Sensible Living for a Lifetime . . .
SWI VOLUNTARY PERSONNEL (M-P)
Deborah Mayfield is presently working in the field of Early Childhood Education. She coordinates parent conferences to facilitate parent partnerships, conducts team meetings, collaboratively creates a great environment for the students; produces documentation panels, newsletters, and individual educational plans; supervises and completes student assessments and progress reports.
Her work experience includes the following: Office Manager, Office Assistant/Dispatcher in Communications, Early Child Care Development Site Director, and Assistant Director and Program Coordinator in various childcare programs.
Deborah’s educational experience includes three years at Benedict College (Columbia, SC), ninety hours in child care at Prince George’s Community College (Largo, MD), and serving as a Child Development Associate for the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition (Washington, DC).
Throughout her life, Deborah has had an avid desire to work with youths, recognizing the positive influence one can have on them. Her dream is to one day open her own daycare center.
Gwendolyn Mayfield is a “warm and energetic” professional that has exemplary customer service skills. She has years of experience working with teachers, children, parents, and clients. She has conducted staff development trainings and parent seminars; directed meetings with teachers, parents, and Boards; as well as held motivational events to maintain a high retention of teachers and families.
After receiving a BA Degree in Elementary Education in South Carolina, Ms. Mayfield moved to D. C. to continue her career in education at Early Environments, Inc. to develop the skills that would eventually lead her to become a Director at Fingerprints Child Development Center for Bright Horizons.
During her time at Early Environments, Inc., she worked as an Acting Director and Preschool Program Coordinator before accepting a position as an Assistant Director and Infant/Toddler Coordinator at FERC Child Development Center through Bright Horizons. She later became a director at this center and worked there for 14 years. She helped lead this location through NAEYC accreditation on three occasions.
Ms. Mayfield has been described as one who “has the servant leadership skills to influence and guide organizational effectiveness that provides excellent customer service with proficiency for all involved.”
Professionally, Mary Davis McNeil is a realtor, a member of the National Association of Realtors, South Carolina Association of Realtors, Greater Columbia Association of Realtors, and Columbia Multiple Listings Service.
Mary was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She has been a member of the Lord’s Church for 40 years. Mary has been married to Jack McNeil for 42 years. Jack McNeil is minister of the Sunset Blvd. Church of Christ in West Columbia, South Carolina. They have four children Nicole (Darnell), Avery, Jack Jr, Danyel (Horace) and 10 Grandchildren.
Some of her activities at the Sunset Blvd. congregation include the following: She has taught from the cradle roll class to the adult ladies class. Mary has served on the Education Committee, Youth Coordinators Committee, and she chairs the Ladies Weekend Program Committee. Mary has spoken on numerous Ladies Day Programs, Retreats, has served as a guest speaker on the Ministers Institute Conference Ladies Sessions in Fort Lauderdale Fl. Southeastern Lectureship Ladies Programs, and the National Ministers’ Wives Conferences.
Mary presently serves on the National Minister’s Wives Advisory Committee, and she is the Executive Chairperson of the Santee Retreat Board and serves on the Sensible Women Initiative, Inc. Board of Directors.
Felicia Moore Mensah, Ph.D. is Professor of Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a former Associate Dean (2015-2019), she developed programming and initiatives for student and faculty development. During the upcoming academic year (20192020), she will serve as Co-Department Chair of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College.
Her research addresses issues of diversity and equity in science teacher preparation, with culturally relevant teaching, multiculturalism, and critical theories guiding her teaching and research. Her most recent research utilizes critical race theory to transform teacher education research and practice by looking at the experiences of Teachers of Color, Scientists of Color, and preparing teacher educators who can talk about the impact of race and racism in teaching. She is currently working with faculty colleagues across multiple programs who are interested in preparing future teacher educators.
As an advisor, Dr. Mensah provides support to the Student Senate, serves as the academic advisor to the Black Student Network and Students for Quality Education, a grassroots-student activist-group on campus. She has an exceptional record in advising and developing early scholars with sponsoring more than 40 doctoral dissertations and serving on more than 90 dissertation committees.
She desires that all students, but girls in particular and students of color, are engaged and love science. Therefore, she develops outreach programs for PreK-12 students and teachers, while also working closely in schools with teachers and administration in the development of strong science programs and partnerships with the university and schools. Her doctoral students conduct research in K-12 schools and provide additional science support in classrooms.
Dr. Mensah has received a number of awards, honors, and acknowledgments, such as the Outstanding Science Teacher Educator of the Year from the Association of Science Teacher Education (2017); the Early Career Award, Division K, from the American Educational Research Association (2012); the Race, Culture, and Diversity Research Grant from Teachers College; four Provost Investment Grants; and funding from the National Science Foundation to support her research.
She is actively engaged in professional organization in science education and teacher education and was a past President of Sisters of the Academy (SOTA) Institute, an organization that supports women’s educational advancement.
She is the wife of Brother Emmanuel Mensah, an aspiring minister. The two were married August 2008, and both have plans to continue supporting, encouraging, and developing their faith and the faith of others.
Finally, Dr. Mensah loves to teach but considers herself to be a life-long learner in education. She is creative and enjoys jewelry-making, watching science-related and crime shows on television, romantic comedies, and true-life movies.
Jennifer Murry was born in Washington, DC and grew up with five brothers and sisters as an army brat with her family. In 1985, Jennifer graduated from Hampton University (formerly Hampton Institute) and since then has completed post graduate studies and received several management certifications.
After college, Jennifer moved to California and began her career working for the Federal Government as a civilian worker in the IT field. After working for the Department of Navy and Department of Army, Jennifer transitioned into the private industry.
In the private sector, Jennifer has worked in IT Program Management as an employee for Booz Allen & Hamilton, Metropolitan Life Insurance, Lockheed Aeronautical Systems, Coca Cola Enterprises and IBM Global Services. Jennifer has managed critical programs and large teams and budgets.
In 2001, Jennifer began IT consulting on her own; and from 2001-2016, Jennifer provided management consulting services to several companies including United Way, JP Morgan Chase, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Sallie Mae, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.
Since 2016, Jennifer has been employed at Technical Resources Management, Inc., and she currently manages a team of 33 team people for a $25 million-dollar contract at the Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Jennifer has also been a dedicated partner in the ministry with her husband, Earnest Murry. Earnest & Jennifer are the proud parents to their son, Martin.
Lillian D. Norman, a native of North Carolina, is a retired English Teacher and Administrator for the Rochester City School District. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her graduate study was done at the State University of New York at Brockport, where she earned a Master of Science Degree in Secondary Education, a Certificate of Advanced Study, and a Certificate of Permanent Certification as a School District Administrator. Her professional career includes thirty-three years as a secondary school educator and administrator.
During her years with the Rochester City School District, Lillian was very active at the district and school level. In 1978, she worked as a “Teacher on Special Assignment,” serving as the “Team Leader” for one of the District’s three Secondary School Reorganization plans. Also, at the District’s request in 1991, she traveled to Houston, Texas, to assist in conducting a professional development, site-based management workshop for the Houston Independent School District’s “Schools of Excellence Convention.” On the high school level, she worked with the school-based planning team and served as an advisor of extra-curricular activities. In this capacity, she often organized assembly programs, workshops, and conferences, and brought in outstanding local and out-of-state presenters. Many of the activities in which she engaged were sponsored by the East High School Ebony Culture Club, which she founded in the early 70’s and dedicated to promoting knowledge of African American history and culture, academic achievement, higher education, and career awareness.
Lillian is married and has one son. She is a Golden Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service sorority and Phi Delta Kappa, a professional association for educators. Among her awards are the St. Augustine’s University Certificate of Merit, Urban League of Rochester Certificate of Outstanding Service, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.’s Community Service Award, J. C. Penney Golden Rule Award for Community Service, and Delta Great Teacher Award for New York State.
Dr. Valerie Oji is Clinical Pharmacologist, Innovative Pharmaceuticals and Consultants (iPAC), and Associate Professor with the College of Pharmacy, Harding University. She is also a consultant for the Sensible Women Initiative, Inc. Dr. Oji is an accomplished professional with 25 years of pharmacy practice experience and board-certified in Psychiatry and Neurology. She also has post-doctoral education and experience in Health Administration. Dr. Oji is a multidisciplinary educator (pharmacy, medicine, nursing, social work, psychology) primarily in the areas of Psychiatry and Health Policy. She is engaged in clinical psychopharmacology services as well as research in the application of biblical principles to health services and recovery for individuals with mental disorders.
Dr. Oji is a mother with passion for ministry to women, children, families, and survivors of domestic abuse. She has served her community as past Co-Chair for Health Affairs, Women-In-NAACP, Houston, among other positions. She currently serves the body of Christ with “medications ministry” and pharmacology support and consultation with biblical framework counselors. She is an innovative professional, a creative writer, and author of several journal publications and a book.
Iris Polk-Kuku is a native of Houston, Texas, but has lived on the North East Coast for over 35 years – she has worked in Corporate America since making the transition to the North East. She currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Administrative Services with Arch Insurance Group Inc, leading a team of 23.
In 2015, she received the highest corporate honor the organization offers, the Arch Achieve Award, which recognizes the company’s most valuable players that exercise excellence and commitment to working hard and smart, teamwork, innovation and improvement, integrity and having a positive impact on the organization and their clients.
Ms. Polk-Kuku received a BA in Communications and has an Executive MBA in business. She currently serves as the New Jersey State National Dinner Day Coordinator for SwCC, which is purposed to create fund raising projects in support of Christian education. She volunteered for seven years at Raphael Life House, assisting homeless expecting mothers between the ages of 13 to 21, with personal and professional development. She is a public speaker having spoken at various ladies seminars and lectureships.
Ms. Polk-Kuku, being a woman of great faith, has a passion for being a servant. It is her belief that we are placed here to serve. She is driven to motivate, encourage, and elevate others to be all that they are purposed to be; helping to unleash and unlock the powers within.
She is so honored to be considered a member of the SWI purpose of making a positive impact on young ladies, helping them to grow and develop into the full knowledge of their purpose in life, and having them to strive and thrive achieving levels of success that could otherwise only be imagined.