EPiC

EPiC Board of Directors

Vickie Miller - EPiC Interim Chair

Vickie Miller has over 20 years in the education and community economic development fields. She has served as a teacher, managing director of a grant development company, as executive director of a non-profit, as program director with the North Carolina Department of Commerce with day-to-day responsibilities for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and currently as the Director of Learning and Development with a statewide membership association.

She is involved with civic and community organizations. In addition to serving on the EPiC Board of Directors, she is founder and former board officer of the Individual Development Account and Asset-Building Collaborative of North Carolina, former board member of the Council of State Community Development Agencies, former secretary of the Durham School of the Arts Parent-Teacher-Student Association. She is a member of St. Titus’ Episcopal Church and serves as the Co-chair of the Episcopal Church Women.

Vickie earned a B.A. and M.Ed. in Education at UNC-Chapel Hill and is a Certified Public Manager, holds Economic Development Finance Professional and Housing Development Finance Professional certifications from the National Development Council, and Municipal County Administration certification from the UNC School of Government.​

She lives in Durham with her husband, Paul, and has a daughter, Sky, who attends Northwestern University.

Valerie Miller - EPiC Vice-Chair

 

Valerie Miller is a founding member of Empowered Parents in Community (EPIC) board and serves as vice-chair. Prior to joining the EPIC Board, she served as Chair for Parents of African American Children (PAAC) at Club Blvd Elementary School and Board member of the PTA at Club. Through the leadership role with PAAC, she was recognized for outstanding PAAC leadership in 2019.

Valerie is a Program Manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, where she has been employed for 24 years. She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from Pfeiffer University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from North Carolina Central University.

Valerie enjoys volunteering with children, spending time with her two sons, extended family, and friends, and listening to music. She truly believes all children and families deserve to be heard; and will do everything within her power to make sure there is a platform to make it happen.

Gina Chung, Ed.M. - EPiC Treasurer

Gina Chung is a second-generation Korean-American, born and raised in the Boston area where she was one of only a few Asian Americans in the public schools she attended. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College in Spanish and Education and taught in Chicago for two years before working in a Nicaraguan orphanage. Upon returning to the U.S., Gina received her Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School for Education with a focus in International Education. 

Gina moved to Durham in 2005 with her family and began work as a researcher at the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. She also worked with World Relief as a Good Neighbor Team Leader, helping refugees adjust to life in the U.S. Before joining EPiC, she served on the George Watts Montessori PTA Board and the DurhamCares Board. 

Social justice advocacy – particularly equitable educational opportunities for children of color – remains at the forefront of her work in the community. This past year, she was interviewed on NPR in a segment titled “What are the Psychological Side Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic?” and on Spectrum News regarding anti-Asian bullying in her children’s schools. Gina also completed her Growga Teacher Training, equipping her to teach mindfulness and yoga to children which she hopes to bring to marginalized communities in the city.

Gina and her husband, Richard, are the parents of two young boys who attend Durham Public Schools. When she is not “pandemic teaching” her children, she can be found listening to audiobooks on social justice and researching Asian food recipes. Ultimately, she looks forward to seeing her friends and family again in person instead of on Zoom.

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Hallie Davis-Penders - EPiC Board Secretary

Hallie Davis-Penders serves as the secretary of the Empowered Parents in Community (EPiC) Board. She has been a member of the Parents of African American Children (PAAC) committees at Creekside Elementary and Githens Middle School, both Durham Public Schools attended by her son and foster son.  She also served as secretary of the Githens Middle School PTA.  Working alongside parents in these collectives strengthened her commitment to learning from and supporting organizations dedicated to racially equitable education. Specifically, as a mother to a Black son who is a neurodiverse learner, she has had to advocate for her child in order for him to meet his academic potential and remain whole through the process.  PAAC has given her the community, tools, and strength needed to fight for her son’s success and wellbeing.  She is grateful to work with EPiC to bring this collective power to other parents, so they can improve their children’s educational experience.

Hallie received her M.Ed. from the University of Vermont and has worked in higher education for over a decade; most recently with a focus on undergraduate education at Duke University. She enjoys volunteering with the Augustine Literacy Project to help teach students who may have dyslexia to read. She also serves as the PORCH coordinator for her neighborhood in South Durham. In addition to volunteering, Hallie loves to spend time adventuring with her husband, sons, and friends. You may catch them biking on the ATT, hiking at the Eno, checking out one of the local museums, or sitting by a fire relaxing with friends. 

Dr. Brittany Murray

Dr. Brittany Murray is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Educational Studies at Davidson College.  Her research examines the relationship between social and political processes in schools and educational inequality. She uses mixed methods to investigate the role of families and communities in shaping policy, resources, and learning opportunities for students. 

Brittany has a sustained interest in transforming the ways researchers, practitioners, and communities use data to gain new insights into the social context of schools and neighborhoods. She is a recipient of a Russell Sage Foundation grant to pair PTO tax data with schools nationwide and investigate their relationship to district-level achievement gaps available in the Stanford Education Data Archive. Prior to entering graduate school, Brittany worked at the Urban Institute where her experiences engaging in community-based participatory research and survey administration culminated in a strategy to engage stakeholders in a data validation process known as “Data Walks.” These walks were designed to support researchers’ ability to interpret survey results while also encouraging collective action among residents, service providers, and policymakers to identify and pose solutions to their most pervasive place-based challenges. Similarly, Brittany hopes to establish partnerships with parents, school boards, and PTOs to create more inclusive access to data and decision-making processes within schools and districts.

Yolonda Brown

Yolanda Brown is a business and community leader with nearly 20 years of experience specializing in business and strategic planning, cross-functional leadership, and collaborating and communicating to drive optimized results in marketing and technology. Presently self-employed, she has collaborated on projects with Luminas Strategies and U.S. Cellular and has worked for FedEx, Powertel (T-Mobile), Lucent Technologies, and the Institute of Minority Economic Development. Additionally, she founded a few companies in her past.

 

A long-time leader in her community, a few of Yolanda’s past roles include former Vice-President of Central Park School for Children’s PTA, former Board Chair and Board Treasurer for Urban Ministries of Durham, and founding member of the Kenan-Flagler Business School Alumni Council. In addition to serving on the EPiC Board of Directors, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

Yolanda earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and professional certifications from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, National Development Council, and Leadership North Carolina.

 

As a single mother who continues to grow as an advocate for her tween and teenage sons, Yolanda is passionate about supporting children and their parents in being powerful advocates in education. She believes in families having the best information to make informed decisions and hold schools accountable for optimal and fair school experiences for their students.

 

Yolanda is raising her two amazing sons in Durham. She enjoys spending time with them, living a life of service, and improving her physical fitness (along with a side of baking and mixology).

Barbara Leach

Barbara Leach is a pioneer in the family advocacy movement has over 30 years of experience as a child and family advocate for families with children who have mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and other special healthcare needs.

 

Ms. Leach serves as a family advisor on multiple state and national committees that work collaboratively to transform systems so that they better meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families.  She presents extensively on topics relating to supporting families, family advocacy, family engagement, family/provider partnership, and systems change. 

 

Ms. Leach is passionate about lifting the voices of diverse families and to promoting families as partners to co-create and develop services and systems that improve outcomes so that individuals with disabilities can live their best lives – healthy, independent, and self-determined.

Doug Joiner - Board Advisor