MEET THE TEAM

Dr. Walter Milton, Jr.

Founder, CEO & Coauthor

Dr. Walter Milton, Jr. is a native of Rochester, New York. He received his K-12 education from the Rochester City School District. He is a proud product of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. 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. He holds a Doctorate of Education degree in leadership and policy from the University of Buffalo. 

 

Dr. Milton started his career in education in 1991 as a junior high school teacher for the Webster Central School District in Webster, New York, and then moved on to Brighton Central School District, a National Renowned School District in Brighton, New York.  Through the years, he moved from being a teacher to principal, central administration, and then to Superintendent of Fallsburg Central District, Fallsburg, New York. In 2005, he became Superintendent of Flint Community Schools, Flint, Michigan where he designed and implemented a district-wide education reform that has been recognized throughout the State of Michigan and other parts of the country. He is the former superintendent in Springfield, Illinois, where he served as superintendent for almost eight years. Throughout his educational career, Dr. Milton has received numerous awards and recognitions.

 

In addition to his academic and professional pursuits, Dr. Milton is an inventor who holds a patent. Through his vision, he has had the ability to motivate educational organizations and communities to develop and support initiatives/programs that encourage students to achieve their highest potential. He is a focused and disciplined leader with a great vision, effective communication skills, and a passion for students in the midst of triumph or adversity. 

  

Dr. Milton has also taught at several universities across the United States. He is also a published author of Parents Perception of Schools and Schools Perception of Parents, (2006), Me in the Making – One Man’s Journey to Becoming a School Superintendent (2008), Why Black Men Must Save Black Boys in America’s Public Schools (2014), Truth Be Told-Narratives from The Souls of Black Women (2018) and Black History 365-An Inclusive Account of American History (2020). 

BH365 was birthed from his passion for history and a traumatic 4th-grade classroom experience with his teacher attempting to teach black history, starting with slavery. This lesson was contradictory to what his parents had taught – that black history dates back to the beginning of time. In 2018, he began to research and write, spending many tireless evenings crafting the manuscript.  A year later, Dr. Milton invited his friend, Dr. Joel Freeman to join him on the Black History 365 project.

Dr. Milton is currently CEO of Black History 365 (BH365) and From the Heart International Educational Services (FTH). 

Dr. Joel A. Freeman

Co-Founder & Coauthor

For 20 NBA seasons, Dr. Freeman served as player development mentor and character coach for the Washington Bullets/Wizards – surviving six coaching and three GM changes (1978-1998). Having grown up in Canada, it was during this time – working with NBA players – that his rather unique interest in Black History first emerged.  Freeman also has served behind the scenes as a Secret Service chaplain since 2020.

 

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 that book, currently with Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English subtitles.  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.

 

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, and tribal warfare in meetings with over 100 African kings and queens throughout Benin, Togo, and Nigeria.   

 

Since 2005 Freeman has led annual experiential/educational tours to the land of Israel and also Greece, helping hundreds of people understand the significance of the ancient topographical, historical, geographical, political, educational and spiritual elements of both regions of the world.

 

Dr. Freeman’s 1:1, 3D replicas of the iconic Rosetta Stone are in museums (Houston Museum of Natural Science), libraries and private collections around the world. One of his ancient Egyptian replicas was part of the Vancouver, BC movie set during the 20th Century Fox filming of “Night at the Museum 3’’. Dr. Freeman officially launched the Rosetta Stone replica project at the Library of Congress (DC) in 2009, with his presentation, “The Mysterious Rosetta Stone: A Code-Crackin’ International Treasure” – launching other similar presentations at the National Security Agency (NSA), National Museum of Language, and other entities. He also has developed a short film, “Rosetta Stone: Replicating a Mystery.”

 

With over four decades of research (since 1980), Dr. Freeman has become a respected authority on Black History, creating the Freeman Institute® Black History Collection, which consists of over 3,000 authentic documents and artifacts (oldest piece dated 1553). Genuine items from his collection were showcased at the United Nations, NY headquarters in unprecedented back-to-back exhibitions on the Transatlantic Slave Trade, for three months in 2011 and also for three months in 2012 — with well over one million visitors. He has also conducted exhibitions at the White House Communications Agency, Clinton Presidential Library, Secret Service, NIH and many other venues. Hundreds of images from his collection are included in the BH365 curriculum.

Alecia Beck Cobb

Professional Development Team

Alecia Beck Cobb was initiated on August 10, 1997, into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Tau Rho Omega Chapter in Carrollton, Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Government and American History and a master’s degree in counseling from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. Alecia obtained a doctoral degree in Public Policy from the University of Texas Dallas in Richardson, Texas.

Alecia started her career in education in San Angelo, Texas and Dallas, Texas. After moving to Dallas, Texas in 1978, Alecia was a counselor, central office administrator, and campus principal in the Dallas Independent School District before retiring in 2016. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Dallas College Mountain View Campus and Oklahoma Christian University; teaching government and African American Studies.

Alecia is a member of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ. From an early age, Alecia’s religious upbringing has been the underlying philosophy and ethical basis of her life. Romans 12:9-10 speaks to Alecia’s view on service. “Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another …”

Alecia was married to the late Otis D. Cobb for thirty-four years before his death in 2014. To their marriage, they were blessed with the birth of their daughter Crystal. Alecia enjoys cooking, local politics, reading, and spending time with Crystal, her family and friends.

Andrae Rhyne

Professional Development Team

Andrae Rhyne is a creative educational leader who excels in growing leaders and teacher leaders.  He has thirty-four years in public education and served as a teacher, elementary principal, high school principal, curriculum director manager of the Dallas ISD Alternative Teacher Certification Program, and manager of the Leadership Initiative for Teachers (LIFT), a principal’s certification program, Project Director for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs and Director of State and Federal Programs. 

  

Andrae has many notable achievements. He was a featured entertainer in Washington D.C. at the Congressional Black Caucus, Board of Directors of the Public Opera of Dallas, and Board of Directors of the Texas Secondary School Principals Association.  Among his most cherished is the Neiman March Downtown Renaissance Award, given to a select group of community leaders who shaped the rebirth of Downtown Dallas.  Andrae was recently nominated to apply for the Global Forum in Education and Learning.

Aprill Edwards

Marketing & Project Management

With more than two decades of predicting, creating, developing, and leading business initiatives, Aprill Edwards is a respected business leader with a verifiable track record of effectively managing people, projects,  processes, and productivity to deliver stellar results.  Aprill is extremely skilled at recognizing inefficiencies, roadblocks & detractors and eliminating them from the path to success. 

Some of Aprill’s professional accomplishments include the following:  MBA (National-Louis University), Certified Diversity & Inclusion Specialist (Cornell), Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Award Honoree, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Springfield program graduate, Advancing Indy Women In Leadership program graduate, award-winning Noontime Toastmasters Club President,  and Springfield District 186 Youth Leadership Saturday Academies Program organizer/leader. 

But, in all, her greatest accomplishment is birthing two amazing children:  Dr. Dominique Edwards (PharmD) and Phillip PJ Edwards, a Div. 1 basketball player/student at the University of Central Florida.

Barbara Spencer Dunn

Editor and Young Solutionists Team

Barbara Spencer Dunn, a native of Texas, is a servant whose legacy of service is exemplified as an advocate for youth and families, not only in the Washington Metropolitan Area since 1974, but throughout the nation. Mrs. Dunn is a descendant of enslaved persons on the Monte Verdi Plantation in Rusk County Texas.  A life member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the Founders of Black History Month, she presently serves as Co-Chair of both the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site and the National Heritage Sites Research Committee guiding on behalf of ASALH a partnership between ASALH and the National Park Service. 

 

Mrs. Dunn is a graduate of Bowie State University and served as a Governor appointed Commissioner on the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC – (2013 – 2018).

Bernard C. Turner

Editor

Bernard Turner was born in Chicago and educated in the Chicago Public School system. He studied German as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and attended graduate school at the University of Chicago. Mr. Turner has been a teacher of Language Arts (ELA), German and Spanish in middle school and high school and worked in educational publishing in sales and marketing until December 2014. 

  

In 2002, Mr. Turner founded Highlights of Chicago Press with the publication of A View of Bronzeville, a neighborhood tour guide that focuses on the important institutions and people that made Bronzeville a great neighborhood. Other publications include The Windies’ City—Chicago’s Historical Hidden Treasures, Chicago Neighborhoods with Flavor—Getting Out of the Loop, and a social studies book for elementary grades called Our Chicago—People and Places. Bernard co-wrote and published Tate and His Historic Dream, a Phillis Wheatley Award Finalist.

Brian DeVeaux

Professional Development Team

Dr. Brian DeVeaux served as an educator for 34 years in the 11th largest district in the country. During that time, Brian served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, associate principal, and principal. While serving in those roles, he was instrumental in leading effective instructional programs.   

  

As the principal of a historically underperforming Improvement Required high school, he increased the academic rigor and created a culture of excellence. His leadership allowed the school to build strong teams and create a robust school improvement plan which resulted in a consistent Met Standard rating.  

  

Brian’s ability to develop effective instructional programs and build campus cultures that recognize the power educators have to change life’s circumstances is a rare commodity. As a result of these skills, Brian was recruited to serve as a specialist for The University of Texas at Arlington where he observes, coaches, and provides feedback to candidates in their Principal program.

Calvern Dunn

Young Solutionists Team

Carlvern Dunn was licensed to preach the gospel on November 01, 1998, by the late Pastor Emeritus Dr. Chester A. McDonald, Sr., of Maple Springs Baptist Church.  He was ordained on July 17, 2004, by Bishop Ralph Dennis, of Kingdom Fellowship Covenant Ministries upon recommendation and request by Bishop Marc Crowley of Jehovah Jireh Christian Fellowship. He currently serves as Executive Minister of Maple Springs Baptist Church.  A gifted preacher/ teacher, he ministers in many capacities across the United States.  

  

As a certified family and marriage coach, he believes restoration of the family is paramount to addressing society’s ails.  As a mentor to many, Elder Dunn has been blessed with a talent for developing innovative training and programs focused on empowering families and marriages.  He uses this gift to empower individuals who have not succeeded in public school environments.  Elder Dunn is co-author of the book Training with a Purpose.

Carleen Brown

Media and Young Solutionists Team

Carleen holds a B.A. in broadcast journalism and an M.A. in education from Oral Roberts University. Her television career began in the newsroom at a CBS affiliate in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She launched a teaching career in Atlanta, Georgia, where she gained experience as an elementary, middle and high school English teacher and crystalized her aspiration to advocate for experienced-based, lifelong learning and edutainment.   

 

Carleen left the classroom to freelance as a production coordinator, writer and script supervisor and has worked on projects featured in theaters and on several networks including, TLC, Lifetime, TV One, BET, the Science Channel, and ESPNU. In 2015, she relocated to Washington D.C., to serve as Executive Assistant to Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairwoman of Urban One, Inc., the largest, African American owned, integrated media company in the U.S. Carleen held that post for three years before accepting the position of Director of Special Projects for the company.

Charlene Burroughs

Professional Development Team

Charlene Burroughs is the Vice President of School House Excellence. An expert training designer, Charlene was a career educator who worked most of her professional life in the twelfth largest school district in the United States.  Before leaving the classroom, she served the children of the district for 22 years. Always aware of trends and innovations impacting teaching and learning, Charlene successfully taught kindergarten through eighth grades.  

  

After retiring from the school district in 2011, Charlene worked six years as a departmental trainer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.  She continued writing and delivering training until she answered a call to use her skills and her love of teaching and learning to start School House Excellence.

Connie Isabell

Professional Development Team

Connie Isabell is a career educator who has a passion for educating children in non-conventional ways. Mrs. Isabell has a Masters of Arts Degree in History from Stephen F. Austin State University as well as an Administrative Certification. Her career has covered various levels of educational leadership including high school and college history teacher; elementary, middle and high school principal; Director of Professional Learning, and Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Isabell has transformed low-performing schools into exemplary schools by maintaining high expectations for all. She currently serves as Deputy Superintendent of Leadership and School Improvement. 

  

Early in her career, her zeal to accelerate the academics of African American children led her to establishing a non-profit organization called Scholastic Targeted Educational Programs, Inc. that specialized in boosting experiences for African American students in afterschool and summer enrichment programs.

David Edgerson

Young Solutions, Professional Development Team

 

David Edgerson is a veteran educator with over 25 years of service in public school administration. He has served Texas children and communities in the capacity of Teacher, Coach, Principal, Special Education Supervisor, and District Section 504 Coordinator. Currently, he works as a Behavior Coordinator in DeSoto ISD. 

 

David has degrees from Prairie View A&M University; a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Pre-Med), and a Master of Education in Education Administration. Additionally, he has certificates in the areas of Mediation/Negotiation, and Strategic Marketing Management from Texas A&M University and Rice University, respectively. Mr. Edgerson has completed coursework toward his doctoral degree. 

 

Mr. Edgerson has sat on advisory boards such as Youth Extinguishing Smoking (YES) Team of Arkansas, the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, and the Prairie View A&M University Council on Teacher Development. David is a member of several professional and social organizations.

Deandrea Fleming

Professional Development Team

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 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 an environment for students to thrive academically and socially.

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