Board of Directors
Dr. Wayman Johnson, CEO
Dr. Johnson is currently serving as Board of Directors Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Academy for Excellence in Athletics and Academics.
For 10 years, Dr. Johnson was Chair of the Board of Directors and CEO of The Leadership Alliance for Excellence in Education, a nonprofit corporation whose primary beneficiaries were low-income and underserved college students.
Dr. Johnson’s experience in education includes being a college administrator, department chair, and faculty member at San Diego Community College District. Dr. Johnson’s professional work experience and responsibilities include being a Senior Computer Programmer and Systems Analyst at San Diego Gas and Electric; serving as Information Systems Manager and Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer at the American Housing Guild, and working as a supervising Systems Analyst at the City of San Diego.
Dr. Johnson has earned the following college degrees: Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D.), with major in Computers in Education from USIU; Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from SDSU, with major Management and Information Systems; and a Bachelor’s degree from SDSU, with major in Psychology.
Michelle Johnson, President
Ms. Johnson has a B.A. degree in Sociology and an M.A. degree in Counseling degree. Her responsibilities working in higher education for more than 20 years has included advising, counseling, and group facilitation in an educational setting; creating and developing programs and activities tailored for targeted populations; hiring, training and supervising student and professional staff; conducting analysis to identify the needs for new programs and services; and evaluating program effectiveness.
Ms. Johnson has extensive experience working in a student-centered environment building and maintaining supportive and productive relationships with students, facilitating students’ connection to appropriate campus resources; and developing, planning, and implementing cultural programs and programs that support academic wellness.
Ms. Johnson is committed to diversity, having worked closely for over 10 years with diverse student populations including individuals with disabilities and ethnically diverse low-income and foster youth populations.
Ameerah Abdullah, Treasurer
Ameerah's related experience includes serving 10 years as a director and Chief Financial Officer of the Leadership Alliance for Excellence in Education, a nonprofit corporation. Additionally, for the past 15 years, Ms. Abdullah has been the treasurer of a religious organization.
Rev. Debra L. Watson, Secretary
Rev. Debra is ordained as a Local Elder at Bethel M.A.M.E Church in San Diego. She graduated from S.D. Christian College, where she earned her B.A. degree in Christian Counseling and Biblical Studies. While her ministry at Bethel is primarily focused on seniors, Rev. Watson also helps our young people to become all that God has purposed for them.
She is delighted to be part of the Academy, which she feels is an amazing project that glorifies God and prepares future generations to make their rightful place and authority in the Kingdom. She is willing to do whatever she can do to assist in doing God's work.
Dr. Carolyn B. Buck, Director
Dr. Buck is a seasoned educator with over 30 years of experience in higher education working at both the university and community college level. Dr. Buck’s career has progressed from director to coordinator of academic support services, to assistant director in three university systems and then a move into the community colleges as a faculty member and executive dean. Currently, Dr. Buck is an academic, career
and life coach, speaker and trainer. Her experience in education has covered the breadth and scope of the educational system from early childhood to adult education.
Dr. Buck earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bennett College, master’s degree in counseling from North Carolina A&T State University, and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Claremont Graduate University. She has done further study at San Diego State University in Multicultural Education and completed a certificate from Fielding Graduate University in Evidence-Based Coaching.
Mary Elizabeth Blevins Cox, Esq., Director
Attorney Cox has been a practicing attorney for more than thirty-five years. She is an activist, author and columnist. Ms. Cox has written and been published in several African-American newspapers.
Ms. Cox served as Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson's Virginia State Coordinator in 1988. She has also worked in several political campaigns, including President Barack Obama’s; and she has worked extensively in Virginia and Washington, D.C prisons, and served as a substitute teacher in Virginia and Boston school systems.
After graduating from high school in San Diego, California, Ms. Cox earned her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University. While attending law School, Ms. Cox worked at UCSD as a Resident Dean in La Jolla, California. She has worked in several companies including General Dynamics and Pacific Telephone Company and at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, where she received a Master's Degree.
Grady Morlin White, III, Director
Mr. White was born in Fort Bragg, NC. He grew up in Cleveland, OH. He joined the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman and served during the Desert Storm era. Mr. White has been employed in the medical field since his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1992. He is currently living with his lovely family in San Diego.
Thaao Streeter is dedicated to the education of his children and the community. He believes in the importance of educating our young, especially in this modern day life. Thaao is a volunteer coach in the Academy’s youth sports program, where he helps guide and develop our young athletes to become well-rounded individuals. Thaao is employed in the community college system. He volunteers countless hours to children in the community and is a man that preaches love, faith, forgiveness, and family. Mr. Thaao lives in San Diego, California with his lovely wife and children.
Nese Lundstrom was born in Ankara, Turkey. She moved to the United States in 1981 and grew up primarily in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. She has a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Rhode Island. After graduating, Nese worked at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management in Air Resources. She moved to San Diego in 2000 and began working at Lundstrom Engineering and Surveying, where she still works today. As a lifelong athlete, Nese has seen the benefits of team sports and a good education; she is passionate that all youth should be afforded the same opportunities. She and her husband Bill have one son.