From Our President...
Dr. Bisa Lewis
It is quite the honor to serve as the President of Black Child Development Institute (BCDI)-Atlanta! On behalf of our national office (NBCDI), Board of Directors, members, partners, and volunteers, I bring you greetings from Georgia’s Capitol!
I accepted the charge to lead this organization, because I want to pay it forward. When I was growing up in Southwest Georgia, there were so many servants and leaders in my community whose relationships and genuine care for my well-being made it possible for me to become the woman, mother, and educator I am today. I strive to replicate constructive learning experiences with others who cross my path, in hopes to inspire the next generation to be leaders and assets to society.
Even after serving as Vice President of BCDI-Atlanta for nearly four years, I am continually impressed by the work our Affiliate does in Georgia’s communities. I love it that we are not pointing fingers; we’re taking ownership of challenges and concerns in the Black community and facilitating solutions! Ultimately, ALL children and families benefit from the work we do.
In each of our focus areas—literacy, child health, child welfare, policy, family engagement, and early childhood education, we are supporting communities through research, programs, and resources, so we can truthfully say Being Black is NOT a Risk Factor and “all the children are well”. I plan to leave this world empty, working and serving to build up our communities by inspiring youth, empowering families, and educating future leaders. Along the way, I hope to meet others who will commit to passing on this perpetual gift of service; because service is the gift that keeps on giving!
See you soon!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Debbie R. Hillman, CEO of Developing Human Resources Consultants, an organization focused on building quality services for children and families, has distinguished herself as one whose caring compassion and love to “serve all mankind” is exemplary. Beyond her professional endeavors, this community “champion” has found herself serving across a variety of mission-driven organizations. Her mantra is “service is the rent she pays for her time here on earth”. And, she demonstrates that through her role as Leadership Chairman of Strengthening Families Georgia and newly elected Board Chair-Black Child Development-Atlanta. She’s an active, hardworking member of AKA, TLOD, and NAACP, too!
Debbie is a champion who C.A.R.E.S., as she collaborates with both traditional and nontraditional partners throughout her community, acting on behalf of children and families. A strong family, child, and community advocate, she is always working to ensure that issues affecting citizens are addressed. Through her coordinated efforts, thousands of new registered voters are able to lend their voices. We are better informed because of her civic engagement efforts and voter education activities. Lastly, she is constantly involved in social media and other strategies to stimulate individuals to “speak up”!
Tatjyana Elmore is currently a Center Director for a Georgia Early Head Start and Head Start program. Ms. Elmore received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from DeVry University and a Master of Arts in Adult Education from Central Michigan University. She is DECAL Bright from the Start in the State of Georgia Certified Level 2 Intermediate trainer since 2012. Ms. Elmore provides training support and coaching to EHS/HS staff, licensed early learning centers, and CDA graduates. Ms. Elmore is a published author written in collaboration with early childhood professionals. She currently serves as the Board Treasurer for the National Black Child Development Institute Atlanta affliction. She is passionate about BCDI-Atlanta’s mission and vision to make a difference in the state of Georgia for children and Families of color.
My name is Britne Mcduffie! I am from McRae, Ga. My career as a Child Development Specialist (Toddler Teacher) began during my internship at Georgia Southern Child Development Center. I continued my work with young children after my internship by becoming the lead teacher in the Toddler Two classroom at Georgia Southern Child Development Center (five years now). As a lab teacher, my role is to serve as a role model and mentor to students who are working towards their degree in child development.
I have received an associate degree in Early Childhood Education from East Georgia State College and a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from Georgia Southern University. I recently received my master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology. I’m currently pursuing another bachelor’s degree in early education administration from Purdue Global University (Fall 2024). I was the Fall 2020 Stellar Student Award Recipient for BCDI-Atlanta. I am a Georgia approved trainer (2020). I’m a member of BCDI-Atlanta and GAEYC. I’m also a part of BCDI-Atlanta Board of Directors and serve as District 3 Representative on GAEYC board. I have had the pleasure of presenting at the National Black Child Development Institute 49th Annual Conference, Georgia Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Conference, Southern Conference on Children, and BCDI: Summit on Children on meeting the development needs of toddlers within a classroom setting. Teaching and training ALL is a strength of minds, and something I grow more passionate about each day.
I love teaching young children within a learning environment and working collaboratively with others to impact and make a difference for ALL children. I am happy that I get to continue this journey to impacting children’s lives. Nothing is more exciting than seeing children conquer new milestones. Each day is a new adventure filled with new things to discover and learn. My goal is to provide a welcoming and encouraging early learning experience that motivates each child’s social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development. I joined BCDI-Atlanta to become a voice for children who look like me. To make a difference and impact the lives of children. I strive to go the distance for ALL, and BCDI-Atlanta allows me to do so through their advocacy and dedication to improving the lives of Black families and children.
Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis is a best-selling author, diversely experienced education authority and renowned public speaker. Her publications include education and parenting articles, college textbooks, children's books and music, nationally recognized early childhood curriculum (WINGS), and motivational books for educators. With over 30 years of experience in education as a public school teacher, lab school director, Head Start center manager, high school career and technical education (CTE) instructor, college faculty and dean, Dr. Bisa promotes realistic methods of implementing high-quality research-based practices for both adults and children.
Dr. Bisa has proudly served as an executive leader of Black Child Development Institute (BCDI)-Atlanta since 2015 - Vice President from 2015-2018 and President since 2018, helping to cultivate the organization’s mission and vision. Professing as a life goal to advocate for children, including the equitable distribution of resources and opportunities, she is actively committed to upgrading Georgia’s child-serving workforce and programs.
Nathan Thompson is a co-conspirator of anti-racism as he grapples with the intersection of privilege as it presents itself in race, gender, class, ability, etc. This work is critical to his approach to education. He is dedicated to collaboration as a means to creating growth through effective and nurturing learning environments for all, promoting advocacy for children, families, and educators. As a board member, he is dedicated to be in service to the mission of BCDI-Atlanta, working to advocate for the best future for Black children and families. The NBCDI Eight Essential Outcomes are in direct alignment with Nathan’s own values of equity, authenticity, and connection. His work with Rollins Center for Language and Literacy through “Literacy and Justice for All” is related to BCDI’s goal to “partner with child-serving agencies to implement culturally relevant and culturally responsive programs promoting high-quality early care and education, literacy, health, and family engagement.”
Dr. Keon N. Berry is a dynamic scholar-practitioner with a rich background in education management. Driven by a passion for positive social change, Dr. Berry utilizes core principles of equity, advocacy, and innovation to drive impactful transformations in higher education, early childhood education, education policy, academia, and social welfare. Throughout Dr. Berry's career, he has demonstrated a track record of unwavering commitment to empowering families and fostering favorable outcomes for youth of all ages. Through vision, passion, and service to all humanity, Dr. Keon N. Berry strives to help children and families envision and actualize their dreams of a prosperous future.
Brigitte Willis is a proud member of BCDI-Atlanta and has been serving as Member at Large since 2023. She is a devoted mother of one child, William. Brigitte was born in Caldwell County, NC and attended Appalachian State University (ASU). While at ASU, Brigitte studied finance and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA).
Being a single parent for the first five years of my son’s life really put things into perspective quickly. Waking up to a mediocre job and squarely focusing on earning enough money to pay for childcare consumed most of my day. The answer was in my hands if the focus shifted.
Many years later I am advocating for DEIBJ in ECE spaces. BCDI-Atlanta has opened my eyes to the genius of Black children and when Black children thrive, everyone WILL thrive! The time to ACT is now! You are your best advocate!
holds a BA in Communications from Georgia State University and is pursuing a Master of Social Work at Howard University. She passionately advocates for marginalized communities, youth, and displaced families. With over ten years of social service experience, Ashlee has worked diligently to facilitate and maintain resources, organizational structure, and programming for various government and non-profit organizations.
In addition to her work in the social service industry, she is also an educator, having worked as an English teacher in China and pre-k instructor. Ashlee’s passion for serving marginalized communities has led her to travel frequently, living abroad and in multiple states nationwide.
Ashlee volunteers at various organizations across the metro Atlanta area in her free time, including Covenant House, and takes pride in being creative as a writer and photographer.
is a proud dual MBA degree holder in Human Resources Management, from prestigious universities located in Australia and United States. Not only does Lubna hold dual degrees, she also has more than twenty years of experience working in the administrative field in multiple parts of the world.
Apart from her professional life, she is very keen on assisting those in need by volunteering at multiple reputed nonprofit organizations to make a difference in the world of those with disabilities and life-threatening conditions.
In addition to her professional and charity work, she has extensive knowledge and experience about how the fashion industry works. Being a fashion entrepreneur, her passion of designing beautiful ethnic wear for all occasions is clearly seen through her work. Not only does she design custom wear ethnic clothing, she has vast knowledge of marketing her products through social media.
is currently enrolled at Georgia State University. Nina is pursuing a degree in Social Work, a field that resonates deeply with her.
Nina's connection to the world of social work traces back to her family, where she discovered her innate passion for making a positive impact on the lives of others. Growing up with a twin brother who has autism, she learned firsthand the importance of understanding and supporting individuals with disabilities and other challenges that people may face in their lives.
Eager to translate her compassion into action, Nina embarked on her academic journey with unwavering determination. As the vice president of the Social Work Club, she plays an instrumental role in fostering a supportive community for like-minded individuals, all driven by a shared commitment to social welfare.
In a world where empathy and action go hand in hand, Nina Martin stands out as an embodiment of compassion and dedication.