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Amy Hobgood, Chair

Amy Hobgood is a native of Craven County, growing up in Havelock, NC.  She currently resides in Granville County, NC.  She has been in education for over 25 years.  Her roles in public education in North Carolina include elementary school teacher, district curriculum coach, assistant principal, principal, and charter school director.  Currently, Amy is serving at the state level as a director at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  Her time as a charter school director in the piedmont area of NC inspired her to bring a charter school option to Craven County.  As a founding board member, Amy is excited to bring a school of choice to families in the area.


Greg Sims

Greg Sims lives in New Bern with his two young children, where they have lived since 2018. He is an experienced senior project manager in the retail fixture industry and can leverage those skills to be an asset to Riverside Leadership Academy through construction, finance, and governance. Greg is also the co-founder of local band Bridge Atlantic, performing all over town and beyond. He is excited to be a part of the team of dedicated people committed to bringing school choice to Craven County!


Alexandra Ranieri, Vice Chair

Alexandra Ranieri has worked in education for 14 years. For ten of those years, she contributed to the Craven County school system as a high school English teacher and as a high school counselor. Concurrently, she assumed the position of an adjunct English instructor at Craven Community College. Presently, Alexandra is the Director of Advising and Academic Success at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, NC. Beyond her professional commitments, she actively participates in the New Bern theatre community, where she sits on the board of the New Bern Civic Theatre. Alexandra is also currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Community College Leadership at Old Dominion University. She met her husband, in Craven County in 2009, and they live in New Bern with their two children.


Erika Butters

Erika Butters brought her creative spirit to New Bern in 2018, where she now calls home with her husband, and their two children. With a career as a cruise ship performer spanning eight years, she has shared her artistic talents around the globe. Locally, she co-founded the band, Bridge Atlantic, and has performed in numerous theatrical productions at the New Bern Civic Theatre. Her dedication to the community extends beyond the stage, having previously served as the Director of Development at the New Bern Civic Theatre, where she played a pivotal role in raising funds for this non-profit organization. Her commitment to philanthropy is further exemplified through her volunteer work with various fundraisers in town. In addition to her artistic endeavors, Erika is a passionate advocate for accessible project-based education, tirelessly working to make learning more engaging and inclusive for all.



Steven Evans

Steven Evans is a dynamic professional with extensive experience in project and facilities management, document systems management, and Environmental Health and Safety. Having relocated to the New Bern, NC area in 2020 with his wife and three sons, he has held various leadership roles. From Director of Operations at Evans Renovations to his current position as Project Coordinator with Moody Engineering, Steven excels in driving continuous improvement initiatives and ensuring project success. With a passion for community service, Steven is eager to utilize his skills on the Riverside Leadership Academy School Board. Steven holds degrees in Business Administration and Engineering Drafting and Design, along with multiple occupational licenses and certifications.



Samantha Amaral, Secretary

Samantha Amaral relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina from Providence, Rhode Island in 2021 along with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, and two adorable dogs. As a family, they all share a passion for volleyball, and they love to spend their free time playing or coaching on the beach. 


She's the CEO of Tri-aligned Consulting and Senior Director of People and Finance at Maureen Joy Charter School. She has gained experience in various fields, including philanthropy, social services, human resources, mentoring, and financial and consulting. However, her true passion lies in charter schools. She's involved in charter school compliance, policy development, strategic development, and leadership development. This keeps her busy on a daily basis, but she absolutely loves what she does and is proud to be a part of the RLA Board.

Jessica Ray, Treasurer

Jessica Ray is a skilled professional in accounting and finance, holding a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from East Carolina University. She is currently an Accounting Analyst for a billion dollar fortune 200 company, where she focuses on accounting practices, process improvements, accurate reporting and compliance. Ray also held positions as a Senior Accountant and Financial Specialist, demonstrating her ability to lead teams, manage financial processes, and contribute to strategic planning. Jessica has worked on many projects throughout her career that include but are not limited to, multi-family housing developments, mergers and acquisitions, strategic reviews, expense control, risk mitigation, etc. She will support RLA's board by serving on the finance committee and as Treasurer. Jessica, her husband and their young daughter moved to New Bern in 2022.

Become a RLA Board Member

Riverside Leadership Academy is actively recruiting additional board members. If you’re interested in applying, please complete this form.

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