Michelle S. Williams, Ed.D.
Michelle S. Williams is the Founder and President of The Foundation for Black Excellence.
Michelle brings over fifteen years of professional experience as a teacher, administrator, and instructional coach in the public, private and charter sectors. She is emboldened to do this work because of her love for Black people and her passion for amplifying lesser-heard voices. Michelle began her official career in education as a guest humanities teacher for East Palo Alto High School in northern California before serving as a high school English Language Arts teacher at King/Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California. During her tenure, Michelle was named the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2122 Teacher of the Year and founded the school’s first after-school program for academic credit. She also served as an instructional coach and the Director of Operations for MTC-NOLA where she developed partnerships with teachers, students, and administrators across the Greater New Orleans area. She returned to California as a teacher and later an Assistant Principal in Sacramento, California before founding The Foundation for Black Excellence.
A proud product of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Michelle graduated from San Pedro Marine Science Magnet High School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Emory University, a Master of Arts degree in Education from Stanford University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership in Urban Settings from the University of Southern California.
Michelle is a torch-bearer for equity and inclusion and remains fully committed to amplifying the voices of those who have been relegated to the margins.
Ethan C. Ashley
Ethan Ashley is the Co-Founder and Partner of School Board Partners- a non profit organization that supports the development of elected school board members across the country to lead with courage, competence, and impact. Beyond his role at School Board Partners, Ethan serves as the Board President for the Orleans Parish School Board. Ethan has worked on policy and advocacy issues in many positions, including on the Hill, at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, at the Urban League of Louisiana, at the ADL and for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
Ethan is an advisory board member for Bard Early College New Orleans, a rigorous, credit-bearing, tuition-free college course of students in the liberal arts and sciences available to junior and senior level students. Ethan is also a board member of the Boy Scouts of America Southeast Louisiana Council, the National Juvenile Justice Network and the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc., where he has inspired colleagues to support youth through scholarships and mentoring. Ethan was a 2014 fellow of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. Ethan is a member of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, LA.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Ethan graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, a law magnet high school in Los Angeles, at the age of 16. Afterwards, he continued his education at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Juris Doctor degree by the age of 22.
Above all, Ethan is a strong advocate for equity, business development, youth justice, civil rights, and servant leadership.
Marie G. Martin
Marie Martin is CEO of Alexandria’s World LLC – an education media company focused on teaching cultural competency. Marie has been in education for over 15 years as an international and domestic teacher and administrator. She served as a teacher and administrator in the Abu Dhabi Public School Reform where she trained and coached teachers of best practices as it pertained to second language English learners. In Abu Dhabi, Marie received her first Teacher of the Year awarded by Khalifa City A School. In California, Marie worked as an elementary school teacher and was awarded Morongo Teacher’s Association Teacher of the Year and Yucca Mesa Elementary Teacher of the year consecutively. Marie currently serves as an instructional designer for Albert Whitman Publishing and Microsoft EDU.
Raised in California, Marie graduate from North High School as an International Baccalaureate Scholar. She obtained a bachelors degree in Jazz Studies from University of Southern California, her master’s degree in Education – Specializing in Multiculturalism from National University, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California studying Education Leadership.
Marie is an innovative equity minded leader, who believes in community accountability through the use of education.