Our Leaders and Partners

Nicole Pitts -- a native San Diegan married over 15 years to native Detroiter, LaMar Williams -- is tenured and has been an English Professor at Oakland Community College (OCC) for more than 20 years.  From 1999-2001, Ms. Pitts held the position of English Department Chair for both the Royal Oak and Southfield Campuses. As an administrator of more than 60 adjunct (part-time) professors at two campuses, she was also a campus representative on the OCC faculty's Union Council.  

 

Years prior to coming to the Midwest, at University of Maryland, Ms. Pitts fulfilled her master's degree fellowship at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library at the College Park Campus. During her two years working for The National Trust, she learned that preserving and reusing historic structures is an environmentally, socially and finacially sound investment.  

 

Ms. Pitts serves as President of the grassroots organization which will own the Cooley High School site.

 

 

LaMar Williams, a life long Detroit Westsider, has a Panamanian American heritage thanks to his Central American-born mother and  Eastside-born father.  

 

A motorcycle enthusiast, avid traveller, ASL (American Sign Language) speaker, father of two beloved sons, 10 and 12, and professional/volunteer barber for more than two decades in the City of Detroit, Mr. Williams has a community spirit that embraces the worlds of international languages, cultures, business, recreation and charity.  

 

At the same time, Mr. Williams has a deep connection with Detroit youth and Detroit residents that only an experienced barber can possess -- someone who is at the hub of community activity, culture and conversation.  

LaMar Williams serves as Vice President of the grassroots organization which will own the Cooley High School site.

 

 


Al Borbeau and A.J. Borbeau, father and son, are the owners of the IT servcies provider, Borbeau IT Services which serves all of the Metro Detroit area.  The elder Mr. Borbeau completed an extensive rewiring of Cooley during its days as a high school.  

 

Now, Al Borbeau and his son, A.J. Borbeau will provide computer repair, upgrades, networking and IT services for the computer classes, computer lab hardware and software, phones and wireless services available at Cooley's 320,000 square foot community center and residences.


Gwen Hayes MA, LPC, NCC is a product of Detroit's Northwest High School and a former City Tennis Girls Champion having played tennis from the time she was eight years old. Since earning her M.A. in Counselor Education at Wayne State University in 2009, she has been practicing as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the areas of academic, clinical, residential and outreach programs.  

 

Ms. Hayes is skilled at providing individual and group therapy as well as outreach services to adults and children alike.  In addition, she interned at the 432-bed Veterans Administration Medical Center in Detroit in the areas of substance abuse, psychiatric, critical care, PTSD, sexual abuse, inpatient and outpatient care as well as hospice which directly informs her treatment of patients of all ages and backgrounds.  

 

Through her Detroit-based counseling business -- 1 ON 1 Professional Counseling Services, PLLC -- Ms. Hayes has mentored students and served as mediator for student, parent and teacher conflicts at Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit.

 

With first hand experience in the K-12 community, with veterans, in one-on-one and group therapy an in- and out-patient care, even hospice, Ms. Hayes has the background needed to counsel her patients.  Also, she has the credentials and expertise to assign and recommend patients to other qualified counselors and mental health professionals.


Darryl Jones is a Certified Referee in the sports of basketball, track, baseball and volleyball.  With his team of trainers and a required number of practical experience hours, a contract-based, set-your-own-schedule career is possible for anyone of any ability.  

 

Mr. Jones is himself a referee as is his wife of 28 years, Pat Jones.  

 

Since Mrs. Jones is a Certified Referee Trainer, this husband and wife team have recently officiated Michigan State Finals and Detroit City Finals for basketball and volleyball.  They also officiate Special Olympics and Wheelchair Sports.  Darryl travels doing AAU basketball tournaments.  Pat has travels throughout the United States officiating volleyball. 

 

Together, for the past 15 years, they have been offering community members an opportunity to gain valuable training and job skills toward a fulfilling and exciting career as a referee. This is a growing sports industry which can lead to lucrative recreation, high school, college and professional referee contracts. 

 

At the present time, Darryl Jones is a HIV Counselor, and Pat Jones is a Community/Substance Abuse Counselor.


Satori Shakoor (pictured left), singer, actress, violinist, director, proud daughter, mother, grandmother and pioneer storyteller is the 2013 Spirit of Detroit Winner and recipient of the 2013 Knight Arts Foundation Grant among many others.  One of her shining contributions to arts and culture in Detroit and abroad is her monthly storytelling event, The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers, held at the Charles H. Wright Museum in Midtown Detroit.  

 

Ms. Shakoor's passion for storytelling extends beyond the well-attended events she sponsors; she has also hosted storytelling events at other venues such as The Moth events at The Filmore in Detroit and in Ann Arbor which are broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR).  

 

Ms. Shakoor will be a key collaborator in planning theatre events as well as using the theatre for upcoming storytelling events, practice and rehersal space as well as office space for her non-profit organization.


Ingrid LaFleur is a native Detroiter, world traveller and independent curator of art from the African Diaspora.  Recently awarded the 2013 and 2015 Knight Arts Challenge Grants, Ms. LaFleur's empowering summer workshops for Detroit teens sought to increase their sense of themselves as change-agents through creative community-based projects.

 

Ms. LaFleur has made a significant impact on arts and culture in Detroit since her return home to Detroit from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2011. Ms. LaFleur's influence is palpable and ongoing with her business, Maison LaFleur, and its many enterprising community arts-based programs.

 

Maison LaFleur's Afrotopia public lectures and TEDx lectures, social events and art tours of highly significant but little-known artists' enclaves, large scale art installations and long-revered institutions have enhanced art awareness in Detroit and fostered a new appreciation for the art -- and the potential for art -- that exists all around us.  

 

Ms. LaFleur's role as a member of the Board of Directors will further shape Cooley's interiors and exteriors with art from around the world and around the corner.


 

Beverly Stanbrough has served for more than a decade as a Dean of Academic Affairs and as Dean of Academic and Student Services, one of the most demanding administrative positions at Oakland Community College. 

 

Since 2002, Ms. Stanbrough has engaged in short- and long-term college planning, worked as a collaborator and leader among faculty and administration as well as implementer and communicator of policies related to labor agreements, college policies and other applicable laws.

 

This former Mackenzie High School Alumni Association President of the Board of Directors is an active church member at Judah Tabernacle in Detroit, college instructor of Introduction to Education classes, international traveler and has many professional association memberships such as the Association of Black Women in Higher Education.

 

 Ms. Stanbrough possesses the multifaceted perspective of our community needs, higher education needs, the duties of leadership, staff development needs and planning needs that will enable Cooley Reuse Project’s Board of Directors to effectively and proactively guide the Cooley community center’s success.

 


Monica Tyson is a Detroit native and Public School (DPS) teacher with a Master's Degree in Education from Wayne State University.  She leads the forensics team at her Eastside DPS school, and she has also managed and staffed an on-location Detroit apartment-based tutoring program for residents and their K-12 children.  

 

With more than 20 years of teaching experience, Mrs. Tyson's role as After-School Academic Programs Manager is an essential one for Cooley's community center to fulfill.  Tutoring in every subject at every level will be on offer for students K-12 and even college and university students.  Education is often the key to success, and Cooley's community center will provide this essential service with qualified tutors, hand-selected by Ms. Tyson.


Duane Parham II will be serving on Cooley Reuse Project's Board of Directors. As a multi-talented saxophonist, writer, director and community activist, Mr. Parham is among the most notable Cooley alumni for his renowned, unwavering support in Detroit's creative arts community.

 

Mr. Parham's two most recent projects are The Unsung Musicians of the Motown Empire, a film documentary that pays homage to the horn players of Motown that have historically been unrewarded and a song entitled Detroit City Is Coming Back.” This song was written and produced by Mr. Parham and features over 100 singers and musicians performing it in over 20 musical genres.

 

Additionally, Parham is the founder of Educational Art Society (E.A.S.), an organization committed to the personal, creative and professional development of inspiring young artists. The objective of E.A.S is to develop a network of resources, which young artists can easily access and take advantage of a range of unique opportunities. 

 

With Mr. Parham's many artistic endeavors being firmly rooted in Detroit's music scene, the Cooley Reuse Project's Board of Directors will benefit from his    connections and affiliations to Detroit's rich musical heritage in supporting budding artists who will set music trends for decades to come.

 

 

 


Deacon Charles M. Thomas, a retiree of Chrysler Corporation after 37 years of employment, CEO of Parenting Assistant Childcare, his family business, a B.S. degree holder from University of Detroit Mercy with a double major in Human Services and Social Psychology, will serve on Cooley Reuse Project's Board of Directors.

 

Affliated with the Hariet Tubman Center, Detroit Clergy Gathering, board member of Greening of Detroit, member of the Planning Committeee of the Engaged D project, 17 year-President of Belmont Community Council, Inc., and responsible for community improvements of over $300,000, Deacon Thomas' community, State leadership and White House links make him a valuable board of directors member.

 

University of Detroit Mercy has recognized Deacon Thomas as Professional Mentor with a Recognition of Excellence in Mentorship (2000-2005).

 

Deacon Thomas is a man of God who was re-ordained under Evangel Ministries lead by Pastor Chris Brooks.  Now, Deacon Thomas serves as Evangel Ministries Liason.  In this capacity, he ministers as a Christian Educator for the Detroit Rescue Mission and Salvation Army Second Chance Program which offers spiritual guidance and spiritual training to previously incarcerated men.

 


Cass Technical High School graduate, Joel Landy, has won state and national awards for adaptive reuse in Midtown Detroit. In fact, he has been the owner of eight (8) Detroit Public Schools. His adaptive reuse of a Detroit Public School, Burton Academy on Cass Avenue and Peterborough in Midtown Detroit features event space, mutiple surround sound movie theatres and a childcare facility.  

 

Landy is also developer and owner of mixed-income loft space throughout Detroit.  A long-time supporter of Detroit Public Schools' surplus property adaptive reuse, Joel Landy has demonstrated the steps to property ownership to countless community members and investors at LISC-sponsored events.  

 

Thanks to this firm commitment, Cooley Reuse Project will benefit from Landy's theatre reno and theatre business expertise as he is acting as a trusted advisor on Cooley's theatre preparations.


Rob Kulick of Cresit Energy, Inc. based in Wyandotte, Michigan is the proactive designer responsible for homes that are sustainable, solar-powered, energy-efficient, featuring aquaponic gardening (which anticipates the "Blue Economy" forecast in the Detroit Future City plan), fair worker pay for a 10-day build all at an affordable cost.  

 

With a sustainable housing project already underway at Samaritan Center on Detroit's East Side, 5555 Conner with the participation of on-site high school students, Cresit homes will demonstrate how a community of well designed homes can be practical, sustainable, energy-efficient, attractive and affordable.  Cresit Energy plans for several homes to be built on the Samaritan Center site over the coming months.  

 

In 2012, Cresit Energy organized a service learning trip to Ethiopia to install solar array in a needy town in conjunction with students and teachers from the Samaritan Center's on-site school, Bruce Academy.  Clearly, Cresit is both community and globally oriented in a way most businesses are not.

 

Cresit Energy, Inc. is committed to providing solor power-generating capabilities to the Cooley site as well as building sustainable homes on Cooley's site and in the surrounding neighborhood where there is vacant land and community support to build upon thus increasing the desirability, walkability and vibrance to the community in which Cooley is located.