Board of trustees

Meet Carrie McClain, Development Chair - Board of Trustees

Carrie grew up near Tampa, Florida and has lived in Chicago, Washington DC, and Olympia, Washington before settling in Boone with her husband, Jeff.  They came to the High Country so that Carrie could help with her family’s Christmas tree farm, Hart-T-Tree Farms.  Hart-T-Tree Farms has been growing Fraser Fir Christmas trees in Ashe County since 1986.

Development Chair 2018-19

Carrie and Jeff have three children Emma (8), Anne (6), and James (2).  Emma and Anne are Mountain Pathways alums and James is currently in the Pre-Primary classroom.  Carrie and Jeff have been a part of the MPS community since Emma started in June 2013.

Before coming to work on the family farm, Carrie worked with a non-profit, a government contractor, and eventually went to seminary where she earned a Masters in Divinity and met Jeff.  Now on the farm, Carrie does what everyone in a family business does - some of everything (and many things she had no previous experience doing)! 

One thing that she is particularly proud of is starting a new business - Little Saps - in an attempt to diversify the farm in a way that she finds exciting and fresh.  Read the Forbes article.

Carrie’s hobby is volunteering and she tends to volunteer where she feels there is a gap or a need, often founding or helping to found new organizations, groups, initiatives, events or revitalizing existing ones.  That’s how she ended up as the Development Committee Chair at Mountain Pathways.  She is well aware that Mountain Pathways means a lot to many people and families and like others, she believes that Mountain Pathways has still not tapped its full potential.  In order to reach that full potential, Mountain Pathways has to create a firm and expansive financial foundation.  

Carrie previously served on the MPS Board as the Personnel Chair (2015-2017).  Carrie has no previous experience in fundraising, but she has years of leadership experience in volunteer organizations and she knows how to gather a committee or group and move a project or goal forward.  Working closely with others in the Mountain Pathways community and beyond, she hopes to help create a development foundation that others can build on.

Reach out to Carrie at

Meet Rachel McKinney, Board Chair-Elect

Rachel: An international educator with Appalachian roots

Rachel is a Boone native who returned in 2017 to be closer to family after living and working out of the area for more than 20 years.  Her expertise and training is in establishing formal and non-formal education programs in conflicts and following natural disasters, primarily overseas, and coordinating national-level strategies and implementation plans for education systems post-crisis.

Rachel and daughter, Kirby.

Rachel and daughter, Kirby.

In addition to supporting UN and NGO organizations, Rachel worked with the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) to develop the INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning which articulates the various educational inputs that contribute to quality education during crisis including support to teachers, classroom-level interactions and student learning.  

Rachel has extensive experience in multiple regions, and specifically in the Balkans, East Timor, Guinea, Afghanistan, Indonesia, the North Caucasus, Southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Gaza, Zimbabwe, and Syria Crisis.  She holds an Ed.M. from Boston University in International Education Development and is ABD in an PhD program for International Education Policy - a kid and life proved to be too distracting! 

Back in Boone, she shares her time between consulting, exploring the potential of rebuilding the creative arts’ skills needed to become a children’s book illustrator/writer, and puttering around with her daughter, Kirby (Primary West) on a small family farm - in the summer that usually means wallowing in a mud puddle to the bemusement of the donkey and sheep and making flour-y messes in the winter. 

Rachel is keen to continue on the Board, assuming the Board Chair position in May, as MPS continues to explore our identity and continue moving towards an ambitious vision -  reminding her of the bumper sticker “Think Globally, Act Locally”.