is a harmony of music and education. We prepare youth for college and career through a four-pronged approach

Music Instruction

Middle and High school students receive college-level music instruction from college faculty and professional musicians to build the next generation of musicians and increase their confidence and enthusiasm for learning.

Academic Support

Students receive weekly instruction in STEM subjects, while also improving language skills. FAME’s music and educational components meet national standards and help students to excel in school and achieve advanced academic placement.

College Preparation

Students prepare for college education through academic tutoring, study skills development, SAT preparation, identifying college majors and requirements, and learning about the admissions and financial aid processes.

Career Readiness

Students develop technical skills for music industry-related occupations as well as soft skills such as organization, time management, goal setting, and networking necessary for employment in any industry.

FAME challenges students to set high expectations for their academic and life achievements by expanding students’ experiences to demonstrate that they are not defined by their current conditions or surroundings.

MISSION

FAME’s Mission Is To Give Every Young Musician The Best Opportunity To Succeed In Life By Providing Music Training And Academic Support. 

VISION

Every Young Musician Is Prepared For College, Career, And Lifelong Learning.

VALUES

We believe that children, teens, and young adults, regardless of social and economic need, should have access to quality music and music education as part of their journey to adulthood. We believe that if given the tools, including the power of music, program participants will become young adults of a well-rounded character, and part of the next generation of leaders for our community and our nation. 

E

Work Ethic

Strengthen character through discipline, determination, commitment to mastering your craft, and staying motivated to get the job done.

E

Learning

Optimize opportunities to acquire new knowledge in and out of the classroom through active listening and fully engaged participation over a lifetime.

E

Integrity

Uncompromising adherence to strong moral principles, being honest, consistent and true to self, and doing the right thing even if no one is watching.

E

Respect

Exhibit care, concern, and consideration for self and others; treat people as we want to be treated.

E

Commitment

Demonstrate dedication to your lessons, your craft, your instrument, and the organization.

E

Caring

Provide a nurturing environment in which students consistently encourage and uplift each other and feel valued.

E

Cultivating Relationships

Establish and maintain relationships with persons and organizations that share our values and commitment to FAME’s mission.

HISTORY

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  • 2004

    The Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education was founded as Prince George’s County Foundation for Music and Education.
  • 2004

    Formed a partnership with Prince George’s County Community College
  • 2004-2008

    With the support of professional musicians and the Prince George’s Community College, FAME hosts a series of concerts and performances to raise funds for its scholarship.
  • 2005

    FAME received its first major grant from the Prince George’s County Council.
  • 2005

    FAME awards its first scholarships to three college bound students.
  • 2005

    Began annual sponsorship of two local Spelling Bees in Prince’s George’s County and Washington, DC. that continues today.
  • 2008

    FAME received its first donated instrument—a baby grand piano, still being used by FAME students today.
  • 2008

    Launched the Music is Central program at Central High School in Capitol Heights, MD to provide professional musicians to support music teachers, tutoring, workshops, speakers, instruments, materials, and supplies.
  • 2009

    Music is Central expanded to include six additional Prince George’s County schools and 900 youth
  • 2009

    Approved for participation in Combined Federal Campaign.
  • 2010

    Approved for participation in United Way.
  • 2011

    Launched Summer Technology Program in partnership with the University of Maryland College Park School of Music for 17 students.
  • 2011

    Hosted Happy Hearts to promote literacy through music for the young children at United Communities Against Poverty’s (UCAP) homeless shelter, Shepherd’s Cove.
  • 2011-2015

    FAME is named Outstanding Nonprofit from the Maryland State Senate, Maryland Delegates, Prince George’s County Executive and Prince George’s County Council Members.
  • 2012

    Expanded the Summer Music Program to two additional locations in partnership with the Prince George’s County Public School System and Bowie State University.
  • 2012

    FAME and Arena entered the Guinness Book of Records for hosting 370 trombonist from the U.S. and Canada to perform “76 Trombones” simultaneously at the Washington Nationals baseball field.
  • 2012

    Hosted Bridging the Musical Spectrum fundraiser, recreating the James Brown and Pavarotti duet of This is a Man’s World at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of MD College Park.
  • 2012

    FAME student Asa DeShields performed the National Anthem at Bowie Baysox baseball game.
  • 2012

    Co-sponsored ‘A Conversation with Civil Rights Icon John Lewis’ featuring his book, Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement.
  • 2014

    Received Innovative Achievement in Arts & Humanities Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • 2014

    Received Influencer Award from The Washington Informer
  • 2015

    Established the FAME Jazz Band Program (FJBP) a year-round, community-based program for 14 youth under the inaugural Artistic Director, Nat Adderley, Jr.
  • 2015

    Received Congressional Recognition for Quality Music & Academic Programming.
  • 2015

    Received Shirley Chisholm Memorial Trailblazers Award from the National Congress of Black Women.
  • 2018

    Selected by Venture Philanthropy Partners for its three year Ready for Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Program.
  • 2018

    The Summer Music Program expanded beyond technology to include voice instruction, and songwriting for 150 students at two locations.
  • 2019

    Released 1st FAME Jazz Band Program CD, Yesterday Is Today.
  • 2019

    The Summer Music Program continues to expand offering music technology, voice instruction, songwriting and instrumental intensive workshops for 200 students.
  • 2020

    The year-round FAME Jazz Band Program grows to 31 Prince George’s County students attending public, private, and home schools up from 21 students the previous year.
  • 2020

    The Music is Central program supports upwards of 1500 youth in Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Alexandria VA.
  • 2020

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, launches distance learning program, FAME Online Learning.
  • 2020

    Received the Lewis Prize for Music COVID-19 Community Response Fund Grant.
  • 2020

    Accepted in the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the best nonprofits.
  • 2020

    Launched FAME Online Learning Platform.
  • 2021

    Completed the Venture Philanthropy Partners Ready for Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Program.
  • 2021

    Executive Director completed the Leadership Greater Washington’s Signature Program.

 

STAFF & FACULTY

  • A. Toni Lewis

    FAME Founder & CEO

A. Toni Lewis

FAME Founder & CEO

A. Toni Lewis is Founder and Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education, Inc. (FAME).  FAME, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, was organized in June 2004 to advance the value of music, music making and educational study and to create opportunities for youth to experience the joys of music and provide them gifts that last a lifetime. FAME provides support primarily through training, workshops, scholarships and instrument donations. FAME was established on the principal that all children, teens, and young adults, regardless of social and economic need, should have access to quality education as part of their lifelong journey to adulthood.

Before joining FAME, Toni held a number of key executive level positions at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).  As Deputy Chief of Staff, Toni served as a principal in the day to day operation of the nationwide agency.  She also served as Chief of Staff for the offices of Electronic Government and Government-wide Policy, and held several other key leadership positions in acquisition, management policy, and human resources.  GSA coordinates federal policy and provides services to other Federal agencies in the areas of real estate and construction, supply and service procurement, telecommunications and information technology and motor vehicle and travel management.

Another key assignment was serving as Chief Operating Officer of the GSA Presidential Inaugural Committee.  This involved the management, direction and support to The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) and Transition Team.   She led a staff of professionals from the various functional areas, including acquisition, information technology, telecommunications, physical and personnel security, construction, facilities management, and budget. She provided overall coordination with the PIC and other support arms to the inaugural committee:  Armed Forces, District of Columbia, and National Park Service. This assignment was completed in the shortest timeframe (33 days) in the history of presidential inaugurals due to the contested election.

Toni Lewis is an experienced events manager with more than 20 years of experience in special events, public relations, marketing and fundraising.  She serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Perfect Plan of Greater Washington, a special events and entertainment company.

Toni received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the District of Columbia Teachers College and Master’s studies at George Washington University.

She has been presented with awards and recognition from numerous Federal, humanitarian and philanthropic entities and is a member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2021.

  • Clarence Knight

    Jazz Band Artistic Director

  • Alphonso Jiles

    Associate Director & Instructor

  • William Evans

    Program Director

  • Langston Hughes II

    Ensemble & Technology

  • Matt Rynes

    Musicians In Training

  • Melissa Morales

    Executive Assistant

  • Andria Barbee

    Events Coordinator

  • Julian Wilson

    Production Specialist

  • Angli Black

    Administrative Assistant

  • Mark Copeland

  • Eric McMillan

    Instructor

  • Lorraine Montana

    Instructor

  • Roderick Johnson

    Instructor

  • Tiffany Lloyd

    Instructor

  • Allyn Johnson

    Master Class Instructor

Clarence Knight

Jazz Band Artistic Director

Clarence E. Knight, Jr., former Chair and Professor of Music, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Bowie State University. His tenure at Bowie State included such contributions as: The father of the now “Symphony of Soul” Band Program; Starting the Music Technology program through a Title III Grant; Providing the vision and direction for the “NEW” Fine and Performing Arts Building that was completed in January 2012 and the redesigning of the Fine and Performing Arts Department into its present configuration. Dr. Knight is also a professional musician that has a wealth of experience in musical theater, recordings, and performances with a number of luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Lena Horne, Pearl Bailey, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Jackson Five, and many others. He is also the leader of his own band and orchestra that has performed at the Congressional Black Caucus Awards Dinner (over 10 years), Presidential Inaugurations’ (5), Weddings, Dances, and many other engagements.

His experience spans over five decades. His initial experience started while attending The School of Music at Howard University where he performed as the lead alto saxophone player under the direction of “Rick” Henderson at the famed Howard Theater in Washington DC.

Mr. Knight is also the owner of CLARENCE E KNIGHT PRODUCTIONS, a musical contracting business that has contracted musicians throughout the United States backing up some of the leading Acts in the Country. His contracting also included Musical Theater at The Warner Theater in Washington DC and other theaters in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Boston; He was the first African American leader of a Jazz Band in the National Football League (Leader of the Jazz Band for the Washington Redskins for 15 years) and other major venues both locally and nationally.

He holds the Bachelor of Music Education and Masters of Music Education degrees from Howard University and the Ed. D. in Educational Administration Degree from The George Washington University.

Alphonso Jiles

Associate Director & Instructor

Alphonso Jiles, ED. S. helped the founder of FAME-Foundation for the Advancement of Music & Education, Inc. a tax-exempt nonprofit, establish the structure for the FAME Jazz Band in the Spring of 2015. He serves as an Associate Director for the Band. In addition, he is the Director of Instrumental Music at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, MD.

Prior, Mr. Jiles was the Director of Bands at Frederick Douglass High School, Upper Marlboro for sixteen years. Former Minister of Music at the Temple of Praise Ministries in Washington, D.C., Jiles responsible for all music operations. Currently, he is enrolled in an Ed.D. program at Argosy University, Jiles holds several degrees, including M.S. in Organizational Leadership (Nyack College), B. M. in Music Education (Berklee College of Music), and A.A., Jazz Studies (Wisconsin Conservatory of Music).

A retired 1st Lt. in the United States Army Reserves, he is a percussion player skilled in both drums and piano. In addition, to his many musical activities, Mr. Jiles serves as the Japan Student Exchange Coordinator; for the past seven years, he has accompanied students to Japan as part of this high school exchange program. Mr. Jiles holds membership in the following professional organizations: National Association for Music Education (NAfME); American Band Directors Association (ABA); Maryland State Teachers Association (MSTA); Maryland Band Directors Association (MBDA); Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA); Maryland Orchestra Directors Association (MODA) National Education Association (NEA); and Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA).

William Evans

Program Director

Bill Evans specializes in music technology applications, recording studio techniques and choral music. At the University of Maryland, he teaches Elements of Music Composition for Non-majors in the Honors College. He is the Director of the Music Technology Lab.

He has also taught courses in music technology as well as the College Park Scholars “Science, Technology and Service” course which combined music technology with community service. Evans’ expertise in music technology is sought after as he serves in an advisory capacity to music software and hardware companies and presents workshops in music applications for music associations.

Evans retired from Sherwood High School where he served as choral director and music technology instructor. He has served as a guest conductor and choral clinician in Quebec, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and Maryland. He has served as guest conductor of the Towson University Vocal Jazz Ensemble and as a guest lecturer in music technology at the Catholic University of America.

His professional vocal experience includes performances in local opera and musical comedy companies as well as concert performances. These companies include Wolf Trap Opera, Cedar Lane Stage, Pennsylvania Opera Festival, Laurel Oratorio Society and the Annapolis Chorale.

Evans has received numerous honors and awards over the years, including the University of Maryland Outstanding Teachers Award from the Center for Teaching Excellence and Maryland State Computer Educator of the Year from the Maryland Instructional Computer Coordinators Association. Evans was awarded 2010-2011 Wolf Trap Grant for Performing Arts for Montgomery County.

Langston Hughes II

Ensemble & Technology

Langston Hughes II is a young saxophonist, flutist, bandleader, and composer from the Washington metropolitan area. He’s also a 2019 graduate of the FAME Jazz Band Program and served as band captain during his last year. Langston has been recognized for various competitions and achievements, including being a featured soloist for the United States Army Blues Orchestra, winning a Gold medal in NAACP’s National ACT-SO Competition, and earning multiple soloist awards and accolades from organizations such as Howard University, Berklee College of Music, The John F. Kennedy Center, and DC Jazz Festival. Langston has also been chosen as a Strathmore Artist in Residence for the 2021-2022 performance season.

He describes his musical sound as being the voice of his life experiences and summation of his musical inspirations. Langston is now a student at Howard University in Washington, DC studying Jazz performance under esteemed professor Charlie Young III and other faculty such as Sais Kamalidiin and Cyrus Chestnut. Above all, Langston is a follower of Christ and his mission is to create a dynamic sound and develop a voice that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact on its listeners.

Matt Rynes

Musicians In Training

Matt is the inaugural Music Director of FAME’s new Musicians in Training (MIT), a component of the FAME Jazz Band Program designed to build musical skills amongst developing young musicians.  He also serves as the saxophone instructor for the FAME Jazz Band.

Matt began his clarinet studies in high school and attended Towson University on scholarship.  He received his masters from the University of Michigan and received his doctorate from the University of Maryland (UMD) in December 2019.  He has been a regular member of the Baltimore/ Washington classical music scene having performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society, Kennedy Center, Washington Chamber Orchestra, and many more.  Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Matt’s aim as a performer is to engage the greater Mid-Atlantic area through a variety of musical styles from classical, jazz and contemporary chamber music.

Melissa Morales

Executive Assistant

Melissa joined the FAME team in the fall of 2019 serving as Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. She is a clarinetist and educator originally from New Orleans, LA who came to Maryland in 2016 to pursue her doctorate at the University of Maryland (UMD). She manages the scheduling, record management, data analysis, and office administration. Melissa recently initiated and managed FAME’s Online Learning Program to continue programming during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Melissa is an active musician in the DMV both teaching lessons and workshops as well as performing. She served as the 2018-2019 artist in residence at Collington Continuing Care Retirement Community in Bowie, MD, artist in residence in Talbot County, performed as part of the Riverdale Chamber Music Society, National Music Festival – Resonance Chamber Series, and was invited to perform at Forum Cultural Guanajuato in Leon City, Mexico. She served as clarinetist for the Potomac Winds; and currently serves as second clarinet with the Apollo Orchestra. She has performed in numerous venues i.e.  the Kennedy Center, Strathmore and Meyerhoff, Annapolis Opera, and Symphony Center.

Andria Barbee

Events Coordinator

Julian Wilson

Production Specialist

Julian Wilson is a gifted artist, keyboardist, producer, and arranger.  Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Julian is currently a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he is in active pursuit of a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production.  He takes inspiration from RnB, Jazz, Contemporary Gospel & Funk, and is ever-expanding as he continues to work in both freelance and contracted capacities.  Since June of 2019, Julian has worked alongside the Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education and began serving as their production and media specialist in May of 2020.  He also continues to run a production suite that offers recording, arranging and mastering services to clients nationwide.

Angli Black

Administrative Assistant

Mark Copeland

Mark Copeland serves as piano instructor and music advisor to FAME’s CEO and program managers; and he conducts workshops.

Mark is a Pianist, Organist, Keyboardist, Music Producer, Composer, Arranger, Songwriter, and Educator. He is versatile in all forms of Contemporary music. He graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts and Graduate with a Contemporary Writing, and a Production Degree from Berklee College of Music. Mark is also a professor in the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music.  Mark has played for and shared the stage with numerous artist such as Patti Labelle, Regina Belle, Al Jarreau, Brian McKnight, Jeffrey Osborn, Kenny Lattimore, Yolanda Adams, Walter Beasley, Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright and Elan Trotman just to name a few…

Eric McMillan

Instructor

Eric McMillan joined FAME as music advisor on the 2019 FAME Jazz Band CD, Yesterday Is Today. Later he served as an instructor in the Instrument Intensive Summer Program at the University of Maryland College Park.  Currently, Eric serves as the trumpet instructor for the FAME Jazz Band Program.

Eric taught trumpet at Morgan State University and The District of Columbia Youth Orchestra.  He also served as band director and trumpet instructor at the Duke Ellington School of The Arts in Washington, DC.  Currently, Mr. McMillan is a music teacher in the DC Public School System.

Eric graduated from Howard University with a B.M in Music Education and a M.M in Trumpet Performance.

Lorraine Montana

Instructor

Lorraine serves as FAME’s Trombone instructor.  She is a Music Education major at the University of Maryland College Park and is currently studying trombone with Aaron LaVere. During her high school career, Lorraine participated in the Ohio State University Honor Bands, the Capital University Honors Wind Ensemble, and the Columbus Youth Jazz Bands. Lorraine also spent time at the Ohio State University Jazz Camp. At the University of Maryland, Lorraine has played in numerous ensembles including the Wind Ensemble and she was recently selected to the College Band Directors National Association’s Eastern Intercollegiate Band.

Roderick Johnson

Instructor

Tiffany Lloyd

Instructor

TiffsBass® the Artist is an accomplished musician who began piano as a young child, and has been in love with music ever since. She later began formal musical training at 11 years old, and shortly after started her primary instrument, bass guitar. After continued education, she later obtained her MBA from American Intercontinental University. 

TiffsBass is a member of the Grammy Award Recording Academy, Washington, D.C. Chapter, which is the premier outlet for honoring achievements in the recording arts and supporting the music community. She is also a bass clinician, bass instructor, and speaker for music conferences and schools for students wanting to pursue careers in music.  

On stage, she has been privileged to work with National and International Recording Artists Yolanda AdamsKenny LattimoreLisa RayeTodd DulaneyChris WoodsKeKe Wyatt, Lynn WhitfieldMaysa LeakAvery SunshineSasha AllenPaula ChampionMrs. Kristen Scott of Basketball Wives of L.A. and more. She currently has two music singles published called “Viscosity” and “Paradise.”  

Among Tiffany’s many accomplishments, she is the first black female bass guitarist to endorse the custom, hand-crafted Elrick Bass Guitars. She is also the first USA-based endorsee of GRBass amps! Tiffany’s most recent endorsements are with Bartolini Pickups & ElectronicsLK Straps and also with her favorite string brand, Elixir Strings

Tiffsbass is partnered with Collabrio Studio, which she endorses and where she now runs private bass guitar lessons for students. 

Among TiffsBass’ multiple magazine, radio & podcast interviews, and music videos, she was featured in Bass Musician’s Magazine in the February 2021 issue. She was also afforded the amazing opportunity to play bass for the Off-Broadway play, “For Colored Girls” by Ntozake in Manhattan, New York in the fall and winter of 2019. 

Allyn Johnson

Master Class Instructor

Allyn Johnson serves as Master Class Piano Instructor for all FAME Jazz Band Program pianists and provides one-on-one musical training and performance guidance.  Allyn is the Jazz Studies Director at the University of the District of Columbia. The Jazz Studies Program at the University of the District of Columbia where premier collegiate jazz ensembles are produced.

Allyn Johnson is a native multi-talented musician, composer, arranger and producer whose trademark sound gives brilliance and fortitude to the art of jazz improvisation.  In 2019, he saluted the women and men behind the Apollo 11 mission with an ensemble debuting a new suite – written in honor of the moon landing.    The suite, commissioned by NEWorks Productions, explored the intense emotion of the experience and its aftermath for the astronauts.  It also foregrounds behind the scenes contributors who helped to put the first humans on the moon the “hidden figures”.

Board of Directors

  • Harry Staley

    Chairman

  • Wayne Ferguson

    Vice Chairman

  • Cecelia Davis

    Treasurer

  • Gwen Ferguson

    Secretary

  • Moneka Cunningham

    Member

  • Sam Hutchinson

    Member

  • Karen S. Jackson

    Member

  • Ingrid Valentine

    Member

  • Reginald Weaver

    Member

  • Gregory K. Wells

    Member

Harry Staley

Chairman

With an interest in technology, which was spurred by the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996—allowing small business market entry, Harry Staley established Prime Business Solutions to build sales in local and long-distance telephone services and Internet access to small and mid-sized businesses. Mr. Staley was also chairman and chief information officer for Omega Technologies, Inc., where he positioned Omega as a prime contractor and industry partner for the U.S. General Services Administration on four government-wide acquisition contracts. In addition to his work in telecommunications, Mr. Staley and his wife are owner/operators of seven McDonald’s franchises in New Jersey and members of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA). He is also active in the McDonald’s Children’s Charities programs.

Mr. Staley is a 1988 graduate of Excelsior College with a major in political science. He earned a Master of Arts from Webster University in1998 in computer resources and information management, a post-graduate Executive Master’s Certificate from the University of Maryland University College, and professional certification from the U.S. General Services Administration, GSA CIO University for the designation of Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Mr. Staley is an expert member of the Business Technology Management Institute, a member of Leadership Greater Washington, and member Board of Trustees at Excelsior College.

Wayne Ferguson

Vice Chairman

Wayne Ferguson, a native of Prince George’s County Maryland, serves as Vice Chair of the FAME Board of Directors. He started his career at the United Parcel Service in 1988 and currently serves as a Division Manager. “UPS encourages us to get out into the communities and make a difference, therefore I have an extensive history in volunteering my time but an even longer history encouraging employees to support United Way sponsored organizations”.

An active member of the Board, Mr. Ferguson, chairs one of FAME’s most successful fundraising events – the Race for FAME Scavenger Hunt. The event was created in 2016 by United Parcel Service (UPS) management and employees in the DC Region to provide a family-friendly event that supports FAME’s academic and cultural programs for youth in the Greater Washington Region.

Mr. Ferguson has two children, Janelle, who attends Morgan State University; and Chester, who attends Bowie State University.

Cecelia Davis

Treasurer

Cecelia has been actively involved with FAME since its founding in 2004.  She currently serves as the treasurer and is responsible for maintaining all pertinent financial records and files for the Foundation, which includes developing the annual budget and completing financial reports as required by law.

Cecelia retired from the General Services Administration (GSA) with over 36 years of Federal service.  During her career at GSA, she served as a senior procurement analyst responsible for Government-wide policy, a contracting officer, an acquisition trainer (including development), and a contract specialist.  She demonstrated her vast experience in operational contract management.

Prior to her employment at GSA, she worked in international trade at the Department of Commerce.  In that role, she was responsible for analyzing and processing export licenses.

She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC and a Master of Public Administration from American University, Washington, DC. Over the years, Cecelia received various awards recognizing her outstanding performance within the Federal Government and for her public service contributions. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Federally Employed Women, Blacks in Government, and the National Contract Management Association.

Gwen Ferguson

Secretary

Gwen Ferguson has worked in the Human Services field for nearly 35 years. She worked with the Community Action Network for 14 years and held numerous positions with the United Way of the National Capital Area from 1984-2004. Her work has spanned serving as a CEO of a Community Action Agency (CAA) in Prince George’s County to Center Services and Community Development Director at the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee. She is passionate about serving her community and underserved populations. Gwen earned her Bachelor of Science in Communications Science from North Carolina A & T State University and a Master of Science from Howard University. She has served on numerous Boards of Directors and is a graduate of the Leaders Engaged in Achieving Development (LEAD) Program of the Prince George’s Community Foundation Class of 2015 and Leadership Prince George’s Class of 2013-2014.

Moneka Cunningham

Member

Moneka Cunningham is the External Affairs Manager, for Pepco in the Washington, DC Region. Born in Chicago, Ms. Cunningham served as an educator side by side, team teaching with her mother, Helen Cunningham, for over ten years. Continuing in the world of academia with an extensive background in special events, fundraising, alumni relations, and government affairs she worked with both Prince George’s Community College and Bowie State University to execute and manage numerous signature events for the institutions.

Now serving as an external affairs manager with Pepco an Exelon Company, Ms. Cunningham works closely with government officials, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) and communities within the District of Columbia. She leads an enhanced community outreach effort through the Pepco Employee Ambassadors Program which launched in February of 2018. The main objective of the Pepco Employee Ambassadors Program is to keep a pulse on the community enabling the company to be more proactive in addressing customer concerns. This program has gained the attention and support of key executives, the mayor’s office, councilmembers as well as ANC commissioners.

With a passion for giving back to the community, Ms. Cunningham also volunteers through Pepco’s Energy for the Community serving as team captains for both the March of Dimes March for Babies as well as the American Heart Association, leading each of her teams to #1. She also leads efforts with the Salvation Army’s Christmas Tree Project, making a strong impact on the community during the holiday season. Ms. Cunningham serves as an Impact Leader for the Employee Giving and United Way Campaigns and has been recognized with numerous awards for her volunteerism and philanthropy.

Ms. Cunningham graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and a Masters of Art in Teaching from Columbia College.

Sam Hutchinson

Member

Sam Hutchinson has a distinguished national reputation and has had an outstanding career in federal service. He was a member of the government’s Senior Executive Service (SES) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from August 1994 through January 2010. During this period he was the highest ranking African-American career executive in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) nationwide. He served as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of HUD; Deputy General Counsel for Operations (Acting); and Associate General Counsel for Human Resources Law. As Deputy General Counsel, he oversaw a $93 million annual budget and directed operations covering over 700 employees in HUD’s Washington, DC and ten (10) Regional Offices across the country. During his tenure at HUD, Mr. Hutchinson was also a key legal advisor to several former HUD Secretaries, including Jack Kemp, Henry Cisneros, Andrew Cuomo, Mel Martinez and Alphonso Jackson. As the Associate General Counsel, he supervised three highly specialized legal divisions in ethics law, public integrity, compliance with federal criminal statutes, employment law, and federal procurement and contracts law. He was also an advisor to a number of Presidentially appointed sub-cabinet level officials in preparation for Senate confirmation on housing and community development issues, HUD policy matters, conflicts of interest, transition issues, divestitures, and financial disclosure requirements. He served as Director of Personnel overseeing a national workforce of 10,000 employees. He supervised payroll and budget operations, collective bargaining and, he managed a successful nationwide downsizing initiative that resulted in substantial savings to HUD and incorporated program consolidation, buyouts, and employee re-training.

Mr. Hutchinson has considerable expertise in managing large organizations, directing legal and administrative operations, establishing public policy and addressing major issues related to housing, public housing, fair housing and community planning and development. He was also legal counsel to the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. Throughout his career at HUD, he counseled Assistant Secretaries in a number of Administrations and high level Regional Officials having oversight of HUD’s (10) Regional Offices and (61) Field Offices across the nation. Mr. Hutchinson was HUD’s key senior legal official on matters pertaining to intergovernmental relations, contract awards, procurement integrity and the Agency’s initiatives for restoring accountability and transparency in the annual disbursement of over $42 billion dollars in federal programs and housing assistance.

In August of 2000, Mr. Hutchinson was awarded the coveted Presidential Rank Award for outstanding leadership and achievement from former President Bill Clinton. This award is among the highest bestowed for civilian government service. During the administration of President Barack Obama, Mr. Hutchinson served as Senior Advisor to Ron Sims, current Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He was also an advisor to the interim Provost at Howard University and a lecturer on fair housing and fair lending at the Howard University School of Law. Mr. Hutchinson holds a Bachelor of Science and a Juris Doctorate from Howard and completed the Senior Managers in Government (SMG) program at Harvard. He is a member of the bar in the state of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Hutchinson was also Deputy Executive Director of the National African American Drug Policy Coalition (NAADPC) in Washington, D.C. NAADPC is a collaborative of twenty five of the Nation’s most preeminent national organizations involved in promoting health and justice policies affecting African-American families and youth. Member organizations include the National Bar Association, National Medical Association, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Black Psychiatrists of America, National Police Chiefs Association, and the substance abuse consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. NAADPC organizations are represented in 50 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mr. Hutchinson is currently in private practice and active in a number of civic and community organizations.

Karen S. Jackson

Member

Karen Stamper Jackson served as a Federal senior executive with an accomplished career spanning over thirty-eight years and many organizations within the federal sector. She began her career at the General Services Administration in 1973 and focused her efforts in the budget and financial management areas. She broaden her areas of interests and expertise when moving to the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1994 as the Director of Administrative Expenses Budget within the Chief Financial Office, where she responsibly managed a billion dollar budget dedicated to the Department’s Salaries and Expenses. She represented the Department before Congressional Committees, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Government Accounting Office (GAO) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Under her leadership the Division was transformed into a high performing organization that received recognition from Secretary Andrew Cuomo for “The Best HUD Budget.” Her innovative management style of including all members of her staff in the decision-making process and equipping them with the resources to respond to the challenge of a perpetual changing Government, increased the morale, productivity, and the financial position of the Department.

Mrs. Jackson’s reputation for results and high performance gained her nationwide recognition and led to her subsequent appointment to the Senior Executive Service (SES) and numerous executive level positions. Over a span of seventeen years, she was responsible for various agency operations to include:

  • Director of the Office of Administrative and Management Services where she was responsible for overseeing the Operations of the Headquarters Building and policy oversight for HUD’s field offices. She managed a broad portfolio to include space, furniture, equipment, mail, communications services, parking, transit subsidy, motor vehicles, records management, safety and health, printing, and visual arts;
  • General Deputy, Chief Information Officer with a portfolio that included human capital planning and development, employee recruitment, IT Reform, Capital Planning and Investment Management, eGovernment, Security and Enterprise Architecture;
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget and Management Support responsible for financial and administrative support services for the Office of Administration, executive correspondence management and the Departmental Grants program;
  • Deputy Associate General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration where she managed and led the Department’s entire administrative operation. She retired as the Associate General Deputy Assistant Secretary/Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer with a broad portfolio of human capital services.

During her years of service, she was recognized with outstanding achievement awards, Distinguished Service Award and is a graduate and award recipient from the John F. Kennedy Harvard School of Government and Council for Excellence in Government Alumnae. She is a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Managers in Government Program and Federal Executive Institute. Mrs. Jackson graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University and holds a Masters of Arts from George Washington University. She serves on several boards and is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She and her husband Donzell are natives of Louisiana; they have three adult children and seven grandchildren. Her love for kids, music and education drives her passion to serve in any capacity for FAME.

Ingrid Valentine

Member

Ingrid Valentine is currently the Deputy Chief Compliance Officer for Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education. In her role, Ms. Valentine advises the Chief Compliance Officer on matters related to the Department’s operation of student financial assistance programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act, and the Health Education Assistance Loan Program. Ms. Valentine’s office is responsible for administering a program of monitoring and oversight of approximately 6,100 postsecondary domestic and international institutions, guaranty agencies, lenders, and loan servicers participating in the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid programs.

Ms. Valentine began her career in higher education in 1977 and developed her knowledge and management skills in various roles at Student Loan Express, the University of Maryland, College Park, Salem State College in Salem Massachusetts, Barry University in Miami, Florida, American University in Washington, DC, Anne Arundel Community College near Annapolis Maryland and Laureate International Education in Baltimore Maryland.  Ms. Valentine has a longstanding interest in legislative and governmental issues. Ms. Valentine received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and her Jurists Doctorate from the University of Maryland

Reginald Weaver

Member

Reginald ‘Reg’ Weaver is past president of the National Education Association (NEA); at then 3.2 million-members, it is the nation’s largest professional employee organization committed to advancing public education.  He continues being a staunch public education advocate.

Weaver also served as vice president of Education International (EI), a federation of approximately 400 associations and unions in over 170 countries, representing over 30 million members in global education institutions from early childhood to university.  Mr. Weaver has traveled domestically and internationally, being an ambassador for public education, equity,  access, social justice, human rights, and the preservation of civil liberties.

He has served on numerous Boards, has testified before Congress on federal education policy, and has frequently provided a critical voice on public education for nationally recognized publications, televised and broadcast media. He has received countless awards and recognition both domestically and globally.

Mr. Weaver delivered a landmark speech at the Lincoln Cathedral in England—home to a rare copy of the Magna Carta—that was met with widespread acclaim. In recognition of his commitment to democracy and fundamental freedoms, a stone column was unveiled in Mr. Weaver’s name along with the granting of an honorary doctorate.

Mr. Weaver is also the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from North Carolina’s Shaw University, and a Doctor of Public Service from South Carolina State University.

Mr. Weaver earned his B.A. degree in special education from Illinois State University and his master’s degree in Public School Administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois.

Gregory K. Wells

Member

Gregory K. Wells earned his J.D. in 1984 from the University of Maryland School of Law. His practice focuses on Plaintiff’s medical malpractice, serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as commercial and business litigation. He is also a highly sought-after Mediator. Mr. Wells has been listed in Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Product Liability and Professional Malpractice Law, and in both the “Maryland Lawyers” published by Baltimore Magazine, and “Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers” published by Law & Politics since 2007. He is also listed in Washingtonian Magazine’s “Washington D.C.’s Top Lawyers” (2011 and 2013). Best Lawyers in America named Mr. Wells as “Lawyer of the Year” for 2013 in the area of Professional Malpractice.

Mr. Wells is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is widely considered to be the premier professional trial lawyers’ organization in America and is a Past Chair of its Maryland State Committee. Mr. Wells is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates; the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum; and the Academy of Trial Advocacy. He has maintained the coveted “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell since initially being rated by his peers 15 years ago.

Mr. Wells is a Past Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pattern Civil Jury Instructions, as well as Past Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s Litigation Section. He is also Chair of the Trial Courts Nominating Commission for Prince George’s County, a position he has occupied since 2008.

ACADEMIC TUTORING

Innovative Study Techniques (IST), Inc. provides academic tutoring, college preparation, and career readiness workshops for FAME students. IST was founded in 2003 by Riche Holmes Grant, Esq., an Ivy League-educated attorney who has dedicated her professional career to building academic environments that motivate and challenge students to resist the status quo. Under Riche’s direction, IST has grown to become a multi-dimensional educational services authority sought after by parents and organizations for its novel approach to learning and progressive vision for education.  IST is headquartered in Largo, MD.

ADVISORY COMMITTEE

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