Board Members

Katie Visconti has a background in Education and worked as a high-school Spanish teacher. She has a BA in Spanish and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from Furman University. Katie spent two years with the L'Arche DC community as an Assistant and then as a Team Lead. After moving to North Carolina, she began her management role in supervising the team of a crisis and assessment center.  Katie continues her work with people with disabilities in North Carolina and works to be a sign of hope for people in crisis.

Isaac S. Villegas (secretary) has served as the pastor of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship for over a decade. He is a member of the governing board of the North Carolina Council of Churches, and was a member of the Executive Board of Mennonite Church USA. He writes for various publications, including Faith & Leadership MagazineThe Christian CenturyThe Mennonite World ReviewThe Mennonite, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal. He is also the co-author of Presence: Giving and Receiving God (Cascade, 2011).

Sarah Armstrong, MD is a Pediatrician at Duke University in Durham, NC. She grew up in Fairfax, VA with her parents and her brother, Andrew Commisso, who is currently an assistant at L’Arche Greater Washington, DC. Sarah lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Andy, and their three children Hannah, Ian, and Drew. 

David Arthur has experience in residential renovation, construction, and maintenance. He has lived in a L'Arche community and in other intentional communities.

Jillaine Baker lived in the L'Arche Greater Washington DC community as an assistant from 2005-2007. After moving to Durham, NC for graduate school, she quickly knew she wanted to help bring L'Arche to NC. She currently works as the Regional Director for NC START Central, where she provides crisis prevention and intervention services to individuals with I/DD and behavioral health challenges. 

Heather Bixler has undergraduate degrees in sociology and social work, and an MDiv from Duke Divinity School. She has lived in L'Arche Portland and L'Arche Greater Washington DC, where she also served as a home life coordinator for two years. She has visited many L'Arche communities, including L'Arche Syracuse, L'Arche Tahoma Hope, L'Arche Boston North and L'Arche Uganda. She is currently a core member accompanier for Peachaven Community Farm, a L'Arche-like community in Whitsett, NC. 

Melissa Florer-Bixler (chair) is a former assistant from L’Arche Portland. She is a graduate of Duke University and Princeton Theological Seminary. She serves as pastor of Raleigh Mennonite Church, working in the areas of broad-based community organizing, inter-faith dialogue, and the movement to end money bail in North Carolina. She is on the steering committee for the Women in Leadership Project of Mennonite Church USA. Melissa has a forthcoming book from Herald Press to be published in 2019.

Laura Tonkin (treasurer) works as a speech-language pathologist in Durham County performing early intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities.  She is an active member of Duke Memorial United Methodist Church.  Laura attended Duke University and spent time as an assistant at L’Arche Cuise in France.