Board Members

Emma Battle

CEO, Market Vigor, LLC

“I am delighted to join with BEST NC in helping make North Carolina’s public education system one of the best in the world. As a NC native who went from Head Start to Harvard, I know the difference a NC public education can make in one’s life, and I am proud to have passed on that NC public school legacy to my sons. I support Best NC because every child in North Carolina deserves the opportunity to have a quality public education in a school system that is best it can be.”

John R. Belk

President (Retired), Belk Inc.

“BEST NC is helping lead a movement towards excellence in education for all students in North Carolina. Collaboration throughout our state is critical to making the bold improvements in policy we need, and I am honored to a part of BEST NC and their work to focus leaders on our students for the future of our state.”

Brenda Berg


“As an entrepreneur and mother of two North Carolina public school students, I understand the importance of providing our North Carolina students with the best education in the nation.  More than any other state, North Carolina has the history, capacity and the will to transform education and BEST NC provides the vision and continuity to make it happen.”

Charles Bowman

Market President for North Carolina and Charlotte, Bank of America

“BEST NC has been a credible voice for the North Carolina business community as we continue strengthening our public education system and provide the foundation for long-term economic growth.”

Ann B. Goodnight

Director, Community Relations, SAS

A strong public education system is the foundation of a prosperous economy.  Our students need and deserve a quality education from early learning experiences through higher education.  Members of BEST NC are keenly focused on this goal, and we will work together for the benefit of our state-wide community.”

Kathy Higgins

VP of Corporate Affairs, BCBSNC

“BEST NC’s work to improve the education system in North Carolina is vital to the quality of life of everyone who lives here. I’m honored to serve on the BEST NC Board and have the chance to contribute to making our state even more competitive as a great place to live, learn, raise a family, and do business.”

Kelly King

Chairman & CEO, BB&T

“Growing up, I attended public school in eastern North Carolina and was blessed to have teachers impress upon me the importance of a solid education, which continues to have a profound impact on my life. And as a board member of BEST NC, I want to work with others to ensure education remains a top priority for our state.  Not only do our children depend on it, the success of our communities, industries, state and national economies do, as well. There is no greater investment in North Carolina than that of our children’s education.”

Walter McDowell

Chairman, BEST NC

“I am proud to serve as the Board Chair for BEST NC because I know that the North Carolina education system can be the best in the country and can produce the most talented labor force in the nation. Developing a productive, driven, and educated citizenry should be a priority for all business owners, and BEST NC is exactly what North Carolina needs to link dedicated business leaders to high quality education reform and practice.”

Art Pope

Chairman, CEO, and President, Variety Wholesalers, Inc.

“One of my top priorities is reforming teacher pay, so that all teachers receive better compensation while providing opportunities for additional earnings for teachers who take on the greatest challenges.”

Chuck Purvis

CEO, Coastal Federal Credit Union

“Having spent my entire career in credit unions, I’ve seen first-hand the difference even a small change in someone’s earning potential can make on their overall financial outlook. I also know that the key to unlocking that potential is solid educational foundation. As their future employers, it’s in our best interest to ensure North Carolina’s students have the opportunity and the resources to succeed in the classroom and beyond. As their fellow North Carolinians… their family, friends, and neighbors… it’s our duty. That’s why I’m proud to support BEST NC and serve with people who share in that vision.”


John Replogle

Partner, One Better Ventures, LLC

“I believe public education is the key to unlocking the full potential of every individual and the cornerstone to building a stronger, more innovative and competitive nation.”

Pat Riley

President & CEO, Allen Tate Companies

“The value of a residential home and appreciation of that home is in direct proportion to the perceived value of the education received at the school at the end of the street.’ For my 44 year real estate career, this is all I hear and heard in all five states that I worked in. Families and business have the same goal…. to raise the bar and better prepare students for the jobs of the future!”

Thomas Vaidhyan

CEO, Aten, Inc.

“A good education is unquestionably the best instrument that contributes to the success of an individual or a society, a state or a nation. NC is now at a crucial juncture in the development of the nation, since it has the potential to capitalize on its inherent strength in education and business, so as to make it one of the leading states in the fast growing globally competitive 21st century economy. I believe BEST NC with its non-partisan representatives from the vast majority of businesses in NC and its pragmatic and socially beneficial best practices-driven approach, makes it the pivotal link in the enhancement of NC public education.”

Paul Wiles

CEO (Retired), Novant Health System

“I spent my entire working career in healthcare leadership. It became more and more apparent to me that there are direct and strong correlations between the health status of many people and their literacy levels. A well-educated populace is able to better understand their health issues, and work in good jobs which keep them well above poverty levels and provides them with insurance for when they have unavoidable health care needs.  I believe our public education system in North Carolina is failing to meet the educational needs of many of our citizens and thus leaving them vulnerable to diminished health and lower economic achievements.  With more free time as a retiree, I joined the BEST NC efforts to encourage our elected leaders that we must do a better job of educating our citizenry.” 

Board Advisors

Anna Spangler Nelson

Chairman, Spangler Companies, Inc.


Frank Dowd

Dowd Foundation

John Whitaker

Manager, INV, LLC

Temple Sloan, Jr.

CEO, The Sloan Family Foundation

Stephen Wiehe

President & CEO, SciQuest, Inc.

Jack Bailey

US President, Glaxo Smith Kline

Emma Battle

CEO, Market Vigor, LLC

John Belk

President (Retired), Belk Stores

Brenda Berg


Erskine Bowles

Charles Bowman

Market President for North Carolina and Charlotte, Bank of America

Richard Brenner

Vice Chairman, Amarr

John Burress

(Retired), Business Owner

Susan Cameron

President & CEO, Reynolds American

Tom Darden

CEO , Cherokee Fund

Thomas Dickson

Chairman, The Dickson Foundation

Don Flow

CEO, Flow Auto

Hannah Gage

CEO, Cape Fear Broadcasting Company (Retired)

Allen Gant

Chairman & CEO, Glen Raven, Inc.

James (Jim) F. Goodmon

President & CEO, Capitol Broadcasting Company

Ann B. Goodnight

Director, Community Relations, SAS

Jim Hansen

Regional President, Eastern Carolinas, PNC Financial

Venessa Harrison

President, AT&T North

Wayne Holden

CEO, RTI International

Stan Kelly

Carolinas CEO, Wells Fargo

Kelly King

Chairman & CEO, BB&T

Leroy Lail

Chairman, Hickory Furniture

Jane Lewis-Raymond

General Counsel, Piedmont Natural Gas

James S. Mahan

Chairman & CEO, Live Oak Bank

James Maynard

Chairman & CEO, Golden Corral

Walter McDowell

Chairman, BEST NC

Jim Melvin

Chairman, Joseph M. Bryan Foundation

Katie Morris

CEO, Belk Foundation

David Neill

President, JST Group

Tom Nelson

President & CEO, National Gypsum Company

Robert Niblock

CEO, Lowe’s Companies

Ward Nye

President & CEO, Martin Marietta

Jim Phillips

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP

Chuck Purvis

President & CEO, Coastal Federal Credit Union

Rick Redden

Regional President, Carolinas, Wells Fargo

John Replogle

Partner, One Better Ventures, LLC

Pat Riley

President & CEO, Allen Tate Companies

Thomas Vaidhyan

CEO, Aten, Inc.

Ed Weisiger, Jr.

President & CEO, Carolina CAT

Jim Whitehurst

President & CEO, Red Hat

Paul Wiles

CEO (Retired), Novant Health System

Business Council

Gray McCaskill

CEO, Senn Dunn

Julian “Bubba” Rawl

Owner, Preston Development

Phil Kirk

Director, Brady Energy Services

Steve Toler

President, Steve Toler, LLC

Jim Anthony

CEO, Colliers International

Richard Daugherty

CEO (Retired)

William Morley

CEO, ExCL Group

Kevin Trapani

President & CEO, The Redwoods Group

Derick Close

CEO, The Cotton Factory

Terry Akin

CEO, Cone Health

Greg Alcorn

CEO, Global Contact Services

Carl Armato

President & CEO, Novant Health

John Atkins

CEO, O'Brian Atkins

L.M. “Bud” Baker

CEO (Retired), Wachovia

Rye Barcott

Managing Partner, Double Time Capital

Doug Bassett

President, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Company

Graham Bennett

CEO, Quality Oil Company

Jud Bowman

Founder & CEO, Sift Media, Inc.

Virginia Bowman

General Partner, Northgate Associates

Thomas Bradshaw

Thomas J. Bradshaw & Associates

Patty Briguglio

President, PFB Connect

Peter Bristow

President, First Citizens Bank

Mollie Brugh

CEO, Marsh Furniture Company

Michelle Butt

General Manager , Hearst

Jim Cherry

CEO, Park Sterling Bank

Hudnall Christopher

EVP (Retired), Reynolds Tobacco

Jack Clayton

Regional President, Wells Fargo

Zach Clayton

CEO, Three Ships LLC.

Larry Colbourne

President, The Mebane Foundation

Sue Cole

Managing Partner , Sage Leadership & Strategy, LLC

J. Rountree Collett, Jr.

President & CEO, Bernhardt Furniture

Ned Curran

President & CEO, Bissell Companies

Don Curtis

Chairman & CEO, Curtis Media Group

Frank Daniels

CEO (Retired), News & Observer Publishing Company

John W. Davis

Managing Director, Deutsche Bank

Susan DeVore

President & CEO, Premier, Inc.

David Falk, Jr.

Managing Director, Drucker & Falk Real Estate

Christopher Fox


John Fox

Chairman, Mid-Atlantic First Tennessee Bank

Stuart Frantz

Former CEO, Biologics

Ed Fritsch

President & CEO , Highwoods

Paul Fulton

Chairman, Bassett Furniture Industries

Patti Gillenwater

CEO, Elinvar

Bob Greczyn

CEO, LipoScience

Clay Grubb

President, Grubb Properties

Barnes Hauptfuhrer

Chairman, Chapter IV Investors

Jack Hawn

CEO, Zenith Companies

John Hayes

President, Cape Fear World Trade Organization

Lida Calvert Hayes

CEO & President, S+L Painting & Decorating, Inc.

Nelle Hotchkiss

Senior VP of Corporate Relations, NC Electric Cooperatives

David Howard

Partner, Windsor Investments, LLC

Robert Ingram

General Partner, Hatteras Venture Partners

Dale Jenkins

CEO, Medical Mutual Insurance Company of North Carolina

Burney Jennings

President & CEO, Biscuitville, Inc.

Hal Kaplan

President & CEO, Kaplan Early Learning Company

Dave Katz

Senior Vice President, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated

Mike Lamach

Chairman & CEO, Ingersoll Rand

Kel Landis

Principal , Plexus Capital

Geoffrey Lang

VP & General Manager of Global Technology & Operations, MetLife

Al Lineberry, Jr.

President, Gainesberry, LLC

Jennifer Martineau

VP of Research, Innovation, and Product Development, Center for Creative Leadership

Martha Ann McConnell

VP of Government Relations, Carolinas HeathCare System 

Dan McCready

Managing Partner, Double Time Capital

Jim Morgan

Chairman & CEO, Krispy Kreme Corporation

Reid Murchison

Managing Director, Wells Fargo Advisors

Wendell H. Murphy, Jr.

CEO, Murphy Family Ventures

Lynn Murphy

President & Chief Executive Officer, Premium2000

Ed Pleasants

Retired CEO

Steve Pond

Chairman & CEO, The Education Center

Ashton Poole

President, Triangle Capital Corporation

Crawford Pounds

Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Billy Prim

Chairman, Primo Water

Orage Quarles III

President & Publisher, News & Observer Publishing Company

Michael Ray

Managing Director , Experis Engineering

Billie Redmond

CEO, TradeMark Properties

Donna Rhode

Community Relations, Vaco

Bob Rippy

Owner, Jungle Rapids

Arthur Samet

CEO, Samet Corporation

Frank Saxon

President & CEO , Culp, Inc.

JR Shearin

Managing Director, Deloitte

Tom Skains

Retired CEO

Temple Sloan III

Trail Creek Investments

Sherwood Smith

Retired CEO

John Snider

President & CEO, Snider Fleet Solutions

Robert Spilman Jr.

Chairman & CEO, Bassett Furniture

David Stevens

Carolina's CEO, SunTrust

Jeff Stocks

Chairman & CEO , The Nautical Group

Ben Sutton


Sean Patrick Tario

CEO & Catalyst , Open Spectrum

Keith Vaughn

Managing Partner, Womble Carlyle

Lars Von Kantzow

President & CEO, Nomaco, LLC

Leslie Walden

VP, Public Affairs, Fidelity Investments

David Ward

Attorney, Ward and Smith, P.A.

William Warden

Retired CEO

Jordan Whichard

CEO (Retired)

Smedes York

President & CEO, York Properties