Beginning in July 2021, Bess has brought with her a career oriented towards education, development, communications, and nonprofit management, as well as a love for the community and the outdoors. Bess’ background includes leading a literacy council in Western North Carolina; teaching third grade in the 9th Ward of New Orleans; building a teacher residency program, launching a fundraising system and coaching assistant principals for her school system in New Orleans; bolstering individual giving and development for Teach For America New York; and creating external strategies that include marketing and communications for Teach For America Bay Area. To begin her career, Bess graduated from Western Carolina University (WCU) with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Communication. She later returned to WCU for her master’s degree in English with a dual focus on rhetoric and technical writing.
In her free time, Bess enjoys hiking and camping with her husband, Alan, cooking adventurous meals with new spices, planning murder mystery parties, reading nonfiction and chatting about philosophy, and traveling to all kinds of destinations. She also is a not-so-secret crazy cat lady who dotes on Tyson and Beans, her two senior cats.