The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

Ten West Virginians Named as Inaugural Cohort for Statewide Community & Economic Development Leadership Initiative


CHARLESTON, WV - The WV Community Development Hub is announcing the inaugural cohort for the advanced-level track of the Community Coaching Fellowship program. Ten people from across the state will participate in this leadership development initiative to catalyze growth and make a positive difference in West Virginia communities.

Fellows will incubate a community or economic development-focused project as part of this intensive 10-month fellowship. With support from professional coaches and peers, fellows will develop an action plan to advance project work including identifying funding sources, challenges, and partnerships. They will also increase their knowledge of the community development field and build up their personal networks.

“These fellows are West Virginians who are focused on building up our state’s communities using innovative, collaborative leadership. We are honored to be part of their journey,” said Stacy Thomas, Community Coaching Associate, and Coaching Fellowship program lead.

The inaugural cohort includes:
● Kelley Burd-Huss (Kingwood, WV) is the Community Development Coordinator for Preston Trail Towns, a project of Friends of the Cheat. She is active in many projects throughout Preston County.
● Reed Byers (Parkersburg, WV) is the Change Agent and Creator of the How to Save a Life program at GiveMore Connections. He is a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, a Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) Certified Race Director, and a Community Coordinator at Healthy Kids Running Series. He serves on boards with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (WV Chapter), The Suicide Awareness Alliance of Washington County, Ohio, The Boys and Girls Club of Pleasants County, WV, and Generation Mid-Ohio Valley.
● Candice Helms (Hinton, WV) is a Preserve WV AmeriCorps serving with the Hinton Historic Landmarks Commission at the City of Hinton. She also serves on he Board of Directors for the Summers County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
● Sherri L. James (Clarksburg, WV) is the Program Director for the Kelly Miller Community Center and the Community Engagement Coordinator for Monticello Ongoing Revitalization Effort. She serves on boards with the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival Board and The WVU United Hospital Center.
● Jamila Jones-Fleet (Martinsburg, WV) is founder and President of Innovative
Community Solutions. She also currently volunteers as the Jefferson County NAACP Economic Development Committee Chair and serves on boards with the United Way Eastern Panhandle and Bank of Charles Town.
● Amy Loomis, MPA, (Morgantown, WV) is the Vice President of Revitalization Services with Morgantown Area Partnership. Amy is involved in creative placemaking efforts in Morgantown.
● Olivia Morris (Oak Hill, WV) is the Region 1 Manager for Generation West Virginia’s Local Generations program. Olivia is very active in recreational development projects in the New River Gorge region.
● Mackenzie New-Walker (Matewan, WV) is the Executive Director of the WV Mine Wars Museum. She serves as the Project Coordinator for the 2021 Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial.
● Caroline Smith (Beckley, WV) is the Program Director for Stewards Individual
● Ray Smith (Jane Lew, WV) is the Executive Director of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce. He serves on boards with the Lewis County Economic Development Authority, Lewis County Foundation, and Lewis County First.

​About the WV Community Development Hub
The West Virginia Community Development Hub mobilizes residents from all over the state to spark transformational change and progress in their communities. Hallmarks of the organization's work are to spur on fresh momentum where little exists; to unite the forces of groups that have not considered - or even resisted - collaboration in the past; and to champion new, and sometimes unexpected, leaders. Over the past year, The Hub has worked directly with 21 communities across the state and 40% of West Virginians were positively impacted by Hub-related projects. More information about The Hub’s work and impacts over the past year is available at​.​