Our Board of Directors

Mr. Lenon Brooker

Lenon G. Brooker, is a native of Blackville, SC, and currently resides in Hampton, SC. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC; a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; completed further study in graduate chemistry at Clemson University, Clemson, SC, and attended Mana Bible Institute, Philadelphia, PA. He served two years in the United States Army.

He was employed as a chemist and as a development and process engineer with Westinghouse Electric Corporation and International Paper Corporation for thirty-six years. As a chemist and engineer, he developed numerous new and improved products and processes for the laminated plastics industry. He was awarded six patents by the US Office of Patents and Trademarks, Washington, DC for the inventions he made during his career. Following retirement, he became a consultant for the laminated plastics industry, and served clients in United States, China, South Korea, and India.

Over the years he has been active as a business, church, and community leader. He was the previous owner of two convenience stores, co-founded several business entities and organizations. Community wise, he has served on many boards and commissions, including the Hampton School Board, Hampton Art Commission, Hampton County Council Advisory Committee, and is currently serving on the board of directors of the Blackville Community Development Corporation.

He is a member of Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, Blackville, SC, where he serves as a Deacon and Director of Christian Education. He is certified as a District Dean of Christian Education by South Carolina Baptist Congress of Christian Education, and currently serves as the dean of the Bethlehem Baptist Sunday School Convention Congress of Christian Education, and director of the Bethlehem Baptist Union Summer Enrichment Program for youth.

Over the years, he has received numerous awards in recognition of his professional achievements and community service, including being inducted into the Blackville Public Schools Alumni Association Hall of Fame “in recognition of his outstanding achievement in science and engineering and community service.” He was married to the former Johnnie O. Rivers (deceased) of Hampton, SC, and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Mrs. DeeAndria Brown

My name is DeeAndria Brown and I am from the lovely town of Awendaw, SC. I am the niece of the Late Reverend James Coaxum, Jr. I am happily married to my husband, Jonathan of 14 years. We have two handsome sons, Jonathan, Jr and Lamar. I am a proud HBCU graduate of Claflin University with a Bachelor’s degree in History with a concentration in Elementary Education. I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in School Counseling with Walden University. My hopes for the foundation is continuing the legacy that has been set forth by my uncle. Education and Family have always been his passion and have touched the lives of everyone he has encountered. It is an honor to be a part of the creation process and pray for the success of any student who wishes to continue their education while serving others.

Mrs. Lula Cleckley

Lula Shaw Cleckley, a native of Holly Hill, SC, is the daughter of the late Bennie and Earther Lee Shaw. She received a B.A degree from Claflin University and a Masters of Education from South Carolina State University. Mrs. Cleckley continued her studies at Columbia College, College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina.

Mrs. Cleckley was an educator in several school districts across the state of South Carolina. She retired from Richland School District Two, Columbia, South Carolina.

Mrs. Cleckley served as Vice President of Student Affairs at Allen University, Columbia South Carolina. She is presently a realtor with Fathom Realty and an active member of Bethel AME Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

She is a productive member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She has been serving for more than 50 years in the Women’s Missionary Society in various capacities on Local, Conference and Episcopal levels. Her passionate dedication to promoting Jesus’ Love as an important component of empowerment is inspiring. She continually teaches and works with missionaries all over the AME Church. She exudes Proverbs 31:26 which states, “She opens her mouth with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Because of her dedicated service, in the year 2013, she was pinned Life Member of the Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mrs. Cleckley is also an active member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Ministers’ Spouses, Widows and Widowers Organization, Plus P.K’s. She served as Conference treasurer, Conference President and Seventh Episcopal District President of this organization. On the Connectional Level, she served as Chairperson of the Evaluation Committee and the Historian. In December 2013, she was elected as the Connectional International President of this organization. Mrs. Cleckley travels often and spends a considerable amount of time speaking locally, nationally and globally to clergy families, missionaries and communities.

Mrs. Lula Shaw Cleckley is married to the Rev. Robert L. Cleckley, who is a retired pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Columbia Conference, Seventh Episcopal District. Her husband, Rev. Cleckley has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. They are the parents of two children, one daughter-in-law and five grandchildren.

Mrs. Cleckley stands firm on her favorite scripture Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Mrs. Elizabeth Coaxum

Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman Coaxum is a native of Johns Island, South Carolina. She is the widow of the late Rev. James Coaxum, Jr. They are parents of 4 successful children, Carla, James III, Sonya, and Saundra.

Mrs. Coaxum received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from South Carolina State University. She served 30 years in Charleston County schools as a music teacher. Under her tutelage, the Haut Gap Middle School music chorus received many awards and certificates, most notably for their performance in the Six Flags Music Festival in Atlanta, Georgia.

A huge supporter of community endeavors, she served as a little league football mom, den mother, 4H volunteer leader, Girl Scout troop leader, and a member of St. Johns Constituent School Board for District 9 of Charleston County.

With the backing of her beloved husband, Mrs. Couxum founded and directed The New Beginnings Educational Center (for 10 years), which offered an after-school program and summer enrichment program for youths between the ages of 5 and 14. Many children who were being left behind developed their skills and talents in this wonderful community effort.

Mrs. Coaxum was born in the AME church and has worked in many capacities including The Edisto Area ACE League Fellowship president and the Edisto Area WMS (Women's Missionary Society) chairperson. She served 8 productive years as the South Carolina Conference Branch WMS president and as president of the South Carolina Conferences Ministers, Wives, Widows, and Widowers Organization. She served as Connectional chairperson of the Gomez-Jordan Family Life Committee and chairperson of the Sojourner Program for the WMS of the AME Church.

On May 3, 2001, Mrs. Coaxum coordinated women across the connectional AME Church to go to Washington, D.C. to participate in the launching and lobbying of the legislature to: Leave No Child Behind. This effort was initiated by The National Children's Defense Fund under the leadership of Mrs. Marion Wright Edelman.

Her favorite saying is, when God calls you to do a job, He has put into place everything you need to get it done. Her favorite scripture is, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippines 4:13

Rev. Dr. James Coaxum, III

Rev. Dr. James Coaxum, III is a native of John’s Island, South Carolina; He is the son of Rev. and Mrs. James Coaxum Jr. He was educated in the Charleston County Public School system and graduated from St. John’s High School in 1989. At a very early age, James became very active in the AME church. Since his father was a minister, he served in many churches throughout the Charleston area. He was most active in the Young People’s Division (YPD) of the AME Church. At the age of 15, he was elected President of the Edisto Area YPD and served for four years. From there he served as First Vice-President of the 7th Episcopal District YPD and Connectional Parliamentarian. His involvement in the YPD helped to lay the foundation for what would be a wonderful experience in the church and field of education.

Rev. Coaxum received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College, his Master’s degree from Harvard University and his PH.D from Vanderbilt University. While at Morehouse, he learned the value of service and the importance of giving back. He co-founded the Morehouse College Reading Mentoring Program and served with the Frederick Douglass Tutorial Program, the Atlanta University Science Mentoring Program and the Black Church/Black College Partnership. During his time at Harvard, he worked in the Graduate School of Education’s Admissions Office and continued mentoring through the Magic Me/Boston Program and the New England Sports Museum.

Rev. Coaxum accepted his call to the ministry in 1996 while he was studying at Vanderbilt. During this time, he was a member of Payne Chapel AME Church where he served on the ministerial staff. He directed the PROMISE Campus Ministry and worked with the Basic Ongoing Survival Skills (B.O.S.S.) Program. He also served as the Associate Executive Director of the 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, Inc. where he established the 100 Black Men Learning Center and 100 Scholars Program.

Rev. Coaxum was ordained an Itinerant Deacon in 1998 and an Itinerant Elder in 2000. He moved to New Jersey in 1999 to begin a faculty career at Rowan University where he is a tenured faculty member in the Educational Leadership Department. James has served as Coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. He currently serves as Director of the Harley E. Flack Male Mentoring Program and Coordinator of the Undergraduate Concentration in Leadership Studies. He has also served as the President of Rowan’s Black Coalition. Additionally, he serves as faculty advisor to New Life Ministries and the NAACP.

Rev. Coaxum’s research interests are focused in the area of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, minority access to post-secondary education and the educational success of African American males. He served as Chair of the Dissertation of the Year Awards Committee for the Association for the study of Higher Education. He also served as Program Co-chair for the American Educational Research Association. Additionally, he serves as a faculty mentor for the Minority Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program sponsored by the NASPA Association and faculty mentor for the Minority Access to Careers Program here in New Jersey.

In 2001, Rev Coaxum became the Youth Pastor of Heard AME Church serving under the late Rev. Dr. Theodore Goyins, Jr. He worked with the youth division of the church to establish a ministry for the young people, most notably a youth worship service. Following his service as youth Pastor at Heard in 2003, Rev. Coaxum became the pastor fo Bethel AME Church in Cookstown, NJ.

In 2004, Rev. Coaxum was appointed as the pastor of Heard AME Church. Under his leadership the following ministries were established: Senior’s Fellowship; Health Ministry; Transportation Ministry; Young Adult Network(YAN); Sick and Shut-in Ministry; Heard AME Praise Team; Voices of Praise (young Adult Choir) and Heard Angels (Ir. Praise Dance Team).

On March 23, 2007, at the New Jersey Annual Conference held in Newark, NJ, Rev. Coaxum was appointed to St, James AME Church in Atlantic City, NJ.

Currently, Dr. Coaxum continues to consult with religious and community groups nationally where he provides leadership in the area of program development. He also spends a considerable amount of time speaking both locally and nationally to community and culturally based organizations.

As a philosophy in life, James has adopted the phrase from a popular song, “If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a word or song, if I can show somebody he is traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain”.

“To God Be the Glory for the Great Things He Has Done.”

Mrs. Saundra Coaxum

Saundra Coaxum-Akoh is the youngest daughter of Reverend James and Mrs. Elizabeth Coaxum. She currently resides in Brockton, MA. Though she is many miles from home, she is a proud product of John's Island, South Carolina. She recieved her Bachelor of Arts in English from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. She matriculated to Harvard Graduate School of Education where she earned her M.Ed in Secondary English.

Saundra has taught every level of K12. Saundra has taught high school in both the Sequoia Union High School district in Northern California and with the Atlanta Public School System. She has been teaching in Boston Public Schools since 2000. While teaching in BPS, she has mentored a number of Boston Teacher Residents, Boston College, Boston University and Harvard Graduate Students of Education students as well as pre-practicum students. She has also been a part-time New Teacher Developer.

Saundra has always been an active member of the Instructional Leadership Team and Governance Council. She was an Induction Coach at Boston Plan For Excellence. She is currently a teacher leader at Dudley Street Elementary School. She is in her 25th year of teaching. Though Saundra has been teaching for a while, her curriculum and pedagogy is continuously evolving.

More importantly, Saundra enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. You can catch on any given day working in her garden, practicing yoga and meditation or hanging out in the Sweet Carolinas on any extended break.

Dr. Sonya Coaxum

Dr. Sonya Coaxum was a scientist in the Department of Otolaryngology at the Medical University of South Carolina, and she was a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology from 2008-2014. She earned her B.S. degree in Chemistry from Benedict College and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Meharry Medical College. She completed postdoctoral training in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Michigan and the Department of Physiology at Loyola University Medical Center. She has also received additional training by completing internships as a Charles Ross Fellow at the University of Michigan in the Department of Pharmacology and as a participant in the Biomedical Research Training Program at Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology.

Dr. Coaxum’s previous research focused on the structural and functional aspects of the calmodulin binding domain of the G protein-coupled 5-HT1A receptor. Her previous research also focused on signaling pathways in podocyte biology and polycystic kidney disease. In addition, Dr. Coaxum’s most recent research project focused on head and neck carcinoma. She has previously received several research grants to support her research. Dr. Coaxum’s research data has been published in scientific journals and presented at national scientific meetings.

Dr. Coaxum has previously served on the Careers in Physiology Committee and the Porter Physiology Development Committee as a member of the American Physiological Society. Dr. Coaxum feels that all students deserve access to a high quality science education, which has led her to pursue one of her career goals of teaching science in a secondary education setting. Currently, Dr. Coaxum is a science teacher in the School District of Philadelphia.

Dr. Coaxum is the daughter of the late Rev. James Coaxum, Jr. and Mrs. Elizabeth Coaxum. She is blessed and thankful to be the mother of Arianna and Emmanuel Osa-Oni. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Dr. Coaxum’s favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Mrs. Paulette Cryer

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Sis. Paulette Cryer is living proof that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. A life long AME, Sister Cryer has worked in several positions in the local Church including class leader, Sunday School teacher, Church organist, and WMS advisor. Currently she serves as local WMS President, youth mentor, Vacation Bible School director, and is a Life Member of the WMS.

Graduating from the College of Charleston in 1974 she received the Master of Education Degree from the Citadel in 1978. For 35 years Mrs. Cryer taught Honors Biology and Chemistry at R. B. Stall High School in North Charleston. When asked why she stayed at one school so long, she replied, “They needed me, and I needed them.” Her favorite quote is “Those who deserve LOVE the least, need it the most.”

Appointed by Bishop John and Dr. Dolly Adams, she served 8 years as the 7th Episcopal District YPD Director. From 2003 to 2011, Sister Cryer served as the 7th Connectional YPD Director of the WMS of the AME Church. She has lovingly spread her energetic spirit to thousands of young people across SC and the AME Church, inspiring them “to get fired up” and live for God.

Married to retired Pastor, Rev. Eugene Cryer, Jr., they are proud parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Worshipping at their home church, Greater Trinity AME in Charleston, where Rev. Jerome Wilson is Pastor, they proudly serve.

The Lord has done great things for Sister Cryer. She is humbled and truly glad. Her daily prayer is, “Lord, help me to help someone as I pass along the way.” Her favorite scripture is I Corinthians 15:58, “Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Ms. Candice O. Freeman

Ms. Candice O. Freeman has spent most of her adult life giving back by mentoring, tutoring, and teaching groups of students from diverse backgrounds in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Ms. Freeman received a lot of help from family members, teachers, and friends while growing up on Johns Island, South Carolina. Her life’s philosophy is to share all the knowledge she gained, especially in Math, to inspire, encourage, and motivate individuals to achieve a common goal.

Ms. Freeman received her Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering and Master’s in Plant, Soil, and Environmental Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. She also holds a Master’s in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland – Global Campus in Adelphi, Maryland.

Ms. Freeman is currently an Environmental Engineer with the US Army in San Antonio, TX where she enjoys tutoring math and making homemade gifts for friends and family. She is also an active member at Emmanuel AME Church in San Antonio, TX.

Mrs. Carla Malonda

The oldest daughter of James and Elizabeth Coaxum grew up on Johns Island, SC. She left home to attend the HBCU, St. Augustine’s College, Raleigh, NC. While attending St. Aug, she studied biology and pledged Delta Sigma Theta Soririty, Inc. St. Aug is also where she met and married her college chemistry lab partner, Nzungu “Sam” Malonda from Congo, DRC (formerly Zaire).

Carla remained in Raleigh after graduating from St. Augustine's College. She worked as a soil analyst for several years at Industrial Environmental Analysis, Cary, NC. The next phase of Carla’s journey led her to the travel industry, first for American Airlines, Cary, NC, in the meetings and groups department. Then as a corporate travel consultant with World Travel Partners, Durham, NC. She spent 20 years working in the travel industry.

Since 2012, Carla has spent her most important work as a paralegal with Legal Aid of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC. Her work is with the Mortgage Foreclosures Project, where they focus on advocacy in preventing NC’s most vulnerable population from losing their homes. The bulk of her work is as a bankruptcy paralegal, in foreclosure prevention.

Carla is a member of Crossroads Fellowship Church, Raleigh, NC. She is an avid reader and plans to spend her remaining years traveling the world with her husband.

Rev. Kimberly Snipe

Rev. Kimberly Initha Snipe is the niece of Rev. James Coaxum, Jr. She is the eldest daughter of his sister Hestelle Brown. She has been married to Joseph Snipe for 31 years. They actually live in the renovated childhood home of Rev. Coaxum. God blessed them with adult children Stepson Jarrard, Daughters Danielle & Allyson Snipe. God saw fit to make an addition to their family on September 7, 2015 their beautiful granddaughter Ava Initha & grandson Karson. She completed her undergraduate education at Rev. Coaxum’s alumni South Carolina State University. She has also completed a graduate degree at Purdue University. Kimberly also became an ordained minister in 2011. So, her Uncle influenced her life in many aspects.