Board Members

Mark Hamann

Board Chair

Mark Hamann was born and raised in Toledo OH. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo where he played varsity baseball and earned his Bachelor of Education degree. He earned his Master’s Degree in the Art of Education from Marygrove College in Detroit MI. A history teacher for 32 years at the secondary level, Mark also was the head varsity girls’ fastpitch softball coach for two Toledo area high schools, earning a state championship with each. While with Perrysburg Exempted Village Schools, Mark was gratified to be named Junior High Teacher of the Year in 1994, the George Munger District Teacher of the Year in 1996, the Perrysburg Education Association Teacher of the Year in 2009, and a nominee for Ohio State Teacher of the Year in 2010.

Mark sincerely appreciates the opportunity here in Lake Lure to continue his career-long commitment to education. He hopes to contribute to our effort of creating, maintaining, and enhancing a community-based educational institution that offers an effective and challenging learning program for any and all students who attend.

Todd Morse

Vice Chair

After growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Todd Morse came to western North Carolina in 1986. He earned his undergraduate degree in Administrative Management from the University of Missouri – Columbia and his Masters of Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. Following two years in Memphis working in operations management for a national department store chain, Todd began work with his 4th generation family business, Chimney Rock Park. During his 21 years, he led and managed this natural scenic attraction, including development and implementation of yearly operating budgets, marketing and education programs, human resource expansion, outstanding customer service delivery and strategic plans. Along with his team, Todd helped develop a corporate culture centered on integrity, service, stewardship, teamwork, growth and fun. Todd recently authored a book, For the Love of Chimney Rock, about his family’s 105-year relationship with this special place.

Subsequent to the sale of Chimney Rock to the State of North Carolina in 2007, Todd managed a commercial real estate portfolio and became a licensed NC real estate broker. Having served extensively on non-profit and tourism boards in the region, Todd has most enjoyed serving in various capacities to support Lake Lure Classical Academy through the Finance Committee, Marketing Committee, the USDA application process for LLCA’s new gymnatorium and the co-founding of the Lake Lure Community Education Foundation. Being a passionate lifelong learner, Todd firmly believes in our school’s essential role in helping all students reach their full potential and the benefits of a strong school to our community. Todd and his wife, Melinda (a founding LLCA board member), are proud parents of a son who was in the first graduating class of LLCA in 2016 and a younger son who is currently a student in the class of 2022.

Russ Pitts

Board Secretary

Russ Pitts has over three decades of corporate experience in various fortune 500 companies such as General Dynamics, Price Waterhouse, Frito-Lay, and Oracle Corporation, as well as other smaller companies where he has had roles from software designer/developer to global directorship of corporate wide operations. His focus expanded to community service work in the early 2000’s where he served on various local boards and committees as well as serving as a Lake Lure Town Commissioner from 2005 to 2009. Russ was part of the town leadership team that founded Lake Lure Classical Academy (LLCA) in 2010, and then served on the LLCA school board for six years. Russ currently also serves on Lake Lure Community Education Foundation (LLCEF) and PANGAEA Internet boards, and is very active in helping economic improvement occur in both Rutherford and Polk counties. Russ is passionate about the continued growth and success of LLCA school, which provides high-quality, tuition-free educational opportunities for K-12 children living in the rural corners of five counties in Western North Carolina. This passion for Russ is driven by his solid belief that quality education for our children improves quality of life for everyone.

Jack Barton


Jack and his wife Karen moved to Lake Lure in August 2014 after purchasing a home in Rumbling Bald Resort in 2012. Neither are North Carolina natives, but having both graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill (BS Mathematical Sciences, BS Pharm.), they claim “Tar Heels born and bred” status.

They raised two sons in Raleigh and Charlotte, and they now live with their families in Myrtle Beach, SC and Orlando, FL. The four grandchildren love visiting the “mountain house”. Karen retired as a Target Pharmacist in 2013, and Jack wrapped up a 41-year career in software development in 2015, mostly in financial services. Working from home in Lake Lure was a great way to finish.

Jack is looking forward to the opportunity to serve as Treasurer of the Lake Lure Classical Academy board. He believes that supporting the school and its educational opportunities for the community can only make the Gorge a better place. And by helping deliver on the promise of LLCA, we can all support people and organizations that deliver positive change in Hickory Nut Gorge.

Andy Bell

Board Member

Andy Bell retired to Lake Lure after a career in professional philanthropy. As President of the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, he helped individuals, families, foundations and corporations design and implement innovative charitable giving strategies. In Lake Lure, he has volunteered with efforts such as the Marketing Assessment and Brand Development Joint Initiative of the Town of LL and Chimney Rock Village and, most recently, Lake Lure’s Asset Management Board.

A 7th generation North Carolinian, Andy married Janie Sailstad in 1973 in her hometown of Davidson, NC and they have three children, all doctors of one sort or another. Janie is a retired educator and counselor. They moved to Lake Lure in 2005 because of its natural beauty and love of “living in the middle of nowhere and the center of everything.” Together Janie and Andy support education as a means of personal and community growth.

Michael Frierman

Board Member

Michael Frierman is a senior level manager with over 17 years of demonstrated organizational leadership delivering innovation through big data predictive analytics in the Financial Services and Software industries. He has a strongly collaborative leadership style focused on personalized support enabling people to achieve success both individually and as a team. Michael earned a PhD in Economics from Purdue University as well as a Masters in Social Science from the University of Chicago after receiving a BS from UCLA. Michael began his career in academics teaching Economics at the Graduate School of Business at Rutgers University before he transitioned to business.

Michael had the good fortune to begin telecommuting from his home office in Lake Lure more than four years ago. Michael is a strong advocate of local education and believes that the entire Hickory Nut Gorge community is enriched by and will thrive only when its children and young adults are provided an opportunity to receive a rigorous education in a safe and encouraging learning environment. Michael is an ardent believer in the importance of a strong and well-grounded education in critical thinking both for its own intrinsic value and as a means to enable people to achieve the potential they desire for themselves.

Susan T. Marciano

Board Member

Susan and her husband retired to Lake Lure in December of 2017, moving from Columbia, South Carolina. Susan received her undergraduate degree from Columbia College graduating Summa Cum Laude, and then she received her Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of South Carolina. She owned and operated a private practice and small business as a Licensed Independent Social Worker-Clinical Practitioner and Supervisor. She started the business in August of 1999 and closed it in December of 2017. Her business consisted not only of her seeing private clients and families, but also providing consultation, contract and volunteer services to community organizations.

Susan intends to contribute the skills she has learned throughout her professional career such as interpersonal communication skills, organizational and administrative abilities, strength in collaboration with others, experience in advocacy for children and families, and her ability to work across professional disciplines. Susan greatly appreciates the opportunity to serve on the LLCA Board and being part of the vast impact the school is having on the education and future of the children attending LLCA.

Linda Turner

Board Member

Having vacationed at the Chalet Club in Lake Lure for many years, Linda and her husband, Woody, knew exactly where they wanted to be when they retired. So, when that time came in 2002, they left Connecticut and moved to Lake Lure permanently. They built their current home overlooking the lake in 2008 and love being a part of this wonderful community.

Linda served on the Board of the Lake Lure Olympiad for a number of years and was a Town Commissioner from 2008 through 2011. She is a member of the Town’s Parks and Recreation Board and Land Asset Management Task Force as well as a member of the Board of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, serving as the Treasurer. Linda is a champion of a classical education and is delighted to be serving on the Board of the Lake Lure Classical Academy.

Tim Turner

Board Member

Tim has spent most of his life in the Lake Lure area, he and wife Whitney have three children Stella, Jed & Silas. He works locally in insurance and has an affinity for the great outdoors, sports & music and believes that this community offers a wonderful quality of life.

He believes a School is an integral part of a vibrant community, to this end he finds it a privilege to be part of the team that is making LLCA a success in the lives of the students & families it serves and seeks to build on the School’s achievements to date.