Betty Knighton is president of the National Issues Forums Institute and a senior associate of the Kettering Foundation. Since her connection with Kettering and NIF began in the early 1990s, she has been keenly interested in exploring practices that support public deliberation in communities and the emergence of learning centers for civic life.
For two decades, Betty served as the Director of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes 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 within the National Issues Forums network to develop effective practices for incorporating initiatives that foster deliberative discussions of public issues into the life of the community and to create opportunities for learning across communities—in her home state and throughout the country.
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.