Board of Directors


Dot Guthrie 

Curator and Executive Director

Dot Guthrie is a librarian and retired supervisor for Gaston County Schools. She has also worked for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Clover School Districts. Mrs. Guthrie is a member of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Currently, she is a member of the Gaston Board of Education and serves as  the Museum Curator.

Charlie Pearson

Financial Director

Charlie Pearson is a Gastonia native, and a graduate of Hunter Huss High School. He has spent 9 years in Haiti working in various administrative positions for health care organizations. Charlie has been a partner in Pearson Properties for 22 years. In addition to the Museum’s board, he is currently serving as a Board Member for the Glenn Foundation, Gaston School of the Arts, and Crisis Assistance Ministries in Gastonia.


Clara Rudisill-Odom

Marketing and Communications Director

Clara Rudisill-Odom is a graduate of Hunter Huss High School. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University. Clara is a 2012 Federal Government retiree after 30 years of service where she gained professional experience with the Agencies, General Services Administration and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a Realty Specialist and Contracting Officer with unlimited contracting authority. Clara was responsible for leasing commercial office space to house over 250 Federal Agencies. She also processed rent payments to lessors and contractors and managed the construction and build out of Federal office space and new buildings. She was responsible for writing and publishing advertisements, answering public inquiries, congressional inquiries, and preparing debriefing statements. She is currently a member of the the International African American Museum of Charleston, SC, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture and The Mint Museum Uptown of Charlotte, NC. 

Michele McPhatter

Compliance Director

Michel Geathers McPhatter is a native of Kannapolis, North Carolina and in 1992, she attended North Carolina Central University as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow where she graduated with honors receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1996. After a brief stint in teaching, she attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law, graduating in 2002 with her juris doctorate degree. For almost twenty years, Michele has enjoyed a productive career as a litigator and trial attorney in North Carolina and the state of Georgia. She began her legal career working in civil litigation as a staff attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina in Winston-Salem. She later served as an assistant district attorney for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit in Georgia for 12 years, prosecuting an assortment of crimes, including crimes against women and children, financial identity crimes, drugs, and homicides. She is currently licensed in the State of North Carolina and Georgia and is the founder and owner of The Law Office of Michele Geathers McPhatter, PLLC, with a principal office in Gastonia, NC.


Susan Maxon

Grants Management Director

Susan Maxon graduated as valedictorian of her high school class. She graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and completed post-graduate courses in botany at the University of Maryland, College Park, and other courses at the USDA Graduate School, Washington, D.C. Susan's career as a botanist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture brought her to Gastonia in 2003, where she served as Deputy Director of the Seed Program. She retired in 2013 after 40 years of service. Susan is a lay minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Gastonia and previously served as branch secretary of the Gaston County NAACP.  She currently serves as an officer of the Gaston County Senior Democrats.

Larry Louis Moore

Director of the Arts and Special Programs

Larry Louis Moore has a B.A. from Western Carolina University and completed his graduate studies in History at UNC-Charlotte. He possesses an M.A. with honors from Belmont Abbey College, furthering his studies at Hollins College, East Carolina University, Ohio State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Georgia State University, UNC-Wilmington, and San Diego State University. Larry has additionally studied abroad in Canada and Europe. With his extensive background in education, he will lead the Museum’s specialty arts and education programs.

Aurelia S. Falls

Executive Board Secretary 

Aurelia S. Falls is a native of Bessemer City, NC and a graduate of Lincoln High School. She earned a B.A. in Business and Commerce from North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC. Aurelia had a professional career with Duke Energy Corporation, Charlotte, NC where she retired with 30 years of service as a Senior Shareholder Representative. During her career she worked in several areas within the Finance Department and developed a Shareholder Booklet used by shareholders to gain insight into stock purchases. She initiated the purchase and sell of shareholders common stock and assisted in preparing monthly and quarterly reports for shareholders. She studied Early Childhood Education at Gaston College and later worked as a Substitute Teacher in Gaston County Schools.  

Carolyn West-Brown

Interim Treasurer

Carolyn W. Brown attended Frank L. Ashley High School and is a graduate of Jefferson High School and of Denmark Technical College. In addition, she attended Gaston College and Central Piedmont College. Carolyn began her career in banking working in several positions as a Teller Supervisor, New Accounts Representative and as Disputes Team Manager. Carolyn received numerous banking certificates and has enjoyed a career in banking for over 40 years. She retired from Wells Fargo in 2017 as an Assistant Vice President of Financial Crimes. Carolyn is a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church and the Democratic Women of Gaston County.

James Garvin

Director of Programs and Exhibitions

James Garvin is an experienced educator currently employed by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and serves in the following positions: Executive Director, Central 1 Learning Community; Vacation Bible School Director at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church; Board of Director member for Friendship Day School for the Arts and Sciences; Sunday School Teacher; and Chairperson, Marizetta Kerry Child Development Center Board of Directors.


Dot Guthrie

James Garvin

Susan Maxon

Michele McPhatter

Larry Moore

Clara Rudisill-Odom

Charlie Pearson

Ina Biggers

Kathleen Blake

Karen Bringle

Carolyn West-Brown

Mamie Chisholm

Aurelia Falls

Hattie Hardin

Mary Holmes

Mary Nichols-Smith

Charles Whitesides