Our Members

Board Members

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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


“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


“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


“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 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

Tom Nelson

President & CEO, National Gypsum Company

David Neill

Business Owner

Business Council