BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Virginia Barry is the former Commissioner of Education for the State of New Hampshire. She has over 30 years of experience in education as a teacher, leader, tenured university professor, and provost and vice president for academic affairs. Her teaching interests are embedded in the principles of human development and educational leadership. Dr. Barry is deeply committed to collaborative leadership and works closely with the school and business communities to create open communication among stakeholders and create a culture of innovation and excellence. Commissioner Barry is committed to keeping the best interests of the children of New Hampshire at the forefront.
She received her B.S., from Florida State University and M.S., from Queens College City University of New York and State University of New York at Stony Brook., Ph.D. Florida State University with post-doctoral studies at New York University, Harvard and William and Mary.
Deborah L. “Deb” Coffin has been actively involved in non-profit governance for more than two decades. Current non-profit board membership includes the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire and the League of New Hampshire Craftsman. In addition, in 2014 Coffin was elected a member of the Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees. Previous board service includes Habitat for Humanity of the Kearsarge / Sunapee NH Area, and the Lake Sunapee Area Mediation Program. Deb brings a strong and life-long interest in the arts and education to her position. She taught at both Colby-Sawyer and Granite State colleges and worked as the education coordinator for the Enfield Shaker Museum. A talented artisan, she is a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsman and a past president of the New Hampshire Guild of Spinners and Weavers.
Coffin earned a B.S. in business administration from Colby-Sawyer College and a M.S. in human services from New Hampshire College.
Chard deNiord (Treasurer) is the current poet laureate of Vermont, as well as writer, educator, and oral historian. Chard is the author of five books of poetry, Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015); The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), which was selected as one of the top ten books of poetry by the Boston Globe in 2011; Night Mowing (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003); and Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Galway Kinnell, Ruth Stone, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Robert Bly, Jack Gilbert, and Maxine Kumin) titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on Twentieth Century American Poets was published in December of 2011 by Marick Press. He is the co-founder of the New England College MFA Program in Poetry and Professor of English at Providence College. Chard earned a BA in religious studies from Lynchburg College, a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Paul W. Hodes (Chair) is an attorney, artist, community leader, two-term congressman from New Hampshire’s second congressional district and a consultant to businesses and not-for profit institutions. After graduating from Dartmouth College and Boston College Law School, Hodes began his career in New Hampshire as an Assistant Attorney General under then-Attorney General David Souter.
Throughout his career, Hodes has also devoted substantial time to community service and advancing the arts in New Hampshire. He served as a New Hampshire State Councilor for the Arts under then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen. As Chairman of the Board of the Capitol Center for the Arts from 1990-1996, Hodes helped to lead the Concord community’s efforts to create a premiere, award-winning performing arts institution that now serves as an important economic engine for the city.
Hodes was elected to Congress in 2006, and became the President of the historic 2006 freshman class. He currently serves on the National Council on the Arts.
Mary Kuechenmeister (Vice Chair) founded Story Preservation Initiative in 2010. Since that time she has served as the organization’s executive director and visionary leader. In 2013, Mary was instrumental in the development of the organization’s flagship project, the Story Preservation Initiative Learning Lab. The Learning Lab was developed for 4-12 teachers and combines SPI primary source audio with project-based lesson plans for rich, multi-disciplinary learning. She brings a more than 30-year background in writing, editing, and broadcast production to her position. She started her career in the Broadcast/Communications Department at Save the Children, Westport, Connecticut. Mary is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.