Dedicated to Improving Education
The all-volunteer NC Alliance Board of Directors includes charter school administrators, directors, and former public school officials as well as other professionals dedicated to improving education in North Carolina. Nearly 100 years of charter operation experience are represented cumulatively on the Alliance board.
Baker Mitchell has a Master’s degree in electrical engineering and retired from his computer engineering firm to found two public charter schools in North Carolina. These two award-winning K-8 schools have grown from 53 students in 2000 to now serve over 1,800 students from six coastal counties. In addition to the two schools, his interests include research-based instructional methods and applied behavior analysis. Baker holds two patents and is the author of over thirty peer-reviewed engineering publications including chapters in two textbooks.
Gail Taylor is the Principal of Carter Community School in Durham, NC. Prior to joining Carter Community, Gail Taylor worked as a Charter School Consultant at North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction. In her role as a consultant, Gail worked with public charter schools to ensure compliance with state and federal law.
Les Merritt has served as State Auditor of North Carolina from 2005 until 2009. As State Auditor, Mr. Merritt served on North Carolina’s Council of State, as a member of the Local Government Commission and led an agency with more than 200 employees.
Prior to being elected State Auditor, Les was a managing partner in privately held accounting firms for over twenty years. While in private practice, Les audited many charter schools for their LGC audits and became very familiar with the financial and compliance challenges that charter schools face. The Alliance is fortunate to have a CPA of Les’ experience on its Board.
Les earned degrees in accounting and economics from North Carolina State University. He served as a Wake County Commissioner from 1994 through 1998; and as a volunteer in community organizations, Les is a past president of the Zebulon Elementary School PTA, Zebulon Rotary Club, and Zebulon Lions Club. He also served as a member of the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors where he now lives with his wife, Cheryl.
Grova L. Bridgers Ed. D was the first director of the Office of Charter Schools with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. In this role, he worked with the first Charter School Advisory Committee in planning the application and review process for the new charters. Under his leadership, the first training sessions were instituted to help charter schools cope with the myriad regulations and policies that they faced. He has also been the Director of the Master of School Administration at North Carolina Central University and more recently the Director of the Minority Male Mentoring Program at Johnston Community College. Grova is currently an educational consultant in Raleigh, North Carolina. He conducts workshops on parental involvement, cultural diversity, charter school governance and minority male mentoring and tutoring programs.
Debbie Clary retired from her NC Senate seat in January of 2012, after serving seven terms in the NC House and two terms in the Senate. Debbie’s dedication to education continues in her role as a Chair of the Board of Pinnacle Classical Academy in Shelby. Debbie has served as Appropriations Chair during her tenure in the legislature and knows the importance of investing in education combined with good education policy. Her business experience includes being President of WADA Broadcasting, Inc. and President of Millennium Marketing Group, Inc.; and she can bring her business and marketing expertise to share with charter schools. Debbie is currently the owner of NC Strategy Partners, LLC, a lobbying firm in Raleigh.
Doug Haynes has more than thirty years of experience in education management, marketing, and public affairs. Doug is CEO of Rocky Mount Prep where he is implementing an innovative new blended learning model. Rocky Mount Prep is a 1,200-student charter school that he helped found in 1997. Doug was an active participant in the early NC charter school movement when he lobbied for policy changes in the legislature and served as Vice President of the first state-wide group representing charter schools. Prior to becoming CEO at Rocky Mount, he founded a school management and intervention services company with a focus on blended learning, which has helped improve reading and math skills for thousands of students in many of North Carolina’s lowest-performing schools. He has worked for several national education management companies and was the John Locke Foundation’s first Vice President of Education Policy.
Jane Grosse has been the Vice President of Institutional Advancement of Elon Homes and Schools for Children since 1996. She currently serves as Chief Fund Development officer, Policy Governance Officer, as well as the Strategic Planning Officer. Since 1907, Elon Homes and Schools for Children has served at-risk or otherwise disadvantaged youth in the Charlotte area and beyond. Jane has been actively involved helping children in all Elon Homes and Schools for Children’s programs and schools across eleven North Carolina counties including: Kennedy Charter Public School Inc., Kids Central of the Carolinas LLC, Family Foster Care. She has consulted professionally and as a volunteer with numerous non-profit organizations about fund development and Policy Governance, including several Junior League Chapters in the United States, YWCA of Charlotte, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
Phil Berger Jr. has been the Rockingham County District Attorney since 2006. He is the Chair of Providence Charter High School in Rockingham County, North Carolina, and a member of the Board of Directors of Bethany Community Middle School in Reidsville, North Carolina. He is also a Director of the Rockingham County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, the Director and Vice-President Elect of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Rockingham County Business and Technology Center. Mr. Berger is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and is a Former Deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Eden, North Carolina.
Dr. Fleming is President and Chief Executive Officer of Woodson University. An undergraduate alumnus of Elizabeth City State University, President Fleming holds a master’s degree in educational management, a doctorate of Christian education administration, and is currently completing his doctorate of philosophy in higher education administration. President Fleming has held several administrative positions on the collegiate level, including positions at Saint Augustine’s University (Raleigh, North Carolina), Barber-Scotia College, Elizabeth City State University, and the University of North Carolina General Administration. Dr. Fleming serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce where he serves as vice chairman, the Cabarrus Partnership for Children (Smart Start), the American Red Cross of Cabarrus County, and has served with numerous other community organizations.
Dr. Coleman is an Associate Professor in the Leadership Department at the Watson School of Education at UNC Wilmington. He has supervised K-12 charter schools and served as a school superintendent, a research director, and a high school principal. Dr. Coleman provides leadership and evaluation consulting services for charter schools, state agencies, and corporations. He teaches doctoral courses in research, accountability, school law, and educational policy. Dr. Coleman has published articles on charter school leadership and book chapters on effective instructional programs, assessment, and evaluation.
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