The SEFAA leadership consists of a volunteer board which includes the following members:
Tommy McDonald – President & Graduation Chair
Tommy graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Minor in Psychology; he also earned his MALS from Hollins University. He played on the ATP Pro Tennis Tour for 2.5 years (1994-1996), and served as the Men’s Assistant Tennis Coach from 1998 – 2001 at Virginia Tech. Tommy then became the Head Men and Women’s coach at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Tommy later returned to Virginia Tech in 2008 as a Volunteer Assistant Coach for the Men’s Tennis Team. In 2010, Tommy joined the Salem Ed Foundation and became the Vice President the following year. Since 2012, he has served as the President of the SEFAA. Additionally, Tommy is on the board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is a member of the Downtown Roanoke Rotary Club. He and his wife Roseann have two children.
Wayne Tripp – Vice President
Dr. N. Wayne Tripp is a Fellow in the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement (COTA) at Virginia Tech and an Affiliate Faculty Member of the Educational Leadership Program in the Virginia Tech School of Education. Prior to joining the staff at Tech, Dr. Tripp served seventeen and one-half years as Superintendent of Schools and seven years as Director of Instruction for the City of Salem School Division. In March 2003, Dr. Tripp was selected by the Virginia Association of School Superintendents as the 2004 Virginia Superintendent of the Year. In 2004, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech presented Dr. Tripp with its Outstanding Alumnus Award. In 2008, he was named recipient of Roanoke College’s Charles Brown Award.
Jim Robertson – Treasurer
James A. “Jim” Robertson is a graduate of Andrew Lewis High School, Class of 1962. Jim attended Virginia Military Institute, graduating in 1967 before serving in the U.S. Army from 1967- 1981, rising to the rank of Major. Jim has been the SEF Treasurer since 1997 and is a retired biology teacher from the current Salem High School.
Jim Archer – Membership Chair
Jim Archer is retired as Executive Vice-President/COO of his family’s business, Blue Ridge Beverage Company, Inc. He is also a retired Major General in the Army Reserve with 36 years of Active and Reserve Components service. He graduated from Andrew Lewis High School in 1968, and later earned a degree in Industrial Engineering & Operations Research from Virginia Tech in 1972 and an MBA from Emory University in 1974. Jim is a member of the Salem Host Lions Club. He and his wife Nancy have two adult children, Leigh and Jim, who are both graduates of Salem High School.
Wayne received his B.S. in Accounting and Real Estate from East Tennessee State University in 1970. Since moving to Salem, he has held various management positions in finance, sales and marketing for local Salem companies. Wayne has served the City of Salem, Roanoke Valley and Virginia on various boards and organizations: Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia (20 years), City of Salem School Board (12 years), and Virginia Jump$tart (8 years). He is a current board member with the City of Salem Economic Development Authority and the Western Virginia Workforce Development Board. Wayne is an advocate for CTE education in our schools and was a key player in getting personal financial education as a graduation requirement in the City of Salem and Virginia high schools.
Kelly Dalaski – Scholarship Chair
Kelly Dalaski is a Career & Professional Development Advisor at Raonoke College. She ‘graduated’ from Salem High School with the Class of 2016 after being a school counselor in Salem for 13 years. Prior to that, she graduated from Elon College with a Bachelor’s in Elementary & Special Education and Radford University with a Master’s in Counseling and Human Development. Kelly is originally from New Jersey but now calls Salem home.
Jamie Garst – Endowments Chair
Jamie is currently working as Assistant Principal/Athletic Director at Andrew Lewis Middle School. He graduated from Salem High School in 1999 and then attended Virginia Tech earning a BS in Biochemistry. His graduate degrees are in Biochemistry(Virginia Tech), Curriculum and Instruction (Virginia Tech) and Educational Leadership (Radford).
John Givens – Nominations Chair
Forest is the principal of Andrew Lewis Middle School in Salem, Virginia. He graduated from Roanoke College in 1995 with a BA in History and Education. Graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011 with a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Forest moved to Salem in 1983 and was a member of the first 6th grade class at ALMS and the Salem High School Class of 1990.
John Lamanca moved from Bluefield, Virginia to Roanoke, where he attended the School of Radiology and was employed by Roanoke Memorial Hospital. While there, he served as Director of the Radiology Department. Prior to coming to Roanoke, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Mars Hill University. In 1973, he established an Associate Degree program in Radiology at Virginia Western Community College to provide graduates with an opportunity to pursue a 4 year degree in the field. John entered the business field and structured a company that offered radiology products and services to hospitals and clinics in 3 states. In 1995, John decided to serve as a board member with the Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association. Presently, two scholarships are offered annually to Salem High School graduates in memory of Dave Lamanca and is supported financially through an endowment created by family and friends.
Edward W. “Skip” Lautenschlager
Skip graduated from Andrew Lewis High School 1968. He served in the United States Navy from 1968-1974 before graduating from Virginia Tech in 1974. Skip graduated from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary in 1977 and has practiced law in the City of Salem, VA. From 1977 until present. Skip is active in the Salem Rotary Club and endowed the SEFAA’s Lautenschlager Family Foundation scholarship with other family members.
Melissa Loving – Secretary to the Board
Melissa grew up in Salem, attending Andrew Lewis Middle School and graduating from Salem High School in 1989. She currently works in the Guidance Office at Andrew Lewis Middle School. Melissa’s son received a Salem Educational Foundation scholarship in 2013 and is now attending Southern Virginia University.
Betsy McClearn – Hall of Fame, Champions for Children Chair
Christine Lockhart Poarch – Media Chair
Christine Lockhart Poarch graduated from Salem High School in 1990 and was awarded the Salem Education Foundation’s Outstanding Student Award which she used to attend college in Houston, Texas. After completing an undergraduate degree in English and law school, Christine practiced law in Houston, Texas and Washington, D.C. before returning home to Salem to begin Poarch Law, a full-service immigration law practice.
Robyn Smith Ellis – Finance Chair
Robyn Smith Ellis is a graduate of Salem High School and a past recipient of a scholarship from the Salem Educational Foundation. Robyn attended the University of Virginia and the School of Law at the College of William and Mary and now practices law in Salem with a concentration in wills, trusts and estates and elder law. She enjoys participating in her children’s education through the PTA at West Salem Elementary where she has served as President and Treasurer. Robyn lives with her husband, David, also a Salem High graduate, and her three children in Salem.
Dr. H. Alan Seibert is an Eagle Scout from rural southern New Jersey who attended Virginia Tech aspiring to be a high school science teacher. After graduating, he was hired to serve in Salem High School where he had completed his student teaching the year before. Over the past twenty-four years, he has served Salem’s children in five different positions: as an Earth Science Teacher at Salem High School, an Assistant Principal for Instruction at Andrew Lewis Middle School, an Assistant Principal for Instruction at Salem High School, the Principal of South Salem Elementary School and in 2006, as the school division’s fourth Superintendent.
Tobey was educated in Salem Schools, graduating from Andrew Lewis High School and Virginia Tech with BS and MS in Microbiology. He worked in the industrial biological fermentation field for almost 40 years developing processes and patents. He served as Business Manager for Novozymes Biologicals and as President of George A. Jeffreys and Co of Salem. A former President of the Foundation, Tobey and the Jeffreys family endowed the Foundation’s Jeffreys Science Scholarship. Tobey is member of the board for HopeTree Family Services, and serves on other corporate boards in addition to independent consulting.
Charles R. Ward
Buddy grew up in Alexandria, graduating from George Washington High School. He attended Ferrum Junior College and received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Virginia Tech. He was a teacher, counselor, administrator and coach in the Roanoke Valley for 40 years, retiring in 2012. He served as the Guidance Coordinator at Salem HS for his last 23 years. His 1991 Girls Softball Squad won Salem High School’s (Salem City Schools) first state championship. His daughter Sarah (2001) and son Adam (2007) were past recipients of scholarships from the SEF&AA. Two scholarships are given annually to Salem High graduates in memory of his youngest son Adam.