing Authority from 1977 to 1980, when she left to give birth to her daughter. Following the birth of her daughter, and her son the next year, Leslie became self-employed with a bookkeeping and tax preparation service.
In December 1984 she was contacted by Executive Director Roger Seward to provide consulting services in the finance department at FCRHA, and she remained until the spring of 1992 when she left to work at the Greenfield Center School. From there she went on to become the Director of Finance and Operations at Stoneleigh-Burnham School for 15 years, retiring in July 2017.
Leslie was invited to become a Commissioner for the FCRHA in 2010 and was recently reappointed for her third 5-year term, serving as the Treasurer of the agency.
As a member of the Board she has also been one of two FCRHA Commissioners on the RDI Board since 2013. She also is an active member and the moderator of the First Congregational Church of Montague and is the warden for the Town of Erving elections and recently became a member of the Erving Cultural Council.
She enjoys traveling and being outdoors as much as possible, but her greatest joy is spending time with her young grandsons.
Sharon Cottrell, RDI Director, serving since 2017
Sharon has lived in Montague since 1980. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. She also attended a four year weaving program at Hill Institute in Florence, Massachusetts. Sharon worked for three years at the Franklin County Regional Housing Authority and then moved on to manage Power Town Apartments in Turners Falls, a project based Section 8 property for thirty years. She also managed Berkshire Apartments in Greenfield for ten years and remains active at the property.
Sharon has also served in the community as a Montague Library Trustee and Montague town meeting member.
Sharon has six grandchildren and loves spending time with them. She has 1 1/2 acres of land with flower and vegetable gardens and plenty of space for the children to play.
There is now more time to weave and use the spinning wheels.
Levi Roman, RDI Director, serving since 2017
Levi is currently Principal Attorney at Citizens Disability, LLC., headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, which helps people to secure social security disability benefits nationwide. He also maintains a private practice in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, focusing in social security disability benefits and appeals. Previously, Attorney Roman was an Associate at the Northampton based firm Green Miles Lipton, LLP.
Bill Breitbart, RDI Director, serving since 2019
Bill has worked in the field of nonprofit affordable housing for over 40 years. He began his career as a staff attorney at Western Massachusetts Legal Services, specializing in public benefits and housing issues.
He served as Executive Director of HAP, Inc. (now Way Finders), overseeing a wide range of housing development, housing service, and community development programs in the Pioneer Valley.
He was a founding partner in MBL Housing and Development, which provides consulting services to organizations that are engaged in the development of affordable and supportive housing projects for low and moderate income families and individuals, elderly residents and persons with disabilities. At MBL, he also provided consulting services to municipalities, and local and statewide nonprofits, on housing policy and planning matters.
In 2004, he joined the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) as Director of Housing for Central and Western Massachusetts. CEDAC provides financing and technical assistance to nonprofit developers of affordable and supportive housing.
He retired from CEDAC in 2015 and has continued to work as a consultant to housing organizations in Massachusetts.