For fifteen years, Robert Leath served as Chief Curator and Vice President of Collections, Research, and Archaeology for the Museum of Early Southern Arts (MESDA) and Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC. There, he oversaw a strategic reorganization that included renovation and reinterpretation of the museum’s galleries, the launch of its first website with online research databases, an academic partnership with the University of Virginia for MESDA’s graduate-level Summer Institute, and the transition of its scholarly journal to a digital format. In 2015, Leath received the Frank L. Horton Award for Lifetime Achievement in Early Southern Decorative Arts.
Prior to his career at MESDA and Old Salem, Robert held distinguished curatorial positions at Colonial Williamsburg, George Washington’s Fredericksburg Foundation, and Historic Charleston Foundation. Today, Robert presides over the new mission and direction of CAHPT and its historic sites, their preservation and interpretation, and the implementation of a new educational vision through critical university and non-profit institutional partnerships.
Before joining Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, Jeff spent sixteen years as an architectural historian for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where he conducted original research, designed reconstructions of lots 18th century buildings, and directed digital initiatives for the Architectural Research Department. He has degrees from Yale and the University of Delaware, where he completed his dissertation on Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. In addition to his scholarship, he has served on numerous boards, including those of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Vernacular Architecture Forum, and the Rosewell Foundation; he has also served on both the Planning Commission and the Architectural Review Board for the City of Williamsburg. As vice president, Jeff is responsible for the care of the Trust’s historic buildings and landscapes through his supervision of the site management teams; as Senior Director of Architecture, he ensures that this care is grounded in rigorous research.
With extensive experience in both non-profit and for-profit financial management, our Chief Financial Officer Sharon Frank served for fourteen years as the Controller and Director of Finance for the North Carolina Museum of Art and later as Senior Director of Accounting for the North Carolina Healthcare Association. Sharon began her career with twelve years in accounting and international tax management at Glaxo Smith Kline, then with a private CPA firm in Durham. Sharon holds a B.S. in business administration and is a licensed CPA.
As Chief Financial Officer, Sharon oversees all financial operations, conducts financial planning, and analyzes the organization’s operations for greater efficiency and sustainability.
Catherine Carlisle joins Classical American Homes Preservation Trust with demonstrated success in fundraising, marketing, and public programming, with a background in art history. In her previous position as Director of Engagement for the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), Catherine grew overall fundraising goals through annual, endowment, major, and planned gifts. She also oversaw the content, logistics, and marketing for the museum’s major popular programs, including various lectures and symposia. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Catherine holds degrees from Queens University of Charlotte and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a graduate of the 2014 MESDA Summer Institute.
Catherine applies her expertise in development and programming to shape the next chapter in CAHPT’s public programming and donor cultivation.
In his curatorial career, Grant has worked at historic sites associated with four U.S. Presidents. As a student majoring in history and anthropology in Kentucky, he participated in excavations at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. After graduate studies at the University of South Carolina ,, focused on the material culture of urban slavery in Columbia, he worked as the collections manager at James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland, and then assistant curator at James Madison’s Montpelier during its major restoration and refurnishing project. Most recently, he served as Curator at Tudor Place, an 1816 house in Georgetown, D.C. Grant supervises the care and management of all Trust collections to ensure that they are accessible to a wide audience.
Kevin Cherry has a history of remarkable leadership in public history and education. Prior to joining CAHPT, Kevin served for nearly ten years as State Historian and Director of Archives and History for the State of North Carolina, overseeing historic sites, museums, and historic preservation efforts across the state. He led North Carolina’s digital learning initiative, NC ECHO, and assisted in development of the National Digital Stewardship Residency Program for the Library of Congress. Previously, he served as a senior program officer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), overseeing a $25 million annual grant program for libraries. In 2010, he earned his Ph.D. in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kevin shapes CAHPT’s educational vision and is implementing a safe reopening of our historic sites. Collaborating with partners, he spearheads the development of immersive and innovative learning opportunities to serve public, professional, and academic communities.
With an MLIS degree and certification in archival administration from Wayne State University, Mary is an expert on information systems and technology. While serving as the Manager of Museum Programming for Historic Charleston Foundation, she also worked as a metadata archival intern with the Lowcountry Digital Archive at the College of Charleston. She is also experienced in developing and employing educational programs as demonstrated through her work at Monticello and as the Learning and Engagement Program Coordinator at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. In her position at the Trust, Mary oversees the development and employment of digital tools and online interactives.
Director of Historic Preservation & Site Supervisor of Roper House
A South Carolina native, Will is a graduate of Wofford College and the Clemson/College of Charleston Program in Historic Preservation. For five years he apprenticed with Richard Marks Restorations and worked on a variety of 18th and 19th century buildings in historic Charleston. As Property Manager for Historic Charleston Foundation for eight years, he oversaw everything from maintenance to hurricane preparedness for the Nathaniel Russell and Aiken-Rhett Houses. As Director of Historic Preservation for CAHPT, Will carefully manages important preservation projects across the sites, while assuming responsibility for the daily operations of Roper House.
After a distinguished career in medicine in which she served as Assistant Professor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and then operated Toussaint Podiatry Clinic in South Carolina, Toussaint chose to pursue a vocation in historical research and genealogy. In 2019, she earned a certificate in genealogical research from Boston University and began independent contract work for individuals, museums, historical societies, and law enforcement agencies. She is also a collector of South Carolina decorative arts and a published scholar on Edgefield pottery.
As the Director of Operations for Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, Toussaint optimizes the day-to-day operations and information technology of the organization.