Staff and Key Volunteers

Nicole Hiegl

AAA Director
828-265-5434 ext. 122

Nicole brings a dynamic background and experience in both for and not-for-profit agencies to her role with the AAA. Her professional portfolio includes the development and management of a small, international business paired with program administration and implementation with local non- profit agencies has allowed her to excel in the role of AAA Director. Nicole has a passion for promoting health and wellness for older adults which drives her desire to improve and increase the services provided at the AAA and by our contracted service providers.  In her free time Nicole tries to keep up with her daughter, Hazel.

Stevie John

Long Term Care Ombudsman
828-265-5434 ext. 126

Stevie brings a wealth of experience to her role on Long Term Care Ombudsman, advocating for older adults in various capacities.  Stevie has worked in long term care facilities, offering residents person-centered care plans and facilitating multidisciplinary teams to provide optimal care to each individual. She has also been part of several significant initiatives aimed at reducing senior hunger and improving health through nutrition, as well as improving access to health services and support systems for LBGT older adults.  Stevie holds an MSW from Appalachian State University and loves living in the mountains.

Pat Guarnieri

Caregiver Program Coordinator
828-265-5434 ext. 139

With glowing recommendations, Pat joined the High Country Area Agency on Aging (AAA) as the Caregiver Program Coordinator and oversees the statewide, Lifespan Respite Program.  The role of the Caregiver Program Coordinator is quite varied and entails having a robust organizational and communication skillset.  Pat certainly exceeds these requirements, holding two Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Communications as well as a Master’s degree in Financial Planning.  Pat recently retired from a 28-year career as a certified financial planner in Charlotte, NC and is enjoying her new life with her husband in their hand-built, mountain home.  As a family caregiver, Pat has a personal connection to the mission of the AAA and High Country Family Caregiver Foundation and enjoys helping others heal through Reiki and healing touch. 

Tim Price

Compliance Officer
828-265-5434 ext. 140

Tim’s commitment to advocating on behalf of older adults led him to his current position at the AAA. His human services and non-profit experience have allowed Tim to provide programmatic and fiscal oversight within the Compliance Officer role. Before joining the organization, Tim earned his Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Public Administration from Appalachian State University. Outside the office, Tim enjoys attending App State sporting events and hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Amber Chapman

Family Caregiver & Health Promotion Specialist
828-265-5434 ext. 113

With a back ground in direct care and experience as a Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Amber came highly recommended to the High Country Area Agency on Aging.  Amber’s energy and kind spirit provide her with the tools needed to excel in the role of Family Caregiver & Health Promotion Specialist.   She is tenacious and motivated by a passion for serving others, especially those who sometimes cannot advocate for themselves.  Amber is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a concentration in Gerontology.  In her free time, Amber enjoys exploring the Appalachian Mountains while trying to keep up with her two huskies, Layla and Bolto.  

Sarah Price

Special Projects Coordinator
828-265-5434 ext. 141

Sarah Price joins the High Country Council of Governments as the Area Agency on Aging’s Special Projects Coordinator and is focused on developing COVID-19 related programs and services. Sarah’s passion for the health and well-being of the people of the High Country led her to join the Area Agency on Aging in September of this year.  Sarah is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Development. She joins the COG with a background in public and non-profit management, including experience in programmatic and fiscal administration. Sarah comes highly recommended and brings a variety of unique skills to the Area Agency on Aging team. We are excited to have her on board! When not spending time with her three cats, you can catch Sarah cheering on the Mountaineers or enjoying a hike on one of the many wonderful trails around our region.