DR. WALTER MILTON, JR.
Led by Dr. Walter Milton, Jr., our diverse team of seasoned historians and curriculum developers have collective experience in varied education disciplines. Dr. Milton is a native of Rochester, New York. He earned a B.A. from the University of Albany and an M.S. from SUNY College at Brockport. He took postgraduate courses at the University of Rochester to receive his administrative certifications, including his superintendent’s license. Dr. Milton has also taught at several universities across the United States. He holds a Doctorate degree in leadership and policy from the University of Buffalo. He is also a published author of Me in the Making – One Man’s Journey to Becoming a School Superintendent, (2008) and Why Black Men Must Save Black Boys in America’s Public Schools (2014). He served as a school superintendent for fourteen years, in the states of New York, Michigan, and Illinois.
Dr. Milton is currently CEO of From the Heart International Educational Services.
DR. JOEL FREEMAN
For 20 NBA seasons, Dr. Freeman served as player development mentor and
character coach for the Washington Bullets/Wizards - surviving six coaching
changes (1978-1998). Having grown up in Canada, it was during his time -
working with NBA players - that his rather unique interest in Black History
first emerged. In 1995 he co-authored the book, Return To Glory: The
Powerful Stirring of the Black Race, with the foreword written by Julius
"Dr. J" Erving. Eight years later he co-wrote the film version of the book,
currently with Spanish, Portuguese, French and English subtitles.
With travels to over 55 countries, Joel has worked with the Association of
International Schools for Africa (AISA), traveling extensively throughout
the continent of Africa and conducting a number of training events for
educators, government and business leaders. He has also assisted in
addressing issues surrounding conflict resolution, tribal warfare and the
AIDS crisis in meetings with over 100 African kings and queens throughout
Benin, Togo, and Nigeria.
Genuine documents and artifacts from the Freeman Institute(r) Black History
Collection (over 3,000 items, oldest piece dated 1553) have been showcased
in exhibitions at the United Nations, White House, Clinton Presidential
Library, Secret Service and many other venues. Many of the images from his
collection are included in the BH365 curriculum. Audiences around the world
have experienced his intriguing presentation, "A White Man's Journey Into
Black History". It's an eye-opening experience that transcends race.
Shirley Freeman, a lifelong learner, with decades of teaching experience, has an educational background in sociology. She has spent 20 years as a classroom teacher -- focusing on high school English and journalism, as well as, tutoring young college students toward improved writing skills.
Shirley curated The Freeman Institute® Black History Collection of over 3,000 genuine documents and artifacts and serves as administrator of the collection. This comprehensive collection chronicles Black history from ancient Africa and the Transatlantic Slave Trade to Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights Movement – as well as, Black accomplishments in science, social reform, athletics, arts and entertainment.
Her experience as a classroom teacher has informed and enhanced her desire for accurate and honest dialogue regarding history and the literature that shapes the conversation. Her interest in the sociological patterns of group behavior coupled with her deep faith have furnished Shirley with both curiosity and insight regarding issues of historical and social significance.
Lisa Joy Petros
Ms. Petros attended Loyola University in New Orleans, LA where she majored in Marketing and Management. She received an MBA from Fontbonne University, Lisa was very active in community service, joined a business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; in the Fall of 1989. Ms. Petros really loves DST! Lisa has worked at prestigious organizations including Darcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Southwestern Bell, Junior Achievement (JA), and Louis Partners AmeriCorps, a domestic version of the Peace Corps.
Lisa served as the Director of Education at Mathews Dickey Boys and Girls Club.
She is also the proud CEO of One-L Group, which is a new, innovative publishing firm, which offers opportunities in the realm of consultation around organizational development, financial management, and professional editing.
Dee Azlan, also known as the Business Artist, is a successful graphic artist and entrepreneur educator who specializes in the advocacy of women in the field of business. In addition to being a sought-after, elite, international makeup artist and talented photographer, she is also the founder of THEORY Beauty Cosmetics.
After successfully launching her beauty brand internationally, she now travels to inspire budding entrepreneurs to discover their gifts, passion, and purpose to build a brand that is authentic to their identity using her signature entrepreneur program, DNA Method.
Her expertise as a visionary problem solver enables her to identify obstacles that stunt business growth. Moreover, Dee’s creative and critical thinking abilities bring clarity and purpose to the process of building an effective and decisive business development strategy.
Reginald Braxton was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He graduated from the Detroit Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in marketing and a minor in business management. Reginald’s early professional career included key positions in sales and marketing with two major companies before joining McGraw- Hill Education as a sales representative in 2000. At McGraw-Hill Reginald worked in collaboration with large Urban Markets to create solutions that helped to close the achievement gap for hundreds of thousands of students over the course of his more than two-decade career in educational publishing.
After a few years of honing his expertise in the education arena Reginald was promoted to Senior Account Manager and finally to National Strategic Accounts, VP at McGraw-Hill. Reginald has experience dealing in high level account management, intervention and acceleration, and has addressed the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learner populations. His unique specialization in helping districts increase student outcomes has been integral in successful implementations. Currently, Reginald is dedicated to a mission of promoting quality products and initiatives to assure equity and success for all students. His passion is clear….to deliver the best possible education for all students, it’s what keeps him going; As he would say, “keeps the fire burning”!
Constance Thurston-Buckner has been an educator for 44 years. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, she began her teaching career within the Decatur Public Schools teaching students with cognitive delays. She went on from there to join the workforce of the Chicago Public School (CPS) system. Nurturing her love for children and education, Ms. Thurston-Buckner embarked upon a challenging assignment working in an orphanage, teaching CPS children with serious behavioral and emotional concerns who were wards of the state.
Ms. Thurston-Buckner earned a Master of Science degree from Chicago State University. Subsequently, she accepted a position as a Chicago citywide master teacher where she provided practical and technical support to school principals and teachers in the delivery of services to students with disabilities. Ms. Thurston-Buckner worked as a staff conference facilitator in private schools where CPS students with severe physical and emotional disabilities were in therapeutic placements.
After matriculating at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Ms. Thurston-Buckner received certification in Educational Administration so she could pursue her next career goal. As an assistant principal for fourteen years, Ms. Thurston-Buckner gave effective leadership to instructional programs by supervising and mentoring teachers, facilitating professional development activities, guiding school policies and initiatives, and leading school improvement efforts such as the Illinois State Board of Education Quality Assurance Review, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation process, and other school improvement plans. She has engaged students in literacy initiatives including Socratic seminars, silent sustained reading, and Chicago Teaching Collaborative with DePaul University, Chicago, where best practices were developed and implemented in the classroom.
REV. OLIVIA M. CLOUD
Olivia has been actively engaged in the Christian and inspirational publishing field since 1987. She has been a gender pioneer at all of her places of employment— the first African-American female hired in a professional denominational position at the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources); the first female senior editor at the historic R. H. Boyd Publishing Corporation; and the first woman to serve as director of publishing for the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Olivia is currently associate editor of curriculum at the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation. She also owns Guardian Angel Communications Services (GACS), a company she formed in 1997 to provide writing, editing, publishing and design services to authors, publishers and organizations. She has served on the board of several local public service organizations, including the Nashville Child Development Center, the Witness Project, Baptist Homes for Exceptional Persons, Women On Maintaining Education and Nutrition (WOMEN) for women who are HIV positive or have AIDS, and the Nashville Coalition of 100 Black Women Foundation, Inc.
She is the president of the Minerva Foundation of Tennessee’s board of directors, a member of the Nashville Foundation for Women of Color board, and a subscribing Silver Life member of the NAACP. She is a volunteer minister at the Nashville Rescue Mission Hope Center and leads chapel services quarterly at the Rescue Mission’s Family Life Center for transitional women and children. Rev. Cloud was a member of the Southern Regional Chaplain’s Council of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is a past president of the Nashville Alumnae Chapter. She was awarded the chapter’s Presidential Spirit award in 2017 and the Soror of the Year award in 2018. She received the 2018 Tennessee Alumnae Member of the Year award for Delta Sigma Theta.
Olivia is author/editor of nine books. Additionally, she has made editorial contributions to several nationally and internationally distributed works and has been a ghostwriter for a number of New York Times bestselling authors. She has been a freelance writer and editor for more than a dozen Christian publishers.
Rev. Cloud is an assistant pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Nashville.
DeAndrea Fleming is an advocate of lifelong learning, with more than 18 years of professional educational experience. She began her educational career as a teacher before advancing to a Department Chair, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, Principal and a central staff professional. Fleming currently is the owner of Mark of Resilience where she offers educational consulting services to various school districts nationwide. Her company specializes in Gender Responsive Development addressing the adultification of girls of color in the education system.
Her passion for education led her to become more involved in educational advocacy at both the local and state level. She serves as Vice President of the DeSoto ISD School Board Trustees and a Regional Vice President of the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members. Her personal agenda is to “Keep Children First” in every decision made. She believes deeply in the power of a great education by providing opportunities and the environment for students to thrive academically and socially.
Jason Khaleed Hayes
Jason Khaleed Hayes is a historian and fourteen-year education veteran who has taught English, history, speech communication, and entrepreneurship to students ranging from elementary to adult professionals in West Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. During his extensive travels, Jason has had the opportunity to work with private and public sector entities to increase their abilities to streamline operations and connect with their customers and students. Moreover, he has conducted research on educational topics such as the effects of teacher attire on students’ perceptions of teacher credibility and published articles on how African American barbershops play a vital role in the education of African American males.
The Art of Teaching is the synthesis of Mr. Hayes’ application of Sun Tzu’s classic book The Art of War to the various classrooms he has taught. Drawing on extensive interviews with numerous teachers from around the globe and his valuable learning experiences as an educator, instructional coach, and business consultant, he compiled this unique teacher’s guide that transcends culture, language, and national borders.
Dr. Andrea B. Nelson
Dr. Andrea B. Nelson currently serves as the Executive Director of Professional Learning for From The Heart International Educational Services. She has a track record of being a transformational leader in urban school districts with over 25 + years of experience as an elementary, reading coach, curriculum/ professional development specialist, assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent of instruction. The schools that she has led have consistently defied the low bar of expectation set for urban youth. Whenever approached with the task of transforming a low performing school, she immediately addresses the culture of low expectation by creating a climate for change and student expectation reset. Her standard of excellence with the belief that every child can learn at his/her core addresses all personnel in the building from maintenance teams to her leadership team. Increasing cultural sensitivity, addressing systemic social barriers, affirming each child as an individual, and applying a disciplined approach to research-based pedagogy have been the keys to her success.
Dr. Nelson is a third-generation educator with degrees from North Carolina Central University (BA), Louisiana Tech University (MA), and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (EdD). Her research and dissertation on school leadership competence and quality form the basis of her outlook and approach to transforming education institutions and achieving extraordinary results.