Our Board of Directors


Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman has served as Executive Director of the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) since 1991. NCCF is a private nonprofit agency committed to serving vulnerable children, youth, and families. Under Dr. Chapman’s leadership, the organization has grown from a facility housing 60 children to a comprehensive regional center annually serving more than 4,000 children, families, survivors of domestic violence, and abused and neglected children and adolescents. A leading expert in child and family welfare, Dr. Chapman joined NCCF after serving as Associate Director, Clinical Services, Research, and Administration, Division of Child Protection, Children’s National Medical Center and as Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr. Chapman publishes and presents nationally on a wide range of topics including juvenile justice, systems reform in child and family welfare, poverty and homelessness, childhood trauma, domestic violence, cultural competency, and ethics. Dr. Chapman received her B.A. degree at Brown University, where she now serves as Trustee Emerita. She obtained her M.S.W. degree from the University of Connecticut. She later completed a second Master’s degree and Doctorate in Education, Administration, Planning, and Social Policy at Harvard University.

Lakeya Cherry, MSSW is the Chief Executive Officer of The Network for Social Work Management, an international membership organization dedicated to strengthening social work leadership in health and human services. Under her leadership, the Network has grown globally and introduced new, innovative programming that meets the needs of social work and human services leaders everywhere. At her previous position with 2U, Inc., a technology company partnering with prestigious universities to place degree programs online, Lakeya was a Senior Regional Field Manager for the University of Southern California School of Social Work’s online Master of Social Work program. She earned her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Legal Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Lakeya also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership from the National Human Services Assembly in collaboration with The Fund Raising School at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Executive Education Program at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, and ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. Lakeya is currently a Doctoral candidate at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

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James E. Craigen, Sr. is an Associate Professor Emeritus at Howard University School of Social Work who served on the faculty for nearly four decades. He most recently served as Chair of the Macro Practice Sequence where he was responsible for teaching community organization, social policy, and human services management courses. His area of specialization is family and child welfare. He has been Chair of the Baltimore City Commission on Social Service since 1997 and is the former Co-Chair of the Health Families/Thriving Communities Coalition of Washington, DC. He also was a founding member of the District of Columbia Health and Human Services Coalition. Craigen holds memberships in several professional organizations including: the Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Black Social Workers, and the Association of Community Organizations and Social Administration (ACOSA). He has been the recipient of the Winning in Excellence Award in Teaching, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Teaching, and has served as the Public Member of the Foreign Service Selection Board, Department of State. James Craigen received his B.A. degree in Sociology from Morris Brown College, and his M.S.W. degree from Atlanta University School of Social Work. He also did post-graduate study and served on the faculty at the University of Chicago.

Janie L. Jeffers is founder and president of Jeffers and Associates, LLC, a strategic management consulting firm providing services to Harvard University, the U.S. Justice Department, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and various criminal justice organizations.  President Bill Clinton appointed her a Commissioner on the United States Parole Commission in 1999.  She has had a distinguished career in public policy, education, management, health care, and criminal justice at the federal and local levels. Ms. Jeffers served as Executive Deputy Director for the Federal DC Interagency Task Force at the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she coordinated technical assistance to the District of Columbia government on economic development, education, childcare, and public/private partnerships.  She also served as Policy Advisor for the President’s Crime Prevention Council, chaired by Vice President Gore.  From 1992-1996, she was Chief of the National Office of Citizen Participation for the Federal Bureau of Prisons at the Department of Justice and, from 1985-1991, she was Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction, rising through the ranks to become the first civilian to achieve that position.  She managed city-wide delivery of health care, education, and legal services for over 20,000 inmates with a $50 million budget. Ms. Jeffers was a consultant to the World Health Organization in Geneva on AIDS management in penal institutions in Europe and Africa.  She was an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at her alma mater – Howard University School of Social Work where she received her M.S.W. degree. She has been a field instructor at the Columbia University School of Social Work, an adjunct professor at Baruch College in New York City and instructor at the National Academy of Corrections in Colorado.

Dr. Samuel Odom is an Assistant Professor in the Millie M. Charles School of Social Work on the campus of Southern University at New Orleans where he is currently a Faculty Senator and Faculty Senate Secretary. A native of Brewton, Alabama, he joined the United States Army in 1986 as a Forward Observer, Field Artilleryman, later becoming a Logistician and ultimately earning an Army ROTC Commission as a Medical Service Officer where he worked in Behavioral Health for more than ten years. Dr. Odom served as a Company Commander for the 377th Theater Sustainment Command. Dr. Odom is a US Army Combat Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom /Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dr. Odom served 24 in the United States Army with deployments in Southwest Asia and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Expert Field Medical Badge, Global War on Terrorism, Army Achievement Medal with Two Oak-leaf Clusters and several other awards. He earned a BA degree in Philosophy at Dillard University, a Master of Social Work degree at Southern University at New Orleans and a MA degree in Religious Studies at Loyola University of New Orleans. He earned a PhD in Counseling at the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Capella University. Dr. Odom is a member of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association of Social Workers, Council on Social Work Education, Academy of Certified Social Workers, American Psychoanalytic Association, Association of Military Surgeons United States (Life Member), American Philosophical Association and Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons. He served on the ABO Board for the City of New Orleans. Dr. Odom is a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. where served as a board member of the Southwestern Province (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas). He is currently the chairman for the Health and Wellness for the Southwestern Province. He is also a Member At-Large of the Military and Veterans Affairs Commission of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a feature writer for the Journal of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Suzanne Pritzker began her professional career as a policy advisor for the Virginia Secretary of Education and as an analyst for the Virginia General Assembly. With a front-line view of the policy-making process, she developed a passion for educating and empowering vulnerable populations to participate in – and influence – public policy development and implementation. Her scholarship investigates how young people become civically involved and practice interventions to increase their empowerment and their engagement. Her research has focused on the impacts of interventions such as community-based participatory research, in the form of Photovoice, and service-learning on youth’s civic engagement. Dr. Pritzker is committed to preparing social workers for their ethical responsibility to advocate with and on behalf of vulnerable populations. In one line of research, she extensively examines how social work programs prepare students to influence policy. She is actively involved in national efforts to strengthen the policy influence of the social work profession, including service on multiple national committees and on the board of Influencing Social Policy. She facilitates trainings on teaching policy for social work faculty across the U.S. Additionally, Dr. Pritzker is co-author of the textbook, Political Social Work: Using Power to Create Social Change. At the GCSW, Dr. Pritzker seeks through her teaching to guide students to understand how policy is developed and implemented and, ways they can participate in political processes, and to develop the skills necessary to engage in policy advocacy on behalf of and alongside their clients. She leads the GCSW’s Political Social Work Specialization and directs the College’s Austin Legislative Internship Program, a competitive internship program that places social work students in the Texas legislature for the entirety of each biennial legislative session. She created the College’s Policy Insider Series, a monthly policy seminar series, and is faculty advisor for the M.A.C.R.O. Student Network and the Policy Insider Advisory Committee.

Anna Forbes Towns, Esq. is in private practice at the firm established as Anna Forbes Towns and Associates. The firm specializes in the practice of administrative law primarily representing clients in cases involving social security appeals and the appeal of veterans’ benefits claims. Towns is committed to advocacy, training, outreach and representation of undeserved constituencies. Throughout her career, Towns has skillfully combined training and experience in the fields of social work, education and law to serve as an effective advocate for at risk children, families, veterans and other under-served constituencies. She has been recognized for her expertise and work in the development of model programs and work products geared toward enhancing the quality of life for those residing in low and moderate income communities. A highlight of her career was serving as an appointee in the Administration of President Bill Clinton. During this appointment at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Towns played a key role in the successful launching of HUD’s Faith-Based and Community Outreach Initiative. Anna enjoys membership and affiliation with numerous organizations including: the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Towns earned her B.A. degree in Sociology from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD; the M.S.W. degree from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY; and the J.D. degree from Howard University School of Law. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from the Virginia University of Lynchburg located in Lynchburg, Virginia.