RALEIGH, NC (June 9, 2021) – At its June 2021 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Public School Forum of North Carolina approved several new Directors and At-Large Advisors for two-year terms that officially begin July 1, 2021. 

“The Forum’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board bring together accomplished individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to focus on public education in NC. We are excited to welcome our new members during this critical time for our schools as we strive to provide nonpartisan, evidence-based research, policy analysis and innovative programs to support public education throughout North Carolina,” said Dr. Mary Ann Wolf, President & Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. “We are so excited that Chair-Elect, Alfred Mays of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund will begin his two-year term as Chairman of our Board beginning July 1, and we are forever indebted to Tom Williams for his leadership over the past four years, as he transitions to a new role as Immediate Past Chair of the Public School Forum. The passion and dedication of our Board of Directors and Advisory Board members for students and teachers across NC, public education, and the Forum are unmatched.”

Last year, the Forum’s Board of Directors voted Mays, who is a Senior Program Officer of Science Education and Diversity Programming at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, to become the Forum’s Chair-Elect. “I am honored to serve as the Chairman of the Public School Forum,” said Mays. “The strength of North Carolina’s public schools has a direct impact on the state’s future health and prosperity, and I look forward to working alongside so many great education stakeholders who are working to advance equitable high quality educational practices and policies that prepare students for rewarding careers and lifelong success.”

This year’s new Board Members and Advisors, who will serve two-year terms, include dynamic leaders from the education, media, legal, medical, and business sectors.


  • Alfred Mays, Chairman, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
  • Doug Sprecher, Secretary/Treasurer, First Citizens Bank
  • Tom Williams, Immediate Past Chair, Strategic Educational Alliances, Inc. 
  • Mary Ann Wolf, President and Executive Director, Public School Forum of NC


Board of Directors

New Board Members

  • William Buster, Dogwood Health Trust
  • Pat Martinez, Leadership in the Clouds
  • LaTanya Patillo, NWEA

Current Board Members elected to new two-year terms:

  • Shirley Carraway, Retired Superintendent, Orange County Schools
  • Miles Devaney, Biogen
  • Melody Riley Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices
  • Cyndi Soter O’Neil, ChildTrust Foundation
  • Steve Stephenson, Ward and Smith, P.A.
  • Willis “Bill” Whichard, Tillman, Hinkle & Whichard PLLC
  • Mekeisha Williams, Duke University and Health System
  • Saundra Wall Williams, Vision Building Institute for Women

Public School Forum Advisory Board

New Forum At-Large Advisors

  • Nicole Cush, Asheville City Schools
  • Mark Otter, Participate, Inc.
  • Eddie Price, NC Principal Fellows Program
  • Bryan Setser, The Setser Group
  • Bettina Umstead, Durham Public Schools

New Forum Advisors (By Virtue of Position Held)

  • Eugenia Floyd, NC Teacher of the Year
  • Elena Ashburn, NC Principal of the Year
  • Brent Williams, NC Superintendent of the Year

Current Forum At-Large Advisors elected to new two-year terms:

  • Bruce Beasley, The Beasley Group
  • Evelyn Bulluck, Nash County Public Schools
  • Sue Burgess, Retired Superintendent, Dare County Schools
  • J.B. Buxton, Durham Technical Community College
  • Sandra Wilcox Conway, Conway & Associates
  • Jeni Corn, myFutureNC
  • Catherine Edmonds, NC Department of Public Instruction
  • Lou Fabrizio, Fabrizio Education Consulting
  • Jayne Fleener, NC State College of Education
  • Patti Gillenwater, President & CEO, Elinvar
  • Graham Lewis, Schneider Electric
  • Scott Penland, Retired Superintendent, Clay County Schools
  • Jim Phillips, Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard
  • Philip Price, Retired Chief Financial Officer, NC Department of Public Instruction
  • Shirley Prince, NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association
  • Erin Swanson, Edgecombe County Public Schools

New Emeritus Member

  • Michael Priddy, Emeritus, 21st Century Leadership LLC

About Alfred M. Mays

Alfred M. Mays joined the STEM Funders Network in 2015, the Executive Committee in 2018 and currently serves as the Vice-Chair. He is also serves as the Director and Chief Strategist for Diversity and Education at the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and leads a portfolio of strategic and competitive grant programming. Prior to Alfred assuming this role, he served as an independent consultant with a service delivery that included strategic planning, project incubation, design and implementation. Alfred has served as an enabler within a number of education programs and initiatives to include the Assistant Director of the Collaborative Project, a 21st Century Program supported by the North Carolina General Assembly, staff advisor to the Governor’s North Carolina’s eLearning Commission, Director of Information Resources Affairs and Director of Special Projects at the University of North Carolina – Office of the President, regional director for the North Carolina Model Teacher Education Consortium (UNC-General Administration) and State Program Director within the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. Alfred’s interest and outreach also includes mentoring and facilitation of efforts that include implementation of youth leadership and empowerment strategies and the build out of STEM career exploration.

Alfred currently serves on number of Board of Directors for various organizations and special initiatives. He has been recognized for his contributions with many organizational successes to include Government Wide Best Practices. An Air Force veteran, Alfred received a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilmington College and a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University.

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About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at http://www.ncforum.org/

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