About - Board of Directors

Bob Ashley, Chair, Editor, Herald-Sun (retired)

Bob Ashley retired in June 2017 as editor of The Herald-Sun, where he oversaw news and editorial operations at the daily newspaper in Durham.

He returned to that post, from which he retired in January 2011, in June of 2012. In the interim, he was executive director of Preservation Durham, the non-profit historic preservation organization. Currently, he’s back in that post on a temporary basis as the organization searches for a permanent executive director.

He first joined The Herald-Sun as editor in January 2005. Before coming to the Herald-Sun, he was editor for nearly 11 years of the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Ky. He previously was editor of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.

His journalism career started when he worked part-time for the weekly Mount Airy (N.C.) Times, in his hometown. After college, he began work as a reporter for The Raleigh Times, advanced to city editor, and then moved to The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. There, his jobs included assistant metropolitan editor, deputy features editor, deputy metro editor, features editor and assistant managing editor. He left the Observer for the Centre Daily Times; both were Knight Ridder newspapers.

He is a 1970 graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in history, and was managing editor of the Duke Chronicle. He has served on a number of industry and community boards, including the N. C. Press Association, Preservation Durham, Durham’s Partnership for Children, the Volunteer Center of Durham, Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors, the State College Symphony Orchestra, Healthy Horizons (in Owensboro), the Professional Advisory Committee for the Western Kentucky University Department of Journalism, and the Greater Owensboro Alliance for Education and Workforce Development.

He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church. His wife, the former Patricia Andrews, also a 1970 Duke graduate and Mount Airy native, recently retired as director of the Division of District and School Transformation for the N. C. Department of Public Instruction and now teaches part-time and does consulting work. They have one son, Andrew, a 2011 graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and in a doctoral program in anthropology at New York University.

Bettina Umstead, Vice Chair, Chair, Board of Education, Durham Public Schools

Bettina studied Middle Grades Education with a concentration in Language Arts & Social Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, she received her teaching license and chose to work full-time for Student U, a college access program in Durham. She began as the Middle School Program Director, coordinating Student U’s Middle School Summer Academy, a year-round tutoring program as well as serving as an advocate for students & families. Bettina was promoted to the position of Chief Program Officer and oversaw all student programs for 550 students & families ranging from 6th grade to college graduates. She supervised full-time staff members, served on the Leadership Team of the organization, developed community partnerships, and provided strategic vision for all of the Student U programs. After 10 years, Bettina transitioned from working at Student U to begin exploring her interest in racial equity and public education.

In 2016, Bettina was appointed to the Durham Public Schools Board of Education representing District 2 by a unanimous vote to complete Sendolo Dinamiah’s term. She won re-election in 2018 and currently serves as the Chair.

Mitchell Tuchman, Secretary, Attorney, Morningstar Law Group

Tuchman describes his professional background, move to Durham and motivation for serving on the Museum Board.  “Fourteen years ago I moved to Durham to commence a new career, my third, as a copyright attorney.  In fact, I was offered an opportunity to work in any of several North Carolina cities and chose Durham because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., where I had attended law school and where my friends resided.  The offer permitted me to transfer back to D.C. after two years, but I never left.

“I love this city.  I love it as it is, but I’m curious about what I missed.  People I meet here, wonderful though they are, make me think of those I never met.  Buildings I admire remind me of those they had been demolished before I could appreciate them.   Current events bring history to mind and make me wonder how I can become a son of Durham today.

“Because of my years as head of publications at the L.A. County Museum of Art and before that as senior editor at the UCLA Oral History Program, because I had served on the documentary selection committee for the Los Angeles film festival and am today an intellectual property attorney, I imagined that my experiences might have value for the Museum of Durham History and for Durham itself.  Being a part of the museum was and continues to be a rewarding commitment.

“Joining the Museum Board was a gateway event for me.  I now serve also on the Durham City-County Appearance Commission and the County Library’s Durham Reads Together planning committee.  I am learning, if you want to know your city, serve.”

Phillip Harris, Treasurer, Tax Research Analyst II, Avalara

Robert Gofourth, Immediate Past Chair, Community Volunteer

Robert brings to the board 25 years of operations and risk management experience. From 2014-2021, he was VP of Operational Strategy and Performance at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina where he led quality, compliance, informatics, process improvement and business readiness within the company’s operations.

Prior to joining BCBSNC, he led both the operations and, later, risk management functions for Citizens Property Insurance in Jacksonville, Fla. He has also lived abroad in Poland and the Netherlands.

A native Floridian, Robert earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Florida and an MBA from Regis University in Denver, Colo. He earned his Six Sigma Black Belt in 1999.

Robert loves to travel, racking up 232 nights in hotels one year, and practice Vinyasa power flow yoga. His long-standing interest in history prompted him to drop by the Museum on a downtown walk soon after arriving in Durham, and he’s been hooked ever since.

Nida Allam, Durham County Commissioner *County appointed non-voting liaison to MoDH board*

K. Emerson Beyer, Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

K. Emerson Beyer is Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. Previously, he served as Institutional Giving and Corporate Relations Officer at Environmental Defense Fund, and before that as Director of Exhibitions Fundraising at the Museum of the City of New York. He received his M.A. in Arts Administration from the Art Institute of Chicago where he also worked in the development department. He has been a Durham resident for 10 years. His civic engagement in Durham includes volunteering as a walking-tour guide for Preservation Durham, serving on the Stewardship Committee of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, convening the Durham History Seminar Club, and organizing the White Trousers Garden Party and Deviled Egg Pageant, a benefit for Urban Ministries of Durham.

Marjorie Yarbrough Burton, CPA, Community Volunteer

A Durham native, Marjorie Burton is a graduate of Charles E. Jordan High School and the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Upon earning her B.S. in Business Administration, Marjorie began a successful career as a Certified Public Accountant focusing on corporate auditing and income tax preparation. She is currently the financial counselor to several small businesses.

Marjorie is deeply committed to her community, having served and supported many organizations. She was born at Watts Hospital in Durham as the fourth of six children. She married her high school sweetheart, Dr. Claude Burton, a Dermatologist/Internist at Duke University Medical Center. Marjorie’s ties to Durham run through the generations. Each of Marjorie and Claude’s fathers established thriving businesses in the Durham area.

Jordan Clark, Market President, SunTrust Bank, now Truist

Ruth Dzau, Community Volunteer

Ruth Dzau spent decades in civic leadership in communities such as Boston and Palo Alto, where she lived before moving to Durham eleven years ago. She jumped right into Durham life as a volunteer with several nonprofits, including The Center for Child and Family Health, Triangle Community Foundation, Made in Durham, Durham Rotary, N.C. New Schools and the N.C. Symphony.  In December 2014, she received the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award for her civic and social activities.

Dzau believes that to be a good citizen, one must understand a community’s current needs as well as its history. She realized that a major aspect of Durham was missing a decade ago: a cohesive understanding of not only the events and trends of Durham’s history but also the individuals whose stories are an integral part of Durham’s evolution.  She considers the opportunity to serve on the Museum of Durham History board, at this pivotal time in its development, a gift.

Dzau and her husband Victor, who heads the National Academy of Medicine in Washington, D.C., enjoy spending time with family here and in her native Northeast. Traveling, history and art are her personal passions.

Robin Hill-EmmonsEntrepreneur & Consultant

Robin Hill-Emmons is an award-winning social entrepreneur, consultant,
and visionary who founded the nationally recognized non-profit organization, Sow Much Good, Inc. She has been recognized by Athena International, CNN Heroes, 50 Most Influential Women, 25 Women in Wellness to Watch, and has been covered by multiple national and local media outlets. Her areas of expertise focus on Non-Profit Strategy / Scale Up, Fund Development, Strategic Partnerships, Programmatic Design, Finance, and Operational Excellence.

After 11 years in the non-profit sector as both a Founder & Executive Director, Robin has garnered credibility and respect for her thought leadership and innovative approach to non-profit management. She is well known for success in marrying her diverse corporate background with her vision for social equity, exceeding expectations and optimizing nonprofit
business practices to increase funding and long-term sustainability.

Today, Robin is sharing her breadth and depth of knowledge and experience in support of other non-profits that are generating social value, and working for impact across our cultural landscape. She is a serial optimist and a visionary change agent committed to supporting non-profits and the philanthropic community.

Robin is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and holds a degree in political science and Government Relations. While she is a proud native Bostonian, she moved to North Carolina some 25 years ago, and is grateful to with purpose and passion contribute to the beautiful state she now calls home.

Jane Goodridge, Community Volunteer 

She is a founding board member of the Museum of Durham History. Since moving to Durham in 1996, she has also served on the boards of Preservation Durham, Friends of the Durham Library and Threshold Inc. Presently, she is a Core Leader of the Friends of the Durham Library book sales. Previously, she served on the Board of Education in Farmington, CT for ten years. Also, in Farmington, she served as Chair of the Board of the Stanley-Whitman House, an 18th century house museum, and oversaw an extensive investigation and restoration of the house, working with some of the foremost experts in the field. In New Jersey, she served on the board of Rockingham, the site of George Washington’s final revolutionary War headquarters. Jane grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where she attended The Ellis School. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in history, although her first job was as a computer programmer. She also worked for two years for Population Resource Center, a non-profit in Princeton and Washington, DC which organized programs on demographics for policy makers.

Dr. Jim C. Harper, II, Chair and Professor, Department of History, North Carolina Central University

Driven by his desire to teach and inspire, Mount Olive, North Carolina native, Jim C. Harper, II, has spent over two decades sharing the knowledge needed to grow and succeed through lessons of the past. After his service in the United States Marine Corps, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree and Master of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University and Ph.D. from Howard University. He has been employed at North Carolina Central University for over 20 years and is the recipient of multiple teaching awards including the University of North Carolina System’s Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. He was selected as the Colonel Charles Young Trailblazer Award recipient which recognizes distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to the community, leadership, and youth. Currently he serves as Chair and Professor of History at North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Harper’s research interests include African American and African education and independence movements in the 20th century. He has published one book, Western Educated Elites in Kenya, 1900-1963: The African American Factor and served as lead editor of Topics in the African Diaspora. He has published several peer-reviewed journal articles, and book chapters. He is currently working on a co-authored manuscript on the History of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. which will be published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2023. He has also completed several Public History community engaged research projects including a Durham Beginnings, Digital Mapping Project, and a Durham Memories Oral History Project.

Alice Sharpe, Realtor, Urban Durham Realty

Alice Sharpe is a native of Durham, an alumna of Hillside High School and Duke University, and a staunch advocate for Durham in general and downtown in particular. She has made Downtown Durham her home for almost 25 years.

“Durham has such a rich history in terms of people and places that provide an important backdrop for today. Being part of the Museum of Durham History allows me to be a tiny part of making that history known to all in Durham and beyond.”

Graham Sharpe, Manager, Data & Productivity Group, Crum & Forster

Graham is a Business Intelligence Manager at The Redwoods Group, a B-corp that provides insurance and management consulting to socially responsible, youth-serving organizations. In that role, he is developing the company’s business intelligence and data analytics strategy and practice. He is originally from the Triangle and is a graduate of Duke University (BA, Public Policy) and UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School (MBA). He has worked for the Development Finance Initiative at the UNC School of Government, advising local governments on specialized finance in catalytic development projects and previously worked at Polytechnic High School in Fort Worth, TX for three years as an AP US History teacher and social studies department chair. Graham and his wife, Elise, have a baby boy and love to learn, travel, and root for the Blue Devils.

Kimberle Walker, Sr. Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Chief of Police, City of Durham (retired)

Kimberle Walker has 28 years of public and private sector experience, including 12 years with the Durham Police Department 10 years in the Durham City Manager’s Office/Public Information; two years as Assistant Project Director with Research and Evaluation Associates, Inc. (Chapel Hill); and five years in the Public Information Office of the of Durham County Manager.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Kim is an alumna of the University of Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications-Broadcasting, with minors in political science and sociology. Kim is also a 1993 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Government’s County Administration Program and the Executive Leadership Institute of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (2003).

Kim’s private sector work focused on program evaluation of initiatives in public schools and universities across the country, including studies in Nashville, TN; Providence, RI; Milwaukee, WI; and Baltimore, MD.

Kim manage several community engagement, marketing and media efforts for the Durham Police Department. She has received multiple state and national awards for her work in communications, community service and the department’s National Night Out observances.

Kim is proud to call Durham home, having relocated here nearly 30 years ago as a newlywed. She and husband, Freeman, are the proud parents of Taylor, a student at Winston-Salem State University.

Leonardo Williams, Durham City Council Member *City appointed non-voting liaison to MoDH board*

Eskinder Zewdu, Senior Product Manager, Relias