The Board of Directors meets every second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 at Asheville PEAK Academy located at 27 Balm Grove Avenue. Board meetings are open to the public. This is an in-person meeting and will not be accessible via zoom.

Note: The Board meeting scheduled for June 14, 2022, has been cancelled. There will only be a closed session meeting to discuss personnel matters. The June meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. It will begin at 5:30PM  in the PEAK Cafeteria.


 Upcoming meetings:

The next regular Board meeting is scheduled for July 12, 2022. 

January 11th       April 12th      July 12th               October 11th

February 8th.     May 10th.     August 9th          November 8th

March 8th.         June 14th    September 13th  December 14th

All meetings will be held at 5:30 unless otherwise announced


We are not currently accepting applications for new board members.

For past meeting minutes and agendas please click the link below.


Gene Bell

Board Chair

Gene Bell graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati with a degree in Business Management. After a 20-year career with IBM, Bell bought a construction company in Charlotte, NC and later joined the Charlotte Housing Authority as the Director of Technical Services. Bell later moved to Asheville and joined the Asheville Housing Authority as Director of Maintenance and Construction. In Bell’s 25 year career with the Asheville Housing Authority he spent 14 as Executive Director overseeing the growth of the Housing Authority to serve 10 public housing developments.


Bell’s services to education, equity and advocate can be marked by his work with numerous organizations. Bell served as the Chair of the Asheville Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, Chair of Buncombe County Planning Board, and Past President of the NC Housing Authority Directors Association. In support of better sustainable opportunities for children and families in public housing, Bell served as the Board Chair of the Asheville City Schools. Bell is a staunch advocate for closing the achievement gap for black and brown students. He also served on the Executive Committee for the United Way of Asheville and was Past Chair of the Asheville Civil Service Board.

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Robby Russell


After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1983, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with concentration in Finance, my banking career began with Central Fidelity Bank as a Credit Analyst, working with Commercial Bankers and their clients. After 38 years, my banking career continues, however, since beginning in 1983, I have worked with Central Fidelity Bank, First Union Bank, Wachovia, PNC Financial Services and First National Bank of Pennsylvania.  Many years has been spent as a commercial relationship manager, however, there was a ten-year period, 1993 - 2003 spent working with non-profits that served low to moderate income individuals and small business as a Community Affairs Officer, working to maintain the bank’s compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act; and performing Foundation work, overseeing the disbursement of $50 million annually throughout a six-state region.


It has been the community development and foundation work that has drawn me to support community work in Asheville, joining many boards and sharing/employing skills and talents developed from my many years in banking.  This community work has also created a number of professional and business relationships, many leading to new banking opportunities.  


Susan Shanor


Susan Shanor recently relocated to Asheville from Atlanta. While her professional background is in human resources and employment law, Susan devotes much of her time to non-profit organizations serving children and is committed to the transformative power of education. She is a lifetime board  member of Camp Twin Lakes – annually serving thousands of children and adults with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges. She has served on the boards of educational institutions at the preschool, secondary and college levels. Susan has also been involved with the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta – a school dedicated to rigor, engaged teaching, and diverse culture  – and hosts Ron Clark students annually for an overnight camping experience. Susan currently serves on the YMCA of Western North Carolina Board with a special interest in Camp Watia and the University of North Carolina Foundation Board. Susan brings to PEAK  her extensive experience in fundraising, having served in a leadership capacity on several major capital campaigns.

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David Robinson


David Robinson grew up in Asheville, NC. David attended T.C. Roberson High School and continued his education at Montreat College where he earned a Business Administration degree and played basketball from 2002-2006. David began a career in Greensboro, NC working in the school system with special needs children and coaching middle and high school basketball. David moved back to Asheville in 2014 after marrying his wife, Shelly. He has two boys, Taj and Rey, and a daughter, Nyla. David currently works at FedEx and coaches middle school basketball at Valley Springs.

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Dr. Dwight Mullen


Dwight Mullen was hired by UNC Asheville in 1984 as part of the university's effort to integrate its faculty. Over the decades that followed, he taught courses in Political Science, Humanities, the Masters of Liberal Arts, Women's Studies, and Africana Studies. He also mentored students and was involved with campus and community organizations. In 2014, he was honored with the UNC Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2017 he was selected as the Ruth and Leon Feldman Professor and by the alumni for the Distinguished Professor Award.  Upon retirement in June 2018, the University conferred the title of Professor Emeritus. 

Mullen led his UNC Asheville students from 2006 - 2018 in an ongoing research project called The State of Black Asheville which collected and presented an array of data on the status of local African-Americans in public policy areas that include health, housing, education, economic development and criminal justice. 

He has presented data, papers and reports at national and international professional venues. His public service includes work with Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, MAHEC, Asheville Housing Authority, The North Carolina Department of Corrections, Buncombe County Sheriff's Department and the Asheville Police Department. Most recently, his work with Dogwood Health Trust aims to replace racial disparities in public policies with more racially just outcomes for the entirety of western North Carolina.

Dwight Mullen and his wife, Associate Professor Emeritus Dr. Dolly Jenkins-Mullen, have four children and three beautiful grandchildren.

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Andy Barnett


Coming Soon


Kerry Friedman 


Kerry A. Friedman is an Asheville native, graduate of UNC-CH in 1976 and UNC School of Law in 1980. Kerry has been a lawyer with the Asheville law firm of Patla, Straus, Robinson & Moore, P.A. since 1980, concentrating his practice in business law. Both as a community volunteer and as counsel, Kerry has worked with a wide variety of community organizations. Kerry is currently on the Board of WNC Bridge Foundation (formerly CarePartners Foundation), Resources for Resilience, and on the Finance Committee for YMCA of Western North Carolina. Past Board involvements include Caring for Children, Meals on Wheels, Congregation Beth ha Tephila, Jewish Community Center of Asheville, Pisgah Legal Services, Legal Aid of North Carolina (formerly Legal Services of North Carolina), North Carolina State Bar’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts Board of Trustees, United Way of Asheville – Buncombe County, UNC-Asheville Foundation and CarePartners (prior to its affiliation with Mission). Kerry and his wife Anna S. Friedman have 2 adult children.

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Gordon Grant


PEAK Board Member Biography:

Dr. Gordon Grant

      I  aspire to be an “amphibian”: comfortable in both the worlds of experiential and academic education. I’m  still working on that balance after 40 years in education.  

In Experiential Education:

  • I have led trips in mountains and on rivers worldwide  since the 1970’s in North America, Europe, and Asia for Camps Mondamin and Green Cove, Nantahala Outdoor Center,  Asheville City Schools, and North Carolina Outward Bound.  

  • I’ve been a US Team member in Whitewater Canoeing and remain an avid boater, rock climber, mountain biker and trail runner. 

  • Recently inducted into the Southern Appalachian Paddlesports Museum Hall of Fame.

In Academic Education:

  •  I’ve been a teacher and principal in private and NC public schools since 1988, 

  • National Board Certified Teacher and  Milken National Teaching Award winner for my design of an integrated curriculum on the French Broad River for Asheville Middle School. 

  • I  received all three of my degrees in Education from Western Carolina University, including my doctorate, and I’m  grateful to that institution for being a regional resource for me and others in WNC. 

  • Spent much of the recent years of COVID19 in the design of virtual lessons that strengthen character traits for students in grades 5- postgraduate.

  • Continue to serve as an advisor for the Milken National Education Foundation. 


I am newly retired from role of  Education Director for the NC Outward Bound School, where I work in the field and in the classroom with teachers from private, public and charter schools, and with the faculty and students of UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of Education, where I continue to serve as  adjunct professor. 

As a new board member at PEAK Academy, I  deeply believe in the school’s mission of empowering its students  with “…the academic excellence, character traits, and love of learning necessary to become life-long scholars, leaders, and community stewards.”

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Kathey Avery


Kathey Avery RN, BSN, CN, CEO IFPHA

Kathey Avery Community Nurse, founder and CEO of IFPHA (Institute For Preventive Healthcare & Advocacy) has worked toward equity as an African American female in WNC. Kathey is dedication to racial equity, especially as it relates to healthcare. Health equity has been her passion and her lifelong work.

Avery, was the May 2021 recipient of the Carol McLimans Trailblazer Award. Land of Sky Regional Council’s Area Agency on Aging established the award in 2016 to honor a professional in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, or Transylvania County. 

Avery educated clients about diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancers through community health screenings and educational events at Asheville-Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA) 2008-2019. Avery helped serve over 7,200 clients as a Community Nurse (CN). ABIPA a non-profit dedicated to improving the health and well-being of minority and other underserved populations. 

In 2019, Avery started Avery Health Education and Consulting LLC addressing healthcare equity and the social determinants of health. Later that year Avery was selected for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Clinical Scholars funding. She later founded and became CEO of the Institute of Preventive Healthcare and Advocacy. Avery went door-to-door in Senior living, and Public Housing when the COVID-19 vaccines rolled out, listening to residents’ concerns, answering questions and continuing to provide health education and prevention classes to disproportionately affected communities. 

In 1995 Kathey was instrumental in helping form Mission's very first Diversity Committee where she served until 2011. She received the prestigious Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Other awards include, 2016 Unsung Heroes Award by UNC-A, BCHHS, and Date My City, 2017 she was awarded the Lillian Carter Award for Exemplary Nursing from Modern Healthcare magazine in partnership with the Lillian Carter Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility at the Emory University School of Nursing. 

She volunteers for many organizations including, 14-years with Building Bridges and presently with the Racial Justice Coalition, OnTrack, Dogwood Health Trust/Impact Health and Dementia Friendly WNC to name a few.