Governing Board

Brandon Arentson, Treasurer ( Term Ends May 2021

Brandon Arentson is an Advisory & Assurance Manager who leads teams in projects that help business leaders throughout the Cox family of businesses to reduce risk, redesign processes, and improve cybersecurity. He started his career at PricewaterhouseCooper before joining Cox Enterprises, and he has learned first-hand that empathy, listening, and genuine partnership are game-changing approaches to the creation of long-term value and change in business and in life. Throughout his career Brandon has led many successful projects across diverse disciplines, including recommending approaches to improving disaster recovery at Cox's media business; assessing readiness for Europe's new data protection laws for Cox's international automotive business units; and identifying comprehensive ways to enhance employee experience across all of Cox. Brandon is a Certified Information Security Auditor, and he's currently working to attain a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and the Certified Information Security Manager certification. He is a board member at RISE Grammar School in East Point, GA, and he also regularly volunteers with Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, and his church. Brandon holds a bachelor's degree in business management, with a focus in Management Information Systems and Finance, from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

James A. Bush, MPH, PhD ( Term Ends May 2021

Mr. Bush is the Sr. Education Specialist at Change Healthcare and the Director of Professional Development at N.U.R.S.E. Inc. He brings over a decade of professional experience in adult education and training and development. Prior to that he was a Senior Drill Instructor and Instruction Writer with The United States Army. He holds Bachelor of Science degree from Bethune-Cookman University, a Bachelor of Science Degree from American InterContinental University, Master of Health Administration degree from American InterContinental University, and is completing is Doctor of Philosophy degree in Business Administration from Northcentral University.

Durran Z. Dunn ( Term Ends May 2023

Mr. Durran Dunn is an award-winning auditor and accounting leader with 14+ years of experience leading internal and external audits, as well as finance and accounting functions for both publicly traded and privately held companies. His work spans multiple industries including manufacturing, distribution and construction with roles in one of the Big Four Public Accounting Firms and Fortune 500 companies.The contributions that he has made to the community at large varies from serving as a board member at Camp Horizon, youth soccer coach, and the United Way among several others. In addition, Durran is an active member of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) for over 10 years through the Atlanta, GA Chapter and has served in the capacities of presenter and panelist at multiple Southern Regional NABA Conferences. Durran's board experience include Camp Horizon where he served on the Finance Committee. He is also a professional track and field athlete and enjoys spending time with his family.

Jennifer Freeman, Vice Chair ( Term Ends May 2023

Jennifer Freeman has developed a successful track record as a professional within the public-private sector and community recognition in the areas of community engagement, parent-teacher involvement, sustainable partnerships, organizational development, stakeholder collaborations, and research and evaluation. With over 25 years of experience in city, county and state government, higher education and K-12, she infuses best practices, reasoning and a sincere compassion, recognizing that all gifts and talents play a viable role in civic, community, and nonprofit leadership. Freeman has worked with the Atlanta City Council, Georgia Department of Economic and Community Development, Atlanta and Fulton County Public School Systems, Georgia General Assembly, Fulton County Board of Commissioners, University System of Georgia, serves on the Executive Board as President of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Committee, and is an Education Chair in the Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU). She has also served on the Atlanta District Board of Directors for the PTA, as well as the Literacy Leadership Through the Arts Academy Board, and is the Former Chairperson of the Atlanta Board of Education Ethics Commission. Ms. Freeman currently serves as the Senior Managing Partner of the Freeman Young Group LLC, as well as the Senior Vice President of Community and Government Affairs for BOOK ATL.

Desmond Hardy ( Term Ends May 2023

Atlanta native Desmond Hardy is a writer, mentor, philanthropist, technology consultant, youth advocate, and podcaster. He's worked for Fortune 500 companies such as Ryder, AT&T, and Vmware, and he's also volunteered with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Boys and Girls Club, the AME Church, the Red Cross, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Desmond is also a prolific writer, with published work in The Guardian, All Digitocracy, and the popular question and answer website Quora, where his content has generated 2.5 million views. Mr. Hardy believes that we can do all things through Christ and therapy, and is a champion of Dr. King's vision for the “Beloved Community.”

Tanisha Taylor Jones ( Term Ends May 2023

A young vibrant personality that seeks to make a difference in the lives of our youth. Tanisha, is a native of New Jersey but has lived in Georgia for over twenty years. A graduate from Georgia State University and a veteran educator. Tanisha has experience working with students of all ages, 2-18. She is passionate about their growth and she loves finding new, creative ways to engage their learning. In addition to education, Tanisha is a wife, mother of two and a business owner who has a great deal of experience managing others and leading teams of people to greatness. A team player and a visionary for change, Tanisha works to ensure that everyday is a day for growth.

Jonathan Penn ( Term Ends May 2021

Mr. Penn has been a public servant with the City of East Point for over a decade. Today he serves as the Director of Parks and Recreation for the entire city, working directly with the Mayor, the City Council and the City Manager. In his role, he oversees all staff, services, and programming for the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of East Point. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and the National Parks and Recreation Directors School. He has also completed the Management Development Program as well as the Leadership I and II programs with the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute and Fanning Institute respectively.

Dr. De'Andre Pickett, Chair ( Term Ends May 2023

De'Andre, originally from Springdale, Ohio, moved to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College to study English, Sociology and African American Studies. Since 2006, De'Andre has served in many educational capacities, such as the Dean of Students and Academic Affairs for Literacy Action, Dean of Students at Heritage Prep, Associate Program Director with Giving Point, and most recently as the President and CEO of the Board of Directors for Main Street Academy. De'Andre currently serves as the Chief Operations Officer for the Metro Evangelistic Outreach Center, and volunteers with community organizations such as the Habitat for Humanity, The American Cancer Society, The Special Olympics of Georgia, the local YMCA, meals on wheels, and coaching youth basketball.

Lara Sterling, Secretary ( Term Ends May 2023

Lara is a Corporate/Commercial Real Estate Paralegal with a mid-sized Atlanta based law firm and has worked in the legal industry for over twenty years. Lara's previous experience involved interning with Destiny's Daughters of Promise, a Cobb County nonprofit organization whose mission and programming focused on impacting and elevating the lives of at-risk teenage girls in Cobb County, Georgia. Lara has volunteered with The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Lara has a Masters' Degree in Public Administration from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Science in English Literature from Georgia State University. Lara is a member of the American Society of Public Administrators, National Association of Black Public Administrators, and Pi Alpha Alpha (International Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration).

Shelicia Terry ( Term Ends May 2021

Dr. Terry recently completed her 10th year with Gwinnett County Public Schools. Working mostly with Title I schools, she has been a teacher, department chair, curriculum liaison, and positive behavior intervention coach. Dr. Terry earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Hampton University, a Master of Education Management degree from Strayer University, and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University.

Mr. Davion Lewis, MBA, PhDc (ex-officio)

As the Executive Director, Mr. Lewis sits on the school's Board of Directors and any of its committees as an ex-officio officer. Prior to coming to RISE, Mr. Lewis was the Deputy Director of Partnerships, at New Classrooms Innovation Partners where he managed its program implementation across eight school districts, in five different states. Davion has over a decade of experience working in education, and youth and community development, and has done so with private, non-profit, and governmental agencies. He's been a teacher, coach, school administrator, and consultant with organizations such as the New York City Department of Education, Achievement First Schools, and KIPP Schools. He is the founder and principal consultant at Lewis Consulting Services, which provides charter schools and other non-profits agencies with a variety of design, implementation, technical assistance, and other support services. Davion earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethune-Cookman University, and his Master of Business Administration degree from Clayton State University and is doctoral degree candidate at the University of Buffalo.

Governing Board Meeting Dates
Meeting Agendas & Minutes
Executive Session Affidavit
Approved Budget

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