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Board of Directors
Jim Fuller, Counsel
Mr. Fuller lives on Lake Davidson with Jean, his wife of 45 years and practices law at the McIntosh Law Firm, specializing in personal injury and civil litigation. Mr. Fuller is a graduate of both Davidson College (B.A., English) and UNC Chapel Hill School of Law (Juris Doctorate). He was appointed and briefly served on the N.C. Court of Appeals. In addition to his work at McIntosh Law Firm, Mr. Fuller has taught courses at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill Schools of Law. For more than 25 years, Mr. Fuller has been listed in Best Lawyers in America and was a North Carolina Superlawyer for four consecutive years. He has served as President of the NC Advocates for Justice (formerly known as the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers) and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. When Jim Fuller is not advocating for civil rights, he is active in Davidson United Methodist Church, with Davidson Lands Conservancy and the Davidson Community Players.Long committed to the fight for fairness and equality, he has an esteemed history of fighting civil and racial injustice in the Southeast and actively participating in precedent-setting cases, including those leading to decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court level. The TarHeel Alliance of Classroom Teachers Board of Directors is honored to have Mr. Fuller - a man known as a Trailblazing Champion for Justice, represent us as lead counsel.
 
Harriet Baker
A National Board Certified teacher, Harriet Baker has over 40 years experience in public education. The first 11 years of her career were as a teacher in South Carolina Schools, where she earned her Master's degree in English at Winthrop University. She was one of the first participants of the Writing Project in South Carolina. After a brief time on staff with the South Carolina Education Association, she came to North Carolina and worked for the North Carolina Association of Educators for 20 years as a UniServ Director in Pinehurst and Pembroke, and as a Government Relations Specialist in Raleigh. Her work included political action and lobbying with the North Carolina General Assembly. For the past 10 years, Harriet returned to the classroom as a teacher at Riverwood Middle School for Johnston County Schools. There she has served as both Language Arts and AIG lead teacher. Retiring from teaching in June 2013, Harriet is excited about this next phase of her life. According to Ms. Baker, "We work best when we do the work we love. I can imagine nothing finer than being part of the Alliance and continuing to work with, and for - the teachers in North Carolina's schools. The work they do is unbelievable and needs to be supported in every way possible." Harriet, who is married to Tony Baker, lives in Clayton with their three cats and two goats (the goats live outside).
 
 
Vernon Culpepper 
Board Member, Emeritus                 
Vernon was born in Nash County, North Carolina, living and attending public school in Rocky Mount, NC.  After graduating from high school, Vernon served in the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1954 during the Korean Conflict. After completing his military service to his country, Vernon enrolled in Mars Hill Junior College, obtained an Associate’s degree and was then accepted into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  While still enrolled as an undergraduate at UNC-CH, Mr. Culpepper became State President of the NC Education Association (now known as the NC Association of Educators).  After graduating from UNC-CH with both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s of Education, Mr. Culpepper taught World and American History, World Affairs, and Economics for eleven years at Walter Williams High School in Burlington, NC.  He left the classroom in superb standing to advocate for his profession as a field consultant at NCEA and then with NCAE.  Mr. Culpepper would become an integral part of developing what is now referred to as the UniServ Directors' Program with the National Education Association.  In its fledgling stage, Vernon represented educators for the entire state of NC, serving in this capacity for 26 years.  Vernon Culpepper believes it has always been his purpose and now the purpose of the TarHeel Alliance of Classroom Teachers (tACT), to serve and protect members of the organization, training them to be leaders in developing their own local education associations (LEAs). Vernon and his lovely wife Alva have been married for 58 years.  They have two grown children, Julie and Clay, three grandchildren and currently reside in Wake County, NC.
 
Clyde Edgerton
Clyde Edgerton has published ten novels and a memoir. Three of his novels have been made into movies and stage adaptations have been made from seven novels. Edgerton’s short stories and essays have been published in New York Times Magazine, Best American Short Stories, Southern Review, Oxford American, Garden & Gun and other publications. Five of his novels have been New York Times Notable Books. He is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and teaches in the creative writing department at UNCW. He lives in Wilmington, NC with his wife and their children. His next book, due in May 2013,is Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers (Little, Brown). Clyde has been extremely active in advocating for quality public education access for ALL children, regardless of socio-economic status, including vocal opposition of "neighborhood" schools, which re-segregate students. Clyde has provided fact driven data to support his arguments, much to the ire of neighborhood school proponents. He is also an advocate for teacher rights. In addition to being a respected professor of creative writing and accomplished author, Clyde is also a talented musician and painter.
 
 
John Ferguson
Born in Henry County, VA, John Ferguson is a former classroom Biology teacher with more than 40 years of experience in public education.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from NC A&T University in Greensboro, NC.  and taught school for 18 years while also serving as a teacher leader and activist in Caswell County.  To more effectively serve his profession, Ferguson left the classroom to work fulltime as UniServ Director for the North Carolina Association of Educators for 15 years.  Within this role, Ferguson became President of his own professional union, NCSO, the North Carolina Staff Organization, where he negotiated contracts and advocated for the rights of fellow union members.  Later John would go on to serve the last 10 years of his career at NCAE as Manager for Membership Organizing.  During his tenure, the Association claimed its largest membership to date, exceeding 70,000.  Additional service includes serving as President of Northern Orange Black Voters Alliance, Treasurer for the Orange County African American Caucus, and President of Orange County's local unit of the NC Retired School Personnel.  In his free time, Mr. Ferguson is an avid golfer and angler.
     
 
Brack Townsend
Brack Townsend attended Rocky Mount High School before graduating from UNC- Chapel Hill and earning a master’s degree in School Administration. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Mr. Townsend served as an assistant principal. He would go on to complete a highly accomplished thirty-four year career with the NC Association of Educators as a UniServ Director, faithfully serving members in the Rocky-Mount/Nash/Wilson territory. Brack retired from NCAE in 2009 and currently lives in Rocky Mount with his wife of 45 years, Anne, also retired from a long career as a public school teacher.  The Townsends have two children, both graduates of NC public schools as well as 3 grandchildren.  When not speaking out on behalf of public education and other progressive causes, Brack enjoys gardening – including growing some of the best tomatoes around, reading and sailing. Just as he did throughout his working career, Brack continues his long-time service to several non-profits in the area, including the free clinic in Rocky Mount. Brack Townsend’s extensive experience in the field of public education makes him an outstanding asset to the tACT Board of Directors.
 
 
Wofford Thomas
Wofford Thomas has lived in northeastern North Carolina for 41 years, 35 of them with his wife, Leslie.  Together they have raised their 2 children here, both of whom attended NC Public Schools and Universities.  Mr. Thomas is retired from a lifetime career in public education, where he served as a UniServ Director with the National Education Association and the North Carolina Association of Educators for 34 years, beginning his tenure in 1972. Wofford is an original member of the famed class of NCAE veteran staffers, affectionately known as “Silverbacks.”  Prior to his teacher advocacy through the professional association, Wofford Thomas taught English at the secondary level in both Fayetteville, NC and Aberdeen, MD.  With a Bachelor of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and Master of Education from Towson University in Baltimore, MD, Wofford Thomas has spent most of his life in dedicated public service to schools and educators.  During his retirement he remains committed to public education and believes it is the bedrock of democracy.  
 
  
Pete Toggerson
Mr. Toggerson received a Master of Education from UNC-Chapel Hill and is a graduate of the Trade Union Program at Harvard.  He has more than 43 years of experience in public education, including having taught every grade except eighth.  His advocacy work outside the classroom is unsurpassed. He presided as President of Winnisquan Education Association in New Hampshire and President of Wake ACT (now Wake NCAE) for two terms.  During his administration, Pete secured a 40% increase in the local supplement (with the help of MANY Wake ACT members, he adds).  He also served as Chair for the Teachers' Rights Committee and Editor of the Association's newsletter.  For the NC Association of Educators, Mr. Toggerson served as both President and Director of District XI ACT and NCAE, as well as Chair of the NCACT Resolutions and Collective Bargaining Committees.  Mr. Toggerson was elected as a delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly multiple times and served on the NEA Resolutions Committee, as well as the Internal Editing Committee, for six terms.  Pete left the classroom to better serve his profession  as UniServ Director for the Georgia Association of Educators and was instrumental in protecting the rights of Metro Atlanta educators for another 27 years. Some successes include helping organize and build membership in several locals, including one that increased from 400 to 4000 members; another from 400 to 2200+.  Pete Toggerson has also trained countless others in organizing, political action, grievances, and negotiations (adversarial and "win-win").  Although currently retired, he serves as an elected member to the GAE Board of Directors, and is an honorary life member of the DeKalb and Cobb County Associations of Educators.  He also currently serves as Chair for GAE-R Technical Committee, and proudly remains an organizer, albeit at-large. Tarheel Alliance for Classroom Teaches is thrilled to add another proud “Silverback” to its impressive rank of board members.
 
 
Sandy Younce
On July 1 2013 Sandy Younce retired after an over 38 year career as an NEA/NCAE UniServ Director. During his long tenure with NCAE, Sandy tirelessly supported members in 51 different counties, voluntarily transferring across the state in order to advance the professional interests of educators.  From Murphy in the mountains to the NC coast, where he currently lives in Wilmington, he has championed the rights of teachers and other public school employees. Highly respected by his peers, Sandy was elected NCAE Staff Union President - a position he held for 2 years, in addition to other offices within the union - including Vice President, Grievance Committee Chair and Chief Negotiator for bargaining a staff contract.  In 1964 Sandy graduated from Hudson High School in Caldwell County and enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with an AB in English in 1969.  Prior to joining the NCAE staff in 1974, Sandy taught 7th grade Language Arts and Social Studies for 5 years at Lower Creek School in the Caldwell County Schools, also coaching football and basketball.  Forty-three years of service in NC’s public education system have galvanized Sandy’s commitment to teachers - a calling he will continue to answer in his new role with the Tar Heel Alliance of Classroom Teachers, tACT.  Married to Lynn Shoemaker Younce, a former teacher who also served as NCAE UniServ Director, Sandy has 3 children - Thomas, Kate and step-daughter Marlee Yeates, all of whom attended public schools - including public universities and colleges.
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