Announcing New Board Leadership

Hindman Settlement School recently welcomed eight new members to its board of directors and advisory board.

Three members were appointed to board of directors seats:



Beverly Moss, Ph.D.
 is an associate professor of English at The Ohio State University where she specializes in composition and literacy studies. Beverly earned her B.A. in English from Spelman College, her M.A. in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition from Carnegie-Mellon, and her Ph.D. in English with a specialization in rhetoric, composition, and literacy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her scholarly interests include examining literacy in African American community spaces, composition theory and pedagogy, and writing center theory and practice. A long-time faculty member of the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, Dr. Moss is now the director of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network (BLTN), a professional development network of current and former Bread Loaf teachers who teach primarily in public schools in rural and urban settings.

Michael Palencia-Roth, Ph.D., a native of Colombia, is the Trowbridge Scholar in Literary Studies at the University of Illinois. Additionally, Dr. Palencia-Roth is Emeritus Professor of Comparative and World Literature and an affiliate of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Spanish and Portuguese Studies programs. Dr. Palencia-Roth also holds the position of Senior Adviser at the Research Center for Moral Science, Institute of Moralogy, Reitaku University, Japan. Michael has been affiliated with Hindman Settlement School for many years as a long-time participant at the Appalachian Family Folk Week. Michael is married to writer, Elaine Fowler Palencia, and has two children, Rachel and Andrew. Michael and Elaine reside in Champaign, Illinois.

Karen Watts is a former teacher who worked with kindergarten through high school aged students. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Morehead State University after attending one year at Alice Lloyd College. During her years in education, she coached the academic team, cross country team, tennis team, sponsored cheerleaders, organized pep rallies, and was a member of the PTO. She currently works at the Hazard/Harlan Orthodontic Office. Karen and her husband, Derek, live in Hindman where they were both born and raised. They have one son, Dillon, who is a third-year dental student at the University of Kentucky. Karen enjoys visiting the elderly and widows in the community, reading, learning, studying, exercising by running/walking, and trying her hand at gardening. She is thankful for the beauty of these mountains she calls “home.”


New advisory board member appointments include:

Priscilla Howell Austgen of Noblesville, Indiana is a Honorary Regent of the Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter NSDAR. She is passionate about DAR, genealogy, education, historic preservation, cross-stitch, beading, and traveling.

Rebecca Elam of Ft. Meyers, Florida is the Vice-Chairman of DAR Schools for the Florida State Society NSDAR. Rebecca is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and speaks passionately about Hindman to groups.

Elaine Fowler Palencia of Champaign, Illinois is the author of many works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including the short story collections Small Caucasian Woman and Brier Country, as well as the poetry chapbooks Taking the Train, The Dailiness of It, and Going Places.  Additionally, Elaine wrote the monograph, “The Literary History of Hindman Settlement School,” conducting original research in order to complete the volume.

Suzanne Sammons of Atlanta, Georgia is the regent of the Joseph Habersham Chapter NSDAR and has a storied career of working with children with numerous learning differences.

Kelly VanWormer of Port Huron, Michigan serves as State Vice Regent for the DAR of Michigan and has held numerous state and national offices, including State Treasurer and National Vice Chair of the Development Committee.