Board of Directors
2023-2024 Board of Directors
Susan Thomas, President
Susan Thomas has been a full time resident of Henderson County since 2015. Before that she lived in San Antonio, TX where she spent 40 years teaching high school mathematics. She also served as a consultant for the southwest region of the College Board, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a past president of the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She has a B.A. in mathematics from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at San Antonio. In Hendersonville, she also serves on the board of the Children and Family Resource Center, and she has tutored at the Boys and Girls Club and at Bruce Drysdale Elementary School. Susan and her husband Ken have one daughter who lives in Nashville with her husband and two small daughters.
Mark Russell, Vice President
Mark Russell is the general manager of Southern Alarm and Security. He is originally from Buffalo, NY and attended Wake Forest University with a BA in Communications. Mark has spent 10 years in high education fundraising between Wake Forest, University of Buffalo, and Virginia Tech. Mark is married to Emily Johnson Russell. They have three young daughters.
Patti Baker, Treasurer
Patti Baker is a partner at BGW CPA, PLLC. She has worked at the Hendersonville office for 12 years. She has served on many nonprofit boards and is currently the treasurer of the United Way of Henderson County. Patti has lived in Hendersonville for over 22 years and has two daughters and one son. She enjoys traveling in her spare time.
Lauren Bollen, Secretary
Lauren is currently a busy stay-at-home mom. She has a Master’s of Education Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and seven years of experience as a licensed speech-language pathologist in NC Public Education, including three years with HCPS. She is also the daughter of an educator.
Chris Becker, Voting Member
Chris Becker is a retired educator from New York state who moved to Henderson County in 2016 with her spouse, Fritz. Chris brings a wealth of experience as an educator, grant writer, and chairperson for the Inner Wheel USA Foundation, a national organization. In her free time, she serves at her church, Trinity Presbyterian, and works as a volunteer at Four Seasons Hospice Resale Store.
Michael Cano, AIF® Voting Member
Michael A. Cano, AIF® is founder and principal of Cano Wealth Strategies, LLC in Hendersonville. He recently celebrated his 25th year providing guidance to his clients. Originally from Bristol, CT. He attended Dean college and received his AS in Business Administration. In 2020, he and his wife and business partner Katie, moved to Hendersonville. Cano has served in many capacities for non-profit organizations, from board member to treasurer and chairman of the board. His last board position was with Hispanics Inspiring Student’s Performance and Achievements, HISPA, in New Jersey. He and wife have three lovely children.
Dot Case, Voting Member
Dot Case is a native of Henderson County and a graduate of Henderson County Public Schools and Appalachian State
University. She was inducted into the Rhododendron School of Education in 2019. Case was HCPS teacher for forty-seven years and member of the Board of Education from 2018 to 2022. She was named Henderson County Teacher of the Year in 1982 and 2010, and named Regional Teacher of the Year in 2011-12. She served as the Edneyville and North Henderson student council sponsor, and served on the scholarship committee for many years. In her teaching career, she helped develop the social studies curriculum for her school and Henderson County.
Claudia Dalton, Voting Member
Claudia is a native of Chile and has been a permanent resident of Henderson County since 2003. Before that, she came to Hendersonville as an exchange student in 1994-1995 and graduated from North Henderson High School. She holds an MBA from Universidad de Concepcion. She graduated in 2000. She also has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
from Montreat college. Claudia works with Full Circle Community Wellness as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She is married to Matt Dalton; they have a son (15) and a daughter (12). She is passionate about mental health, supporting public education, family life, and serving those in need.
Judy Edwards, Voting Member
Judy Scott Edwards previously served on the Foundation Board from July 2016-June 2022. She is a graduate of Rutledge College of Greenville, SC with an A.A.S in Business Management and A.A.S. in Merchandising. She has worked in the banking Industry for more than 25 years. She is employed with Park National Bank as a Branch Manager and AVP of the Hendersonville office. Judy grew up in Greer, South Carolina. Her two children, Jaylan and Aleigha, are graduates of the Henderson County School system. She has previously served as a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, the Kiwanis Club of Henderson County, the Carolina Village Board of Directors, and the Miss Hendersonville Scholarship Pageant. She has also served as a preliminary judge for the Miss North Carolina and South Carolina Scholarship Pageants. Presently she also serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club Board of Henderson County.
Tim Ertzberger, Voting Member
Tim grew up in Western North Carolina and moved to Hendersonville in 1984 after marrying West High graduate Robin Reese. After many years in landscaping, Tim entered the real estate market as a second career. That second career has now grown into one of the larger real estate companies in the area. Tim has served the local realtors as a member of the Hendersonville Board of Realtors, the board of the Hendersonville MLS, the Western North Carolina Regional MLS, and the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce. He was named the Hendersonville Realtor of the Year in 2012. He currently owns and is the Broker-In-Charge at Weichert, Realtors – Mountain Executives.
Melisa Soto Escobar, Voting Member
Melisa has more than ten years of experience as a Certified Spanish Interpreter (CHI). She works for Western North Carolina Interpreter Network and Verbatim Language Solutions. She offers a blend of creative, cultural, and communication strengths.
Melisa has lived in Hendersonville since 1998 and has been involved with Henderson County Public Schools since 2006. She has taken roles as an ESL Substitute teacher, PTO president at HHS, and most recently as a member of the Superintendent Parent Advisory Committee. Melisa also volunteered and helped to start El Centro and its newsletter, “Contacto Hispano.” She is also an active member of the community and has served on different boards.
Melisa graduated from AB Catholic University in Caracas, Venezuela with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism. After graduating, Melisa worked as a TV journalist for five years. She also worked as a Communication Officer for AFS-Venezuela Studies Abroad and Leo Burnett Company in Venezuela.
Melisa has three children all of them graduated from Hendersonville High School and she is married to Efren D. Escobar.
Graham Fields, Voting Member
Graham Fields serves has served as Assistant to the President at AdventHealth Hendersonville since 2009. Focused on community outreach, business development and strategic planning, his role is to represent AdventHealth and engage numerous constituencies throughout the region to better understand and serve the area’s unique health care needs.
Fields joined AdventHealth from the United States Senate. In 2003, US Senator Elizabeth Dole appointed him as her Western State Director, serving approximately 1 million constituents in North Carolina’s 33 western counties. The federal position was responsible for legislative policy, constituent services and managing relationships with the region’s elected officials, federal agencies, state departments, local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses and community groups.
He is active in the community and serves on numerous area boards and committees including: Henderson County Board of Public Health, Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, Henderson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Henderson County Partnership for Health Board of Directors and the Fletcher Fire and Rescue Board of Directors.
A native of Asheville, Fields graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors and distinction with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication. His honors thesis, “Oak Trees Among Bushes: A Study of Appalachian Stereotypes in the Beverly Hillbillies,” reflects his passion for the people of Western North Carolina.
He lives in Fletcher and is married to Leslie Fields, a native of North Wilkesboro, who is an educator with Henderson County Public Schools. They are members of Biltmore Church and enjoy traveling, hiking and music. They have a son named Alexander who is 11-years-old and has been to all 50 states and almost all the national parks
Claire Maybin Rice, Voting Member
Claire Maybin Rice is a native of Henderson County and a graduate of East Henderson High School. She has a degree in Public Health & Sustainability Science from Furman University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health through UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Claire currently serves as the Marketing Coordinator for UNC Health Pardee. She is a former Interact Club member, VP of College chapter of the International Justice Mission, and is active in her church.
Molly McGowan Gorsuch, Voting Member
Molly McGowan Gorsuch served as the public information officer for Henderson County Public Schools for eight years. She joined the HCEF board in 2018. She currently serves as the Director of Client Engagement for Rhodes Branding. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Elon and an M.S. in Communications from Purdue and proudly promotes teacher, student, and school accomplishments through her experience in public education communications.
A graduate of Vision Henderson County class of 2015, Molly also serves on the Board of the North Carolina School Public Relations Association and is an active member of the National School Public Relations Association. She also is on the Board of Hendersonville Sister Cities, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee, and serves as President of Elon’s Asheville Alumni Chapter.
Dan Poeta, Voting Member
Dan Poeta served in the United States Air Force from 1989-1993 as an Aerospace Ground Equipment Mechanic. Dan and his wife Katrina relocated to Hendersonville in 1997 from Texas. Katrina is a Math III teacher at North Henderson High School. They have two children, Gabrielle (22), who is currently working for the University of Texas, and Brendan (18), Class of 2022 HHS. Brendan has entered the U.S. Air Force. Dan is the owner of Horizon Heating & A/C, established in 2010. Horizon currently employs 53 people, serving WNC and the Upstate. He is a licensed contractor for HVAC and Electrical in both NC and SC. Dan is a past President of the Henderson County Education Foundation, and serves on the Henderson County
He graduated from Vision Henderson County’s Class of 2013.
Katie Rogers, Voting Member
A Chicago native, Katie Rogers is happy to call Hendersonville home with her husband, Josh, and three children, Holden, Sawyer, and Miriam. Katie is an educator in the Henderson County Public Schools system and serves as the Media Coordinator at East Henderson High School. Before this, Katie served as an English teacher here in Henderson County, North Augusta, SC, and Walterboro, SC. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education (English) at Arizona State University and her Master’s degree in Library & Information Science (School Library Media) at the University of South Carolina. Katie has a passion for leadership, equity, and branding through social media and hopes to allow those passions to serve HCEF and our community well in the coming years.
Dale Salvaggio Bradshaw, Voting Member
Dale Salvaggio Bradshaw, a native of Henderson County and Hendersonville High School graduate, is self-employed working as a property manager and co-owner of Eagle Self Storage in Hendersonville. Dale has a marketing and communications background and brings her experience as an HCPS parent and former HCEF employee to the board. Dale has previously volunteered in the community in the PTO at her children’s schools, First United Methodist Youth Group, Junior Welfare, Boys & Girls Club, and Community Foundation of Henderson County’s Scholarship Committee. Dale is married to Steve Bradshaw and has two children, Charlie and Sophia.
Amanda Staton, Voting Member
Amanda Staton is a Regional Services Senior Consultant with Wells Fargo Bank, NA. She has been a resident of Henderson County for the last 18 years, and a graduate of Montreat College in Black Mountain. For the last ten years, Amanda has worked with the community through her career with Wells Fargo in Henderson County. Her company is passionate around allowing her to be involved with various events. Amanda has been married for eight years to Jason Staton, a native of Henderson County and graduate of Hendersonville High. They have three sons, Caleb (a junior at West Henderson High School), and Mason and Maverick who are two and under.