Board Members

CEO, Market Vigor, LLC

Emma Battle

“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.”

President (Retired), Belk Inc.

John R. Belk

“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.”

Market President for North Carolina and Charlotte, Bank of America

Charles Bowman

“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.”

Director, Community Relations, SAS

Ann B. Goodnight

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.”

VP of Corporate Affairs, BCBSNC

Kathy Higgins

“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.”

Chairman & CEO, BB&T

Kelly King

“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.”

Chairman, BEST NC

Walter McDowell

“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.”

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

Art Pope

“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.”

CEO, Coastal Federal Credit Union

Chuck Purvis

“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.”

Chief Executive Officer, Seventh Generation

John Replogle

“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”

President & CEO, Allen Tate Companies

Pat Riley

“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!”

CEO, Aten, Inc.

Thomas Vaidhyan

“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.”

CEO (Retired), Novant Health System

Paul Wiles

“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.” 

President & CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Brad Wilson

“In a knowledge based, global economy, education is the key to success. BEST NC will keep education at the top of the public agenda in our state. There is nothing more important for our future.”

Board Advisors

Anna Spangler Nelson

Chairman, Spangler Companies, Inc.


Frank Dowd

Dowd Foundation

John McConnell

CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Health

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

David Darnell

COO, Bank of America

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 Gibson

COO, RTI International

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

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

Leigh McNairy

McNairy Foundation

Jim Melvin

Chairman, Bryan Foundation

Katie Morris

CEO, Belk Foundation

David Neill

Business Owner

Tom Nelson

President & CEO, National Gypsum Company

Robert Niblock

CEO, Lowe’s Companies

Robert A. Niblock

Chairman, President and CEO, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

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

Chief Executive Officer, Seventh Generation

Pat Riley

President & CEO, Allen Tate Companies

Ed Shelton

Shelton Vineyards

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

Brad Wilson

President & CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

    Business Council

    Dave Phillips

    CEO, Phillips Industries

    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

    Carl Armato

    President & CEO, Novant Health

    L.M. “Bud” Baker

    CEO (Retired), Wachovia

    Rye Barcott

    Managing Partner, Double Time Capital

    Graham Bennett

    CEO, Quality Oil Company

    Ginny Bowman

    Managing General Partner, Northgate Associates

    Jud Bowman

    Founder & CEO, Sift Media, Inc.

    Virginia Bowman

    General Partner, Northgate Associates

    Thomas Bradshaw

    Thomas J. Bradshaw & Associates

    Patty Briguglio

    President, PFB Connect

    Mollie Marsh Brugh

    CEO, Marsh Furniture Company

    Steve Burriss

    President, UNC REX Healthcare

    Michelle Butt

    General Manager , Hearst

    Jack Cecil

    CEO, Biltmore Farms

    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

    Charles Cornelio

    Division President, Lincoln Financial

    Jesse Cureton

    COO, Novant Health System

    Ned Curran

    President & CEO, Bissell Companies

    Don Curtis

    Chairman & CEO, Curtis Media Group

    Frank Daniels

    CEO (Retired), News & Observer Publishing Company

    Benjamin David

    District Attorney, New Hanover & Pender

    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

    Ed Fritsch

    President & CEO , Highwoods

    Paula Fryland

    Regional President, PNC Financial

    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.

    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

    Geoffrey Lang

    VP & General Manager of Global Technology & Operations, MetLife

    Al Lineberry, Jr.

    President, Gainesberry, LLC

    George Little

    CEO (Retired)

    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

    John Monteith

    President & CEO, Monteith Construction

    Bill Moore

    Chairman, RTI International

    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


    Billy Prim

    Chairman, Primo Water

    Orage Quarles III

    President & Publisher, News & Observer Publishing Company

    Michael Ray

    Managing Director , Experis Engineering

    Billie Redmond

    Founder & Chair, TradeMark Properties

    Donna Rhode

    Community Relations, Vaco

    Bob Rippy

    Owner, Jungle Rapids

    Arthur Samet

    Samet Corporation

    Frank Saxon

    President & CEO , Culp, Inc.

    Charlie Shelton

    Shelton Vineyards

    Tom Skains

    Piedmont Natural Gas

    Temple Sloan III

    Trail Creek Investments

    Sherwood Smith


    John Snider

    President & CEO, Snider Fleet Solutions

    Robert Spilman Jr.

    Chairman/CEO, Bassett Furniture

    David Stevens

    President, Carolinas Division, SunTrust

    Jeff Stocks

    Chairman & CEO , The Nautical Group

    Ben Sutton


    Sean Patrick Tario

    CEO & Catalyst , Open Spectrum

    Keith Vaughn

    Managing Partner, Womble Carlyle

    Doug Vaughn

    Managing Director, Triangle Capital Corporation

    Lars von Kantzow

    President & CEO, Nomaco, LLC

    Leslie Walden

    VP, Public Affairs, Fidelity Investments

    David Ward

    Attorney, Ward and Smith, P.A.

    Bill Warden

    Retired Executive, Lowe's Companies

    Jordan Whichard

    CEO (Retired)

    Phail Wynn

    Vice President, Durham and Regional Affairs, Duke University

    Smedes York

    President & CEO, York Properties