Candace Davenport ’82

Candace earned an associate degree from Lord Fairfax Community College, now Laurel Ridge Community College, and graduated from the Virginia Bankers Association’s School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia. She also graduated from the Virginia Bankers Association’s Executive Leadership Institute and the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber’s Community Leadership Program.

Candace started her banking career in 1985 as a teller at First American Bank before moving to Jefferson National Bank. She joined Virginia National Bank in 2003 and served as a branch manager.

Candace is currently Vice President of First Bank. She serves as the bank’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Engagement, Action) officer. “I say to everybody, ‘Diversity isn’t color always. It’s diversity of thought and ideas, and also exploring how we can help understand each other.’”

Outside of banking, her community involvement and community service activities are extensive. She currently serves on the boards of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, the Fremont Street Nursery School, and the Douglas Alumna Association.

Candace is on the board of Reaching Out Now, an organization that supports under resourced youth and their families in need of support in the school system through engaged community partners and a volunteer network. She is active with the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley and the Family Services Committee for Habitat for Humanity Winchester/Fredrick County.

She previously served on the boards of The Free Medical Clinic and Habitat for Humanity. She was a Special Olympics as a coach and a member of the LFCC Naming Task Force.

Candace is extremely proud of her son Ian who graduated with his PhD in physics from Harvard University in May 2023. He is the 3rd generation in the Davenport family to earn a PhD.

“I believe my purpose is to serve – I’m so grateful for the experiences that stretch me beyond my comfort zone. I have learned and grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined. “


Nancy Crosby ’26

Nancy Larrick graduated with the Class of 1926 at the age of 15. She graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore at the age of 19 and returned to teach English at Handley in 1929. She earned her master’s degree from Columbia University in 1936 and her doctorate
in education from New York University in 1955.

She left Handley to work for the Treasury Department in Washington during World War II. After the war, she moved to New York City where she became an editor for a publishing company that specialized in children’s literature. She later became an editor of children’s literature at Random House and worked as a freelance writer. Nancy Larrick Crosby used her maiden name professionally.

Her most popular work, “A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Reading,” was published in 1958 and reprinted six times. She wrote twelve books for adults and wrote or edited 30 books for children that included 14 poetry anthologies.

In a 1965 Saturday Review of Literature article, she criticized the near absence of black characters in children’s books. Her criticism pushed publishers to evaluate their policies and led to several follow-up studies.

She was an adjunct professor at Lehigh University from 1964 to 1979. She also taught at N.Y.U. and Indiana University.

Dr. Larrick was a founder of the International Reading Association, a literacy group with members in about 100 countries and became a worldwide lecturer on reading and children’s literature. She continued to lecture after retiring to Winchester. She became involved with The Handley Library and was a major benefactor to the children’s reading room.

In addition to her work with The Handley Library, she served on the Shenandoah University Board of Trustees.

Dr. Larrick received honorary doctorate degrees from Goucher, Leheigh and Shenandoah University. The Commonwealth of Virginia named her a laureate of authors and educators in 1992.


George Craig, Jr. ’41

George Craig, Jr. served with the 5th Marine Division at Iwo Jima during WWII. He returned home and used his veterans’ benefits to advance his education to become a teacher and eventually a principal.

George started teaching agriculture at Handley in 1957 before teaching college prep biology for 8 years. Superintendent Jacob Johnson promoted George to be Principal of the new Winchester Intermediate School when Winchester Public Schools were fully integrated in 1966. He was named Principal at John Handley High School in

Principal of Handley from 1968-1985, George Craig, Jr. was Handley’s second longest serving principal.  He led the school with integrity, vision, and purpose for 17 years.  He acted as a stabilizing force in the school and community, leading them to harmony during the heightened racial tensions of the early and mid-1970’s.  He built bridges in the community and sought diversity in his hiring to ensure Handley became an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.  From 1978-1981, he guided Handley’s 3-year interior renovation, taking pride in completing this project without students missing school and disrupting their education.

With a deep understanding that a school is the heart of a community, he and Jimmy Omps created a vision to establish the “Handley Pride” we still experience today.  He instituted block scheduling that allowed students to take more classes and introduced interdisciplinary, team-taught classes.  He and Nikki Isherwood earned national recognition for re-shaping Handley’s PE program to include activities that were inclusive to all.

Former Senator Russ Potts often spoke of George’s profound influence on his life.  Most notably, Potts claimed George’s words of encouragement when Handley’s football team felt too small to take on Fort Hill not only fueled their surprising win, but his own future and career.

George’s work at Handley brought him great pride and joy.  His family says it is nearly impossible to walk down the street in Winchester and not be stopped by someone remembering the impact he had on their life.


Kevin Covert ’88

Kevin Covert is an Associate Professor of Theatre, Director of Musical Theatre and Co-Chair of the Theatre Division at Shenandoah University, where the Musical Theater program is regarded as one of the Top 10 programs in the US. His students appear regularly on Broadway, National Tours, and in TV/Film.


Kevin is a graduate of Florida State University. He is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.

As an Actor, he was in the original Broadway casts of “Monty Python’s Spamalot”, “Memphis” in which he was a Fred Astaire Nominee, and the most recent hit revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” starring Daniel Radcliffe, Darren Criss and Nick Jonas. Kevin can be heard on the original cast recordings of all three Tony Award winning musicals.

Kevin garnered critical acclaim off Broadway for his work in “The Pirates of Penzance” starring Broadway’s Colin Hanlon and Tony Award Nominee Montego Glover. He toured the country in “CATS”, “Grand Hotel”, the 50th Anniversary production of “Oklahoma!” and “South Pacific” with Robert Goulet.

His regional credits at Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut include “Call Me Madam”, “Red, Hot and Blue”, and originating the role of Mayor Fox in the World Premiere of “Jim Henson’s Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas.” His credits also include “Les Miserables”, “Hello Dolly!” and “1776” at the Sacramento Music

In addition to being a Broadway actor/singer/dancer, Kevin serves as one of Tony Award Winner Christopher Gattelli’s Associates working with him on the Broadway revival of “South Pacific” at the Lincoln Center as well as on “Emmet Outer”.

Kevin has directed performances in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Tennessee and Florida.  He has had the privilege to study under Mike Nichols, Jose Quintero, and Craig Carnelia.


Elizabeth Comstock ’78

Beth Comstock earned her degree in Biology at The College of William and Mary. Realizing she “wanted to tell stories about science”, Comstock interned at a public radio station before transitioning to local television reporting in Virginia and public access television in Washington, D.C.


She moved to NBC as a publicity coordinator in the mid-1980s. Her work was recognized and she was promoted to higher level roles inside General Electric, the corporation that owned NBC at the time. She spent nearly three decades at GE. As Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer and then Vice Chair of Innovation, she led efforts to accelerate new growth, develop digital and clean-energy futures, seed new businesses, and enhance brand value. As President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal, she oversaw TV ad revenue and digital media efforts, including the early development of

Forbes named Beth Comstock one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” in 2015.

She stepped down from her position as Vice Chair of General Electric to focus on new opportunities in 2017. In 2018, she released her first book “Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change”.

“I’m driven to understand what’s next, navigate change and help others do the same. By cultivating a habit of seeking out new ideas, people and places, I built a career path that took me from storyteller to chief marketer to corporate Vice Chair and author.”

She is currently focused on nature conservation and continues to work as a writer and advisor. She is a director at Nike, Inc., a trustee of The National Geographic Society, and former board president of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum.


Wayne Coffman ’76

John Handley High School provided an unexpected opportunity that led Wayne Coffman to an exceptional career. After asking if he could join the distance runners in order to stay in shape for football, he found himself on the 1975 cross country team with Coach Gary Brown. During the next year, he finished 3rd in the state cross country meet and won two state championships in track.

He became the National Junior College Champion in the marathon while running for Allegheny Junior College in 1977. He completed his undergraduate studies at Clemson University where he joined three Handley teammates (Scott Haack, Tim Frye, and Bill Stewart) to win the school’s first ACC Cross Country championship. He went on to win All ACC Indoor and Outdoor Track honors three times.

Wayne continued his education at Clemson while a graduate assistant, and in 1985, was named the head coach for the Women’s Cross Country and Track teams. Holding a master’s degree in educational counseling, he stressed the importance of the educational side of college life with his athletes. He set high classroom standards and strict performance guidelines for those he supervised.

He served as Clemson’s Women’s head coach until 1998 and was named ACC Coach of the Year five times. He became an athletic academic advisor after coaching and worked with students from almost every sport on campus. He worked to ensure that all of them stayed on a path to graduation.

Wayne ended his career at Clemson in 2015 as the Director of Football Academics. His program graduation success rate ranked within the top 10% nationally. The South Carolina House of Representatives adopted a resolution that year recognizing his 30 years of service to the citizens of South Carolina through his Leadership at Clemson University.

Wayne’s experience as a Handley runner provided a path to success that altered his life. He sought to instill in his athletes as their coach, and eventually as their advisor, the desire to live up to one’s full potential and to appreciate and act upon the smallest of opportunities.


Mifflin Clowe ’37

Mifflin Clowe graduated with the Class of 1937. He was President of the Boys Monogram Club his senior year and he has been credited with designing the “JH” monogram.

Mifflin enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in 1935. He was Captain of Company I, 116th Infantry when it landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. He received a Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster and a Purple Heart for his service in Europe during the war. He remained in the Virginia National Guard and retired with the rank of Colonel.

Following the war, he returned to work at the family’s jewelry business on North Loudoun Street. He was elected to City Council and served as mayor from 1948 until 1956.

In 1950, all water supplied to the city came from area springs that, during dry periods, could only produce approximately three quarters of the city’s projected needs. While Miff Clowe was mayor, the city council approved the plans and started the construction of the current water supply line that runs from the North Fork of the Shenandoah River to Winchester.

When a delegation from Spartanburg, S.C. arrived at Mt. Hebron Cemetery prepared to remove the body of Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan, Mayor Clowe was part of the Winchester defense of the general’s grave. The incident was covered by Life magazine on September 3, 1951.

After meeting with Black community leaders, Mayor Clowe’s city council unanimously backed a resolution requesting the Handley Board of Trustees to open The Handley Library to all citizens of Winchester. The library was integrated in December 1953.

Colonel Clowe was called back to active duty in 1963 as America’s involvement in the Vietnam War was escalating. He served until 1968.

Mifflin returned to Winchester following his final military service and the closing of the jewelry store. He finished his career as the Purchasing Manager, Personnel Director and Civil Defense Coordinator for the City of Winchester.


Gary Chrisman ’69

Gary participated in track and field at Handley and was a member of Coach Ron Rice’s undefeated 1967 football team. He continued his athletic career at Shepherd College where he graduated in 1974.

He began working in sales for Xerox in 1979. In 1984, he was selected to begin a Xerox agency and Apple Valley Office Products was formed in Winchester. Over the next 34 years, Apple Valley Office Products served the Shenandoah Valley and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Gary was a member of the Winchester City Council for 10 years. He was Mayor of Winchester from 1992-1996.

He was a founder of the Virginia Flag Football Association in 1976. He was Treasurer of the association and ran a statewide tournament for 40 years.

An Eagle Scout, he has provided adult leadership to the Boy Scouts of America for over 45 years. He has served on the Executive Board of Shenandoah Area Council BSA and has held the position of Council Training Chairman. He has taken scouts to Philmont Scout Ranch and to the National Jamboree.

Gary has held multiple leadership positions in the Rotary Club of Winchester including President, Area Governor, and Club Foundation Chair. He has received Rotary’s Distinguished Service Award and the Rotary Avenues of Service Award for his work on club, community, vocational, and international service projects.

Gary has served on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce, the Alcohol Safety Action Project, the Frederick-Winchester Service Authority, and the Winchester Parks and Recreation. A member of Fellowship Bible Church, he has served on the finance and building committees. He was President of the Judges Athletic Association and a member of the Senior Board.


Cameron Casasanta ’05

Ann Cameron Burkholder Casasanta earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, with a minor in Leadership and Social Change at Virginia Tech in 2009. While at Tech, she worked through the YMCA to develop the innovative “YToss” program which earned the Governor’s Silver Award for Recycling and “Hens for Haiti”, a sustainable egg production program to reduce protein starvation.

She earned her PhD in Translational Biology, Medicine and Health in 2018. Her research allowed her to make significant advancements to the electron microscope so that scientists worldwide could progress in the study of cancer and other diseases.

Dr. Casasanta conducted research and served as Biomedical Engineering Course Instructor at Penn State University. Her work earned her an invitation to speak at the International Microscopy Conference in Australia.

During graduate school and her time at Penn State, she mentored students to overcome the traditional hurdles and challenges of STEM programs. She brought cancer survivors to the lab to observe ongoing bench work and she worked to improve diversity within the scientific community.

Cameron recently stated, “During my time at Handley I had many teachers who invested in me, believed in me, and met me where I was at that moment in my life. This gift was and continues to be profoundly influential in my life.”

In 2022, she was awarded a Science & Technology Policy Fellowship by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her work integrates scientific findings and knowledge into practical policies and functions for the Department of Defense. It moves beyond one-size-fits-all to consider the variety of cultural, ethnic, educational, environmental, and personal factors that influence the overall performance and well-being of our service members.

Cameron lives in Boston with her family. She is a Master Gardener and performs ongoing community service projects through the program in her own joyful and relentless way.


Mary Carson ’43

Mary Virginia Carson was a member of the Class of 1943. Her yearbook states she earned “many A’s” and the respect of her fellow students. By her own revelation, she was not encouraged to pursue her interest in science while a student at Handley as were male students at that time. However, she did not let that deter her from enrolling in science classes. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education at Madison College in 1947.

After college graduation, she returned to Winchester and became a faculty member at Handley. As there were no openings in the science department, she accepted a position as an elementary teacher instructing fifth grade students. She was able to move from there to teach chemistry and physics. She became head of the science department, co-sponsor of the Science Club, and an advisor to the student government.

Mary Virginia Carson received the National State Teacher of the Year award in 1978.

Mary Virginia served on the Board of Directors of the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society following her retirement from teaching. She was a docent at Abram’s Delight and she edited the diary of Mary Hollingsworth. She became the editor of the Society’s annual journal and contributed several articles. She was named Historian of the Year in 1996 and received the Nancy Melton award for her work.

Anne Locke Drury had Miss Carson as a teacher in both her 5 th grade and her senior years. She remembered Miss Carson doing a significant amount of extra work to help her students and described her as “the epitome of what a good teacher, citizen, neighbor and friend should be.”

Her tombstone is inscribed with the word “Teacher. “