By Gerry Laporte
The members of AHS elected a slate of 15 directors for the organization for the 2019-2020 year at their annual meeting on May 9, 2019, including new directors Sean Denniston and Annette Marrero-Oliveras. All elected AHS directors serve for one-year terms.
Sean Denniston is originally from Boston but has been a Crystal City resident since 2007. A licensed attorney, Sean works as a project manager at the Federal Aviation Administration. He has an M.A. in history that he was able to apply for as a member of the Department of Transportation 50th Anniversary Committee. He hopes to contribute to preserving Arlington’s history, feeling it’s more important than ever with the major changes happening in the county.
Annette Marrero-Oliveras was born, raised and completed science studies in Puerto Rico. Buildings dating back to the 1600s on that island captured her attention and instilled in her an appreciation for history. She lived in Montgomery County, Maryland for 10 years and has worked as a project analyst for NIH for almost two years. She has served as a docent at the Ball-Sellers House for a year.
The following directors were reelected for additional, consecutive terms at the annual meeting:
- Cathy Hix was elected to her second term as President of AHS. She joined the AHS board in 2016. Cathy is an Arlington native who attended Arlington Public Schools. She was a social studies teacher and specialist in Arlington for 34 years, and before retiring last year was the K-12 Social Studies Supervisor for Arlington Public Schools for five years.
- Robert White was elected to his second term as AHS Vice President, completing four years of service on the AHS board. An Arlington resident since 1970, Robert first got involved with AHS as a docent at the Arlington Historical Museum and continues to serve in that capacity. His other activities for AHS include project/building management for the historic Hume School building that houses the museum and community outreach. Robert retired from the U.S. Government as a senior staff officer.
- Gerry Laporte was re-elected as Secretary of AHS. He was President of the organization for three terms in the 2000’s and has been on the board for a total of 19 years. Gerry is a retired corporate and securities lawyer who was Chief of the Office of Small Business Policy at the SEC from 2002 to 2013. Gerry has lived in Arlington for 32 years.
- John Tuohy was elected for his fourth consecutive term as Treasurer of AHS. He is a Certified Public Accountant and long-time resident of Arlington. John has also served as Treasurer of the Warren G. Stambaugh Foundation, CrisisLink, the Arlington Red Cross, and the 28th Massachusetts Company B Civil War reenactment unit.
- George Axiotis was elected to his second term as an AHS director. He is a 34-year resident of Arlington who consults for the Department of Defense. He has been involved in a number of Arlington County activities, including PTA president and Arlington Public Schools committees. In 2015, George published a historical fiction account of the struggles Arlington residents faced during the Civil War.
- Annette Benbow has been on the AHS board for six of the past seven years, including serving a year as Recording Secretary of the organization. She has been Chair of AHS’s Ball-Sellers House Committee since 2012 and also works on social media matters for AHS.
- Tom Dickinson served as President of AHS from 2010 to 2012 and as a director from 2003 to 2013 and from 2016 to the present. He currently serves as a docent at the Arlington Historical Museum. Tom has been a member of AHS since 1981.
- Gerald Haines has been a member of the AHS board since 2017. He was Chief Historian of the CIA from 1998 to 2002, Chief Historian of the National Reconnaissance Office of the Department of Defense from 1994 to 1998, and a historian at the National Security Agency from 1986 to1992. After retiring from the CIA, Gerry taught Latin American Relations and U.S. Intelligence at the University of Virginia for 12 years.
- Tracy Hopkins has been an AHS board member for three years. She also has been membership coordinator for AHS and a Ball-Sellers House docent since 2015. Tracy recently retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has lived in Arlington for more than 30 years. Her other volunteer efforts have included PTA treasurer, Lyon Park Community Center Board, and the Women’s Memorial at Arlington Cemetery.
- Jessica Kaplan is a long-time resident of Arlington who was elected to her second term as an AHS director. She has worked as an archivist and freelance historical researcher for more than 20 years. She researches and writes about Arlington history and has written articles for the Arlington Historical Magazine, including “‘I Was a Union Man’: James and Lewis Marcey’s Civil War Experience.”
- Dakota Springston has served on the AHS board or two years. He is a 13th generation Virginian, 2nd generation Arlingtonian, and graduate of Washington-Lee High School. He attended Mary Washington and Marymount Universities, graduating in 2016 with a degree in History and Secondary Education. Dakota is a member of the Jamestown Society, an avid historical reenactor, a published author, and an Arlington Public Schools history teacher.
- Karl VanNewkirk has served four terms as President of AHS (1991-92, 1994-95, and 2015-17), has been a once-a-month docent at the Arlington Historical Museum since the early 1990s, and was the editor of the annual Arlington Historical Magazine from 1992 to 2015. He has taught an annual course on Arlington history for Encore Learning since 2003.
At its organizational meeting on May 28, 2019, the newly elected board concurred in President Cathy Hix’s appointment of Dr. Mark Benbow as director of the Arlington Historical Museum. Dr. Benbow is Associate Professor of History and Politics at Marymount University, where he has worked for 12 years. The AHS bylaws provide that Dr. Benbow will serve as an ex officio, voting member of the board of directors while holding the Museum Director position as a volunteer.