Board of Directors


Clarence Robert Carter, MBA

Donna Jean Carter, PhD

Judy Carter

Joy Charles

Jacqueline Cheaves

Cheryl Jackson

Barry Caison




Joycelyn Collins

Crystal Davis

Troy Garrett

Isaac Jackson

Karen Mercer

Michelle A. Plummer, Esquire

Ivan Raphael


Clarence Robert Carter, MBA

Clarence R. Carter, a recently retired educator and entrepreneur, serves the GateWay Academy as Chair of the Board of Directors. His 45+ year span of management experience and educational background provide the unique leadership combination essential to bring the boarding school into fruition.

Starting out in the field of Human Services, Mr. Carter earned his B.A. in Social Work from Michigan State University and immediately began working with incarcerated male juvenile offenders in a Michigan residential treatment facility, later supervising and counseling those young men recently released to their communities. Seeing the severity of the educational deficits in his young charges and the need to intervene in the formal system of education on their behalf, Mr. Carter returned to Michigan State to earn a Master's degree in Educational Administration. He subsequently joined the Grand Rapids Public School's management team. While there, Mr. Carter worked with at-risk young men assuring that they were prepared to become gainfully employed as productive contributors to society through a Career and Vocational Education Program which he developed for underserved youth.

Seeking to make an even greater contribution to the lives of underserved youth, Mr. Carter, a life-long learner, left the security of what he knew to enter the hallowed halls of the Harvard Business School. He thought it prudent that he gain a better understanding of the Business world and the opportunities it holds for qualified young men. He also saw this as an opportunity to push forward the somewhat timid social agency approach to provision of service. After earning his Master's degree in Business Administration from Harvard, Mr. Carter earned his bona fides through increasingly responsible positions including financial analysis and budgeting, sales, marketing, and strategic planning, in renowned corporations including, Xerox, General Motors, Lear-Siegler, and Honeywell.

Along the way, Mr. Carter also found time to serve as adjunct professor of Business at DeVry Institute of Technology and Grand Valley State University, however, he never forgot the youth at-risk in our society and continued to seek ways to give back to the community by marrying the business and the educational worlds. In 2002, he returned to the field of education full time becoming Principal of a K-12 Christian School two years later, where he remained until his retirement in 2011.

Donna Jean Carter, PhD

Dr. Donna Jean Carter, President of the GateWay Academy, has recently retired after working in the field of education for close to 50 years. She has taught at all levels and has experience both in large and small public and private school settings. Dr. Carter has demonstrated expertise in training teachers and in curriculum writing. She has held numerous administrative positions in public education at both district level as a School Superintendent and on the post-secondary level in the public and private community college settings and in private School of Ministry. She has also been an adjunct professor in several State Universities in CA and MN.

Dr. Carter has worked with reading disabled children and at-risk male incarcerated teenagers. She has authored 3 children's primers and a wealth of professional educational articles, including her doctoral dissertation on the positive effects on high school students of experienced-based career education. She has traveled the world and knows the value of wide cultural exposure.

Dr. Carter was honored to serve as President of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, one of the largest international, professional education organizations. She has spoken at many national conferences including NSBA, NABSE, and ASCD. She holds teaching certifications in MI, MN, and SC.

Dr. Carter holds a BA, an MA and a PHD from Michigan State University and a second Master's degree in Management and Human Resource Development from John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, California.

Michelle A. Plummer

Michele A. Plummer is a staff attorney in the Child Advocacy Unit at the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. in Baltimore City. As a staff attorney, she represents and advocates for children in the foster care system in Baltimore City whose ages range from birth to 21 years. During her 10 years at the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. she has had the opportunity to empower youth by giving them information and counseling them to make good decisions regarding their lives.

In the course of her career, Michele has worked with youth of all ages from varying backgrounds in multiple capacities. In the legal field, she represented the best interests of children involved in child custody cases as a court appointed Guardian ad Litem during her years as a sole practitioner. In the educational arena, she has worked as a part-time elementary school tutor in math and reading in the District of Columbia, additionally serving youngsters as a long-term substitute in Head Start. Michele also gained supervisory experience at Bowie State University during the colleges' New Student Orientation Program for which she provided oversight to a staff of college students and visiting program youth. Additionally, over the last 14 years Michele has continued faithfully to volunteer in the nursery program at her church, serving infants and teaching toddlers while supervising other youth and adult staff volunteers.

Michele derives from a multicultural background. Having travelled to many countries, she continues to enjoy learning about and experiencing other cultures. A focus on education established early in Michele's life, resulted in her earning both an Artium Baccalaurei as a sociology major at Dartmouth College and a Juris Doctor at George Washington University.

Isaac Tyrone Jackson Sr

Isaac T. Jackson, Sr., is a current adult leader in Troop 81 of the Boy Scouts of America, a former United States Marine Corps Non-Commissioned Officer, and Retired Naval Officer.

Commencing his professional career with the Department of Defense (DoD) in the field of Systems Engineering and Information Technology Management, Mr. Jackson earned an A.S. in Science from Valley Forge Military College and then chose to complete a B.S. in Computer Science from Hampton University. While attending Hampton University, Mr. Jackson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. After graduating from Hampton University and during his enlistment with the Marine Corps Reserves, Mr. Jackson began working for the DoD in the area of Information Technology Systems Development.

Because of his interest in Software Engineering, Mr. Jackson chose to further his studies in Computer Science, and while working for the DoD, obtained a Master's degree in Computer Science from Howard University. Seeking to use what he learned in the area of Computer Science, Mr. Jackson went to work for the Department of Commerce's Patent and Trademark Office as a Patent Examiner in the area of databases, data mining, file management, and data structures. After obtaining an in-depth understanding of the patent examination process, Mr. Jackson was employed by the DoD's Defense Information Systems agency where he now works as a Project Manager for Emerging Information Technology Capabilities having acquired over 20 years of service in the DoD.

Barry Caison

Barry Caison earned A.A.S. Degrees in Civil and Construction Engineering Technology from Northern Virginia Community College in 1983 and 1990 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering with an area of concentration in land development, water resources and building construction from the University of the District of Columbia in 2003. He completed a Professional Master of Engineering with a concentration in Project Management from the University of Maryland in 2007.

Currently serving as Project Manager for Ben Dyer Associates, Inc., Mr. Caison brings over 20 years of experience in real estate/land development projects and in the analysis, design construction and maintenance of residential, commercial and institutional developments. This includes roads, water and sewer systems, landscape design, critical areas, storm drain and stormwater management systems and sediment control practices.

Mr. Caison has training and experience in preparing construction plans, and preparing and obtaining construction, wetland, and waterways permits. He is trained and experienced in hydrology and hydraulics. This experience includes the analysis and design of storm drain systems, stormwater management and water quality Best Management Practice systems (bio-retention areas). He is also trained and experienced in land planning and engineering design. This experience includes obtaining information of all utilities associated with a property, obtaining site histories, analyzing a site's development potential, preparing design and construction drawings for storm drain systems, stormwater management systems, sediment control systems, and roadways, and performing grading, earthwork computations and construction cost estimates.

Mr. Caison's diverse background includes experience in institutional construction management, and he is also a former government engineer and program manager for Fairfax County, Virginia, experienced in the areas of flood control dams, stormwater management/storm drain systems and walkways design, construction, inspection and maintenance. His assignments have included Prince George's County, Maryland, Fairfax and Arlington Counties in Virginia. His professional affiliations include the American Society of Civil Engineers American Concrete Institute and the State of Maryland-Certified Erosion & Sediment Control Maryland #14957.

Joycelyn L. Collins

Ms.Joycelyn L. Collins has over 30 years of experience in the communications field, with a focus on writing and editing. She currently serves as Secretary of the GateWay Academy. Since 2008, she has worked as a program analyst performing policy analysis, program implementation, and documentation functions for the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA].

Ms. Collins previously spent 13 years at CSC, the last 5 as Communications Manager for the National Flood Insurance Program Bureau and Statistical Agent contract. She directed the daily operations of the Communications Group in developing, maintaining, and disseminating program documentation. Ms. Collins oversaw the development, production, printing, and online posting of more than two dozen different public awareness materials, including a 40-page magazine-style quarterly newsletter with a distribution of 90,000.

Earlier in her career, Ms. Collins spent 17 years with Vitro Corporation, a federal contractor for the Department of Defense. Her responsibilities included developing a variety of proposals, policy documents, newsletters and brochures, technical articles, speeches and presentations, and technical manuals. She served as a Proposal Manager in the Business Development sector, overseeing the production of over 100 proposals annually. As a writer-editor, Ms. Collins developed a Cultural Diversity Plan for a National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) bid that has since been used as a prototype at NASA and at other companies. As an elected member of the Vitro Technical Journal Editorial Board, she edited two award-winning articles.

Ms. Collins earned a BA degree from the University of Virginia, completing degree requirements in both Communications and African-American Studies with an English minor. She received a full fellowship to Cornell University, where she earned a Master of Professional Studies degree in African and African-American Studies. While a graduate assistant at Cornell, Ms. Collins was co-instructor of an English Department basic writing skills course for advanced placement students.

Crystal D. Davis

Crystal D. Davis, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Planner, an Enrolled Agent, and president of Davis & Ritter CPAs, LLC, a family-owned tax and wealth management firm in Camp Springs, Maryland. She holds securities and insurance licenses in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and has geared her financial planning practice toward helping women and young adults find their financial footing.

Before joining the tax and financial planning business in 2009, Crystal spent much of her professional life as a journalist, working for more than a decade as an editor and newsroom leader for such publications as The Washington Post, USA Today, the Detroit Free Press, McClatchy Newspapers and Roll Call. She also served as a consultant and editor for such publications as the NAACP's Crisis magazine and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine through her communications consulting business.

Crystal graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in business from Howard University. She has won several awards and fellowships, including ones from The Financial  Planning Institute and Dow Jones. She is a member of the Financial Planning Association, the National Association of Enrolled Agents, the Maryland Association of Accountants and Tax Professionals and the Association of African American Financial Advisors. Crystal is also a member of the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP, and Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. (TLOD), a women’s service organization focusing on youth and senior citizens, where she serves as a chapter and regional officer.

Crystal is a native Washingtonian and resides in Bowie, MD.

Judy Carter

Judy Carter recently retired from the federal government after serving a rewarding 45-year career.  Forty-three years were with the U.S. Department of Justice.  She served 22 years as the Director, Office of Budget and Management for the U.S. Parole Commission with responsibility providing management and organizational advice to the Chairman and management officials.  Ms. Carter developed policy guidance in response to statutory, regulatory, and administrative requirements.  She was also responsible for overseeing budget formulation and execution, accounting operations, human resources, employee development, procurement, security, facilities, and program evaluation.  Prior to joining the U.S. Parole Commission, Ms. Carter held supervisory and specialized positions in the field of human resources management for 21 years with the Justice Management Division and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. Prior to earning her bachelor’s degree in Urban Affairs in 1973, she began her federal career as a student at the U.S. Department of Commerce.   

Joy Charles

Joy Charles has served 25+ years in service to the Federal Government in various capacities but all under the umbrella of human capital management.  Mrs. Charles is graduate of Elizabeth City State University where she majored in Mathematics Education.  A long-time member of her Church, Mrs. Charles has served in various ministries including Ministry of Knowledge and Sports and Fitness.  She is the proud parent of two sons.

Jacqueline Cheaves

It was during her graduate studies at The George Washington University that Jacqueline Cheaves made the decision that high school was where she wanted to be.  It represented one of the last times that an impact could be made in the lives of our young people before entering the real world.

Born and raised in the great city of Washington, D.C., her parents raised her and her sister to love the Lord and to value education.  After graduating from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School, she attended George Washington University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology. 

After working several years in the Federal Government and with the support of her husband and three children, she returned to GW to obtain a Master’s degree in Education and Human Development with a concentration in School Counseling.  At the same time, she became certified as a National Certified Counselor (NCC).  She immediately began working in the field as a School Counselor at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, in Wheaton, MD and remained there for three years until relocating to Charles County, MD.  Over the past twelve years, she has served as Chair of the department at Westlake High School for eight years and the last four at St. Charles High School where she’s been since its opening in 2014. 

“I consider myself truly blessed, not because of what I have obtained, but rather because I have an opportunity to make an impact on young lives every day”.   

Cheryl Jackson

Though an entrepreneur, Ms. Jackson is quoted as saying, “My real business is to extend God’s kingdom:  I just work to pay expenses.”  As the eighth child of nine, growing up in the DMV was not glorious, but loving.  In fact, two of my siblings and nephew were among the unsolved murders in DC.  It strikes me that whereas our youth can be quite impetuous and sometimes a bit mischievous, they are, nonetheless, a wonderful resource in the kingdom of heaven.  Our young men need relationships that are both caring and stable. They need to build a sense of trust and have the time to communicate the complexity, frustrations, and positive aspects of their lives in and out of school.  Gateway is that path. “Whatever good I have accomplished as a person, I owe it fully to the “Glory of God.”  For everything comes from God alone, everything lives by His power and everything we have is for His Glory. (Rom 11:36)


Troy Scott Garrett is a customer focused System Engineer with 28 years of Information Technology experience, in positions ranging from individual contributor to consultant and manager. Areas of responsibility have included providing enterprise level solutions and support necessitating in-depth knowledge of Microsoft software and Dell/HP server hardware. My experience in software/hardware migrations and user training in a variety of corporate and public environments has been used to enhance the portability and delivery of customer products and services.

Troy enjoys photography, has established Garrett Photography, and is responsible for memorializing many important events. He has two high school children, and volunteers with the school's track team, additionally serving on a local school board.  Garrett currently lives in  Bowie, MD.

Karen Mercer

Karen Mercer, born and raised in Southeast DC, currently resides in Suitland, MD.

Employed for almost 33 years with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), often in positions responsible for serving the public, Ms. Mercer is the recipient of the agency’s Catherine Forster Public Service Award.  While working at the FCC, she studied and graduated from the University of the District of Columbia, cum laude, with a BS in Speech and Language Pathology.  She presently works in the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau as her office’s primary point of contact for responding to congressional inquiries and requests for information filed under the Freedom of Information Act.   

Ms. Mercer enjoys serving in the Usher Ministry at her church, volunteering with Gateway and spending time with family and friends.

Ivan Raphael

Ivan Raphael is a licensed electrician that has worked in the D.C. Metro area for more than 25 years. Ivan was born and raised in New Orleans, La. After receiving his Associates of applied science degree in 1988, he moved to Washington, DC to further his education at UDC as a biology major.

In addition to being a full time student, Ivan work part time at Hyattsville Animal Hospital as a lab tech. Ivan always had an interest in the world of natural sciences. While at a UDC Ivan picked up the hobby of photography, and it turned out that he had a way of capturing the essence of the moment on film. By a chance meeting with a local photographer, Ivan was offered a position at Earl Howard Studios of Washington, DC. That was in 1990, presently Ivan is still on-call part-time with the studio to cover special events, like wedding or graduations.

In the early 90’s Ivan decided to put his electrical degree into gear. He began by working in Falls Church, Virginia for LES Electrical Service and then worked for Reed Electric, in Georgetown, D.C. In the summer of 2002, Ivan ventured off from Reed Electric to start a new journey with his own business and ideas,…”Bright Ideas” Electrical Services. Today, Ivan and his crew of four workers help to service the electrical maintenance and upgrades to residential and commercial properties in the DMV. 

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