The Staff and Governing Board for 2016
Carolina Coastal Classrooms' Board of Directors is comprised of diverse individuals concerned about improving education for our youth. We are thankful for the leadership and experience each of our board members brings.
Ben Bunn (above) is the President and CEO of Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is a retired naval officer, navy pilot, and former educator and public school administrator.
The Executive Committee
Dr. Lionel Kato is the Secretary of Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is a public school administrator and former high school and middle school math and social studies teacher. He is also one of the original founding board members of Carolina Coastal Classrooms.
Jim Meyer is a successful businessman with national and international experience. He is a longtime supporter of Carolina Coastal Classrooms and volunteer crew member onboard the skipjack ADA MAE. Jim serves as the Executive Director for Carolina Coastal Classrooms, Inc.
Tony Salem is the Treasurer for Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is a Certified Public Accountant with the firm of A.G. Salem & Associates PLLC. He is also one of the original founding board members of Carolina Coastal Classrooms and was twice Chairman of the CCC Board of Directors.
Dr. Gordon Watts is the Chairman of the Board for Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is the President and CEO of Tidewater Atlantic Research and the Institute for International Maritime Research. His specialty is underwater archaeology and marine research. He is a retired history professor from East Carolina University and was part of the recovery team that discovered and raised the USS Monitor off of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Rex Willis is the Vice Chairman for Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is a prominent and distinguished New Bern lawyer with the firm of Ward and Smith. He has a strong interest in sailing and the environment.
Scott Aiken is the Grandson of Ada Mae Hodges Cowan, namesake of the skipjack ADA MAE and longtime volunteer and supporter of Carolina Coastal Classrooms. Scott is in the seafood distribution business in eastern North Carolina.
Robin Arnold works as a Research Historian with Tidewater Atlantic Research in Washington, NC. She has significant legal knowledge in historical and contemporary archival research in admiralty law, wills, maps and land records, public records and civil and military court proceedings. She also worked closely with the Institute for International Maritime Research for many years and is most knowledgeable about the history, acquisition and restoration of the skipjack ADA MAE.
Mike Askew is a former Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board for Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is the Facilities Director for both Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer, YMCA camps for youth in Arapahoe, NC.
Kevin Duffus is a research historian, author and film maker. In his first career in television, he produced news broadcasts and documentaries around the world. His productions have been honored by the George Foster Peabody Award, the World Hungar Media Award, the Edward R. Morrow Award and the National Education Association Award. In 2013, the North Carolina Society of Historians presented Kevin Duffus with the "Barringer Award for Excellence" for outstanding work on behalf of North Carolina's state history. His books include The Lost Light - A Civil War Mystery, Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks - An Illustrated Guide, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate, and War Zone - World War Two Off the North Carolina Coast. His many documentary films include Move of the Century - The Cape Hatteras Light and The Graveyard of the Atlantic - 400 Years of Shipwrecks, Mysteries and Heroic Rescues. His research accomplishments have garnered national publicity and introduced significant new facts to traditional accounts of North Carolina's maritime history.
Mark Mangum is a prominent business man in New Bern with considerable experience in banking. A native of Fauquier County Va., he is a graduate of Atlantic Christian College. He is an avid historian of the Civil War and has been extensively involved in preservation programs for the New Bern Battlefield.
Dr. Jessica Meiller currently on staff at the American University in Washington, D. C. and formerly with the staff of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. She has also served as the Director of Academic Programs for the Living Classrooms Foundation in Washington, DC. She is also one of the original founding board members of Carolina Coastal Classrooms.
George Oliver is a partner in the law firm of Oliver, Friesen and Cheek in New Bern. He is an experienced sailor, boater and musician.
Charles Parker, a native New Bernian, has spent the last 46 years in Information Technology providing IT Professional Services at the the last 16 years. Upon returning to New Bern, he has volunteered time and effort to Carolina Coastal Classroom and its mission.
Dr. Robert Reed is a research scientist on the faculty of NC State University and directs education and studies at the Center for Applied Aquatics and Ecology. He is the director of programs on the Research Vessel for NC State the R/V Humphries and conducts research, water quality monitoring and education on the coastal and inland waters of North Carolina.
Chris Richey is a financial advisor in New Bern. He is an experienced waterman, boat builder and recreational fisherman.
Advisory Council Members
Michael Alford is the retired Curator of Maritime Research at the North Carolina Maritime Museum and former board member with Carolina Coastal Classrooms.
Captain Peter Bolster is the Fleet Captain with the Living Classrooms Foundation in Baltimore, MD and an experienced shipwright and captain with worldwide experience.
Ken Crocker is a retired airline pilot and former naval officer. He is an exceptional woodworker and avid boating enthusiast.
John Dillow is the new President and CEO of Work Force Development, Inc. Served as the former Director of the Living Classrooms Foundation in Washington DC... He is an experienced program administrator and former Director of the Maritime Institute at the Living Classrooms Foundation in Baltimore, MD. He is one of the original crewmembers of the schooner Lady Maryland, the Living Classrooms flagship.
John Dunn served as the Treasurer of the Board for Carolina Coastal Classrooms for a number of years. He is an experienced bank manager with First Flight Credit Union of North Carolina.
Ken McCotter is a maritime attorney and former North Carolina Federal Court Justice. He is an avid sportsman, fisherman and boater and former board member with Carolina Coastal Classrooms.
Dr. Rob Patterson is former Vice Chairman of the Board for Carolina Coastal Classrooms. He is a sailor and boating enthusiast, an environmentalist and board member with Camp Don Lee, a youth camp in Arapahoe, NC. He is also a highly respected physician in New Bern, NC.
Linda Thomas is a member of the Craven County Board of Education. She is an advocate for quality education in our public schools and a former board member with Carolina Coastal Classrooms.
Richard "Dick" Verrone currently teaches in the Economics and Finance Department of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction, President of the Verrone Consulting Group, Inc. and a retired executive with over 30 years in the banking industry. He is also a retired Marine Corps officer. Dick was a former board member with Carolina Coastal Classrooms.Steve White is an avid boater, sportsman, fisherman, environmentalist and successful businessman. He is President and CEO of White's Tractor and Truck and White's International Trucks, Idealease and DSW, Inc. of Wilson, NC, and is a former board member with Carolina Coastal Classrooms.