Who We Are: Key Staff and Consultants

David J. Dennis, Sr., is founder and director of the Southern Initiative Algebra Project. As former president and CEO of Positive Innovations, Inc., he facilitated Algebra Project implementation in 21 school districts in seven southern states, designed and implemented community development and outreach programs at local sites, and developed a Community Development Leadership Training Program. He was field secretary of the Southern Education Defense Fund for Racial Equality, responsible for organizing and conducting voter registration workshops throughout the South; Southern regional program director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO); and a key architect of the Mississippi Freedom Summer from 1962 to 1965. He is cited in numerous books and has made multiple appearances in radio and television documentaries on civil rights. Dennis holds a BS and a BA degree from Dillard University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School.

Staffas Broussard is a lead trainer in the SIAP Professional Development Program, focusing primarily on secondary and higher level mathematics. He is a certified Algebra Project trainer and has played a key role in the project's curriculum development. Broussard has spent his career teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in mathematics and providing professional development for teachers of mathematics. He holds BS and MS degrees in mathematics from the University of New Orleans.

Freddie David is a certified Algebra Project trainer and member of the SIAP professional development team. He has spent many years as a high school mathematics and science teacher and is a master teacher in the Marlboro County (SC) school district. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Francis Marion University and has completed further studies at Francis Marion, the University of South Carolina, and the Hay/McBer Institute.

Nancy Ledford Dennis is director of SIAP's documentation and evaluation services. She holds a BS degree in biology and health education and an MS degree in research biology. She is certified in elementary education, intermediate science, middle school, high school biology, health education, and supervision and administration. She is also a certified Algebra Project associate trainer. Her teaching experience includes high school biology and earth science; middle school science, mathematics and reading; gifted and talented grades 2 through 10; and college biology lab classes.

Leo Edwards is a member of the SIAP professional development team, focusing primarily on high school and college level mathematics. He was formerly professor of mathematics, acting vice chancellor for academic affairs, director of the Mathematics and Science Education Center and acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fayetteville State University. He is a recognized national expert in mathematics education and has taught computer science at the University of the Virgin Islands. He was a contributing author for the 4th Grade Silver Burdett & Ginn mathematics text (1989) and contributing graphing calculator author for Advanced Mathematical Concepts: Pre-calculus with Applications, Glencoe/Merrill/MacMillan/McGraw-Hill: New York, NY. 1994, 1997.

Jessie Cooper Gibbs is a certified Algebra Project master trainer and lead trainer and director of SIAP's Professional Development Program. She is nationally recognized for her excellent facilitation skills and for her track record in improving teaching quality. Her career has included 27 years of middle school mathematics teaching, four years of coordinating an NSF Middle School Mathematics grant for Xavier University of Louisiana, and 12 years as an independent consultant, directing SIAP's professional development work in Yuma, AZ; Lodi, CA; Savanna, St. Helena, and Charleston, SC; Weldon and Halifax County, NC; Marvel and Pine Bluff, AR, New Orleans, LA, and Petersburg, VA. Jessie received her degree in Mathematics Education from Southern University.

Merle Harris has been a lead trainer on the SIAP professional development team for more than 15 years. A certified Algebra Project trainer, she has assisted in Algebra Project curriculum development and provided services to teachers through her work with SIAP. She was formerly a high school and alternative school principal in New Orleans, LA; principal of Xavier University's College Preparatory School; and a faculty member at Xavier University where she taught mathematics and science method courses and supervised student teachers. She earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics education and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans.

Jereann King Johnson is a lead consultant in SIAP's community and site development work. She has many years of experience in adult literacy work, youth and community development, and radio management and production. She has been a principal consultant on community building and connecting school and community for a variety of local, state, and national organizations. Jere's community work and commitment have been honored by her receipt of the Charles Bannerman Sabbatical for Long Term Community Activists and the Defender of Justice Award from the North Carolina Justice and Community Development Center. She earned her bachelor's degree in history and education from Antioch College and her master's in intercultural relations from the McGregor School at Antioch University.

Doris Terry Williams is a lead consultant with SIAP with a primary focus on community and site development. She has more than 35 years of experience in Pk-20 education. She holds an AB degree in English education from Duke University and a MEd and an EdD in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University. Williams' experience includes public relations with NC Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Soul City New Town Development, program administration at the community college level, teacher education and assistant deanship at the university level and non-profit organizational development and management. She is currently executive director of The Rural School and Community Trust. Williams has authored multiple articles and commissioned papers on school reform, rural education, and community development. She served 12 years on a local school board and has taught education leadership courses at NC State and Ohio universities. She serves on the US Department of Education Commission on Educational Equity and Excellence.