susan nelson
executive Director

Before taking the helm as Executive Director, Susan served on the Board of Directors for FSTM for twelve years, ten of those as Chair. She also spent 8 years in sales as a Regional Account Manager, most recently for Airbus DS Communications, an international firm specializing in public safety IT systems.  Prior to that she held the position of Communications Bureau Chief for eleven years at Alachua County Fire Rescue, and manager of marketing and programs for an international environmental nonprofit for five years before that. Susan has a Bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Colorado and is a Florida State University Certified Public Manager. Susan has three daughters, all born into the hands of licensed midwives, and as a result, has been an advocate of and activist for midwifery, the midwives model of care, and breastfeeding promotion in the North Florida area for almost three decades.  She is married and lives in Gainesville, and enjoys spending time, mostly outdoors, with friends and family, including her two grandsons, also born into the hands of midwives.


Amanda Mann, LM
Associate Director

Amanda comes to Cypress Grove with more than 15 years’ experience as a teacher, school administrator, and a graduate of the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. She has a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in creative writing. Amanda fervently believes that birth is an essential life process that has the potential to transform, inspire, and engage. She believes that midwifery is an essential intersection between passion and the world’s greatest need. Amanda is married with four boys, and enjoys reading and working at her local midwifery clinic.


Kerri Audette, LM
Clinical Director

Kerri Audette, LM, CPM, is a licensed midwife and graduate of the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. She is co-owner and practicing midwife with Gainesville Midwives, her home birth practice. Kerri also holds a Bachelor's of Design from the University of Florida School of Architecture. She was inspired to pursue work in women’s health as a founding member of the Gainesville Roller Rebels, a local women’s roller derby league. That experience led her to realize the power and potential that sisterhood can create. She has been attending births in North Central Florida and instructing childbirth education since 2011. Kerri is a Gainesville native and birthed her own children at home with midwives.


Erica Bales
Academic Director

Erica Bales has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and is a DONA-certified doula with a passion for women’s health and the midwives' model of care. Erica began her involvement with FSTM as a technology consultant for the school in 2013 and joined the staff part-time in 2015, quickly working her way up to academic director. Erica also runs a small web development business with her husband. When she isn’t working, she enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with friends, family and her pets.


Rachel Hargy
Financial Aid & Regulatory Director

Rachel, a Pennsylvania native, has a bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management and an AS degree in Accounting Technology from Santa Fe College, as well as certifications in health information management and project management. Her previous work experience includes Santa Fe College’s Health IT Workforce Training Program and the University of Florida’s College of Medicine. Rachel enjoys life with her son, supportive partner, friends and family. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors, reading, and having bonfires in the backyard of her new home. 

Michele Applegarth
Business Manager

Michele has called Gainesville her home since graduating from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After gaining managerial skills working in nation-wide retail professions, she expanded her bookkeeping and finance abilities as business manager for a local Gainesville manufacturer. Michele has always had a strong passion for women’s education and women’s reproductive freedom. Separate from work, Michele enjoys camping, hiking, and traveling, and being a full-time cat mom.


Amanda (Mandi) Pittman, LM
Admissions Coordinator

Mandi is a Florida licensed midwife and graduate of The Florida School of Traditional Midwifery. She is a member of the Midwives Cooperative, a home-birth practice in Gainesville, Fl. She has called Gainesville home since 2000 and is proud to continue to serve families in the area. Growing up, Mandi’s curiosity and fascination with pregnancy and childbirth eventually led her to pursue midwifery. Mandi birthed her daughter, June, at home with her husband and midwives by her side in 2014. This experience further solidified her commitment to empowering families to have the healthy and satisfying birth experience they desire.