Board of Directors
Ms. Ray, a Ward 8 resident, has strong ties to the business community and a history of advocacy for adult learners. As Chief Executive Officer for one of the most productive and effective adult training programs in the Ward, she is well aware of the special challenges of under-credited adults. Her daily experiences with adult learners have been instrumental in establishing an educational plan for the Community College Preparatory Academy that supports our attracting, engaging and retaining adult students and effectively addressing their needs.
Ashley Mitchell, Board Vice Chair
Ms. Ashley Mitchell is a licensed attorney and certified project manager with a master's certification in government contract management from Villanova University. Ashley, a three-time graduate of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, employs the breadth of her passion for diversity, inclusion, and access to opportunity through the management of grants that provide incentives to Naval labs to develop partnerships with HBCUs/MIs to perform Naval relevant research. She also manages grants with the objectives to provide Naval internship opportunities and to incentivize junior and senior high school-aged scholars to pursue STEM education at the collegiate level through the science fair and scholarship awards.
Christopher Earley, Board Treasurer
Vice President of Development - Michaels Development Company
Christopher Earley brings more than 20 years of real estate experience in the public and private sectors, including both affordable and market-rate real estate development. He is an advocate for the economic empowerment of underserved communities and is passionate about equity and inclusion for District of Columbia residents. Christopher is a 1995 graduate of Morehouse College with a Bachelor's in Corporate Finance and a 1999 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with an MBA in Finance & Real Estate. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Christopher has lived in Washington, D.C. since 2002 and currently serves as Vice President of Development for Michaels Development Company.
Business Owner/Student and Family Advocate
Darya Davis is a native Washingtonian educated in the District of Columbia public school system, where she excelled from the beginning, graduating from “The Pride of Capitol Hill” Eastern Senior High then furthering her education at Southeastern University. Although she believed her focus would be in the medical field, she quickly became a powerhouse in the event planning and catering world, but something felt like it was still missing. She eventually found the missing piece of the puzzle while searching for quality education for her daughter. That piece was Education Reform, specifically in Ward 8, the neighborhood in which she was raised. She held numerous board member positions for several Public Charter Schools in the District and became co-chair for one. She amplifies a passion for student and family advocacy. A day does not pass where she hasn’t reviewed a policy or procedure to ensure that it is beneficial to the scholars and parents who are impacted the most. Darya is known as a chameleon. Not only can she give vital critique in the boardroom, but she can also interact with everyday people who express concerns about quality education, no matter what their neighborhood, ethnicity, economic or social class may be. She has also conducted numerous mediation sessions between rival and non-rival schools along with MPD for non-violent youth conflict resolution. Most recently during these unprecedented times in the COVID-19 pandemic, her love for seniors has shown through by preparing more than 1,200 free meals to more than 200 seniors over a six-week timeframe in Wards 7 and 8 under her small business DF’s Cake Lounge, LLC serving a “Small Piece of Heaven” one dessert and meal at a time.
Program Analyst - District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development
Mr. Edwards is a Ward 7 resident with strong ties to his community. Mr. Edwards has more than fifteen years of public sector experience in the areas of government relations, housing, and community development. He has a strong background in the area of coalition building around community-based technology.
Principal Owner - The Gaston Group & Seven Colors DC
Darrell Gaston is a lifelong Ward 8 resident with a commitment of engaging, educating and empowering the Ward 8 Community. A four-time Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Darrell’s commitment to education started with his push to transform and renovate every school in his community. Darrell created The Gerald Project, a program that provides support to families who have lost children to gun violence and provide free mental health, grieving support and trauma support to families and young people impacted by violence. Darrell's focus is on closing the achievement gap with parents, children, and the community at large. Currently, Darrell is the owner of The Gaston Group, a food hospitality group. Darrell Gaston is a graduate of Coppin State University and completed a law program at Howard University School of Law.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Keyonna graduated from St. John’s College High School in 2006 and started her collegiate career as a student of Psychology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Looking for a more challenging path, she transferred to Philip Merrill’s College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Keyonna received her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism with a concentration in Education and is pursuing her Master’s in Science Management with a specialization in Public Relations. Keyonna is a two-time Edward Murrow award-winning producer for News Radio station WNEW, 99.1. Returning to one of her original passions, in August 2015, Keyonna opened Congress Heights Arts and Culture Center located at 3200 MLK Ave. SE, with a mission to bring something new and necessary to Ward 8. She also serves on the board of Community College Preparatory Academy, the first adult charter school East of the River.
Jovanda Warren is a 10-year educator and proud Ward 8 resident. Jovanda began her teaching career in Houston, TX through Teach for America. Driven by the desire to provide an equitable education for every student, Jovanda has spent years honing her teaching skills, connecting with families, and making a positive difference in students’ lives. Jovanda has also acted professionally as a community organizer and worked on several grassroots campaigns around education issues like the school to prison pipeline and school funding. Recently, Jovanda graduated from Columbia University with a master’s degree in Educational Administration. She brings years of experience, keen insight, and a deep dedication to Ward 8 residents to her work on the board of Community College Preparatory Academy. Outside of teaching and advocacy efforts, Jovanda spends her time with family, gardening, and writing.
Mr. Layvon Washington is a technical and programmatic support professional, with direct service experience, committed to maximizing the expansion of research and development (R&D) programs throughout the Federal Government. He currently provides program and financial management support to the Department of Navy’s (DoN) Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) Program. Reporting directly to the Program Director, he is responsible for budget development, financial execution, cost reporting, program implementation, and severing as a primary point of contact for the program. Prior to supporting the DoN’s HBCU/MI program, Mr. Washington supported the Department of Navy’s Naval STEM Coordination Office, within the Office of Naval Research (ONR). In this role, he provided naval policy recommendations, evaluations, and assisted in the coordination of programs across various naval commands. Mr. Washington also supported the Defense Health Agency’s Analytics and Evaluation Division (J-5). In this capacity, he assisted the division in building a financial dashboard to track funding obligations and expenditures. Mr. Washington serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Excelsior Technical Group, where he works with disparate stakeholder groups to develop actionable solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Siena College and a Master of Public Administration from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He also holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute.