Vote in Our 2023 Board Elections

The Appalachian Voices Board of Directors is instrumental in our success through its thoughtful governance of the organization and partnership with our staff, bringing a wealth and variety of experience and a deep commitment to our mission.

Voting for the 2022 elections ended Nov. 1. Read about our current board members and find out how you can get involved with Appalachian Voices.

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Meet the candidates   |   Jump to the online ballot
Download a printable ballot

The Appalachian Voices Board of Directors is instrumental in our success through its thoughtful governance of the organization and partnership with our staff, bringing a wealth and variety of experience and a deep commitment to our mission.

Please cast your vote below for our annual Board of Directors elections. Only current Appalachian Voices members may vote, and each member gets only one vote. Elections end Nov. 1, 2023. Not a member? Click here to join before casting your vote.

Candidates

OFFICERS

Tracey Wright

Tracey Wright for Board Chair, 4th term

Tracey is a native of Dickson, Tennessee, who currently calls Russell County, Virginia, home. During her career in higher education, Tracey has served in the administrations of three regional institutions. She spent 12 years at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where she became more interested in sustainability efforts. As an educator, Tracey strives to assist college students in developing into engaged citizens who care about their community and their environment. Tracey, a wife and mother of two daughters, describes herself as an average citizen who is seeking meaningful ways to have a positive impact on our environment. She also seeks better ways to help motivate others to do the same. Tracey graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in science in mathematics and master’s degree in educational leadership. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. Tracey joined the Appalachian Voices board in 2015, serving on the Strategic Planning Committee, Board Development Committee and on the Executive Committee as secretary.

Bunk Spann

Bunk Spann for Vice-Chair

Milton G. “Bunk” Spann is the founder of the National Center for Developmental Education at Appalachian State University. As a former member of the Boone, N.C., Town Council, Bunk was instrumental in establishing the Boone Water Committee and for several years chaired the town’s Water Conservation Committee that developed several water conservation programs. Following his tenure on the Town Council, Bunk was appointed to the Planning Commission and shortly thereafter was elected chair. During his 36 years in Boone, Bunk led the effort to establish the town as a “Smart Growth” community. He and his wife Nancy now live in Asheville, N.C., at the Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community where he is working to help make Deerfield and Asheville an even more environmentally friendly and sustainable community.

christopher_scotton

Christopher Scotton for Treasurer

Christopher grew up outside of Washington, D.C., in what was then undeveloped countryside — a place of cornfields and tree houses, dammed-up creeks and secret swimming holes. It was a magical place to be a kid, something that Christopher recaptured in his debut novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, which is set in a fictionalized eastern Kentucky town. As a teenager, developers bought up most of the land and the idyllic bounds of Christopher’s childhood became one big construction site — creeks were backfilled and swimming holes ran to mud. By the time he went to college, the countryside of his youth was solidly suburban. It was in college that Christopher first fell in love with Appalachia. Initially for the music — the spinning lilt of a fiddle reel, the compact fury of a mandolin run, the plaintive harmonies — then, for the beauty, as he came to know the region with little more than a backpack and a camp stove. Christopher currently lives near Washington, D.C., where he is president and CEO of a software company.

peggy_matthews_board

Peggy Mathews for Secretary, 3rd term

Peggy has over 40 years experience working with environmental and social justice organizations, primarily in the Southeast. Over those years Peggy worked as an action researcher, community organizer, fundraiser, executive director, and for the past 25 years as a fundraising and organization development consultant and trainer. For eight years Peggy worked as a coalfield community organizer and then as the first grassroots fundraiser for Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM) an environmental justice organization fighting strip mining and mountaintop removal in the coalfield communities of east Tennessee. Peggy went on to found Community Shares, a statewide federated fund for social, environmental and economic justice organizations raising funds together through employee giving campaigns in the workplace. She was instrumental in the start-up and was a founding board member for three public foundations in the Southeast (Appalachian Community Fund, Southern Partners Fund, The Fund for Campbell County). Peggy received her Bachelor of Science degree in community organizing and community development from the University of California at Davis. Peggy and her husband live in an intentional community on the Clinch River in far southwest Virginia with their two dogs.

BOARD MEMBERS-AT-LARGE

Bill Clontz, 1st term

Originally from Charlotte, NC, Bill has a 30-year career as an Army (retired Colonel), 17 years as a VP in international business (largely with L-3 Communications), primarily supporting democratic development in emerging democracies, and was a cofounder of a firm (Stewardship for Us) providing consulting support to nonprofits in the areas of with stewardship, fundraising, capital programs, and leadership development. His work has taken him to many parts of the world; he now resides in Asheville, NC where he serves as President of the Asheville-Biltmore Rotary Club, as well as serving in many other volunteer capacities and boards of service oriented organizations. During his military service, he also worked in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, was the Army Fellow at the Brookings Institution and later at the Kennedy School of Government, and served as Military Chief of Staff to Ambassador Madeleine Albright at the US Mission to the United Nations. Bill has been a long time environmental advocate, with active memberships in several environmental and wildlife protection organizations.

Taysha DeVaughan, 1st term

Taysha is a resident of Wise County, making her home in Big Stone Gap, with her son, Aiden. She was born in Lawton, OK, and is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma. Taysha is a graduate of UVA-Wise and is the Donor Engagement Coordinator at the Appalachian Community Fund. Taysha is an active participant in social justice and flood relief efforts in central Appalachia, including serving as a representative at UVA-Wise for Indigenous Peoples Month, being a founding member of Lonesome Pine Mutual Aid, and the former president of Southern Appalachians Mountain Stewards. Taysha was appointed by Governor Northam to serve on the Virginia Environmental Justice Council in 2020, which she now Chairs. She is the recipient of the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable Good Citizen award for her work as a water protector and also received the 2023 democratic grassroots organizer award. Taysha was the democratic candidate for the 9th District congressional race in 2022.

Beth Mattern, 1st term

Born and raised in Southwest Virginia, Beth Mattern is a technology leader with over 30 years of experience building technologies that solve real-world problems for large organizations like CNN and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Most recently, she completed a tour of duty with the U.S. Digital Service, a group of technologists from diverse backgrounds working across the federal government to transform critical services for the American people. At USDS, Beth was on the team that delivered the Climate and Economic Justice Screening tool, a vital component of the Justice40 initiative, an environmental justice effort established by President Biden’s climate-focused executive order. This work perfectly combined her extensive experience building user-focused technologies with her desire to further environmental justice causes. Beth is excited to continue serving in efforts that create a more sustainable future and an equitable clean energy economy. Beth lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband Bryan and dog Zoey. She loves hiking, seeing live music, cooking, and traveling.

Chandra T. Taylor-Sawyer, 1st term

Chandra T. Taylor-Sawyer is a Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, a regional non-profit focused on protecting natural resources and public health in the Southeast. As the leader of SELC’s environmental justice initiative, she collaborates region-wide with SELC staff and partners to alleviate the disproportionate burden of environmental harm on communities of color. Her background includes water quality advocacy, water resource planning, inter-basin transfer permitting, stormwater permit monitoring, natural resources restoration planning, waste site clean-up, and advocating for better industrial hog operation regulations. Chandra also serves as Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and on SELC’s Management Committee. Her environmental justice experience includes teaching Environmental Justice Law, Policy and Regulation as adjunct faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law since 2016, participation in the Vermont Law School Environmental Justice Young Fellows China exchange and formerly serving on the Board of Directors for two North Carolina environmental justice non-profits, and advocacy in collaboration with a range of partners and clients at SELC. Chandra is a past participant in the Audubon/Toyota TogetherGreen Fellowship program for her work incorporating consideration of Environmental Justice into traditional conservation advocacy, and the recipient of a Fellows Mentor award. She is also on the Board of the NC Institute for the Environment, and the Central North Carolina Chapter of the Red Cross. She is a member of the Durham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. Chandra is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and its School of Law, and is a native of Kinston, North Carolina. When she is not working, she likes to garden, travel, and spend time outside with family and friends.

Cast Your Vote

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