board of directors



Jim Beck – President, Triangle Market, First Tennessee (Ret.) 

Jim brings a great deal of comprehensive knowledge and success in banking, business and finance. He also understands the intricacies of structuring non-profit organizations. His expertise of how to organize, budget and fund projects, as well as his connections with others in these fields, is an invaluable asset.



Bonnie Perry-Heath – Marketing Specialist, Schneider Electric (Ret) 

Bonnie has worked for an international company, Schneider Electric for over 30 years. Her experience with engineers and scientist across the U.S. and in Europe, gives her a “real world” perspective of the educational foundation young people need in order to be competitive in a global economy. 



Diana Braun – Real Estate Professional/Non-Profit President 

Diana brings the valuable experience of having developed and run successful non-profit organizations. She has comprehensive knowledge of how to file 501(c) 3 papers, write effective grants, raise community funds and ensure compliance of non-profit organizations. 



Dr. James Parham, PHD – Director of Education, St. Augustine’s College (Ret) 

Dr. Parham has spent many years educating young minds. During his years as an educator, he has developed many effective curriculums for the classroom setting, as well as in tutoring. His doctoral dissertation was in fact, on effective tutoring methodology. Dr. Parham has also developed and led non-profit organizations. 



Vivian Sturgis – Educator, Wake County School System  (Ret.)

Vivian has dedicated her life’s work to the education of young people. As a semi-retired school teacher, she brings years of first-hand knowledge of the academic needs and struggles of young people. Vivian also provides an important direct connection with the Wake County School System. 



J.R. Shearin – Managing Partner, Deloitte, LLP 

J.R. has had a long and extraordinary career providing audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and tax services to corporations and individuals. His vast financial experience makes him uniquely qualified in structuring and executing successful business plans. J.R. brings a wealth of financial knowledge and community affiliations to our organization.

Board of directors



Sam Houston, PHD - President and CEO of the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center 

Prior to this appointment Dr. Houston served as Vice President for Program and Policy of EdGate, Inc. and was the first executive director of the University of North Carolina Center for School Leadership Development. In that post, Dr. Houston helped focus and align all university resources on professional development for teachers, administrators, and other education leaders.



Tesa L. Oechsle - Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer, LORD Corporation 

Tesa is Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of LORD Corporation and has responsibility for all financial activities. She also leads Strategy and Mergers, and Acquisitions. Tesa serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. She was named CFO of the Year in 2011 by the Triangle Business Journal in the category of Giant Private Company and received the Executive MBA Alumni Merit Award in 2012 from the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School. Tesa’s extensive corporate background positions her as an invaluable asset in helping develop strategies to scale our program; as well as increase our corporate donor base.



Kelly Collins - Senior Treasury Sales Officer for Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America 

Kelly is responsible for delivering treasury management solutions to clients and prospects in the North Carolina Middle Market as well as the Southeast Power and Energy Space. Kelly’s vast business experience is key in developing our organizational strategies, and her connectivity to corporate decision makers in our area, is a great asset in the area of resource development..



Scott Byers – President and CEO, Majestic Kitchen and Bath Creations (Board Member) 

Scott joined Majestic Kitchen and Bath Creations in September 2017. Majestic manufactures, fabricates and offers stone, cultured marble and glass products to create unique and distinctive kitchen and bath settings for residential and commercial use throughout Southeast U.S. Previously he served for nine years as the President and CEO of EDM Americas, where he led their transformation from a family business to a global entity serving major Fortune 500 clients. Scott earned a Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the American University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Robert Morris University.  



Kirby Jones – The Daniel Center Founder/Executive Director 

Kirby Jones is a social entrepreneur, who in 2010 founded The Daniel Center for Math and Science. As its Executive Director, Kirby has guided The Daniel Center in making a measureable difference in the academic and social lives of the children the program serves. His passion for children, and a tremendous desire to see their lives bettered through education, has been the catalyst for the success of The Daniel Center.