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
Lori Short, the Chairman of the PFY Board, grew up in Columbia and Chesterfield, S.C. She graduated from Clemson University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Early Childhood Education. She has taught in public and private school settings in Chesterfield and Lancaster counties of South Carolina. She also worked for Lancaster County First Steps as their Quality Enhancement Coordinator and was involved in quality enhancement with the 4K programs for Lancaster’s Head Start Program while with First Steps. She is married to Jim Short and they have three sons, Trey, Chris, and Brice. She has served in many leadership positions in her church, Douglas Presbyterian, and has also served in leadership positions with Boy Scouts and Clemson Extension Advisory Board.
Vice 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.
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.
Shana Funderburk Dry
Shana Funderburk Dry has come full circle from beginning her university studies at USC Lancaster to her current position as Director of Public Information for the campus, a position she has held since 2003. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina with a double major in marketing and management and a minor in psychology, Shana is also a graduate of Winthrop University with a Master of Business Administration degree. In addition to serving on numerous committees at USC Lancaster, Shana is a member of the Lancaster Breakfast Rotary Club where she served as the recording secretary from 2009 – 2011. She is also currently on the Board of Directors for United Way of Lancaster County and has assisted with the campus’s United Way Campaign for years. Her past involvement includes being a Red Cross Hero, and serving on the Advisory Board for Healthy Woman. A lifelong resident of Lancaster and graduate of Lancaster High School, Shana lives in Lancaster with her husband, Eric, and daughter Addison.
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.
Annette Gause is the owner of H&H Chevrolet in Kershaw SC and has been with the company for 23 years. A graduate of Buford High School, she is a member of Second Baptist Church in Lancaster. She is married to Gregg Gause and they have three very active children. She looks forward to serving the community as a board member of Partners for Youth.
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.
Stefanie Stacks is the Community Relations Coordinator for Comporium. 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 a Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and as a member of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway Communications Team. Stefanie played a vital role in the successful School Bond 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 in this new capacity.
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.
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
- 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
Be a supporter
Our students rely on supporters like you to make meaningful educational differences in their lives. Please consider donating right now.