Human Services: Prioritizing Our People
Why is Shamoyia Gardiner not on the Education Committee, we wonder? Current Deputy Director of Strong Schools Maryland, Shamoyia Gardiner, is a woman who, after her Bachelor’s degree from University of Florida, chose to serve with AmeriCorps and Teach for America for two years. During that time she was the Head of Science at the Valor Academy of Leadership-Profectus Learning Systems, Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida. After her service to AmeriCorps (and the Valor Academy and its students and families) Shamoyia took on two fellowships: one at Atlanta Public Schools and the other at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Not one to give up on public service too easily, she next worked at the Family League of Baltimore for 2 years as a Policy Research Associate and Analyst tracking and utilizing city, state, and federal legislation in the service of the children, youth and families of Baltimore City. As Education Policy Director at Advocates for Children and Youth she focused on policy solutions for public school students, staff and families across the state of Maryland.
Did we mention that she is the current Deputy Director of Strong Schools Maryland? Strong Schools Maryland is listed as an organization with less than 10 employees on LinkedIn, but they are fighting a big fight for the passage and faithful implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. As noted on their website, Strong Schools Maryland is funded by the Fund for Educational Excellence whose expenses for last year totaled $2,271,861 (according to GuideStar.org). The Fund for Educational Excellence is a nonprofit local education fund that works to “better all children in Baltimore City Public Schools.” Staff include: Roger Schulman (President & CEO), Chuck Adkins, Kathy Caballero, Peter DeCandia, Sharon Drevitch Dondes, Ruth Farfel, Rose Greene, Angelique Jessup, Kevin Leary, Patrick Locklin, Corrie Schoenberg, Sydney Short, and Kwane Wyatt; and Board members of the fund consist of the President & CEO of the Fund (Roger Schulman), 3 community volunteers, the Vice Chair, Jim Mathias of DLA Piper, and Cinda Hughes, CFA, of T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.
Chuck Tildon is the Vice President of External Affairs at University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), but in his spare time he also volunteers with the Middle Grades Partnership helping to prepare middle schoolers for high school. Ties to Mayor Pugh aside… he was formerly with the United Way for 18 years, but broke off the relationship after serving as the “main point of contact between United Way and local government officials” at which point, he kept that role, but transferred employers… to UMMS. We’ve come full circle. At Tildon’s hiring, he worked alongside former chief of staff for the late Michael E. Busch, Kristin Jones Bryce.
During his time at the United Way, Chuck was “[a] member of the organization’s executive management team for more than 18 years, he was the United Way’s main point of contact with all government officials including the Governor, Mayor, County Executives and legislators. He was also United Way’s primary spokesperson for most media and external issues.” The Baltimore Business Journal noted the timely transition of power: “… UMMS gave former Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh $500,000 over several years to purchase and distribute copies of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books, while she was serving as a member of the board. The controversy and related investigations ultimately led to the resignations of Pugh and former UMMS CEO Robert Chrencik, and to Pugh pleading guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion for her role in the scheme.” Chuck also serves on the board of the National Aquarium and as Vice Chair of the city’s tourism agency, Visit Baltimore.
Molly Amster, Director and Founder of Jews United for Justice (Baltimore), put out a steady stream of police reform initiatives this summer and fall that were impressive not just for their specificity to the issues that the protestors and activists cared about, but also their attention to victims rights issues and the overall legislative agenda. With a click, we could view a petition that was obviously well thought-out, targetted, and in touch with what was happening on the ground. The Baltimore Bern Unit expresses our sincerest gratitude for their work in organizing around defunding the police.
Notable, among her many achievements and memberships, is her membership with “Baltimore Racial Justice Action, where she facilitates workshops on dismantling white supremacy.”
Vincent DeMarco is “a long time advocate for public health causes including reducing teen smoking, and achieving quality, affordable health care for all,” but is he a Medicare For All advocate? He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. To our chagrin, there was no RateMyProfessor available, so we had to look elsewhere for more. Our best estimate is that the student body regards him as formerly progressive, and currently entrenched in the Democratic Machine.
As President of Maryland HealthCare For All Coalition, he became the 2020 recipient of the Andy Hyman Award for Advocacy from GrantMakers in Health, principally for his work in championing “quality, affordable health care.” This falls far short of providing quality, free healthcare for everyone, but we digress… his most recent champions, GrantMakers in Health, coordinates grantmaking professionals (with 240 philanthropic organizations) who focus on 12 areas related to public health, namely: Access, Advocacy Strategies, Behavioral Health, Children and Families, Governance and Operations, Health Equity, Healthy Eating and Active Living, Integrative Health, Older Adults, Oral Health, Population Health, and Quality. Additionally, their work on immigration reform appears to be progressive but — such as everything in immigration — we’ll have to take a closer look and get back to you on that.
His popularity springs from his work on various campaigns related to NRA opposed gun control legislation, teen smoking/drinking (anti, of course), and improving access to healthcare. Mr. DeMarco was celebrated for this work by former FTC Chair Michael Pertschuk in a book (published in 2010) called, The DeMarco Factor which chronicles his “unique strategic template, developed over two decades of serial campaigning.”
Rajani Gudlavalleti is a member of a three-person Executive Team (acting as the Director of Mobilization & Community Organizing Manager) at the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition. The Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition “mobilizes community members for the health, dignity, and safety of people targeted by the war on drugs and anti-sex worker policies… [and] believe in the value and dignity of all people and that we have a duty to assist in each other’s safety.” Prior to their founding (they were founded in 2011), drug addicts in Maryland who found their friends in the midst of an overdose feared almost certain arrest if they came in contact with the police or other emergency responders, but by 2013, among a notable history of their advocacy, BHRC advocated for Good Samaritan protections for people responding to an overdose. This advocacy came to fruition as a life-saving reality for many people struggling with drug addiction, as their friends and families were released from the fear of being arrested if they asked for help. After championing the Good Samaritan legislation, BHRC then launched right into providing naloxone distribution, opioid overdose training, and training to other organizations. They advocate for Syringe Service Program expansion and other life-saving measures as well.
- Health Care for the Homeless President & CEO, Kevin Lindamood, according to sources, has taken more of a role of managing homelessness than fighting for the abolition of homelessness.
- William “Bill” McCarthy, Jr. is the Executive Director of Catholic Charities, which is Maryland’s largest private provider of human services.
- Robin Truiett-Theodorson serves on the Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) (more managing homelessness instead of eliminating it?) and as the Executive Director of Banner Neighborhoods Community Corporation.
People we would like to know better:
- Quinton Askew, CEO of 211 Maryland (“2–1–1 Maryland is charged by state law to establish and maintain an information and referral service network available to all Maryland residents, offering the public efficient 24/7 guidance in accessing health, crisis, and social services.”) and consultant for Aha Process, Inc.
- Julia Baez, Executive Director of Baltimore’s Promise.
- Nancy Blackwell, Executive Director at Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (heavily supported by COMCAST, and WALMART among others).
- I’Shea Boyd,Computer Engineering student at University of Maryland.
- Melissa Buckley, Co-Chair, Healing City Baltimore (HCB) Events & Engagement
- Jamesha Caldwell, Education Policy Legislative Intern at Advocates for Children and Youth.
- Marly Cardona Moz, Maryland Area Public Outreach Coordinator at Stokes Creative Group, Inc. and founder of Bibliotect Luz in El Salvador.
- Harold Carter, Jr., pastor of New Shiloh Baptist Church.
- Zainab Chaudry, Director of CAIR’s Office in Maryland.
- Iya Dammons
- Monalisa Diallo, Special Educator at Baltimore County Public Schools.
- Jessica Dickerson, Patient Care Tech. at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
- Howard Libit, Executive Director at Baltimore Jewish Council.
- James Nelson, Jr., Senior Pastor of Destiny Christian Church
- Carlos Ricardo Ortiz, SOMOS Organizer & Journalist
- Nancy Smith, Senior Director of Government Relations and Principal Gifts at the Maryland Food Bank.
- Rachel White, Child Welfare Policy Director at Advocates for Children and Youth.