MEET THE DIVAS- Member Bios

The DIVAS are a diverse group a women representing several institutions.

Cheryll Sibley-Albold is the Operations Manager and Florida campus administrator for the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education and the Mayo Medical School, two of five accredited schools in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. She holds Bachelor’s degree (BA) in Communications from Alfred University, a Master of Science of Education (MSEd) in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from Fordham University, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Higher Education, with a doctoral minor in Educational Research Methodology. Her presentations and published works focus on professional and graduate education, higher education diversity pipeline initiatives, and psychosocial student development.

Melissa Mann-Bailey is the proud wife of Lennox Bailey Jr. and super proud mommy to our daughter, Tillaya Trinidad Bailey. Professionally, she has served as a Middle School Division Head and Associate Director of Diversity in a private progressive, Montessori School in CT. Mrs. Mann-Bailey;then served as Dean of Students in a Charter School in Harlem, NY. Melissa is honored to serve with JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise. She currently attends Grand Canyon University to earn her PhD in Organizational Educational Leadership K-12. Her motto is: "If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain."

Rhonda Chisolm Butler is an experienced management faculty member and organizational leader who earned her PhD in Leadership Studies at North Carolina A&T State University.

Dr. Butler has served as a Distinguished Professor of Business and Diversity, and the Executive Director of Entrepreneurship at Bennett College. There she created the college’s first academic program in entrepreneurship and its first Entrepreneurship Institute for Young Women.

Dr. Butler’s research and teaching interests include: Executive and Managerial Leader Development, Women’s Leadership, Strategic Management (Fortune 500, Entrepreneurial Ventures, Faith-based Organizations), Business Communication, Diversity Issues in Management, Organizational Behavior, Holistic Leader Development, Integration of Faith & Vocation, and Managerial Ethics/Social Responsibility.

Temeka L. Carter earned a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009. Her academic interests include African American Studies, prophetic pragmatism, service-learning, women's studies, and social entrepreneurship.

Known by her students and colleagues for promoting community, civic engagement, and activism, Dr. Carter constantly seeks ways to positively affect social change. She has presented research papers at conferences around the country and is a recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for the UNCG English Department.

Lavena Coley earned her doctorate degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the Department of Public Health Education. She earned her BS in Business Administration from UNC Chapel Hill and her MPH in Community Health Education from UNC Greensboro. Lavena's main interest areas are reproductive and adolescent health, and she wants to research ways to reduce disparities in health outcomes and health care access in relation to these two interest areas.interest areas.

Shakima Clency is enrolled in the Educational Studies with a concentration in Cultural Studies doctoral program at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests include, youth and college sports, equity in schools, socialization of young people, and the academic readiness of first-year college students. Currently she advocates and provides support for UNCG students in her role as the Associate Director for Academic Transitions.

Marrissa R. Dick has been writing Contemporary African American romance novels since 1996. She is the owner of Nubian Romance Novels and has authored five African American Romance Novels entitled Angel Fire, her first Contemporary Christian Romance novel, Cousins, Déjà vu Desires, Letters, and Them’s Eve’s Daughters. Although a Bronx, New York, native, Dr. Dick received much of her inspiration for writing from the more than 35 years she has spent living in Greensboro, North Carolina. She began writing romance novels while attending Shaw University, where she majored in Business Management and graduated with the distinction of Magna Cum Laude. Enthralled by the idea of lifelong learning, Dr. Dick completed the master’s degree in Adult Education with a specialization in Training and Development at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations with a specialization in Cultural Studies and a minor in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Cherrel Miller Dyce is Assistant Professor of Education at Elon University in North Carolina. She received her PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. Her Masters from Columbia University School of Social Work, and her Bachelors from York University, Toronto, Canada.

Callie C. Womble Edwards earned her in Educational Research and Policy Analysis, with a specialization in Higher Education Administration, at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Her doctoral research agenda focuses on critical race theory; grit and resiliency; and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Callie earned her Bachelors of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree in Health Policy and Management and her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Behavior, both from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Outside of the University, Callie is the Founder & CEO of The Life Of A Scholar, LLC., a consulting firm that provides free and low-cost programs & services for scholars of color.

Pamela Lynetta Ford is a native of Burlington, NC who currently serves as a Principal for Guilford County Schools. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in 1995 and her Master’s degree in 2000. She also has a Master’s degree in School Administration (2005), Specialist in Education Degree (2012), and Doctoral Degree (2014) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Dr. Ford began her career in education in 1996 as a fifth grade teacher at Haw River Elementary and then Madison Elementary. She has also served as a Technology Facilitator, Curriculum Facilitator, and Assistant Principal. During her educational career, she founded “Literacy Through the Arts” an after school program for middle school students. She also developed and supervised “Jackson All-Star Summer Enrichment Camp (JASE Camp)” for middle school students.

Tammy L. Ford is enrolled in the Leadership Studies doctoral program at North Carolina A&T State University. Her research interests include life-long learning efforts of mature adult students, developmental education, first-generation advocacy, and mentoring. Her doctoral research focuses on the experience of program director leadership practices and behaviors within student support service programs in higher education and its connection to student retention and graduation.

Ms. Ford is a native of Athens, GA. She moved to Greensboro, NC over eight years ago to expand her resume by teaching and advising in higher education. She is a mathematics educator with experience in both K-12, tutorial work, and higher education. She currently works with adult learners as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at South University in High Point, NC. Ms. Ford completed a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in Consumer Economics. After working in the world of K-12 as a presenter for Safe Place, a program that provides information and assistance to kids that are displaced from their homes through foster care, runaway situations or homelessness, her love of education was ignited and she completed her Masters of Art in Teaching at Piedmont College.

Sheila Gothard hails from Michigan and relocated to Greensboro, NC out of her dedication to higher education and admiration for HBCUs. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Ferris State University, a Bachelor’s degree in Communications where she also earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership: Training and Development from Western Michigan University. Dr. Gothard earned a second Master’s degree in Higher Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

Ms. Gothard is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Sigma Kappa Omega Chapter in Greensboro, NC. She is the Dean of Student Affairs at South University, High Point. Ms. Gothard is a woman of faith and member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC. She is the mother of two wonderful young adults, Aubrey and Ashley and works to keep her life balanced with travel, Zumba, yoga, and enjoying fine dining.

Shureka N. Hargrove is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Research Methodology (ERM) at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her Master’s degree in Mathematics from North Carolina Central University and her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Saint Augustine’s College. Her research interest include program evaluation of K-12 programs and professional development programs, work with Juvenile Justice Youth initiatives and data analysis reporting for NC-TOPPs, and educational testing and math and science assessment development.

Hope Jackson currently teaches at North Carolina A&T State University in the English Department. She received her PhD from UNCG in Cultural Studies. Her dissertation entitled, ʺStones of Memory: Narratives of a Black Beach Communityʺ conflates her passion for storytelling with other nuances of Black oral tradition such as folklore, African American rhetoric, intertextuality as well as community pedagogy. She teaches courses ranging from Survey of African American literature to African American Film and Culture. Hope's current research interests include: Homeplacing: Black Spaces as Sites of Resistance, Black Spectatorship vs. the Gaze in Black Film Discourse, Narratives in Black Oral Tradition, the Dichotomies of Blackness in Images and Media, Thanatology Culture in Black novels, Representations of the Beloved Community Classroom and several others.

Ayisha Jefferson is a full time life-long learner and believer in people in their passions. As a professor at Bennett College, she is a lover and writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction and has published two short stories in the online magazine Encore. In addition, Ayisha is certified in Diversity Training, Guided Conflict Resolution, Empowering Leader, Effective Meeting Leadership, and a graduate of the YECA program Passion to Purse.

Ayisha has received her B.A. in English from Bennett College, her M.A. in English with a concentration in African-American Literature from North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University, and is now working on her PhD in Leadership Studies with a concentration in African-American Leadership at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary Black Americans, specifically Black women, and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African-Americans respond to these challenges. Her interests include the study of Black women, self-love, and beauty.

Tina Johnson has 18 years of combined experience in education as an elementary foreign language teacher, intern university lecturer, parent educator, coordinator of services for homeless students, educational researcher, professional development trainer, and instructional coach. Professional highlights include working with the reauthorization of federal legislation for homeless students; synthesizing research on homework with U.S. Department of Education; evaluating afterschool programs with the National Partnership for Quality for Afterschool Learning; grant writing success with over 4.6 million dollars in acquisition; and the inception and implementation of a district-based licensure program for alternatively certified teachers.

Tina received her B.A. in Education/ English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the University of N.C. at Greensboro; and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with principal licensure from High Point University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership at High Point University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Jawana S. Little is currently a faculty member of NC A&T State University’s English department where she teaches courses on African-American literature and specifically those that deal with black women writers. She recently received her PhD from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Cultural Studies. Her dissertation, “A Hard Kind of Freedom: Absurdity, Choice and Responsibility in the Writings of Harriet Jacobs and Toni Morrison”, explores black maternal identity and slavery in African-American literature and how an examination of the existential dilemma of black women from a black feminist perspective can be an appropriate lens for a pedagogy of healing. Further research interests include black feminist pedagogy and literature, intertextuality, and black female cultural representation.

Shuntay Z. McCoy is Assistant Professor of Counseling and Human Services at Old Dominion University. She earned her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and she has a Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. McCoy’s research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to examining family and school socialization; Adolescent development; educational equity; and African American families’ interactions with various ecological systems (i.e. schools, churches, and law enforcement). Her most current research explores how family and school socialization impacts African American students’ identity development and educational experiences.

Cherese D. Childers-McKee earned her doctoral degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro from the department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC). She is also affiliated with the Urban Education Collaborative at UNC Charlotte. Cherese has a Master of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from UNC Charlotte and a bachelor’s in Spanish from Wake Forest University. Cherese is National Board Certified with 13 years of experience as a middle and high school teacher of English as a Second Language. Her research interests include youth of color interracial/interethnic relations; critical literacy; and women’s and gender studies.

Emilye Mobley is a seasoned administrator who has served small institutions most of her career. She is currently the Vice President for Student Development at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, a residential public high school for students talented in the sciences and math. Dr. Mobley holds a doctorate from the UNC Greensboro in Educational Studies, a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from UNC Greensboro, and a bachelor’s in education from UNC Chapel Hill. She also completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University and participated in the Oxford Roundtable in Oxford, England.

Dr. Mobley’s commitment to educate through the co-curricular and experiential is fueled by her desire to assist students in their holistic development. She views her work as a calling versus a career and believes in educating by example as well as through the numerous vehicles of learning. by example as well as through the numerous vehicles of learning.

Fran Bates Oates has been an educator for more than forty years. In the Winston-Salem Forsyth County School system she served in the roles of teacher, assistant principal, principal, Quality Training and Development Program Specialist and Director of Staff Development. After 31 years of service in the school system, Fran Oates retired in September 2004. In 2006, she joined Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) as a Clinical Faculty and currently serves as the Elementary Education Program Coordinator.

Born in Hampton, Virginia she later moved to Raleigh, NC where she attended and graduated fifth in her class from John W. Ligon High School. She came to WSSU to become a teacher graduating with the highest academic average in her major and in the top ten percent of her class. Fran Oates continued her education receiving a Master’s Degree, an Educational Specialist Degree, and Curriculum Specialist Certification and Doctoral Degree from Appalachian State University. She earned the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award from the Principals' Executive Program at UNC Chapel Hill. She loves life coaching and is the Founder and President of her own business, BatesOates Life Coaching and Educational Services.

Kim Doggett Pemberton is an assistant professor at Winston-Salem State University with certifications in Elementary Education and Birth-Kindergarten Education. She is also Nationally Board Certified in the area of Early Generalist, which gives emphasis to children from birth-eight years of age. Her dissertation focus was Parental Involvement of Low Socioeconomic Families with Struggling Primary Readers. Dr. Pemberton has authored articles in Wayne State University's Institute for the Study of the African American Child (ISAAC) and Education and Urban Society. She considers herself blessed to be a two-time breast cancer survivor diagnosed in 1999 and again in 2009. Kim is a lifetime member of Saint James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC where she is an ordained Deacon, Worship Leader, and Directress of the Dance Ministry; Worshippers of Praise-WoP. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, yet most significantly, Kim is the proud mother of fraternal twins--Brianna Ariel & Kenneth Deonte’--the apples of her eye and the earthly holders of her heart! Dr. Pemberton enjoys teaching using innovative activities, dancing, laughing, spending time with friends and family, taking part in competitive board games, helping others and most importantly praising her Lord and Savior-Jesus Christ.

Cailisha Petty is the Teacher Education Coordinator in the Department of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University. She earned her doctorate in Teacher Education and Development from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Cailisha Petty attended Bennett College and North Carolina A.&T. State University for her undergraduate education. In 1999, she graduated from N.C.A.&T.U. with a bachelors biology degree, and in 2004, she completed a masters in biology education from there as well. She is currently researching the lifestories of African American women in science.

Torry L. Reynolds is a developmental educator and a higher education professional who is dedicated to the personal and professional success of college students. Dr. Reynolds earned her PhD in Higher Education Administration from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds a master of education in Student Affairs from Kutztown University and a bachelor of arts in Afro-American Studies and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include academic support programs, developmental education, and student advocacy.

Cynthia T. Shamberger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle Grades, Secondary, and Specialized Subjects at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina, earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches courses related to special education, students with disabilities and others with unique learning needs such as emotional/behavioral disabilities and students who struggle in math and reading. Dr. Shamberger’s expertise includes several publications and professional development presentations for general and special educators (pre-service and in-service) and their administrators on topics related to inclusive school practices, collaboration among school professionals, co-teaching, and instructional strategies for students who struggle in math, reading, and writing.

LaWanda M. Simpkins earned her terminal degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in Cultural Studies of Education as well as her certificate in Women’s & Gender Studies. She also has a Master’s in Adult Education with a focus on Higher Education. Currently, she is in her second year as a full time adjunct professor at North Carolina A&T State University in the Adult Education program where she prepares future adult practitioners to teach learners in a global context. During the Spring 2014 Semester she had the honor of serving as the inaugural Professor of Women of Color Feminism in the WGS department at UNCG.

Wallace research interest include colorism, internalized racism, critical race theory, black feminist theory, the collective identity of Black women and all issues dealing with social justice and advocacy. She is a true believer of Freire, who trusts that education can be used as form of liberation to free people from their internalized oppressions.

Brooksie Broome Sturdivant is a native of Walnut Cove, NC who currently serves as the Equity Specialist for the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion of Guilford County Schools. She is also an adjunct in the Master of School Administration program at NC A&T University. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle Grades Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000. She also has a Master’s in School Administration (2006), a Specialist of Education certificate (2009), and a Doctor of Education degree (2018) from Appalachian State University. In addition, she has a Nonprofit Management certificate (2010) from UNC Greensboro.

Dr. Sturdivant's research interests include qualitative design, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography. She is passionate about subjectivity, identity, resilience, and agency among maltreated youth. She currently resides in Raleigh, NC with her wonderful husband, Norlonn A. Sturdivant.

Dawn Nicole Hicks Tafari is a native New Yorker who is passionate about the arts, culture, education, and translating theory into practice. Her research interests include Black boys in public schools, Black male elementary school teachers, Hip-Hop culture’s influence on identity development, Hip-Hop feminism, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, and narrative research. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hofstra University, her Master of Arts in Teaching from The Johns Hopkins University, a post-baccalaureate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from The University of North Carolina Greensboro, and her Ph.D in Educational Studies with a Specialization in Cultural Studies from The University of North Carolina Greensboro. She has served as an elementary school teacher, curriculum facilitator, and currently serves as a lateral entry teacher trainer for Guilford County Schools and as Elementary Education Faculty at Winston - Salem State University. Dr. Tafari is co-founder of the Greensboro Kwanzaa Collective. She also does educational consulting with her husband and enjoys traveling and providing interactive, research-based workshops and curricula development for institutions around the country. Dawn lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her amazing husband, two brilliant daughters, and two spirited dogs.

Renita L. Webb is a native of Durham, NC. She attended Elon University. She served as President of the Black Cultural Society, a member of the Gospel Choir, and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Renita graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in English with a concentration in Literature in 2004.

After graduation, she began teaching and coaching in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools and later she taught in Durham Public Schools. During her teaching career, she completed her Masters in Education Administration with Grand Canyon University (2006). In 2008, Renita became the Assistant Principal in the Alamance Burlington School System.

She began her doctoral studies with Capella University. In 2012, Renita became the inaugural principal at Kestrel Heights Elementary School in Durham, NC. She also walked into her call by preaching her initial sermon at Ebenezer in October of that same year. In August 2013, Renita received her Ph.D. in Leadership in Education Administration. Dr. Webb's areas of research include: African Americans, females, education and leadership

Tomika Williams earned her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the School of Nursing. She holds a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) in the Nurse Practitioner concentration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She is a dual certified adult and geronotological primary care nurse practitioner by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. In addition, she is certified as a Gerontological Nurse (RN-BC) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Her research interest include older adults, long-term care, and physical activity.

Toni Milton Williams currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Middle Level and Language & Literacy programs in the department of Instruction and Teacher Education at The University of South Carolina. Currently, she supervises middle level pre service interns as they prepare for student teaching.

Dr. Williams’ research agenda includes life histories and identities of pre service teachers, culturally responsive teaching and issues of social justice, critical literacy through a critical race lens.

Cynthia Brooks Wooten graduated from North Carolina Central University in 1982 with a degree in Elementary Education and 1989 with a master’s degree in Educational Media and Technology. In 1995 she earned a second master’s degree in Elementary Education at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She later pursued and became a certified Academically Gifted Teacher in 2001. Her most current studies were conducted at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned her PhD in Teacher Education with a concentration in Literacy. Her dissertation topic titled Multiple case studies of literacy practices utilized by intermediate grade teachers which enable African American males to become literate individuals---What's going on? was based on appropriate practices for African American males in the intermediate grades. Prior to Cynthia’s doctoral pursuit she was a classroom teacher in grades 2, 3, and 4. She also has experience teaching gifted and talented students in grades 3-5. Her academic passion and commitment to the preparation of future teachers is epitomized in her work and appetite for lifelong learning, teaching and issues of social justice, critical literacy through a critical race lens.

Revital Zilonka was born and raised in Israel. She has earned a B.Ed. in Feminist Critical Pedagogy from Hakibutzim College of Education, Tel Aviv., a Master's in Bilingual Education from Boise State University, Idaho and she is currently, a Ph.D. student at UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina.