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Dr. Hollie Russell-West
Dr. Hollie Russell-West has served more than 20 years in urban education. Her dedication to serving children and families is anchored in her belief that children are the future, and we can only expect from our future what we have invested today. Dr. West started her career as a substitute teacher and subsequently became a special education teacher, high school assistant principal, and elementary school principal in St. Louis. She recently joined The Opportunity Trust as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and is currently the founder of St. Louis Voices Academy.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a Masters’ Degrees in Special Education from Fontbonne University and Education Administration from Lindenwood University. Dr. West entered the New Leaders Program that trains successful teachers to become successful principals and earned an Education Specialist Degree in Education Leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia. To complete her academic journey, she completed her Doctor of Education in Education Leadership from Maryville University.
Every day, she remains committed to creating a culture of excellence for students and teachers and raising the standards for underserved students and the individuals who serve them.
School Operations Manager
Bridgette Taylor began exploring her journey in education as a Head Start teacher in 1999. For almost two decades, she had the privilege of teaching core subjects in elementary schools and middle school math as a continuing substitute teacher. Ms. Taylor is guided by focus on all students' academic success and enabling them to reach their full potential. She also believes that each student's academic performance is individualized and unique, necessitating the use of outstanding teaching practices. She continues to be committed to providing families with a loving and developmentally sound foundation for a lifetime of learning. Ms. Taylor joined St. Louis Voices Academy of Media Arts in 2021 as an Educator in Residence and is currently the School Operations Manager.
Our Board of Directors
Deborah Catchings-Smith, Interim Board Chair
Deborah Catchings-Smith is a Vice President of Risk Management in the North America Consumer Bank Division of Citi, where she’s served in leadership for the past two decades. Including Ms. Catchings-Smith’s career at Citi, she has worked in financial services for more than 30 years.
Ms. Catchings-Smith served as the 24th International President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. from 2016-2020. In this position, she was responsible for more than 100,000 members within 500 chapters internationally.
Edie Barnard is the Director of Development and Communications for the Missouri Charter Public School Association. In her role, Ms. Barnard works to secure funding that support’s the organization’s mission: Improve student outcomes by increasing access to high-quality charter schools.
Ms. Barnard also oversees communications and outreach efforts aimed at Missouri’s charter public school sector and the general public. Ms. Barnard has spent a significant amount of her career as teaching media studies as an Associate Professor at Lindenwood University and Adjunct Professor at Webster University. Her passion for media literacy education led Ms. Barnard to found the Midwest Center for Media Literacy.
Evelyn Woods, EDD
Evelyn Woods, EdD is the Director of Human Resources and Evaluation at the Hazelwood School District. Dr. Woods has more than 16 professional years in the St. Louis educational community. She has spent 8 of her 11 years as a turnaround-focused school principal. Before she served as an administrator, Dr. Woods taught middle school communication arts.
She has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a master’s degree in legal studies, a master’s degree in teaching with an emphasis in communication from Webster University, and an educational specialist degree from MIZZOU in 2012. Dr. Woods earned her doctorate in educational leadership from Maryville University.
LaTonya Jackson, MBA
LaTonya Jackson, MBA, is in her seventh year in banking. She has served as a BankCentre Leader, the VP of Community Development, and she currently serves as a Lender with Bank of America. Her focus was, and continues to be, building and expanding relationships between Banks and the communities within the St. Louis Metropolitan Area.
With more than 20 years of professional experience in social services, LaTonya has a unique understanding and intimate knowledge of how to best serve under-served St. Louis communities. Jackson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Benedictine College and a master’s in business administration degree from Fontbonne University.
Art Silverblatt, PHD
Art Silverblatt is Professor Emeritus of Media Communications at Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of Media Literacy:
Keys to Interpreting Media Messages, Dictionary of Media Literacy, Approaches to Media Literacy, International Communications, Approaches to Genre Study, and Handbook of Media Literacy, as well as numerous articles focusing on the topic of Media Literacy. He is a Founding Member of DIMLE (Digital International Media Literacy E-book Project).
Julie Hail Flory
Julie Hail Flory was appointed Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications in
April 2021. As a member of the chancellor’s executive cabinet, she provides strategic counsel to
university leadership and serves as the primary crisis and executive communications strategist.
She leads the work of University Marketing & Communications, which defines, elevates and
protects Washington University’s brand and reputation as a world-renowned academic and
Flory joined Washington University in 2014 as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus
Communications, and then served as Associate Vice Chancellor for University Communications
before being promoted to Vice Chancellor. She came to Washington University from the
University of Notre Dame, where she had worked for 13 years, most recently as Director of
Public Relations. Before beginning her career in public relations, she worked as a television
news reporter in Colorado, Idaho and Indiana. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism
from San José State University and her master’s degree in American Culture Studies from
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