Meet the first cohort of the Advanced Community Coaching Fellowship!

The WV Community Development Hub is thrilled to announce the inaugural cohort of the Advanced Track of our Community Coaching Fellowship Program! Ten individuals from throughout the state of West Virginia will take part in the program, which is designed to grow leadership, advance collaborative coaching skills, and help participants advance a project they’re working on in their community.  

When the program kicks off in October, each of the fellows will be paired with a coaching expert from The Hub to assist with their development journey.

“We are excited to launch this program and go through this process,” said Stacy Thomas, Community Coaching Associate and Coaching Fellowship program lead. “We have an incredible cohort and they are already doing amazing work around the state.”

The application process for the Fellowship was very competitive; though we received many amazing applicants, the goal of the program is to provide individualized attention to a small group of Fellows. Learn more about the ten community changemakers who will soon begin their coaching journey below. 

Kelley Burd-Huss is the Community Development Coordinator for Preston Trail Towns (PTT), a project of Friends of the Cheat. PTT bridges the communities of Preston County through outdoor recreation, placemaking and community development. Originally from Harrison County, Kelley earned her BA from West Virginia University and a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She developed a keen interest in community development after leaving corporate tax and meeting her neighbors in Houston’s historic Third Ward. Kelley thrives on finding creative solutions and means to overcome community challenges, and is happiest when engaging her communities and moving ideas toward action. After ten years away from home, Kelley has been blessed to live in the Cheat River Valley since 2019. She currently lives in Stewartstown with her husband David, three children, and three dogs.

Reed Byers 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 uses his lived experience with mental health and addiction to empower others to find their unique road to recovery, while promoting health and relationship building throughout the community. Reed stays active in his community by serving as a member of the Board of Directors for: 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 may not be native to West Virginia, but upon moving here from Austin, Texas in 2015, she quickly found herself deeply in love with the mountains and a huge desire to do better 2015, she quickly found herself deeply in love with the mountains and a huge desire to do better by her community, Hinton. After serving on the Hinton HubCAP team, in May of 2019, she enthusiastically signed on as the Hinton Historic Landmarks AmeriCorps member. Her focus during this term and beyond, is to empower the locals, preserve Hinton’s history, and be an example of what little we can do to make a huge impact.

Sherri L. James is currently the Program Director for the Kelly Miller Community Center, as well as the Community Engagement Coordinator for Monticello On-going Revitalization Effort (M.O.R.E.), both non-profit organizations in Clarksburg, WV who focused on providing services and support to improve the lives of children, families, elderly and homeless folks in our community. She currently writes grants to secure funding for programs and infrastructure, as well as, coordinates programming and events throughout the year. She currently is a member of the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival Board and the Chairman of the Fundraising Committee, as well as a member of the The WVU United Hospital Center Board. She loves gardening, large family get-togethers and exercising.


Jamila Jones-Fleet is founder and President of Innovative Community Solutions, a non-profit focused on minority economic development and diversity in technology. She is also CEO of Innovative Solutions Technology. She also currently volunteers as the Jefferson County NAACP Economic Development Committee Chair, on the Board of the United Way Eastern Panhandle, and on the Advisory Board of the Bank of Charles Town (BCT). She enjoys hiking, cooking and gardening in her free time..


Amy Loomis, MPA, is a community development professional working in member services and neighborhoods revitalization for the Morgantown Area Partnership, a coordinated alliance to pursue holistic strategies for the betterment of economic, business, and community development. Amy believes the world is a better place with facilitation, consensus planning, creative placemaking, conflict transformation, and swing dancing!


Olivia Morris is a West Virginia native who resides in the hills of Fayette County. She works for Generation West Virginia, whose mission is to attract, retain, and advance young people. She enjoys a myriad of hobbies including rock climbing, swimming, performing arts, and binge watching YouTube videos. She is passionate about the future of the Mountain State and is excited to grow her leadership in order to support community members as they bring their visions to life.


Museum Director Mackenzie (Kenzie) New-Walker is a young community organizer, museum professional, local historian, and advocate for historic preservation in and across southern West Virginia. Kenzie graduated from Marshall University in 2018. She is committed to sharing the stories of her ancestors, and leading and collaborating on community-based projects that celebrate diversity and invoke the public’s collective memory. Kenzie serves as the Project Coordinator for the 2021 Battle of Blair Mountain Centennial. Kenzie grew up in the southern coalfields of WV as a daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of union coal miners.


Caroline Smith is the Program Director for Stewards Individual Placements, based out of Beckley, WV. As Program Director, she is afforded the opportunity to support, collaborate, and create change with communities, organizations, and national service members across the country. Caroline holds a BFA from Ohio University and an MPA from West Virginia University. When not working, she enjoys reading, hiking, creating, and spending time with her partner, daughter, and furry friends.


Ray Smith is from Jane Lew, located in Lewis County, West Virginia. He was a general manager for a travel complex for over 30 years and changed career paths to being Executive Director of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce. He is involved in many community organizations and events, and takes great pride in supporting, working with everyone, and serving his community.



You can learn more about the Community Coaching Fellowship Program and application process here.

If you have questions about the Community Coaching Program, reach out to Stacy Thomas at

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