The KIDS COUNT Board of Directors includes some of the most prominent business, community, political and religious leaders in West Virginia — all of whom share a common mission: to support KIDS COUNT's efforts to provide the most trusted data about the well-being of children and build alliances to advicate for what kids need. They also share a common vision: to make West Virginia a great place to be a kid.
Board of Directors
Lynn Bennett — Bennett Educational Consulting
Lynn Bennett is Program Director of the West Virginia State Treasurer's NetWorth Program and owner of Bennet Educational Consulting in Bridgeport, WV. She served as Director of Program Development for the North Centeral Regional Education Service Agency (RESA VII) from 1999 to 2003. She was also an elementary school principal in Doddridge County and an elementary classroom teacher for 20 years. She has been listed in Who's Who in American Education, as well as Who's Who in American Women, and has been a frequent presenter at national conferences. She is a board member for Mission West Virginia, Inc and has served as education chair for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce.
Daniel Foster, M.D. — Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC)
Since 2002, Dan Foster has been an administrator at CAMC. Prior to his current administrative role at the hospital, he was in private practice as a general and vascular surgeon from 1979 to 2001. Originally from Oak Ridge Tennessee, Dr. Foster holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a medical degree from Stanford University. He has a long record of elected public service. He was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from 2003 to 2005 and the West Virginia Senate from 2005 to 2012. Dr. Foster has been active in numerous community organizations, including the Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia, the Education Alliance, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. He and his wife Kathryn have three sons.
Jill Hall — Bowles Rice Attorneys at Law
Jill Hall serves as Special Counsel in the Charleston law firm Bowles Rice where she specializes in employee benefits, executive compensation and ERISA, and labor and employment law. She is a 2001 graduate of the West Virginia University College of Law where she was Order of the Coif and a member of the West Virginia Law Review. Jill's work in employee benefits and ERISA had led to her being recognized as one of the "Best Lawyers in America."
Cheryl Jones — WVU Children's Hospital
Cheryl Jones is a graduate of West Virginia University School of Nursing (B.S. in Nursing, 1986; Masters in Nursing, 1996) and has been employed with West Virginia University Hospitals/Ruby Memorial Hospital since 1986 where she has worked as a staff nurse, assistant nurse manager, nurse manager, and nurse director. Jones also served as the director of Chestnut Ridge Hospital — a 70-bed psychiatric inpatient unit and partial hospitalization program where she was responsible for the management of 110 full-time employees. She has served on numerous committees within the WVU Hospitals system including co-chair of the Patient Satisfaction Survey revisions, member of the Customer Service Steering Committee, member of the CRH Research Utilization Review Team and Team Leader of Performance Improvement teams. In June 2004, Jones became the director of WVU Children's Hospital — a fully functioning 104-bed hospital specializing in the care and treatment of pediatric patients. Jones currently serves as a West Virginia University School of Nursing Adjunct Instructor and has participated in numerous community service projects including Relay for Life, Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock-Up and the United Way Day of Caring.
Cal Kent — Marshall University
Before assuming his current position as Vice President for Business and Economic Research, Cal Kent was Vice President for Technology Commercialization at Marshall University. He also served as Dean and Distinguished Professor at the Lewis College of Business for ten years.
Cal came to Marshall University from Washington, D.C. where he was appointed by the first President Bush and unanimously confirmed by the Senate as Administrator of the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to his stay in Washington, he held the Herman Lay Chair in Private Enterprise at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he founded and directed the Center for Private Enterprise and the National Center for Entrepreneurship Education, and was an adjunct professor at Baylor's School of Law.
Before his work at Baylor, he was Chief Economist to the South Dakota Legislative Research Council and Professor of Economics at the University of South Dakota. He has been Mayor of Woodway, Texas, President of the Vermillion, South Dakota City Council and Chair of the Huntington, West Virginia City Council.
His undergraduate degree is from Baylor. his Ph.D. is from the University of Missouri-Columbia with post doctorate work at Virginia, Chicago, Rice, and Wichita State Universities. He is married to Nita Sue and has two daughters and five grandchildren.
Bruce Lawson — Certified Public Accountant
Bruce Lawson is a Certified Public Accountant and Treasurer of the KIDS COUNT Board of Directors. Prior to launching his own CPA firm in 1997, Bruce was a partner in the Charleston accounting firm of Cleavanger & Rollins. He is also managing LLC member of Monvisor, LLC, an income tax and business services company in Eleanor, West Virginia. Bruce is a member of the Kiwanis Club of West Charleston and a former member of the Charleston Municipal Planning Commission. He holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Kentucky.
Patricia D. Mick
Patricia Mick has served on the West Virginia Conference Leadership Team of the United Methodist Women since 1998 and is currently completing her first year as president. While serving on the Leadership Team, she served two years as Mission Coordinator of Social Action where she helped promoted the Campaign for Children, focusing on advocating for children and youth in education. She has also served on the Conference United Methodist Church's Justice and Advocacy Ministry Team. During the 1980s, Patricia was part of a pilot program to advocate for children and youth, and, as a result, helped start a tutoring program for at-risk students at her local library. She is a retired public school teacher who taught secondary math and French for 34 years. Patricia is now working part-time as an academic math coach and is the mother of two daughters and a grandmother of two.
Laura Nauman is Human Resources Manager for New Horizon Youth Services in Charleston. She started her career at Glenville State College as the on-site Residence Hall Director and she later served the college as the Director of Student Life/Associate Dean of Students.
For 15 years, Laura managed human resources at the West Virginia Medical Institute (WVMI). a Charleston-based company that provides Federal and State health care quality of care and prior authorization services. More recently, Laura served as the Project Coordinator for the West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a program designed to educate health care providers about the benefits of the CHIP program.
Laura has a B.A. degree in social work/psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College. In addition, she holds an M.A.Ed in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis in counseling from the West Virginia University College of Human Resources and Education.
Born in California, Laura has also lived in New Jersey and has been a resident of West Virginia for 25 years. She currently resides in Charleston.
Cristin Palumbo is a lifelong resident of Kanawha County. She was a Foundation Scholar at West Virginia University and graduated in 1995 with a degree in Secondary Education with specializations in Math and Spanish. She has taught many different levels of both math and Spanish at John Adams Junior High School and at Nitro High School in Kanawha County. In the community, Cristin served on the Covenant House board of directors from 2008-2011, was chair of the Development Commitee in 2011, and co-sponsored the CAMC Foundation Gala along with her husband, Corey Palumbo, in 2012. She is also active in her church as a leader in the Family Ministry department and Women's Studies. Cristin and Corey have three children.
Bob Plymale — Nick J. Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute and West Virginia State Senate, Education Chair
State Senator Robert H. "Bob" Plymale received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University and is employed by the Nick J. Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute, located in Huntington, WV. He serves in numerous public and community organizations, including the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, Cabell County Senior Service Organization, Wayne County Economic Development Authority, and Huntington Museum of Arts Board of Directors. Senator Plymale was first elected to the West Virginia Senate in 1992. He has served as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Transportation; Chairman of the Senate Committee on Pensions; Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education; Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources; Chair of the Select Committee on the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA); and Co-Chairman of the Forest Management Review Commission. Presently, Senator Plymale is Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Also, he is a ranking member of Senate Finance and serves on the 12-member Budget Conference Committee. On a national level, he serves as the Chair of the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL) Education Committee and their Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education Finance. In 2004-05, he served on the NCSL National Task Force on "No Child Left Behind". In 2003, Senator Plymale was appointed to the Southern Regional Education Board's Board of Control and now serves on the Board's executive committee.
Tom Potter — Jackson Kelly
Thomas E. Potter is a retired member of the Charleston law firm Jackson Kelly. He now has an of-counsel relationship and is still actively engaged in firm matters as a consultant and practitioner on a limited basis. During the years of his active practice, Mr. Potter was a member and leader of the Business Law Department specializing in administrative, business and commercial, litigation, contracts, natural resources, corporate, real estate/property law, eminent domain, transportation, zoning and leases. His community activities have included chairmanship of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Renaissance Corporation, the Business and Industrial Development Corporation ("BIDCO"), the National Institute for Chemical Studies, Capital Market, Inc., Advantage Valley, Inc., Charleston Rotary Club and the YMCA. He was a former member of the West Virginia University Board of Governors, and is a member of the Boards of the West Virginia University Foundation, Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia (the "Clay Center"), the Snowshoe Institute, Charleston Area Development Component ("CADO"), Charleston Area Medical Center, National Advisory Council Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center - West Virginia University, West Virginia Senior Sports Classic, Inc. and the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund.
Bill Raney — West Virginia Coal Association
Bill Raney, President, West Virginia Coal Association, joined the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund Board of Directors in 1992. He was elected President of the Fund in 2001. He is a native of Bluefield, West Virginia, and a graduate of West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in biology and a Master's degree in Public Administration. Mr. Raney was employed by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources serving in various positions including surface mine inspector, supervisor, administrative assistant and assistant chief. He joined the West Virginia Mining and Reclamation Association in 1977 and served as its Vice President until April 1992. At that time, he was named President of the West Virginia Coal Association where he continues to serve in that capacity. Mr. Raney also serves as Chairman, West Virginia Business and Industry Council (BIC); Board Member of the Ohio-West Virginia YMCA Youth in Government; Vice Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Buckskin Council Leadership Luncheon; President and Founder of the Don Nehlen Fan Club; and Officer in the West Virginia Army National Guard. He lives in South Charleston with his wife and two children.
Luana Cook Scott — Community Development Outreach Ministries
Luana Cook Scott is the Executive Director at Community Development Outreach Ministries (CDOM). CDOM is a Mission Project affiliated with the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. Luana is a full elder and a graduate of Drew Theological School.
Originally from Putnam County, she is a graduate of Poca High School. She lives in Charleston with her husband Michael and five-year-old daughter Amelia. Luana served as the conference chair of the Justice and Advocacy Ministry Team and served as a parish pastor prior to coming to CDOM in January of 2010.
Kenna Seal was the Director of the Office of Education Performance Audits at the West Virginia Department of Education and has been a member of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund Board of Directors since 1991. He served as Superintendent of Braxton County Schools for over 20 years and was named State Superintendent of the Year by the West Virginia Association of School Administrators in 1994. During his tenure in Braxton County, all county schools were accredited, all elementary schools offered full-day kindergarten, and all four-year-olds had access to a pre-school program. The county's dropout rate decreased by almost 62 percent from 1980 to 1995, and the college-bound rate increased 50 percent from 1980 to 1992. In his present position, Dr. Seal works with the State Board of Education on accreditation issues in all 55 West Virginia counties. Dr. Seal is a native of Exchange, West Virginia, and lives in Sutton with his wife. In addition to his work for the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund, he is Chairman of Glenville State College Board of Advisors and the West Virginia Association of School Administrators Legislative Committee, is on the Governor's Early Childhood Implementation Commission and has served as a Member of the Rural Schools Task Force. He is affiliated with West Virginia Human Resources Association, Clay County Lodge #97 AF and AM and Beni Kedem Shrine, and is active in the Braxton County Chapter of Rotary International.
Ron Stollings, M.D.
Ron Stollings is a practicing physician in Madison, WV, and a West Virginia State Senator representing the seventh senatorial district in Boone County. Senator Stollings serves as Chair of the Senate's Health and Human Resources Committee. He holds his M.D. from West Virginia University and is a graduate of the Marshall University School of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine. Senator Stollings is active in numerous professional and community organizations, including the West Virginia State Medical Association, the United Way, and the Marshall School of Medicine Alumni Association. He has served on the boards of a number of non profit organizations, including Boone County Hospice, and is past president of the Madison Rotary Club.
Richard Adams — United Bankshares
Richard Adams, President and CEO United Bankshares, has been a member of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund Board of Directors from 1992 to 2009. He served as President of the Fund from 1998 through 2001. He is a native of Parkersburg, WV, and received an A.B. Degree from West Virginia University and is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking, Rutgers University. Mr. Adams is currently a member of the University of West Virginia Board of Trustees; a member of the International Financial Conference; Vice Chairman of the West Virginia Business Roundtable; a member of Young President's Organization; and a Board Member of the Parkersburg Area Local Development Council, Rediscover Parkersburg, and Wood County Development Authority. Mr. Adams is also a representative to the American Banker's Association and a member of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. He formerly was Chairman of the Board of the West Virginia Banker's Association; President of the Parkersburg Chamber of Commerce; Board Member of Camden Clark Hospital; Chairman of the Salvation Army Building Fund Campaign; Chairman of the Board of Eastern States Bankcard Association, New York; and a member of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Regional Advisory Council. He has received awards as the Parkersburg Area Jaycees' Boss of the Year and YMCA Citizen of the Year. He was also a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. Mr. Adams has published articles in Banking Magazine, Bank Marketing and American Banker.
Sam Bonasso — Consultant
Sam Bonasso was the first President of the Board of Directors of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund and was a member of the original Governor's Task Force on Children, Youth and Families in 1989. He is the Project Manager for Vision 20/20. He is the former Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the former president of Alpha Associates, Incorporated, an architecture, engineering and design firm in Morgantown, WV. Mr. Bonasso's career has involved diverse activities from designing ski lifts to bridges, from constructing housing to environmental systems. He is also a well known speaker and workshop presenter on the subjects of creativity, communications, and conflict resolution in business settings. He and his wife Nancy spent eight years as the live-in owner-operators of a bed and breakfast in a converted 1920's elementary school. He is a member of the West Virginia Commission on Vocational, Technical and Occupational Education and the West Virginia Business Roundtable.
Gaston Caperton — The College Board
Gaston Caperton, President, The College Board, founded the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund as Governor of West Virginia (1988-96) during his first term in 1989. As the state's thirty-first governor, Caperton was particularly concerned with improving West Virginia's education system. His comprehensive plan emphasized the use of computers and technology in public schools; aggressive school building and renovations; and raising teachers' salaries. Prior to becoming President of the College Board, Caperton taught at Harvard University and Columbia University. Caperton has received numerous state and national awards and special recognition, including six honorary doctoral degrees.
Lawson Hamilton — Deceased
Lawson Hamilton, a successful West Virginia coal operator, was the co-founder of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund. Mr. Hamilton was active in the Presbytery of West Virginia and in his church, Old Stone Presbyterian, in Lewisburg. He was a recipient of the Spirit of the Valley Award in West Virginia and the Spirit of Life Award given by the City of Hope, a research hospital in California. Mr. Hamilton actively supported the Boy Scouts in his community and also supported Duke University Children's Hospital in North Carolina and the Berea Hospital Foundation in Kentucky. He was a recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Charleston and Davis and Elkins College. He was known throughout West Virginia for his community spirit and philanthropy.