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Executive Director

Austin Cole Payne, BSN, RN

Our Executive Director, Austin Cole Payne, is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator in the state of Virginia.  Most recently he was the Executive Director at an Assisted Living Community in Harrisonburg.  He obtained his Bachelors of Science in Nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.  After graduation, Austin worked as an Emergency Room nurse before transitioning to Senior Living.  Most recently, he served as both a Director of Health and Wellness and an Executive Director in an Assisted Living and Memory Care Community. Austin is a Certified Director of Nursing (NADONA) and a Certified Assisted Living Nurse (CALN), and is certified to teach the Registered Medication Aide program, Direct Care Aide program, CPR, First Aid and the Virginia Individualized Service Plan Curriculum.

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Director of Sales

Bridget Archer

Helping seniors through the transition of leaving their homes for a more social and engaged way of living is very rewarding to me.  I truly believe that the support and care in a community creates a better life for seniors.

Bridget Archer serves as Director of Sales at The Blake.  She has worked in healthcare for the past 18 years with a focus on senior living.  Her experience has included Director of Sales for several assisted living, memory care, independent living and skilled nursing communities.  Her background also includes a position as a Pychometrian for Alzheimer’s drug study trials.  In her spare time, she hikes with her Australian Shepherd, and enjoys the outdoors and time with family.

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Director of Wellness

Gayle Cox, RN

Our Wellness Director, Gayle Cox, has been a Registered Nurse for over 15 years.  She first worked with pediatrics and then transitioned to senior communities, becoming a Director of Nursing at a Skilled Nursing facility as well as Director of Wellness at several Assisted Living communities.

Gayle grew up in New Jersey but has lived in Virginia for over 24 years and considers Virginia her home.  She has 5 children, 1 grandson and another grandchild on the way. Gayle loves working in senior communities, especially because of the wealth of knowledge seniors have and impart on a daily basis. When Gayle’s not working, she loves seeing her children and grandchildren.  She is active with her church and enjoys Bible studies.

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Assistant Director of Wellness

Felicia Correa

Felicia Correa serves as Assistant Director of Wellness at The Blake.  She’s originally from Philadelphia, obtained her LPN education from Richmond School of Health and is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner and Medication Aide Instructor. She has previous experience in Restaurant Management, Assisted Living Administration and as a Certified Dialysis Technician, Director of Nursing and Breastfeeding Peer Counselor with VDH.  Her wide nursing experience includes hospice, pediatrics, family medicine and skilled nursing.

She enjoys working at The Blake because Every day brings something new! Working closely with the dementia population means that she gets to bring joy, happiness and a sense of comfort and understanding to residents and their families.

Felicia’s absolute favorite thing to do is be a mother.  Her goal is to leave behind a legacy that her children can be proud of. In her spare time, she is an advocate and motivational speaker for Multiple Sclerosis, fundraises for non-profits and coaches youth football and basketball.  Her team chant for the youth teams she coaches is “One Team, One Sound.” This means that anything they do, they do together.  “We win together. We lose together. We celebrate the ups as well as support each other through the tough times. This is the way that I live my day to day life.”

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Director of Business Operations

Sheri York

Sheri York serves as the Director of Business Operations for The Blake at Charlottesville. Originally from New Hampshire, Sheri made her move to the Charlottesville area in August of 2018. She has fifteen years of experience as a Deputy Finance Officer in Municipal Government. She ventured on a new journey when her heart pulled her to senior living. Sheri loves getting to know the residents, hearing about their lives, and learning from their experiences. When asked about her favorite part of working for The Blake, she says, “I love working at The Blake. It is such a positive work environment. Everyone is respected and valued. We have the best employees and leaders.” As a mother of five and grandma to three granddaughters, Sheri enjoys travelling and spending time with her family.

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Director of Dining Services

Shaa’Ira Durham

Shaa’Ira “Shy” Durham serves as Director of Dining Services.  She is originally from Alexandria Va but moved to the Charlottesville area at age 10.  Shy has an extensive culinary background and graduated from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She has many years of experience in hospitality and working in the retirement industry.  When not at work,  Shy loves spending time with her family. She and her husband have 4 lovely children; Deven, Jeremiah, Miea and Cali. Spending time with family, and relaxing at home and mini kidless vacations are how she likes to recharge.

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Director of Activities

Mary Gauldin

Mary has over sixteen years of experience working with senior adults, specifically those living with dementia. It the course of her career Mary has worked a variety of roles including activities, memory care, education, and marketing. She is currently a certified dementia practitioner (CDP), certified Alzheimer’s and Dementia Disease Care Trainer, Nationally Certified Activities Director (NCAD), and a Certified Recreational Therapist (CTRS). Additionally, she is currently pursuing her Healthcare Administration License.

Mary’s favorite activity to plan is a party, she loves to host an event where everyone can kick-back, relax, and celebrate life. She loves working with seniors because of the wisdom and many stories possess to share, she believes if you just take the time to listen, there is much insight and perspective to gain. Outside of her time at the Blake, Mary is continuing her education and operates her own small business as well as a few other business ventures in the Valley area. Mary is also a devoted dog mom to her rescue, Abbey Ann and aunt to her nephews. She enjoys baking, painting, hosting events, singing, decorating, and traveling. She enjoys keeping busy!

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Walk With Me Coordinator

Melissa Thompson

Melissa has over fifteen years of experience in healthcare and has worked extensively with those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. She is a woman of action and takes pride in not only her work, but in the health and happiness of her residents. Melissa had not only served as a CNA but has several years of experience planning, leading, and orchestrating quality, life-enhancing activities. Melissa lives in Shenandoah, VA with her husband and two children. She loves spending time with her family and supporting them, cheering her children on at their school and sporting events. She also enjoys camping, shopping, and celebrating life with her friends. Wherever Melissa goes she brings joy right along! She is so excited to help our residents partake and participate in her personal hobbies and interest and create opportunities for them to live their best life.

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Director of Facility Management

Charles Yoder

Charles Yoder is from Hilliard, Ohio but now calls Virginia his home. He serves as our Director of Facility Management and started gaining experience in construction when he was only eight years old through his family’s businesses. Before joining The Blake at Charlottesville, Charles served in the United States Military and was trained in the Navy Seabees. He loves spending time with the residents and getting to hear their stories about their lives. His favorite part about working for The Blake is the work environment. Charles says, “The way this company gets to know its employees and the residents absolutely astounds me. I truly love working for The Blake and look forward to many more years. The people are so supportive and truly care.”  When Charles is not at work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and playing with his daughters.

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