About the Board
Five Core Beliefs
- We believe all students can learn at or above grade level.
- We believe that the achievement gap must and can be eliminated, by all students reaching their learning potential.
- We believe schools have an enormous impact on students’ lives.
- We believe that all parents must be empowered to play an active role in their students’ education.
- We believe that community collaboration is fundamental to achieving and sustaining excellence.
Ayesha R. Clarke, was born in the city of Hartford and educated in the Hartford and East Hartford Public School Systems. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) a Masters Degree in Public Health (MPH) from Benedictine University and a Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut (UCONN). Ayesha is a member of the Citadel of Love and a member of the Greater Hartford NAACP and the Black Association of Social Workers.
Shontá Browdy is a Hartford native and proud mother of two children who currently are being educated in the Hartford Public School system. Shontá has served on School Governance Councils, PTO’s and facilitated many education forums across the city. For years her advocacy work has been centered on children receiving an education that will equip them for a successful life and for families to better understand the educational system. She is a member of the Greater Hartford NAACP and currently serves as the Education Committee chair and Co-Advisor of the Youth Council.
Kim Oliver was born, raised, and is currently a resident of the North End of Hartford. She is a proud graduate of Hartford Public Schools and received her Bachelor of Art degree in Economics from Yale University and a Master degree in Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Kim has a deep commitment to Hartford and actively participates in several non-profit, community-based organizations. Most notably, Kim was a community member of the Hartford Public Schools’ design team for High School, Inc., a 9-12 theme school aligned with Connecticut’s Insurance & Financial Services Cluster and the National Academy Foundation.
Yvette Bello is a first-generation Mexican American who was born and raised in Hartford. She is a veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard and holds a Masters Degrees in Business Administration, a Masters Degree in Business Management and a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College. Yvette currently works as a Senior Community Impact Officer for the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. She is also a Realtor with Keller Williams and a member of the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors.
Rev. AJ Johnson is a faith-influenced voice for urban resurgence and revival and a pace-setting champion for justice and community-wide uplift. As a trailblazer, Johnson leads The Urban Hope Refuge Church, an influential church where passionate worship and community activism meet in Hartford, Connecticut. Johnson works at the Center For Leadership and Justice as a Community Organizer. He spearheads Small Business Night Out, a network of minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs; Calling all Brothers, a widely hailed male mentor-ship and leadership organization and Brothers Johnson 1929 Hat Company, a clothing brand reflecting strength, loyalty, and distinction.
Philip Rigueur serves as VP, Enterprise Transformation for Hartford HealthCare (HHC), Connecticut’s most extensive integrated healthcare system- with over 30,000 employees. In his role, he is responsible for the development and execution of transformative approaches for the various HHC business segments and generating partnerships that expand HHC’s access in additional geographical markets, including increasing retail footprint.
Throughout his career, Phil has demonstrated a deep passion for the community. He is a former National Board Member for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Phil currently sits on Hartford’s Redevelopment Agency, which establishes and manages Redevelopment Plans as means of eliminating blight and spurring investment in the City of Hartford. And is a corporate advisor for BlackGen Capital, Cornell University’s first underrepresented minority-owned investment fund.
Organizations have recognized him for his business accomplishments, including The Network Journal 40 Under Forty, Savoy Magazine: Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America, and the Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under Forty Award. Phil holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations and a Master of Public Administration- both from Cornell University.
He resides in Hartford with his wife, Leah, and their three children.
Dr. James E. Shmerling is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a nationally recognized leader for driving innovation in pediatrics and cutting-edge pediatric research. Connecticut Children’s serves as the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children. For over four decades, Dr. Shmerling has served in management roles in children’s hospitals, devoting his career to advocating for children and healthy communities.
Mr. Stallings has been a PTO president at two Hartford schools and was coordinator of the original governance council at Thirman Milner School. He has three children in the Hartford Public Schools. He has been co-owner and marketing manager for the Stallings Tax Service since 2006, as well as having worked out of the home as a customer service representative for Tele Tech, contracted to work for Bank of America. A graduate of Weaver High School, he has attended Capital and Manchester Community Colleges and the University of Hartford.