Laura Hamilton

Laura is the founding Executive Director of Lynchburg Beacon of Hope. 

As the idea for Beacon of Hope originated, she came on board to help build the model. She was tasked with building the structure, focus, and 501(c)3 organization status of Beacon of Hope. She naturally merged into the Executive Director as Beacon of Hope launched our Future Centers in 2012. 

Laura spent decades in public policy work, both in Lynchburg and the District of Columbia. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary and her Master’s degree in Public Policy (MPP) from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.  Laura served the Clinton Administration as a budget and policy liaison for the DC Budget and the Defense and Energy policy at the Office of Management and Budget.  She also worked as Development Director for Discovery Creek Children’s Museum/The Children’s Museum of Washington.  In addition, her strength in recent years has been cultivating the public/nonprofit partnership that has evolved between Lynchburg City Schools and the Beacon of Hope, including a strategic vision for the first Promise Program in Virginia.

In 2008, Laura was named as the top 20 change-makers in Lynchburg under the age of 40.  She’s a visual- rated private pilot and drives a 40-foot RV. Laura can be reached through her email or at (434) 849 – 8617.

Leidra McQueen

Leidra McQueen serves as the Associate Director of Lynchburg Beacon of Hope.

Previously, she served as the Director of College Success and the Future Center Director at her alma mater, Heritage High School. 

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Virginia. Leidra is a former member of the University of Virginia’s College Advising Corps, where she assisted hundreds of students and families through the college admissions and financial aid process in Martinsville, VA. After her tenure with the University of Virginia, she transitioned to the University of South Carolina’s TRIO programs in Columbia, SC. There she continued her work in college access and student development. Ultimately, her passion for student access and success in higher education for students in her hometown brought Leidra back to Virginia in 2013.

Through Beacon of Hope, Leidra hopes to contribute to true community transformation and irreversible impact in Lynchburg City. Mrs. McQueen can be reached through her email or at (434)941–3145.

Dani Hottle

Dani Hottle serves as the Development Director for Lynchburg Beacon of Hope.

Prior to joining Beacon of Hope, Dani spent more than 20 years working in both development and programming with various nonprofits throughout Virginia and Washington, DC. Having graduated from both the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and Johns Hopkins University, she has a background in education and economics. An active and passionate volunteer working with our community’s underserved and most vulnerable populations, Dani enjoys developing relationships with those whose voices are often unheard and helping them to create a path forward. Dani’s favorite thing about working with nonprofit organizations is witnessing the endless generosity of donors and volunteers investing their time and resources and the impact those investments can have on the community.

Dani is excited to be a part of the Beacon of Hope team and further develop the culture of philanthropy within the Lynchburg community to ensure that all Lynchburg youth are prepared for life after high-school graduation and beyond. Dani can be reached through her email or at (434)660-2680.

Macey Normyle

Macey serves as the Director of Operations for Lynchburg Beacon of Hope. 

Growing up outside of Houston, Texas, Macey moved to Lynchburg in 2019. Graduating from Texas A&M University and University of Houston, she has a background in health education and business.

Macey has always been service-oriented and believes in the importance of asking the right questions to influence the lives of others. She admires the mission of Beacon of Hope because Beacon is asking the right questions to open the door for students to help create their future. Macey can be reached through her email

Rachel Madigan

Rachel Madigan serves as the Office of College Success CVCC Site Director.

Rachel moved to Lynchburg in 2009 and served as a teacher in the Lynchburg City Schools for 6 years prior to joining Beacon of Hope. She received her undergraduate degree at California Polytechnic School – Pomona in Hospitality Management and her Master’s Degree from Hope International University in Education. Rachel also has multiple years of experience working with high school students as a youth leader. She has a sincere passion for students and helping them in their educational success.

Mrs. Madigan can be reached through her email

Chris Glover

Chris Glover serves as the Director of Strategy and Programs for Lynchburg Beacon of Hope.

The Lynchburg native holds a B.A. in History from Christopher Newport University, a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Lynchburg, and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from UNC Charlotte. He previously served as Assistant Principal at Dunbar Middle School and an American History teacher at Heritage High School.

In addition to his career at Beacon of Hope, Chris is an adjunct professor at University of Lynchburg. He teaches community and collegiate courses that focus on cultural diversity, race, and culturally-relevant/urban education.  He also consults with local schools and organizations on these same topics. Chris can be reached through his email at

Dennis Coan

Dennis Coan is the Future Center Director at Heritage High School. 

Growing up outside of Jacksonville, Florida, Dennis came to Lynchburg in 2002 to attend Liberty University.  After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and teacher licensure, his career began first as a classroom educator. He spent 10 years at the middle school level and 4 more years teaching and coaching at Heritage High School. 

His time spent coordinating a Federal GEAR UP grant at HHS shifted his professional trajectory and provided valuable learning experiences in college and career access.  Now continuing to work with Heritage students through the Future Center, Dennis desires to use his varied experiences as a teacher, head coach, and access advisor to provide the greatest opportunities for all of our students with a high level of support for them and their families. Dennis can be reached through his email

Lindsay Sharman

Lindsay Sharman serves as the Future Center Director at E.C. Glass High School.

Lindsay holds Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Brevard College in North Carolina. In college, Lindsay served as a work study student in the Academic Enrichment Center, and served as an RA. Lindsay also played college soccer all four years. Lindsay holds a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Mississippi.

Prior to joining Beacon of Hope, Lindsay spent nearly eight years working in Higher Education, predominantly in various housing and residence life roles serving college students and their families. Lindsay’s career took her to colleges/universities in North Caolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. What Lindsay cherished most working in higher education was the opportunities to help students discover who they are and put plans in place to achieve their dreams both during and after college.

Lindsay lives in Lynchburg with her wife, Lindsey Sharman (yes, you read that correctly!). Lindsey teaches and coaches at Brookville High School. When she is not working you can find her hosting family dinners with her sisters and niece, having a good cup of coffee, binging Netflix, or working out. 

Statistically, Lindsay’s accomplishments should have never been possible. She credits a teacher, a coach, and a college administrator for her success. Without their endless care, advice, and resources, Lindsay would have never gone to college or gotten out of her hometown. Lindsay is excited to join LBoH to give back to E.C. Glass students in similar ways, as they dream and take the necessary steps to achieve their goals after graduation. Lindsay can be reached through her email

Alandra Salemmo

Alandra Salemmo serves as the Programs Coordinator for Lynchburg Beacon of Hope.

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, she’s called Lynchburg home since 2015. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from Liberty University. She started with Beacon of Hope as a work study in 2019. Throughout her time, she has transitioned from a Middle School Hero to the Office of College Success. She is passionate about helping young people and is excited to continue developing Beacon of Hope’s programming.

In addition to helping people, she loves caring for animals as well. You can find her on her little farm for rescue animals, signing petitions for ocean conservation, or helping pets find new homes. She loves being a part of the Lynchburg community and getting involved any way she can. Alandra can be reached through her email


Gary RaulersonChair
COO, Innovative Wireless Technologies

Margaret Schmitt, Vice Chair
Local Government Consultant

Kennon White, Immediate Past Chair
Community Volunteer 

Gloria PrestonSecretary
Former Director of Student Services, LCS

Marty WrightTreasurer 
Community Volunteer

Jennie Allman

Peggy Andrews
Community Volunteer

Veronica Beverly
Physician, Community Volunteer

Terry Brennan
Developmental Pediatric Physician

John Capps
President, Central Virginia Community College

Steve Crank
Retired Financial Advisor

Kathe Feinman
Retired Educator and Community Volunteer

Paul Fitzgerald

Betsy Garrard
Former Educator, E.C Glass High School

Hank Hubbard
Community Volunteer

George Hurt
Neurosurgeon, Centra Health

Michael Madden
Investment Analyst, Truist

Gary Mignogna
CEO, Framatome 

Yvette Miller
Retired Educator, Lynchburg City Schools

Peggy Nolley
Community Volunteer

Mari Normyle
Post-Secondary Student Support Services

Mary Jane Pryor
Community Volunteer

Lucy Ross
Founder New Vistas School

Kevin Smith
General Counsel, Genworth

Margaret Schmitt
Local Government Consultant

Amanda Smithson
Director, State Policy & Advocacy, Save the Children

Jeff Thompson
COO, CB Fleet/Prestige