Who We Are
Our Board of Directors work in partner with the community to acquire funds and award grants to benefit the youth of Lancaster County.
Lancaster County Partners for Youth Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board
Bryan Pettit, Vice Chairman of the PFY Board and a native of Lancaster, SC, received his undergraduate degree in business at USC and his MBA at Winthrop University. He is currently the Warehouse Manager at Nutramax Laboratories, an active member of First United Methodist Church and enjoys playing golf and farming. He is married and has one son, Jory. He and his wife are the co-founders of Livi’s Library, a book program created in memory of their 9-year-old daughter Mary Olivia Pettit who died of viral myocarditis in 2009. Livi’s Library is dedicated to providing gently used children’s books to Lancaster County children in need, and has been fortunate to distribute over 50,000 books locally, to date.
Vice Chairman of the Board
Stefanie Stacks is the Public Affairs Specialist for Nutramax Laboratories. She is a 2005 graduate of Winthrop University, with a B.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication. Stefanie was also awarded an MBA from Liberty University. A life-long resident of Lancaster, Stefanie and her husband Blake, along with their four children, reside in the Buford community. She also serves as the chair of the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassadors. Stefanie played a vital role in the successful School Board Referendum in 2016, serving as chair of the communications committee. She believes in investing in our future and strongly supports the vision for the foundation; she is excited about the opportunity to serve the youth of Lancaster County.
Benji Riggins the Treasurer of the PFY Board, is a 1999 undergraduate of Clemson University. He also received his Masters of Professional Accountancy from Clemson University in 2001. He has over 15 years experience in providing accounting, tax and business consulting services. Benji also serves as treasurer of Big Thursday of Lancaster and Lancaster County Clemson Club. Benji is married to Jennifer Crenshaw Riggins and they have three daughters – Braxton, Braylyn, and Bridges.
Adrienna Witherspoon, Secretary of the PFY Board, is recently retired from the Lancaster County School District as Project Director of numerous school-based programs. Presently, she also serves on the Palmetto CASA Board, the Promise Neighborhood Advisory Board, and First Steps Early Child Care Advisory Board. In the past she has also served on Hope On The Hill Board, Christian Services Board, and First Steps Board, and was appointed to the Governor’s Foster Care Review Board for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. She serves on the PFY Board because of her heartfelt interest in our community. She believes and lives in a servant leadership capacity, always striving to improve the quality of life for others and our community. Promoting the basic principles of Partners for Youth, Adrienna Witherspoon is committed to serving children and families, and promoting better education, health, and lifestyles for all. As a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Sociology and Education, she is a life-long resident of Lancaster, married to Gavin Witherspoon, with one son, Gavin, Jr. She is a member of Douglas Presbyterian Church, serving as the Moderator of the Women of the Church.
Tami Crenshaw, a native of the Buford area in Lancaster County, is the CFO of The Crenshaw Company. She attended USC Lancaster and is a member of Second Baptist Church. She and her husband Hal, during their nearly 40 year marriage, have worked together in various business ventures.
Children have always been a passion of hers, from the high achievers to ones with special needs. She feels her greatest accomplishment is being a mother of three and a grandmother of four, of which she is very involved. She believes that when you love and help a child, you build the future of our community, our state, and our nation.
Recently retired from USC-Lancaster, Dianne Evans served 43 years as a teacher, counselor, and school psychologist in South Carolina schools. In fact, in 1994 she received a Citation of Commendation from the South Carolina House of Representatives recognizing her contributions. She has won numerous awards from Teacher of the Year to Distinguished Teaching Awards to being listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Mrs. Evans has also been cited in local, state, and regional contests for creative writing. She received her bachelor’s, master’s, and Specialist in School Psychology degrees from Winthrop University. In addition to Partners for Youth, she has served on the boards of the Lancaster Children’s Home, Counseling Services of Lancaster, and the Lancaster County Library. She is married to Donnie Evans and has two daughters and three grandsons.
Max Melton, a graduate of Wake Forest University, is the former executive director for Communities in Schools, and is currently retired. He has a vast knowledge of the needs of the children and youth of Lancaster County by working in social services in this region for over 35 years. Before Communities in Schools, Max started as a case worker with the Department of Social Services and was the director of our county’s Department of Juvenile Justice. Max is past president of Lancaster Breakfast Rotary Club.
Bobby Parker, a native of the Buford community in Lancaster County has served on the PFY board since 2015. He is the Chairman of the Lancaster County School Board of Education, a board which he has been elected to since 2002. A Corey Hinson Financial Services Allstate insurance agent, he is very active in his church, Tabernacle United Methodist, and sings in several musical groups including Flipside.
Derrick Smith is a Branch Manager with Founders Federal Credit Union. Originally from Ninety Six, SC, he is a 2005 Graduate of Lander University with a B.S. Marketing Management. In the ten years that he has been in Lancaster, he has been an active member and volunteer of the community by serving on a multitude of boards and committees of local nonprofit organizations. He has served and held various positions in the Lancaster Breakfast Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and was the recipient of the 2010 Ambassador of the Year. He is the proud husband and father to Stephanie, Andrew, and Luke Smith.
Gail Gillis, a native of Lancaster, is the Buyer for Nutramax Laboratories, Inc. She has been an active member and volunteer of the community by serving on a multitude of boards and committees of local nonprofit organizations. Gail is a member of Pleasant Dale Baptist Church and very active in the Clothes Closet. She is very excited about the opportunity to serve on the Partners for Youth board and to help the youth of Lancaster County. Gail is married to Carlton Gillis and has a daughter Chrissy, son-in-law Lowen, and a new grandson.
Steve Sherrill is the First Citizens Bank Market Executive. A graduate of Lancaster High School, he has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of South Carolina, and is a graduate of East Carolina University’s RMA Commercial Lending School. Steve has been involved throughout the community as past United Way of Lancaster County Board Chair, past Chamber of Commerce Chair, past CareHealth Board Chair, and past Junior Achievement Volunteer. Currently, he is a Lancaster Breakfast Rotary Club member, serves as Vice Chair of Lancaster County Natural Gas Authority, and serves as a board member on Lancaster County Career Center’s School Improvement Council, Lancaster County Partners for Youth, Educational Foundation of USC-L, and Catawba Regional Development Corporation. Steve is married to Kelly and has a daughter McKenzie. He is dedicated to serving on Partners for Youth for as he states, “Children are our future and I am excited about serving on PFY board to help all Lancaster County youth and children excel.”
Ben Dunlap, a Lancaster native, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the College of Charleston. After working with SC Department of Juvenile Justice for 27 1/2 years, Ben has been leading the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office Drug Court. As the Drug Court Coordinator, he oversees both the adult and juvenile programs. He is also chair of Catawba Community Mental Health board, co-chair of the Community Pride committee of Lancaster Promise Neighborhood, and is an active member of North Corner AME Zion Church. The 2009 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Keeper of the Dream Award from Faith Hope and Victory Christian Church, he is married to Regina and has one son, Benjamin Dunlap II. Dedicating over half of his life to youth, Ben has always been passionate about youth succeeding and breaking down the barriers that might impede that progress.
Brandon Helms is the Pastor of Students at Second Baptist Church of Lancaster. He holds degrees from Fruitland Baptist Bible College and North Greenville University and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Divinity at The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. A lifelong resident of Lancaster County, Brandon has served the community in various roles through local schools and organizations over fifteen years. He is excited about the work the Lancaster County Partners for Youth has done in the community and is looking forward to being a part of making an impact on the next generation Lancaster County.
Tyson Blanton is a sixth generation Lancaster native. She graduated from Lancaster High School in 2013 before attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia. During her time at USC, she was the president of the student chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Public Relations Director for the student magazine on campus, and the 2016-17 PRSA Student of the Year. She maintained a 4.0 GPA on her way to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. For the past two years Tyson has been the communications coordinator at Lynches River Electric Cooperative (LREC), where she manages employee, member, and community relations. As part of her role at LREC Tyson helped found and is an active board member for The LIGHT Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that aims to positively impact individuals and organizations in Lancaster, Chesterfield, and Kershaw counties.
Dr. Walter Collins began his career at USC Lancaster in August 2002 as an Instructor of French and English. Rising quickly through the ranks to Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Collins began serving as Regional Campus Dean of USC Lancaster on April 15, 2013. He earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2009 and promotion to Full Professor in 2015. A native of Clinton, North Carolina, Collins earned his BA in French Literature from Wake Forest University, his Master of Arts in French Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of South Carolina Columbia in 2004. In the local community, Dr. Collins has been a member of the Board of Directors for MUSC Health: Lancaster Medical Center, Communities in Schools of Lancaster County and the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce where he currently chairs the Public Policy Committee. He also serves on a variety of community advisory groups: Gregory Family YMCA, Lancaster County Economic Development, and Promise Neighborhood. Dr. Collins is passionate about seeing productive collaborations between USC Lancaster and community partners. He is a member of the Lancaster Breakfast Rotary Club. Dr. Collins and his wife, Ashley, have four children and reside in Lancaster.
Mary Faile is the Director of Finance for the Lancaster County School District. Prior to this position, she was the Foundation Liaison for the Educational Foundation of USC Lancaster. She has more than 25 years of accounting experience including a senior accounting position at OceanaGold Inc. at Haile Gold Mine and various accounting positions in private, public and non-profit firms. She served as Treasurer of the Lancaster County Council of the Arts Board of Directors for six years and is currently serving as Treasurer of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway Board of Directors. She was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and graduated Cum Laude from Winthrop University receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Mary and her husband Dean have two children; Nicholas, a York Technical College graduate and Derek, who is a fourth grader at North Elementary School.
Charlene McGriff is the proud mother of two and grandmother of five. She is a leader in the non-profit community of Lancaster, South Carolina. Ms. McGriff is a graduate of Brookstone College and attended the University of South Carolina – Lancaster. She is also a graduate of the Carolina Leadership Program. From 1995 to present, Ms. McGriff has served as the Executive Director of Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault, an organization which serves Lancaster, Chester, and Fairfield Counties, and, in that capacity, she is responsible for developing budgets, raising money, marketing the services offered by the organization, and serving as a liaison with the community. Her community involvement includes: Lancaster County Council representing District 2, past chairperson of Lancaster County School Board from 2006-2009 and member for 16 years; co-founder and member of Adopt-A-Leader Mentor Program; past chair of the SC Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; past president of the SC Network of Children Advocacy Centers; member of Board of Directors of CareNet; member of the Lancaster County Partners for Youth Board of Directors; member of Lancaster County First Steps; past vice president of the Board of Directors for The Lancaster Children’s Home; member of Lancaster Rotary; past member of USC-Lancaster Educational Foundation; and, member of the Coalition for Healthy Youth. Ms. McGriff is an active member of Mount Moriah AME Zion Church and serves as the chairperson of the Finance Committee. She received the 2011 Lancaster County School District Hall of Fame Award and 2011 NAACP Pioneer Award.
Dr. Jonathan Phipps has been the Lancaster County School District Superintendent since 2017. Prior to then he was superintendent of the Abbeville County School District, where he’s served since leaving Lancaster County’s schools in 2014. He began his career in Lancaster and worked here for 19 years. Phipps worked as a teacher at Barr Street Middle School, site administrator for Indian Land Elementary and Middle schools’ summer program, assistant principal of Indian Land Elementary and Middle Schools, principal at A.R. Rucker Middle, principal at Buford High, and was the district’s director of secondary education. He earned an undergraduate degree in history and education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of South Carolina. He has an educational specialist degree in educational administration and a doctorate in leadership in educational administration from Capella University.
Mika Sinclair is a native of Kershaw and a 1996 graduate from Andrew Jackson High School. She went on to attend Katherine Gibbs School in NYC and then graduated from York Technical College. Mika has been employed at Founders Federal Credit Union for 10 years where she has served in many roles. She currently serves as the Financial Services Representative Specialist where she is responsible for the training and mentoring of other Financial Services Representatives. Mika has been recognized for her exceptional service and outstanding dedication to her membership with the “Think Member” award. She was also awarded for her perfect attendance several times throughout her tenure with FFCU. In 2018, she participated and graduated from the Leadership of York County program. In her personal time, she volunteers with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and is active in her church. Mika and her husband, Jeremy, reside in Van Wyck and have been married for 15 years.
Anicia Stevenson, a graduate of Winthrop University, is the Director of Workforce Planning & Development for Comporium, Inc. She has over 15 years of experience in talent acquisition, succession planning, career development and training. Anicia served on the Carolinas Chapter of Society for Human Resource Management Board for eight years and is a current member of the National Society for Human Resource Management. She is a long-time resident of Lancaster County and passionate about educating students on how to take advantage of every opportunity to establish a rewarding and successful career path. The mission of Partners for Youth directly coincides with this passion and Anicia is honored to serve the community in this capacity.
Keeonn A. Wilson is a native of Yonkers, NY. He is a graduate of The University of South Carolina and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership. Keeonn plans to pursue a Master’s degree in legal studies, and later obtain a Juris Doctorate degree. He is employed as a Victims Advocate with the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. At USC Lancaster, he was involved in TRIO programs and served as President of Omega Scholars. Keeonn was also a member of the Rotaract Club on campus where his passion of serving the community through numerous service projects grew. He is a member of the Lancaster Rotary Club where he is Chairman of the Rotary Foundation Committee and participates in many service projects. He is avidly interested in sports, fitness, cooking, and fashion. Additionally, Keeonn is very interested in the success of youth, reading, exercise, politics, and financial literacy.
Sharon Frain Novinger has been the Executive Director of PFY since March 2007. During her leadership she has successfully implemented and administered $6 million in federal grants that have impacted all 4K classes in Lancaster County and Clinton Elementary School; overseen the distribution of $1.3 million in scholarships for the Gear Up programs and PFY’s annual scholarships; led PFY’s involvement with a multitude of community collaborations positively impacting our county’s youth; and, awarded teacher classroom grants, professional development grants, and community grants. Her dedication to education has been a constant throughout her life starting with her father as a career military training specialist and her mother an early elementary teacher. Before PFY, she was a communications director at Savannah College of Art and Design as well as led the United Way of Lancaster County. She grew up in Martinez, Georgia, is an American Leadership Fellow, Lancaster Breakfast Rotary member, and is an alumnus of St. Andrews Presbyterian University.
Past Members of our Board of Directors
- Lori Short, Chair
- Shana Dry
- Annette Gause
- Mary Barry
- Dr. Miriam Boucher
- Dr. LaVilla Brevard
- Lisa Bridges
- Dr. Pat Burns Dillard
- Dr. Sandra Catoe, Chair
- Hal Crenshaw, Chair
- Janice Dabney
- Johnny Deweese
- Stan Emanuel, Chair
- Tyrom Faulkner
- Don Gardner, Chair
- Tony Gilreath
- Jim Howey, Chair
- Ken Hudson, Chair
- Mildred Kelly
- Katherine Kirchner
- Charlene McGriff
- Dr. Paul N. McKenzie
- Janice McPherson
- Dr. Gene Moore
- Jodie Plyler
- Cheri Plyler
- Brad Small, Chair
- Marvin Starks
- Kevin Stilwell
- Dr. John Taylor
- Pamela Trimnal, Chair
- Dr. Bert Welch
- Jerry Witherspoon, Chair
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