Equity Board Committee
Stephanie A.C. Walker is a member of the Board of Education elected to office in November 2020. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Political Science (minor International Relations) and a Masters in Public Administration (also from UNCW). Stephanie grew up in New Hanover County and completed her public education in NHCS – College Park, Snipes, Tileston, Williston, and New Hanover High. Her two children also graduated from NHCS. She is a local business owner and active member of her community having served on local commissions and boards, such as the Wilmington Sister City Commission and the New Hanover County Commission on African-American History, Heritage, & Culture.
Hugh McManus is a member of the Board of Education elected to office in November 2020. He is a BA from Wake Forest University and a Masters of Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to being elected to the Board of Education, Mr. McManus served over the course of decades as a educator within the Cape Fear Region, serving as a teacher and then administrator at Hoggard High School, Topsail High School, Trask Jr High, Lake Forest Jr High and Cape Fear Academy. Mr. McManus is also a UNCW Razor Walker Award recipient.
Dr. Lachawn Smith graduated from UNCW in 1991 with a BA in Special Education. Demonstrating her love of learning she completed her Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from UNCW in 2011. She has been happily married for more than 25 years and has 2 living children. During her 29 years in the field, she has held the position of special education teacher, assistant principal, principal, principal coach, K-12 Director of Instructional Services, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Academic Accountability and is currently the Deputy Superintendent for New Hanover County Schools.
Karen C. Beatty, holds a Master of Social Work Degree, specializing in School Social Work. She is a native of Wilmington NC. She retired from New Hanover County Schools as a Licensed School Social Worker (LSSW) after 30 plus years of service. She is also interested in, and involved in community and national social organizations that focus on enhancing the lives of African Americans, on social and educational reform, politics and local government, and the betterment of mankind (humanity). She is passionate about education, particularly as it refers to equity. Her role with the EDI Committee is as a community representative.
Caress Clegg is a member of both the equity workgroup and Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee. As an African American who is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, she is dedicated to inclusion for all and ensuring that opportunities and resources that the district provides are available and communicated to families across the community with an emphasis on those in marginalized communities. Caress currently works in the Communications and Outreach Division of NHCS and is pursuing a Masters in Communication Management and Resolution from UNCW.
Lina Espinosa has the privilege of working at the International School at Gregory as a Spanish Immersion Coordinator & Instructional Coach. She is passionate about social justice and dual language education. She joined the Equity, diversity and inclusion committee to represent the Latino women and improve ways of communication between the hispanic community and New Hanover County.
Franchon Francees is the founder of Healing Your Almond, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and a Certified Trauma Practitioner and Trainer. She founded Healing Your Almond, a Wilmington, NC-based consulting group, in 2019, utilizing her expertise in both trauma and emotional intelligence to help companies address employee stress and team efficiency. Ms. Francees is also an active member of the community. She serves on the board of Community CPR, a non-profit organization created to connect people and resources and serves as director of the Coastal Youth Media, which focuses on amplifying the voice of youth through the use of media and leadership development. Ms. Francees participated in Free Movement’s 5k, Black Men Running.
Rachel Greer serves staff, students, and families of New Hanover County as the Principal of Codington Elementary. In her experience as an administrator of Pre-K through High School grades in the mountains, piedmont, and coast of North Carolina, it is evident that the most pressing issue in education is equity. Her passion is to advocate for students to have access to equality through excellence in education.
Allison R. Jones, Ph.D. is the Director of Special Education and Related Services for New Hanover County Schools. Before joining NHCS, she was an associate professor in special education in the Watson College of Education at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. With over 20 years of experience in special education, she has led efforts in the field to build equity and create opportunities for students with disabilities, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to strengthen advocacy skills that will encourage meaningful community participation.
Kirsten Kainz, Ph.D., is a research professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining the School of Social Work, Kainz served as the director of statistics and as an applied statistician at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at Chapel Hill, where she is currently a fellow.
Kainz uses quantitative, systemic, and participatory methods to identify and describe approaches that promote equitable child development and early learning. Outside of university research, Kainz has served as a partnership consultant for the Strategic Education Research Partnership Institute in Washington DC and as an elected school board member of an urban school district.
Jarelle Lewis, Esq (He/Him) is the Title IX Coordinator for New Hanover County Schools. He is committed to the equity work of the district as an attorney and civil rights practitioner in the education. Lewis is a product of New Hanover County Schools having graduation from New Hanover High School.
Shawn Lamb is responsible for leadership & management for a team of 14 in the GEH Nuclear businesses Core & Fuels Engineering team. Shawn has led many volunteer initiatives in education, including STEM-based activities such as Science Olympiad, Engineering Academies, and the annual Girls in Technology summit, to introduce students to STEM and provide hands-on learning opportunities. Shawn’s experience includes working with children with special needs and other diverse abilities, from the AIG program to EC services, all with the goal to increase equity and inclusion so all children can obtain an equitable education, independent of one's race, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability.
Al O’ Briant is the Director of Secondary Education. He has been a member of the Equity Workgroup and EDI Committee since its inception.
Tyler Shumate is a 5th-grade teacher in NHCS, currently serving at Alderman Elementary. Equity is such an important issue in the classroom as schools work to dismantle centuries of injustice and inequity in education. He is dedicated to equity work because he wants to ensure that ALL students have an advocate fighting for them in every level of education from the classroom to the BOE and beyond.
Kayce Smith is currently a coordinator of multi-tiered systems of support at Myrtle Grove Middle School and a student of critical theory and curriculum. She has a passion for elevating youth voices in educational and decision-making spaces. She believes that equity for all means the (re)prioritization first of the needs of the most historically marginalized groups and the (re)distribution of resources accordingly.
Gayle Tabor is a firm believer in the necessity of equity and inclusion for all. Currently, in the final semester of seminary at Chicago Theological Seminary, Gayle serves as the pastor of Church on Tap which meets at Waterman's Brewery on Sunday evenings and is the chaplain for the Carousel Center. Additionally, Gayle leads a church service that meets in the summer on the boardwalk in Carolina Beach. Gayle is the owner of Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing, a business that specializes in social media coaching and website design for small businesses and nonprofits. She lives with her wife, dog, two cats, and a turtle in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Jennifer Turner is employed at South East Area Health Education Center as a Continuing Professional Development Project Specialist. She is actively involved in health equity, sexual orientation and gender identity, and implicit bias training initiatives for healthcare professionals, in both professional and volunteer settings. She will complete her master’s degree from UNC Greensboro in May 2021 in Peace and Conflict Studies. Jennifer enjoys spending time with her twins, traveling, reading and drawing.
Andi Webb is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and is in her twenty-second year as an educator. She has taught kindergarten, first and second grades, and third-fifth in different capacities. She is currently an instructional coach. Andi is working on her EdD in Educational Leadership and is a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers recipient, and is most passionate about international education.
Additional Members Not Pictured:
- Keyona Williams
- Sena Allen
- Kemeka Sidbury
- Thad Adams
- Madeline Lewis