The 100 most powerful women in Lake Norman


Part 1 of 2: Education, government and nonprofits

Women of high stature within their respective fields received the consideration of our 100 Most Powerful Women in Lake Norman, because they have the most potential to influence the community.

This week, we focus on 50 women who live or work in Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and eastern Lincoln County in the areas of education, government and service.

Pick up next week’s edition to read about women in more business-oriented fields.


• Anna Bonham – Bonham is serving her second term as District 7 representative on the Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education. She represents schools such as Lake Norman High, Brawley Middle and Mount Mourne IB.

• Samantha Campbell – Campbell leads East Lincoln High School. She and Laura Rosenbach are the only two female principals of traditional high schools in the Lake Norman area.

• Sonja Curry – Curry is not only the head of school at Christian Montessori School of Lake Norman in Huntersville, but she’s also the mother of reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry.

• Terry Haas – Haas has received awards for finding room in the Mooresville Graded School District’s budget to pursue more digital resources. But the chief financial officer’s influence on students led to a nomination for the National Life Group’s Life Changer of the Year award.

• Crystal Hill – Hill oversees elementary education and federal programs for the Mooresville Graded School District. The Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce recently presented her the Sara Hair Tice Women In Leadership Award.

• Rhonda Lennon – Lennon blends passion for giving schools necessary resources with a fiscally conservative approach on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education. She also beat cancer.

• Debbie Marsh – Marsh, the longest tenured principal in the Mooresville area, will retire in June after 10 years at the helm of South Elementary. She has won Principal of the Year honors for the district.

• Boen Nutting – Nutting, a former administrator with the Mooresville Graded School District, works as principal of Mount Mourne IB School in Mooresville, an institution that routinely outperforms traditional schools.

• Elizabeth Padgett – Padgett was recently named the North Carolina Charter School Teacher of the Year. She has taught for 13 years at Lake Norman Charter School in Huntersville.

• Carol Quillen – President of Davidson College since 2011, Quillen also advises the White House on financial capability for youth. The college recently rolled out a $425 million campaign, in which $212.5 million is earmarked for scholarships.

• Laura Rosenbach – Rosenbach manages Hough, one of the largest high schools in North Carolina. The school has launched a 1:1 laptop initiative during the principal’s tenure.

• Shannon Stein – Stein leads Lake Norman Charter in Huntersville, a highly sought after grade 5-12 school with demonstrated academic excellence. U.S. News & World Report ranked Stein’s school as the 16th best in North Carolina.

• Carrie Tulbert – Tulbert was the 2014 North Carolina Principal of the Year after becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the Mooresville Graded School District’s Digital Conversion. She’s led Mooresville Middle School since 2010.

• Glenda Walker – Walker, of Denver, directs elementary education for Lincoln County Schools. She has previously worked as principal of Rock Spring Elementary School.

• Joy Warner – Warner converted scribbles on the back of a dinner napkin more than a decade ago into Community School of Davidson. Her charter school graduated its first class in June 2014.

• Tamara Williams – Williams works as dean of the Merancas Campus, Lake Norman’s connection to Central Piedmont Community College. The Huntersville-based campus continues to establish ties with the local business community.

• Sue V. Wilson – Wilson is the beloved matriarch of the Mooresville Graded School District school board. She’s served at least 15 years, a span that saw the hiring of National Superintendent of the Year Mark Edwards and the adoption of the famed Digital Conversion.


• Stacey Anderson – The first-term Davidson commissioner knocked out an established candidate in the 2013 election by flexing her business experiences at Wells Fargo, as well as service to the United Way and area schools.

• Melinda Bales – Bales seems to be hitting her stride as a second-term Huntersville commissioner. The mayor pro tem is more vocal on issues and like Mayor Jill Swain, very supportive of local businesses.

• Dawn Blobaum – As assistant town manager for Davidson, she’s the highest-ranking woman working in town government in the Lake Norman area. The N.C. City & County Management Association named her Assistant Town Manager of the Year in 2011.

• Beth Cashion – Cashion serves as mayor pro tem of Davidson, a title she earned after connecting well with voters in the 2013 election. The first-term commissioner ensures the board considers the best interests of citizens.

• Dena Diorio – In 2013, the Huntersville resident became the first female hired as county manager for Mecklenburg. The Charlotte Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners presented her this month with a public policy award for her support of female entrepreneurs.

• Natasha Marcus – The Davidson resident has been relatively quiet on the political front since losinga hard fought N.C. House District 98 election to Rep. John Bradford in November 2014. However, the Democrat raised a lot of money and votes for a grassroots campaign.

• Sarah McAulay – The Huntersville commissioner has amassed a lot of institutional knowledge, having been involved in town politics since the late 1970s. She chairs the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

• Lisa Qualls – A mortgage loan officer by trade, Qualls tends to ask the numbers-oriented questions on the Mooresville Board of Town Commissioners. She’s serving her second term as commissioner.

• Jill Swain – The four-term Huntersville major is one of the region’s most accessible leaders thanks to her social media presence. She also chairs the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition.

• Vallee Bubak, Carole Gibbons, Sharon Hudson & Mary Lou Richardson – Each of the quartet has served in leadership roles within the North Mecklenburg Republican Women and co-founded the Lake Norman Conservatives. Both groups attract well-known authors and speakers to the region. They have each been vocal opponents of the Interstate 77 managed lanes project.

• Deborah Hockett, Jackie Huffman, Cindy Jones & Janet Stoner – Financial directors are challenged with complex work; however, the pressures of a town finance director are compounded by the scrutiny of your efforts being made public. The Charlotte Business Journal has previously recognized Stoner (Huntersville) and Huffman (Cornelius) with Chief Financial Officer of the Year honors. Hockett has done wonders reducing Mooresville’s financial contributions toward MI-Connection’s profitability. As for Jones, she’s pushing retirement off until the end of the fiscal year.


• Linda Beck – The Huntersville resident continues to establish strong community ties to the United Way’s Mooresville/Lake Norman office. She also promotes services to the next generation of philanthropic leaders through the group’s Young Leaders program.

• Jan Brittain – Brittain is senior pastor at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church, one of the largest congregations in which a woman serves as spiritual leader. She’s guided the church since 2011.

• Hillary Brodofsky – Brodofsky works as executive director of Sally’s YMCA in Denver. The five-year-old branch saw the opening of a new computer lab and a new Carolina Thread Trail extension in recent months.

• Denise Carter – Carter serves as president of the North Mecklenburg Woman Club, a philanthropic organization that supports groups like Angels & Sparrows and Build Betty a House.

• Valerie Chamberlain – Many people turn to the Chamberlain’s nonprofit, the Mooresville/Lake Norman Christian Mission, when they are in crisis. The agency emphasizes education through its diverse programs.

• Mary John Dye – Dye joined Cornelius-based Mt. Zion United Methodist Church as senior pastor in 2012 after holding leadership in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference.

• Robin Emmons – The Huntersville resident continues to generate praise since being named among the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2013. That was just the start, considering her nonprofit, Sow Much Good, continues to win awards for fighting hunger through sustainability.

• Georgia Krueger – The Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce awarded Krueger, director of the Ada Jenkins Center in Davidson, with the Duke Energy Service Award. The agency provides education, health and human services to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

• Laura Moore – As president of the East Lincoln Christian Ministry in Denver, Moore shepherded the expansion of a furniture annex to the wide range of services offered to citizens in need.

• Cheryl Pletcher – Pletcher proved successful in raising enough money to duplicate the Mooresville-based Serenity House in Huntersville. She won Citizen of the Year honors from the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce for her efforts in providing end-of-life care to those who can’t afford it.

• Robin Salzman – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce recognized Salzman and her husband, Jack, with the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award in February. The couple, who own Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cornelius, have helped fulfill more than 120 donation requests.

• Lib McGregor Simmons – Simmons is the head pastor at Davidson College Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian Outlook took notice upon her hiring in 2008, profiling how she was a senior pastor with three female associate pastors.

• Sandy Tilley – Tilley’s nonprofit, Angels & Sparrows, fights hunger in the towns of Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. It’s a popular philanthropy among Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, companies and schools.

• Vickie Traynum – Traynum became executive director of the Mooresville Soup Kitchen two years ago. The nonprofit serves lunch to more than 200 people daily thanks to continued support from companies like Randy Marion Automotive Group.

• Kathy Vinzant – The Denver resident serves as executive director of the United Way of Lincoln County, which helps nonprofits like Sally’s YMCA and Special Olympics of Lincoln County.

• Marcia Webster – When the Davidson Housing Coalition faced budget cuts, Webster rolled up her sleeves and participated in a number of restaurant-themed fundraisers – some requiring her to take orders. A humble leader!


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