Betty Knighton is a senior associate of the Kettering Foundation. Since her connection with the Foundation began in the early 1990s, she has been keenly interested in exploring democratic practices in economic change, the emergence of learning centers for public life, and citizenship in community.
For two decades, Betty served as the Director of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes public discussion and civic engagement throughout West Virginia. A primary focus of her work has been the development of a collaborative network of educational, civic, faith-based, and governmental organizations interested in working with West Virginia’s residents to address public issues in democratic ways.
Betty has worked extensively within the National Issues Forums network to create nonpartisan national discussion guides and to develop effective practices for incorporating initiatives that foster deliberative discussions into the life of the community.
Betty’s early career was spent in the classroom, teaching English in Kanawha County Schools and at the University of Charleston. She received her BA in English and Speech from Morris Harvey College and her MA in Humanities—with a concentration in Irish Studies—from Marshall University. Betty resides in Charleston with her husband Michael. They have three children with appropriately Irish names: Conor, Patrick, and Kathleen.