BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Brandon Watts M.Ed., originally from Pasadena, CA is the founder and chairperson of Develop University, which was organized as a public charity in the area of youth mentorship/ character development in May 2015. Brandon has been working in education for the last 10 years in various Texas Independent School Districts such as Irving ISD, Lewisville ISD , Cedar Hill ISD and the most recent Plano ISD. Brandon currently holds the title of Social Emotional Teacher Leader for an area elementary school in Plano ISD and also works as a community outreach partner for the equal opportunity schools initiative for Plano ISD. Brandon is a proud member/volunteer at the Covenant Church Carrollton campus, has been a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity since 2004, he is also a current member of the Plano Area Alliance of Black School Educators, Plano Community Forum and Collin County NAACP.
Brandon Watts earned his Bachelors of Applied Arts and Science from the University of North Texas in June of 2006 and earned his Master’s in Education Administration from Texas Woman’s University in May 2012. During his years while earning his bachelors Brandon was a part of a work study program that served at area Denton ISD schools which peaked his interest into education. So upon graduation from UNT Brandon enrolled in the Region 10 Alternative Certification Program to become a licensed Texas Teacher in July of 2007.
With 10+ year’s program management experience, Monique offers expertise in developing and implementing strategic projects, events, analyzing performance, and coordinating budgets. Currently consulting for non-profits and established start-ups, Monique is experienced in all federal regulations, policies, and procedures that are necessary for managing government funding.
Board Vice President
William Stubbs has worked to bring about change to advance student outcomes as a teacher, administrator and systems leader. He sees his role as a change agent. A graduate of Shaw University (2002) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008), Stubbs has benefited from several fellowships, leadership development programs and formally training in educational leadership. He is a Teach for America (2002- Eastern North Carolina) corps member, where he developed a greater passion for urban education, closing the academic achievement gap and empowering marginalized communities.During his years as classroom teacher, Stubbs was successful in improving student achievement scores and developing mentoring opportunities for African American male students. As an assistant principal, he was similarly successful in making contributions to improve school culture, shifting student discipline practices from zero tolerance to restorative practices, initiating the integration of advanced placement courses and being recognized as the “New Mentor of the Year” as part of a district-wide mentoring program for African American male students. As a principal, he assisted in transforming an alternative charter school to a traditional charter school and secured a charter renewal for an additional three years, while improving the school-wide test scores by 22%. As an Oklahoma City Public Schools district leader, he led several task forces to change policies and practices related to equity, charter school authorizing and alternative education. This role afforded him the opportunity to serve on several advisory committees at the state level, to launch a district-wide initiative to recruit more African American male educators and create mentoring opportunities between minority male educators and minority male students, to oversee charter school renewals and operations, and to supervise a cluster of principals. He is currently a Middle School Managing Director with Uplift Education, a large, high performing charter school network in North Texas. There he supervisors a cluster of schools in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. A list of his achievements and publications/presentations are below. William Stubbs has been married to Keisa Stubbs for 14 years. The two have three daughters and reside in Dallas, Texas.
Alexis Pratt is a dedicated and charismatic leader committed to motivating people to reach their highest selves. Her altruistic spirit and passion for the betterment of her community has led her to become involved non-profit organizations such as Plano Community Form and Develop University. She currently serves as a board member and treasurer for Develop University. She is a firm believer in, “To whom much is give, Much is required;” therefore she makes it her duty to sow seeds of positivity into those around her.
A Texas native, Alexis obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University (May 2010) and later earned her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Walden University (April 2014). In her spare time, Alexis enjoys traveling, spending quality time with friends and family, reading and appreciating the beauty of an evening sunset.
Sherasa Thomas is the Board Director of Communication. She works as the Education Director for the Anti Defamation League in Texas/Oklahoma. In her role she oversees all of the antibias and anti-bullying training programs, managing ADL’s signature school based initiative, No Place for Hate and building community relationships. She’s also responsible for acting as liaison between regional school districts and ADL to fulfill resources needs in equity and advocacy work. Mrs. Thomas has a wide range of experience and practical understanding of the nonprofit sector. Sherasa is a proud graduate of Grambling State University in Louisiana and has earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Texas. Many of her professional years were spent in education, first as a classroom teacher where she won History Teacher of the Year for the state of Texas and later in administrative roles.
Before coming to ADL, she was the Director of Education for Big Brothers Big Sisters where she managed all state educational programs for the agency. Much of her time was spent building and hosting college readiness programming while curating student centered platforms for the agency. After leaving BBBS, she worked in partnership with the City of Dallas, to oversee a community centered workforce development program that provided vocational training and wrap around services to single parents.
Her personal and professional values are rooted in advocacy, social justice and servant leadership. She is a member of Delta sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and serves as the Collin County NAACP Political Action Chair. Much of her volunteer time is split between the two organizations. Outside of work and volunteering, she is an avid reader, baker and Food Network addict. Lubbock, Texas is her hometown, but she lives with her husband and two college aged children in Dallas.
SCOTTIE SMITH II
Public Relations Chair
Scottie Smith, a native of Houston, Texas, is the founder of Scottie Smith II & Associates, one of DFW’s fastest growing residential real estate firms. Scottie has been appointed to the Texas Association of Realtors’ Young Professionals Network, Government Affairs Committee, and Political Action Committee. He has also been recognized by the City of Denton for helping residents find affordable housing. In addition to his professional achievements, Mr. Smith dedicates his time to several community organizations such as Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated and Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity Incorporated. He also serves as an advocate for seniors in the greater Dallas area through his involvement with the Pegasus Professional Society and rallies to increase financial literacy as the Chair of the Economic Empowerment Committee for the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals.
Scottie Smith earned a Bachelors of Business Administration with a Finance/Real Estate concentration from the University of North Texas. While attending the University of North Texas, Mr. Smith completed his first real estate transaction at the age of 19. He later received a Master’s of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.