MPA Advisory Board

Current Members


Patrick Coffield ('75)Patrick Coffield, Advisory Board Chair

Patrick Coffield ('75) is the County Administrator in Augusta County (VA). He began his public service career as an analyst with the consolidated City of Suffolk; in 1975 (Nansemond County, Towns of Holland & Whaleyville and Suffolk City, VA) rising to Director of Research prior to moving on to the City of Portsmouth, VA. in 1980.

In Portsmouth, he assumed the position of Director of Management and Legislative Services, a position he held until his next promotion in 1982 to Assistant to the City Manager and in 1985 to Assistant City Manager. Mr. Coffield began working for Augusta County in 1990.

Mr. Coffield has a Masters degree in Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from James Madison University. In 1987, he attended the University of Virginia's Senior Executive Institute.  His professional and civic activities include membership in the International City/County Manager's Association, Blue Ridge Volleyball, Virginia Local Government Manager's Association and Staunton Rotary club.

Mike EdwardsMichael Edwards

Mike Edwards is Vice President of Kemper Consulting in Richmond. Previously, he served as Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs for the Virginia Association of Counties; executive director of the Foundation for Virginia, a public advocacy not-for-profit; deputy executive director of the Virginia Municipal League; and legislative liaison for Arlington County. His extensive experience spans state budgeting and finance, transportation, and public safety.

He began his career in public administration in 1989 while serving in the governor's cabinet office of transportation. He holds a master's degree in public administration from James Madison University and has taught public policy at Virginia Commonwealth University and the College of William and Mary. 

Lisa Ha

Lisa Ha

Lisa is a 2010 graduate of JMU's MPA program with a specialization in Public Sector Marketing. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from JMU. Currently, Lisa serves as JMU's Marketing Program Coordinator. She has been involved in numerous marketing  efforts, including Madison for Keeps. Lisa also serves on the university Diversity Coucil. Prior to her position at JMU, Lisa was a Program Manager for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance. During the MPA program, she was on a team of students largely responsible for designing the MPA program website.

Kim Farrar ('87)Kim Farrar

Kim Farrar ('87) is currently a Program Manager for the Gloucester Institute where she developes leadership programs for minority youth.

She recently served as the Deputy Secretary of Administration for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As Deputy Secretary of Administration she was responsible for the high-level oversight of the budget for the Secretariat, which is over $800 million dollars.  She also oversaw 7 different state agencies on behalf of the Secretary of Administration, with a particular focus on the Department of Minority Business Enterprise.

Ms. Farrar holds a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University in Public Administration, and a Master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in personnel administration / policy analysis and evaluation.

A native of Virginia, Ms. Farrar has enjoyed cultural exchanges outside of the U.S., touring Russia, Switzerland and Finland. She is engaged in community service. She spends much of her free time serving in outreach ministry to college students, teens and young adults. 

Her objectives in life are to please God through service and to make a positive difference in her community.  As Chairman of the Board for Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation, Ms. Farrar played a key role in one of the area’s leading community development corporations which rebuilt homes in and around the Bainbridge/Blackwell area of South Richmond.

Peirce Macgill

Peirce Macgill is a Revitalization Specialist with the Department of Economic Development in Baltimore County, Maryland.

Karen Michalski-Karney

KarenKaren Michalski-Karney is the founding Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Independent Living Center. She has extensive experience providing services to people with disabilities, advocating for accessible communities, and influencing state and federal policy. She was in the inaugural cohort of JMU MPA graduates in Roanoke in 2010.

Karen serves as president of the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living and secretary of the Statewide Independent Living Council.  She also serves on the Community Integration Advisory Commission, Blue Ridge Continuum of Care Planning Committee, Roanoke Regional Housing Network, and Nonprofit Resource Center of Western Virginia.  She is currently on the board of the Greater Roanoke Transit Company.

Sarah Pineres

Sarah Piñeres

Sarah Piñeres is a current MPA student. A graduate of JMU's undergraduate programs in political science and Spanish. Sarah was integral in planning and exectuing the 2011 Public Service Recognition Week reception for the MPA program. She will serve as a graduate assistant in the Professor-in-Residence program at JMU in 2011-2012. Her interests include youth programming and diversity management.



Donald L. Plambeck

Dr. Donald L. PlambeckDr. Plambeck retired from Virginia Tech as an associate professor emeritus of public service. His primary focus areas were community leadership and management of nonprofit oprganiztions.

Prior to joingin the Virginia Tech faculty in 1984, Dr. Plambeck was the national director of professional and volunteer education for the United Way fo America.

He received his B.A. in political science and his M.A. from the Univerisy of Colrado. He recevied his doctorate from Virginia Tech.



Jeffrey Sharp

Jeff Sharp is an alumnus of James Madison University ('84). He is a Senior Attorney in the Finance and Government Section of the Virginia Division of Legislative Services.


Former Members

James BellJames Bell

As the founder and president of James Bell Associates, James Bell has gained 30 years of experience on more than 100 national program evaluations.

In recent years, he has focused on evaluating integrated behavioral health and primary medical care services for persons living with HIV/AIDS and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders.

Mr. Bell served as the Director of the Coordinating Center for the HIV/AIDS Treatment Adherence, Health Outcomes and Cost Study, a large multi-site cooperative research project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Earlier as a senior member of The Urban Institute's Program Evaluation Studies Group, he helped to develop and test logic models, evaluability assessment and other approaches that are used throughout the world to plan program evaluations that are useful in policy and program management decision-making.

Dereck Criner

Dereck Criner

Dereck is an alumnus of JMU's MPA (2010) program and undergraduate major in public policy and administration (2009), Dereck is currently a legislative aide to Virginia Delegate Charles W. Carrico, Sr. His interests include economic development and management theory.



Timothy DiNapoli

Timothy DiNapoli works as an Advisor at the United States Government Accountability Office.

Michael Graham ('77)J. Michael Graham

Michael Graham ('77) graduated from Warren County High School and went on to earn a BS in Political Science/Public Administration from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Mr. Graham is a Senior Executive with over 26 years of operations and management experience.His professional experience includes executive management positions with Cenveo, Quebecor World, World Color, Dittler Brothers, Inc. and Vertis all of which are Fortune 10 in the graphic/visual communication industry. He recently served as town manager in Front Royal (VA).

Jill Templeton ('08M)Jill Templeton

Jill Templeton ('08M), a recent MPA alumna, works as project director for Valley Community Services Board. Her recent work has focused on the Growing Responsibly & Organically With Sustainability (GROWS) program.  Her previous work experience includes positions with Valley Conservation Coalition, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Tennessee Clean Water Network .

Since moving to the Shenandoah Valley, she has worked as a fire effects monitor at Shenandoah National Park and a graduate assistant  in the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance at JMU. Mrs. Templeton received a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in environmental policy from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.