Meet The Governing Board

Board of Directors


Ms. Lara Sterling, Interim Chair ([email protected]), Term Ends June, 2023

Lara is a Corporate/Commercial Real Estate Paralegal with a mid-sized Atlanta based law firm and has worked in the legal industry for over twenty years. Lara’s previous experience involved interning with Destiny’s Daughters of Promise, a Cobb County nonprofit organization whose mission and programming focused on impacting and elevating the lives of at-risk teenage girls in Cobb County, Georgia. Lara has volunteered with The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Lara has a Masters’ Degree in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Science in English Literature from Georgia State University. Lara is a member of the American Society of Public Administrators, National Association of Black Public Administrators, and Pi Alpha Alpha (International Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration).

Dr. Andrea Smith, Secretary ([email protected]), Term Ends June, 2024

Dr. Andrea Crenshaw is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood through Secondary Education at the University of West Georgia. Prior to working in higher education, she worked in K12 as a teacher and administrator in which she was committed to an interdisciplinary approach of inquiry and advocacy in urban contexts. Additionally, she is committed to embedding relevant issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion into her practice, scholarship, and service to K12 and higher education.

Mr. Shaheen Solomon, Director at Large ([email protected]), Term Ends June, 2024

With a career spanning across communications, philanthropy, and community engagement, Mr. Solomon began his career as a communications and mass media professional in Atlanta with Porter Novelli, an international communications firm.  Serving as manager of public relations for the Southeast United Dairy Industry, as director of community relations and communications for Georgia Regional Hospital at Atlanta, as director of development for the University of West Georgia, and as founder of SOLOmedia Communications, Solomon has an extensive background of brand communications and consumer relations. Actively engaged in the community, Mr. Solomon serves as a board member for both the 4 Brighter Futures Foundation and the Georgia Southern University Network of Black Alumni. He is a member of the Carrollton-Douglasville (GA) Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and resides in Atlanta with his wife, Reine and three children.

Mr. Desmond Hardy, Director at Large ([email protected]), Term Ends June, 2023

Atlanta native Desmond Hardy is a writer, mentor, philanthropist, technology consultant, youth advocate, and podcaster. He’s worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Ryder, AT&T, and Vmware, and he’s also volunteered with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Boys and Girls Club, the AME Church, the Red Cross, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Desmond is also a prolific writer, with published work in The Guardian, All Digitocracy, and the popular question and answer website Quora, where his content has generated 2.5 million views. Mr. Hardy believes that we can do all things through Christ and therapy, and is a champion of Dr. King’s vision for the “Beloved Community.”

Ms. Tanisha Taylor Jones, Director at Large ([email protected]), Term Ends June, 2023

A young vibrant personality that seeks to make a difference in the lives of our youth. Tanisha is a native of New Jersey but has lived in Georgia for over twenty years. A graduate from Georgia State University and a veteran educator. Tanisha has experience working with students of all ages, 2-18. She is passionate about their growth and she loves finding new, creative ways to engage their learning. In addition to education, Tanisha is a wife, mother of two and a business owner who has a great deal of experience managing others and leading teams of people to greatness. A team player and a visionary for change, Tanisha works to ensure that everyday is a day for growth. 

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