Board of Directors

Wray Gunn, Sr., Chair, a longtime member and Trustee of the Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church, is a fifth-generation descendant of Agrippa Hull, with deep family roots in the Berkshires that date back to the Revolutionary War. He retired from Pfizer Industrials after a 40-year career as an analytical chemist. He currently serves on the board of the Olga Dunn Dance Company and is a member of the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site Working Committee, Friends of the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite, and the advisory council of the Upper Housatonic Valley African- American Heritage Trail.

Cora Portnoff, Secretary, a former teacher of the hearing impaired, was a longtime member of the Clinton A.M.E. Church, where she was involved in various church activities with the late Reverend Esther Dozier, the Church’s first female pastor. She has served on the board of the Olga Dunn Dance Company for more than 30 years and is a member of the W.E.B. Du Bois National Historic Site Working Committee.

Dennis Powell, Vice Chair, is a retired culinary educator and executive in the food service and hospitality industry, a community activist and president of the Berkshire County Unit of the NAACP. Dennis currently serves on the Pittsfield Licensing Board, the Pittsfield School Committee and the Steering Committee of the W.E.B. Du Bois Educational Series in Great Barrington. For more than 12 years, he prepared meals for the homeless at St. Stephen’s Church in Pittsfield.

Will Singleton, Treasurer, is a retired public school educator and administrator. He is the past president of the Berkshire County Chapter of the NAACP, the reactivation of which he initiated in 2012. He currently serves on the board of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College.

Beth Carlson is a community activist and partner in Silo Media. She was a producer of the Oldtone Roots Music Festival from 2016-2019. She is a partner in Dewey Sessions, a traditional music and dance series held in the historic Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA, where she is also a board member. She was a key player in the effort to save the historic Searles School in Great Barrington, and a founding member of the Green Tea Party, a progressive activist grassroots group that works on political issues.

Rachel Fletcher is a geometer/designer, restoration planner, curator of museum exhibits on geometry, and author of Infinite Measure: Learning to Design in Geometric Harmony with Art, Architecture and Nature. A resident of Great Barrington since 1981, she was the founding director of the town’s Housatonic River Walk and its W. E. B. Du Bois River Park, founding co-director of the Friends of the Du Bois Homesite, and remains co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail.

Frances Jones-Sneed is a Professor Emeritus of History, Political Science and Public Policy at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and associate editor of African American Heritage In the Upper Housatonic Valley. She is co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail and a trustee at the Samuel Harrison House in Pittsfield.

Dan Bolognani, ex officio, is executive director of the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, a program of the National Park Service. Housatonic Heritage’s initiatives include the Du Bois National Historic Site initiative, the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail, the Housatonic Heritage Oral History Center at Berkshire Community College, and Reclaiming Our Local Heritage.