New Members Join NC Wesleyan Board of Directors | local news


The NC Wesleyan College Board of Trustees approved five new board members to join the board: State Senator Lisa Stone Barnes, Vernon T. Bradley Jr., retired Brig. Gen. General Arnold Gordon-Bray, Harry Bynum, and Beth B. Covolo.

Coming from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they join 21 others who serve on the NC Wesleyan College Board of Trustees, chaired by Dr. Dan Crocker.

“I commend the current members of the Board of Trustees in identifying and hosting these extraordinary individuals. Each of them will greatly increase the strength of the board and make a tremendous contribution to the continued progress of the school,” Crocker said.

Barnes, a Nash County native, currently serves in District 11 on the state Senate, representing Nash and Johnston counties. She is a member of the Education, Health and Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committees. A graduate of Peace College and NC State University, she began her career as a real estate paralegal.

Today she works in agribusiness with her husband Johnny. Lisa has also served on the Nash County State House and Board of Commissioners. Lisa and Johnny have three grown children – Bethany, Joshua and Jacy – and are members of Ridgecrest Worship Center. In her free time she enjoys travelling, cooking and paddling.

Bradley Jr. is a 1980 graduate of the NC Wesleyan and was inducted into the NCWC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007. As a tennis player with the Battling Bishops, he enjoyed a solid four-year career during which he became one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of the program. A three-time Most Valuable Player from 1978–1980, Vernon became the first tennis player to receive three MVP awards. In 1978, he achieved another Bishop milestone when he became the first NC player to win Wesleyan Dixie All-Conference honors in first place singles. After his stint on the court with NC Wesleyan, he played professional tennis for three years.

The Halifax native has since had a successful career in the real estate industry, often returning to campus to support and encourage current student athletes. Bradley is the namesake of several campus landmarks including the sports complex, dorm and lobby, among others. His dedication and dedication to NC Wesleyan College is evident across campus. He is the highest single donor in NC Wesleyan history.

Gordon-Bray has more than three decades of service in the US Army and has demonstrated professional leadership in strategic communications, combat operations, foreign policy and effective modernization in support of the Department of Defense and national interests. He is now an independent consultant and owner of ANGB Consulting LLC.

He holds a master’s degree in National Security & Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, a master’s degree in International Strategic Studies from the Air War College, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri. He is also an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from NC Wesleyan College. A lifelong learner, he has Executive Education from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and Administrative Management from Central Michigan University.

Bynum is President of SE&M Constructors, a full-service electrical and mechanical engineering company based in Elm City. He is a licensed electrical, mechanical and general contractor in North Carolina and received a business degree from Wake Forest University in 1976. He has served on the boards of the United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs of The Tar River Region, The Salvation Army, Rocky Mount Industrial Organization, Citizens Savings Bank, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Wake Forest University Alumni Association.

Bynum has three sons – Zack, Alex and Charlie – and two stepchildren, Jimmy Keel and Margie Gately. He and his wife Melissa also have six grandchildren.

Covolo is the principal of Rocky Mount Academy. From 2005 to 2011 she was also director of development and head of the lower school at RMA. Prior to RMA, Beth served at Nash County Public Schools for 15 years. She is currently a trustee of the NC Association of Independent Schools and the NC Independent Schools Athletic Association, and President of the Carolina Independent Conference.

Covolo has a master’s degree in school administration from East Carolina University and is a mother of three.

“I am pleased to welcome this talented group of professionals to the Board of Trustees,” said College President Evan. said D. Duff. “Their diverse backgrounds and work experiences will help us fulfill the college’s mission.”

They will serve on the board until May 31, 2025.


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