The new board of directors for the Van Zandt Arts & Cultural District Foundation met with members of the outgoing board and a few committee members at a social mixer in December. The enthusiasm for moving forward with the foundation’s mission has them ready to get started right away. Several new ideas came out of that meeting and plans are underway for activities for 2020 sure to delight children and adults alike in education as well as tourism. The new directors are noted below. Officers are appointed at their first meeting January 21. If you want to be on a committee contact any of the directors, text/call (903) 312-9556, or email

Jill Dutton and her husband David relocated their family from Dallas to Van in 1999 to be closer to extended family and send their three children (Ryan, Lauren, and DJ) to Van schools, specifically because of the arts programs. Ryan and Lauren participated in Larry and Sue Wisdom’s drama programs and all three participated in choir from middle through high school.
Jill has served the Van community in numerous volunteer positions including PTO board member, Van Drama Parents board member, and School Health Advisory Council Co-Chair, to name a few. She was elected to the Van ISD Board of Trustees in 2007 and served as board member and board secretary until 2017. She currently serves as Vice President of the Van ISD Education Foundation and chairs the Van ISD Literacy Partners program, which she founded 6 years ago.
Jill says that education is her passion and the arts are a key component in educating the whole child. The arts have proven to contribute to increased academic achievement in math, reading, and science. She supports the arts in schools because, “not only do the arts make life more fun and colorful; but they teach self-confidence, communication, and critical thinking.”
Jill began her college education as a music major with a focus on piano performance. When she realized a career path for someone with marginal musical talent was uncertain, she switched to another branch of the art, drama… aka politics. Graduating summa cum laude, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Texas at Tyler. Jill currently works as the Director of Human Resources & Client Relations for CA Partners, Inc., a commercial architectural and construction consulting firm in Dallas. She also spends her time advocating for public education and enjoys the fine arts by attending art shows, museums, plays, and musicals.
P.A. attended college in San Antonio and has worked in the journalism and public relations industry for several decades. She started County Line Magazine for the Upper East Side of Texas in January 2000. Growing up near Dallas, she visited the Edom-Van-Ben Wheeler area often as the home place of both of her parents who graduated from Van High School. Her mother was active on the volleyball team and was outgoing and popular while her introverted father struggled to find his place in the world. That is, until he discovered — at the encouragement of teachers — his love for woodworking and music, two talents that greatly improved his self esteem and led to his career and most memorable times of his life. This knowledge helped plant seeds for P.A.’s understanding the value of the arts for quality of life.
Reading, writing, drawing, and music were part of daily life in the Geddie household and that firm foundation continues in P.A.’s life today.
She is a member of Americans and Texans for the Arts, Texas Downtown Association, Society of Professional Journalists, International Association of Business Communicators, and founding member of Van Zandt Arts & Cultural District Foundation. She served as president of the first board of directors for the foundation and helped launch the annual Van Go Art Fair, Tribute to Townes Van Zandt, and continues to support events and activities in the district that enhance the quality of life for residents, visitors, and future generations.
Summer grew up in Ben Wheeler and attended and graduated from Van High School. She is a second generation Vandal and her son, Reed, is the start of the third generation.
Summer graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University and obtained a Bachelor’s in Human Sciences in 2004. She started working with her parents company, Door Control Services, in Ben Wheeler in the Marketing Department as an assistant in 2004 and worked her way to Vice President of Marketing in 2010.
Over time the company increased their market share to cover not only the U.S., but Canada and Central America for the parts side (Door Controls USA) and regionally with sales in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas through service and install (Door Control Services).
In 2014, Summer transitioned to Vice President of Sales & Marketing to cover selling service and new construction as well as the wholesale parts division. July of 2015, Door Control Services split to become Door Control Services and Door Controls USA. Her focus at that time was solely on the sales and marketing for Door Controls USA. On October 6, 2016, she and her brother Paxton Gilchrist jointly purchased Door Controls USA, Inc. from their father Don Gilchrist. She continues in the role of Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Door Controls USA as well as sits on the Board of Directors with both Don and Paxton.
She comes from an artistic family and appreciates the value of the arts for kids and community. She started the Sharon Gilchrist Foundation for the Arts in 2018 in honor of her late mother and works with the VZ Arts & Cultural District Foundation on programs including an annual Christmas card contest.
Kristi grew up in Frisco, Texas, and is an alumni of the University of Texas at Tyler. She completed her student teaching at Van ISD and holds a Texas Educator Certificate. Kristi began her banking career at Southside Bank in 2012 and is a Senior Vice President and Retail Market Manager.
One of Kristi’s passions is visiting classrooms in the East Texas area to teach and find innovative ways for students to learn and understand financial literacy. She currently serves on the board of directors for Junior Achievement as the Vice Chair and Chairwoman Elect for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year.
Additionally, Kristi serves on the Board of Directors for Champions for Children of Smith County, Van Baseball and Softball Association, and City of Van Parks and Recreation. In addition to board service, Kristi serves on the Tyler ISD Career and Technical Education Advisory Board, Leadership Tyler’s development committee and also co-chairs the Van Vandal Intermediate PTO.
While attending college, Kristi met her husband of 12 years, Josh Johnston. Josh is a firefighter and EMT at Tyler Fire Department. Josh and Kristi are having fun raising their two young daughters, Maci and Adelynn. They live in the suburbs of Van and the kids go to Van ISD.
Kerian Massey is a graphic artist and illustrator by trade but puts brush to canvas whenever an idea sparks in her mind. Her work is as weird and eclectic as she is, covering animals, cars, chairs, shoes, people and funky ideas. Her take on the normal items, gets bent by her love of surrealism and imagery, bringing the viewer on a small visual adventure.
Kerian graduated from the Art Center College in Tucson, Arizona. Her client list includes Extreme Home Makeover (5 shows,) Hotel Impossible (1 show,) Miranda Lambert’s Rescue “Mutt Nation Station,” Neal McCoy, Suddenlink, BMW (locally owned), Dairy Queen (regional), Lolas, Stanley’s, Roast Social Kitchen, City of Lindale, Edom Chamber of Commerce, the town of Ben Wheeler, Neal Katz for State Senate, The Pegasus Project, Jaydee’s Vodka, Soulbrother’s Moonshine, among many others.
As a volunteer she helps create art events, teach art and does social media marketing for several community pages. She designed the logo for the Van Zandt Arts & Cultural District and contributes on a regular basis to marketing, events, and other direction for the foundation.
Kerian lives at Callender Lake with her husband Chad and their two daughters that attend Van ISD.
Shelley is from “the” Moore family with a long and rich history in Ben Wheeler. She was born and raised there and grew up in the family’s businesses of Moore’s General Merchandise and D&M Handi-Pak.
Shelley attended Van ISD from kindergarten through graduation in 1993. She is currently in her seventh year of nursing for Van ISD at the Intermediate campus. She is passionate about the district and strongly believes in advocating for the children in the community. In her position at the school, she has a front-row seat to their needs.
She is newly married to Dustun McClanahan of Van and has three children — Drake, Demi and Layla — who attend Van ISD.
Samantha Owens is the general manager of the Fairfield Inn by Marriott on Interstate 20 and 314. She’s a Van High School graduate and attended Tyler Junior College and then University of Texas at Tyler. She has served as director of sales and general manager for Wingate Inn, Holiday Inn Express South and Courtyard by Marriott in Tyler, before coming to Fairfield Inn in Van.
Samantha and her husband Zach live in Van and have three children in Van ISD.
David Teel is past President and CEO of the Texas Travel Industry Association (TTIA) — the umbrella organization and leading advocate for the state’s travel industry.
Under David’s leadership, TTIA worked aggressively to strengthen the Texas travel industry and increase awareness of the industry as a major job creating force and economic driver that improves the quality of life for all Texans.
David also served as Executive Director for the Texas Commercial Airports Association, leading TCAA’s advocacy efforts to advance domestic and international air service development, tourism and education for the traveling public and the communities served by Texas’ commercial passenger airports.
David has served on various national and state boards, including the US Travel Association, the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, the Hospitality Educators Association of Texas, the Texas State Parks Advisory Committee, and the Texas Downtown Association.
Prior to joining TTIA, David served as State Tourism Director under the administrations of Governors George W. Bush and Rick Perry. As Tourism Director, David led the effort to market and promote Texas to the world.
In 2019, the Texas Travel Industry Association presented David with its Lifetime Achievement Award recognizing him for his distinguished career, his dedication to Texas travel and tourism and the many lasting and important contributions he has made to the industry.
David is originally from Mexia, Texas. He and his wife Frankie have been married 35 years and make their home on their ranch in Ben Wheeler, where they raise registered, miniature Herefords and live with a Labradoodle named Atticus and two cats, Bo and Boo. They have two grown children — Jason and Jennifer — and four grandchildren.
James is the owner of Wilhite Landscape in Tyler, serving all of East Texas with a complete line of outdoor services for residential and commercial clients.
He received his Bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University in horticulture with a minor both in business and biology. He has accumulated 38 years of experience with 35 of them operating Wilhite Landscape.
He owns Mariposa Cabin, a country getaway lodge near Edom, and several properties in downtown Edom, one being the Edom Art Emporium which features the works of more than 30 area artists. He serves on the board of directors for Edom Chamber of Commerce and is on the annual Edom Art Festival production committee.
He and his wife Mary live near Edom and her business, Blue Moon Gardens.