James White's Fort

Board Member Access

Board of Directors

Sam Maynard - Executive Director

Sam has been Executive Director of James White’s Fort for the past 15 years. He has a passion for history and the preservation of all historic and cultural landmarks. He has served on numerous boards including City People, French Broad Preservation Association, Keep Knoxville Beautiful, Knox Heritage and Tennessee Stage Company. He has also served on committees for American Cancer Society, Historic Homes of Knoxville, and Dogwood Arts Festival.

Christopher L Smith - Board President

Chris is a Production Manager with East Tennessee PBS.

Staci Daganhardt - Board Vice President

Staci is a paralegal at the law offices of Butler, Vines & Babb where she is responsible for case management for personal injury and other matters relating to medical malpractice and insurance defense. Before her present position, Staci was a freelance paralegal in both Dayton, Ohio, and Knoxville. She has been an active volunteer with the Knoxville Dogwood Arts Festival and, while a student at Roane State Community College, was on both the President’s List and the Dean’s List.

Ron Lee - Board Treasurer

Ron is employed by Home Trust Bank’s Bearden office. He is a retail business designer, developing more than a dozen retail outlets including co-creator of Forum Gifts in Knoxville. He is on the Advocacy Board for the Hearing & Speech Foundation of Blount County. He is active with multiple charitable organizations including volunteer service and fund raising.
Stephanie Romer

Stephanie Romer - Board Secretary and Co-Chair of the Board’s Social Media Committee

Stephanie is a freelance virtual administrative assistant. She is also the co-owner of Swank Pad Productions and Knoxville Cocktails

Beth Bowman

Beth is a Business Solution Specialist for CPI Security.

F Michael Combs

Michael is Professor Emeritus of Music (retired) at the University of Tennessee and assistant timpanist with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. He is the founding president of the Joy of Music School, and has served on boards of the Tennessee Theatre, Bijou Theatre, Hola Hora Latina, and other non-profit organizations. His book on percussion is in use by many colleges in the US and internationally.

Tim Glazner - Co-Chair of the Social Media Committee

Tim is an historian of the mid-century Tiki era. He is author of “Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant” chronicling the advent of the greatest remaining Tiki establishment. He has lectured around the country, and appeared in documentaries, articles, TV shows, and radio stories. He is a founder of the second largest Tiki event in the world, Hukilau, now in it’s 18th year. He manages many websites including the Grogalizer, a website for Tiki drink fans. He is a collector of mid-century ephemera, and makes a fantastic cocktail.

John A. Hinkle - Chair of the Finance Committee

John is retired from First Tennessee Bank after 40 years of service. Active in the Blount County community, John has served on numerous United Way committees over the past 20 years, and was Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2012. He is currently a member of the Community Impact Committee. He is currently on the board of the Hearing & Speech Foundation and serves as the foundation's Executive Director.

Melinda James - Chair of the Beautification Committee

Melinda is a retired Registered Nurse after 25 years of practice at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. She began her career in nursing in the operating room at UT. After earning specialty certifications in the OR and Orthopedics, she worked with University Orthopedic Surgeons until her retirement. Currently Melinda volunteers in the community for several nonprofit organizations. She is the advocacy leader and serves on the advocacy board of the Hearing & Speech Foundation. She is chair of the Fort's Beautification Committee.

Vickie Lawson

Vickie is the President and CEO of East Tennessee PBS. She serves on multiple area boards and associations, including the Chairman of the Tennessee Public Television Council, President of the Board of Directors for Sundown Resort in Townsend, TN, Treasurer of Piney Grove Baptist Church, and John T. O’Connor Senior Center. She is the host of "Tennessee Life" on East Tennessee PBS, a show featuring the people who proudly call Tennessee home.

Jonathan Newberry

Jonathan spends his time volunteering at James Whites Fort, working with the City of Friendsville and playing with his 1973 Land Rover Series III.

The Honorable John Rosson Jr.

John has been a municipal judge of Knoxville City Court since 1986. In addition to serving on the JWF board, he serves on the boards for the Community Action Committee, the Office of Aging, and the Downtown Sertoma Club. He holds memberships in several legal associations and served as Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Tennessee Municipal Judges Conference Board.

Jeff Taylor

Jeff is Membership/Outreach Coordinator for WUOT, where he leads fundraising and community engagement activities. Prior to WUOT, he was Development Manager for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. He has worked at Ijams Nature Center, the Florence Crittendon Agency and as a freelance fundraising consultant.

Mary Lou Teague

Mary Lou graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Psychology. She worked politically with the campaign for DT National Sheriff before working on the campaign for Jimmy Duncan in 1988. In that year, she was voted Knoxville’s most eligible bachelorette for the MS fund raiser. She was a member of the Knoxville Women Club where she served on many committees and gave a speech at the National Convention in Washington.


Robert McGinnis - Curator

Robert is the author of more than 50 published cemetery listings throughout East Tennessee. He recently released Volume 5 of his “Gone So Soon” series, focusing strictly on the inscriptions on the markers in the massive cemetery. The book, entitled “Gone So Soon: The Interments of Grandview Cemetery of Blount County, Tennessee,” also includes the obituaries of all those interred in the cemetery from the first burial in 1923 through 1936.

Past Board Executives:

  • Immediate Past President: M. Janice Mitchell

Advisory Board:

  • Robin Flenniken
  • Joe Longmire
  • Eric M. Lutrell
  • Russell Kuhlman
  • Deborah McMillan
  • Susan Rothchild
  • Rick Russell
  • Gordon Sisk
  • Susan White
  • Alan Williams