Black History Month gives us a chance to reflect on the past, but these 27 leaders provide hope for the future. They are in positions that allow them to shape Union County for years to come.
• Jesse Cureton: The Waxhaw resident works as chief consumer officer for Novant Health. He’s served on several boards, including Charlotte Center City Partners, Foundation of the Carolinas and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
• Eric Dixon: The general manager for ATI in Monroe has served on boards for the Union County Chamber of Commerce and the South Piedmont Community College Foundation.
• Jeff Duke: He’s a profit center manager at Assa Abloy in Monroe. He also provides strategic oversight to Monroe-Union County Economic Development.
• Althea Richardson Tucker: She not only specializes in family law at Richardson Law Firm in Monroe, but she’s also running for the N.C. District Court Judge 20D seat. She serves on the board of the Community Health Services of Union County and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
• David Smith: He works as a financial advisor for Edwards Jones in Monroe. He also serves on board for the Union County Chamber of Commerce and the Atrium Health Union.
• Surluta Anthony: She was the first African American woman elected to Monroe City Council in 2013. She serves on the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee for the National League of Cities alongside leaders from Los Angeles, Cleveland and Chattanooga.
• Valerie Coffee & Lundeen Cureton: Each has provided more than a decade of leadership to the Mineral Springs Town Council. Mayor Rick Becker tells voters during campaign season they work as a unit, which isn’t as common as you’d think in Union County.
• Angelia James: She successfully ran for Monroe City Council in 2019 on a platform that involved strengthening the neighborhood’s ties with police, as well as giving youth more opportunity. Prior to that, she helped build recreational programming.
• Franco McGee: He’s serving in his first term in a Monroe City Council seat he won in 2017. He chairs the city’s Public Enterprise Committee, which advises the council on issues related to water, stormwater and solid waste.
• Marcus McIntyre: The Indian Trail Town Council appointed the senior financial analyst to fill the vacancy left by Monty Keisler’s resignation in 2018. After getting elected back to the council in 2019, his peers appointed him as mayor pro tem.
• Brenda McMillon: Waxhaw’s mayor pro tem was one of three fresh new faces elected as town commissioners in 2017. Prior to politics, she was involved in her HOA, Union County Public Schools and nonprofits.
• Kim Chinnis: Chinnis has served as a principal in Union County Public Schools since 2008, where she led Parkwood Middle. She’s led Prospect Elementary in Monroe since 2013.
• Elenia Daniels: She worked as a guidance counselor and assistant principal before joining Walter Bickett Elementary School in Monroe two years ago.
• Camela Ford: She serves as the first principal of Monroe Charter Academy, which opened in August 2019 serving kindergarten through third grade.
• Kasha Giddins: She became principal of the Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle School in 2019. Prior to joining the district last year, she was a high school principal in New Jersey.
• Maxie Johnson Jr.: Since becoming the first African American to win Union County Public Schools Teacher of the Year in 2012, he’s served as assistant principal of East Union Middle and principal of Wingate Elementary.
• Vicki Merritt: Merritt has served as a principal in Union County Public Schools since 2012. Her tenure here began at Sun Valley Middle School. She transitioned over to Central Academy of Technology and Arts in 2018.
• Tahira Stalberte: She works in Union County Public Schools Superintendent Andrew Houlihan’s cabinet. She’s led public relations for Mecklenburg and Union county’s school districts.
• Candice Sturdivant: She’s served on the Union County Board of Education since 2016. She also works as assistant director of vocation, internships and career services at Wingate University.
• Gloria Barrino: She’s worked more than 30 years helping Union County people in crisis. She’s led organizations like Turning Point of Union County and the Union County Crisis Assistance Ministry.
• Jim Black: He documents the great things happening in the Waxhaw community through the Land of the Waxhaws public Facebook group.
• W. Beatrice Colson: The Wingate resident has represented older adults in leadership roles with Union County’s AARP chapter and the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature.
• Nathel Hailey: He’s provided years of leadership for the Union County NAACP. He was the first African American to serve on the Wingate Town Council.
• Mary Lindsay-Barber: She has taken on the leadership mantle of the Union County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, one of the most giving groups in the county.
• Gwendolyn Perkins: This former Union County Woman of the Year (2008) has served as medical director for Community Health Services of Union County.
• Steve Smith Sr.: A lot of famous people live in southern Mecklenburg and western Union counties, but the NFL Network analyst is one of the most active in the community. He has spoken out about mental health and worked with area youth.