Benita Felmus, President
Ms. Felmus is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Engineering. She has worked for General Electric, GTE, and Pitney Bowes as a product manager, product creator, and product development manager for over 20 years. Her volunteer efforts have been widespread including: Short Pump Elementary School, Deep Run High School, and Temple Beth El. As the parent of an Orchard House alumna she was very active in the school community. She is married to Ron Felmus, and they have two daughters Samantha and Nicole.
Jan Starnes, Vice President
Ms. Starnes graduated from Princeton University with an AB in History and a secondary teaching certification. After teaching and coaching for two years in a Jewish Day School and public high school in Maryland, she returned to Richmond, her hometown, and taught seniors at St. Catherine’s school for two years. Since then she has created 3 twenty-something daughters and an 11 year old son (with Jim’s help) and during the course of those years served on the board of the Children’s Museum of Richmond, Jewish Family Services, led the VIPS program at St. Catherine’s, and volunteered at St. Andrew’s school for many years among other things. She had the honor of working with Nancy Davies on the Gender Symposium at St. Catherine’s and feels very fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Orchard House community.
Debbie Edmunds, Treasurer
Ms. Edmunds is a CPA who has been the Treasurer of the Faison School for Autism for the last 10 years. In this capacity she has seen the school grow from a small pilot project to a regional service provider with almost 100 students. She holds a B.S. from Wake Forest University and an MBA from the University of Richmond. One of her two daughters is a current Orchard House student.
Amy Ashworth Calos, Secretary
Ms. Calos is a lawyer practicing on the Global Technology team at Hunton & Williams. She received her J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law and her undergraduate degree in political science from Davidson College. After graduating from law school, she clerked for Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico, Supreme Court of Virginia. She is married to Stefan Calos and they have two daughters, Lexi, who is a junior at Trinity Episcopal, and Ari, an eighth grade student at Orchard House.
Dr. Berger attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College and received her B.A. degree in Chemistry. She completed her medical school training at Marshall University School of Medicine. She began her Internal Medicine Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and then completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Georgetown University. After completing her fellowship in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999, Dr. Berger entered private practice with a local endocrinology group. In 2004, Dr. Berger became a founding partner of Virginia Diabetes & Endocrinology, P.C. Meredith is a Clinical Preceptor for the Foundations of Clinical Medicine program at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. She is married to Jon Berger and they have two daughters, Molly and Maggie.
Ms. Conner holds a B.S. in Physical Education from Old Dominion University. She is a former physical education teacher at the middle and lower school levels in both Norfolk and Henrico County. Ms. Conner worked in her late husband’s estate planning legal practice for many years as an assistant and bookkeeper. She serves on the Boards of the Monument Avenue Preservation Society (MAPS) and the Historic Monument Avenue and Fan District Foundation (HMFDF).
Mr. Cumming is a 1989 graduate from Hampden-Sydney College. He is currently President of the Cumming Home Team, a real estate firm with RE/MAX Commonwealth. After a decade in the industry he has received numerous honors from a lifetime achievement award from RE/MAX to being voted "Best Real-Estate Agent" in 2012 by Richmond Magazine. Prior to starting his firm, he spent a decade in the telecommunications industry facilitating the placement of MCI's fiber optic networks across the country and later brought AT&T and T-Mobile wireless networks to Virginia.
Ms. Feldstein is an application and product development professional specializing in industrial fibers and fabrics. She has worked for Allied Signal, Honeywell, and Performance Fibers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, she holds an MS in Textile Science/Polymer Chemistry and a BS in Textile Marketing. Ms. Feldstein’s volunteer activities have included literacy (Literacy Council of Greater Richmond), dogs (Dog Lovers Therapy Dogs), and diabetes (JDRF). In addition to OHS, she has served on the boards of the William Fox Elementary School PTA and Temple Beth El. Ms. Feldstein is married to Mark Pennington and has two Orchard House graduates, Jessi and Leigh.
Mr. Gecker has a degree in economics from Princeton University and a J.D. from the College of William and Mary. He is chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Chesterfield County, Chairman of the Greater Richmond Partnership and serves on the executive committees of Richmond Region Planning District Commission and the Capital Region Airport Commission. Mr. Gecker is a partner in Urban Development Associates, which specializes in the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. He is married to Elizabeth Gibbs, and they have four children, Alexandra, Caroline, Juliana and Mariel. Juliana is a 2012 graduate of Orchard House; Mariel is an incoming fifth grader.
Ms. Goodpasture earned a B.A., an M.Ed. in mental health counseling, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. After law school, she clerked for a federal judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, then practiced law at Hunton and Williams in the labor and employment section. In addition to serving on the Board of Orchard House School, she served on the Board of the PTA of William Fox Elementary and co-chaired the Fox art auction for two years. She has also served on the Boards of the YWCA and the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood. She is married to Philip Goodpasture, and they have three children, Eliza, John, and Rose.
Ms. Landphair is the Dean of Westhampton College at the University of Richmond. She has a Ph.D. and MA in US Southern history from the University of Virginia. Currently her research interests include New Orleans history and women in higher education. Dr. Landphair’s daughter Katie is a 2011 OHS alumna; she also has a son Sammy, who will be starting middle school in 2012.
Mr. Moore is CEO of Mercury Data Exchange, a Virginia based healthcare technology company specializing in providing insurance claim and eligibility information to provider offices in real time. He holds a B.S. and MBA from Old Dominion University, is a CPA and has been an executive with several national healthcare technology companies. His daughter Courtney graduated from Orchard House in 2012 and son Christian is in 11th grade at Douglas Freeman.
Ms. Morse earned a B.S. in Biology from Madison College (now James Madison University) and a M.S. degree in Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a Managing Principal of Aegis Environmental, Inc. since its incorporation. Ms. Morse has over thirty years of professional experience as a regulator, consultant, and trainer in environmental regulations and has been involved in a wide range of environmental issues. She is a current member of the Air & Waste Management Association and associate in the Environmental Law Institute.
Ms. Samet is a social worker with the Alzheimer's Association working with individuals and families battling dementia. Her MSW degree and Aging Certification are from VCU and her B.A. is from Randolph Macon College. Her volunteer positions have been at Orchard House, Trinity Episcopal School, Collegiate School, Linwood Holton Elementary, Ginter Park Garden Club, Golden Retriever Rescue, Susan G. Komen Foundation/Race for the Cure, Girl Scouts, and the Alzheimer's Association. She is married to Richard Samet and their daughter, Phoebe, is an alumna of OHS. They also have a son, Jake.
Nancy W. Davies, Executive Director
Ms. Davies is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She founded Orchard House School in 1998. Ms. Davies has an undergraduate degree in English and a Master's Degree in Education. Prior to founding Orchard House, she taught in public and independent schools at the elementary, middle and secondary levels, including fifteen years as a fifth grade teacher at St. Catherine's School in Richmond. In 1994, Ms. Davies received a grant from the Jessie Ball duPont Foundation, allowing her to research the development of middle school girls and the most effective strategies for educating them. As a result of her research and experience, Ms. Davies has emerged as a national expert in developing curricula and learning environments where girls thrive.