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Laura Coates grew up in Northern Virginia.  Laura has been in education for 18 years. She completed her Masters in School Counseling in 2010, and will be pursuing my specialist degree in School Counseling this fall.  Laura spent 10 years working in NC as a teacher and counselor and six years in Charleston, SC before moving to South Georgia. Laura quickly adapted to the sweet feel of a small town and made Patterson a home for my family. She has two boys who attend Pierce County schools; Colby, age 12 and Jaxon, age 9. Laura attends Patterson Baptist Church with her family and tells us her boys are her entire world. Laura said she is fortunate to do what she loves each day serving the children and families at Blackshear Elementary School as a school counselor. Laura is passionate about helping children and families see hope and achieve their goals when they are faced with challenging situations.  In her free time she loves spending time with her boys playing basketball and tennis, riding bikes on Jekyll, traveling to new places, gardening, reading, cooking, swimming, baking, running, going to the beach, and anything that involves a new adventure with her family and friends brings a smile to her face!

Dr. John Lefand, Jr. is not a native to Waycross, GA but a transplant from northwestern New Jersey some 22 years ago.  He grew up in Chester, NJ with the hopes and dreams of one day to be a part of competitive dance and shine like a star but the witness protection program had other plans for him. The choices he made in life created a life a bit different then he anticipated. So, after some soul searching, he decided not to follow so closely in the family business.  He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Atlanta, GA which called him to stay in the south.  It was in Waycross, GA where he landed and started his chiropractic practice, Satilla Spine Center, as well as a family. Waycross was a little different than the New York New Jersey Metropolitan area but he adapted quickly and soon found that it was a great place to live raise a family.  He has 2 daughters – Ruby 19, who attends the Savannah School of Art and Design and Isabelle, a rising junior. When not straightening and helping the spine and nervous systems of his patients he is active in the Waycross Rotary and Ware County High School Chorus Boosters.  He is also the treasurer of the Hillmont International Billfish Association, a philanthropic card club whom enjoy fellowship and giving back to the community.  When asked to compete in Dancing with the Southern Stars he responded with an overwhelming enthusiastic “Yes” because it would one more chance help his community and to fulfill his lifelong dream of competitive dance.

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