Board and Staff

Board of Directors   


David Cote,  Chair 
Vice President Human Resources
BlueCross BlueShield SC

Chris Verenes, Chair Emeritus
Security Federal Bank

Patrick M. White, Treasurer
Vice President, Supply Chain

Audrey Lane, Secretary
Founder and Principal Consultant for Lane Equity Enterprises
Executive Director Royal Foundation                                                                          

Katelyn Brewer
President & CEO
Darkness to Light

Jon E. Pedersen
Dean, College of Education
University of South Carolina

Spann Laffitte
Vice President of Sales and Account Management
Delta Dental SC

Jim Stritzinger
Center for Applied Innovation and Advanced Analytics
USC Office of Economic Engagement

Ken Reynolds
Director of Corporate and Community Affairs

Christopher Jaros
K&L Gates


Debbie Jones  
Interim Executive Director  

Debbie’s advocacy journey for public education started twenty years ago when her children walked through the doors of Carver Elementary in Florence, SC. Since then she has been honored to work with teachers, principals, superintendents, community leaders and now a Board of Directors that are all dedicated and invested in the success of students across our great state. SCFM is uniquely positioned to continue as the state-wide voice for education in South Carolina and she couldn’t be more thrilled to lead the organization into the next chapter.

After volunteering with The School Foundation in Florence, SC, Debbie began working with SC Future Minds in 2009, then a new organization created to serve as a “resource development office” for South Carolina’s public schools.

Debbie has served in a wide-array of leadership roles at local and state levels, including the SC PTA, School Improvement Council, YMCA Florence, and Emerging Leaders Florence. She is a graduate of the Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Francis Marion University and currently sits on the board of First Steps of Florence.

Kara Gilmore
Intern – Programs

Kara is a rising second-year student at the University of South Carolina double majoring in Psychology and Political Science on a Pre-Law track. She recently completed an internship with the Richland County Democratic Party in Columbia and currently works at a summer art camp for children in her hometown in North Carolina. Kara became interested in South Carolina Future Minds because she wanted the opportunity to combine her passion for politics and social justice with her love of working with children and interest in public education. After completing her undergraduate education at USC, she hopes to attend law school and currently has particular interest in election, education, and immigration law.

Lily Frain

Lily is a senior at the University of South Carolina majoring in Anthropology with Religious Studies and Political Science Minors. She is involved in Student Government and serves as Deputy Secretary of Greek Affairs. Lily is an active member of Chi Omega as well as a Teacher’s Assistant for Archery. Growing up in South Carolina, Lily became passionate about public policy and aiding communities in need. Outside of school she enjoys running and traveling.