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2017 Harold Delaney Exemplary Educational Leadership Awardee


Chancellor James A. Anderson

Fayetteville State University


Dr. James A. Anderson serves as Chancellor and Professor of Psychology at Fayetteville State University. He began his duties as Chancellor of the state’s second-oldest public institution on June 9, 2008. Before coming to FSU, Anderson served as the University at Albany’s (New York) Vice President for Student Success, Vice Provost for Institutional Assessment and Diversity and Professor of Psychology.


Raised in Washington, D.C, Anderson majored in psychology at Villanova University in Pennsylvania.  He later earned a doctoral degree in the field of cognitive psychology from Cornell University in New York, and upon completion he accepted his first academic appointment in the Department of Psychology at Xavier University in New Orleans.


In 1992, he began his 11-year tenure as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs at North Carolina State University. In 2003, Anderson was recruited to Texas A&M University, a major land-grant institution serving more than 50,000 students, as Vice President and Associate Provost for Institutional Assessment and Diversity. He held that post until joining the University at Albany in 2005.


Anderson is active in professional, civic, and higher-education organizations. He is a member of the American Council on Education’s Commission on Inclusion, the Board of Directors of United Way of Cumberland County, the Advisory Boards of AASCU and AAC&U, the Advisory Board for NAFEO, and a member of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Campus Compact on Civic Engagement.  He also serves on the advisory boards of Wells Fargo, the Lumina Foundation, and the NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement).  He is a member of the 100 Black Men Cape Fear Region and Sigma Pi Phi, the oldest African American fraternity.


Under Chancellor Anderson’s leadership FSU has increased its support of and engagement with the military. The university has opened a Veteran’s Student Center for advising and scheduling. FSU provides Entrepreneurial boot-camps for Veterans and their spouses, and a separate boot-camp for Wounded Warriors. FSU has developed a Center for Defense and Homeland Security that offers certificates in Cyber Security. The university supports both Army and Air Force detachments of ROTC.  Also, the university supports the AGORA Program, which enhances the cyber skills of area middle school students.


Chancellor Anderson has expanded the global footprint of the university by expanding international initiatives in China, Africa, India, and Europe. These initiatives are focused on degree program completion, reciprocal program development, summer institutes, and faculty/staff residential exchanges. FSU also supports real-time, web-based academic courses that FSU students share with students from China and India.

Among his edited publications are “The Unfinished Agenda: Brown vs. the Board of Education”, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision.  He also published a second best seller: “Driving Change through Diversity and Globalization: Transformative Leadership in the Academy.”  Dr. Anderson has consulted with over 350 colleges and universities addressing topics such as teaching effectiveness, retention and persistence, and the assessment of student learning and diversity.



2017 Pacesetters Awardee



Michael Bonner, Jr.

South Greenville Elementary


Michael Bonner, Jr. currently teaches at South Greenville Elementary in Greenville, NC. He is in his 4th year of teaching and he serves as the 2nd grade level chair and is on the School Improvement Team. 

He signed a Division 1 scholarship to Winston-Salem State University after having a successful basketball career in Perquimans County. He was Daily Advance Player of the Year, Virginia Pilot Player of the week, and was selected to the East and West Basketball All-Star game.


He then transferred to Elizabeth City State University after his sophomore year at Winston Salem to pursue a new start and a new major. He chose to major in Elementary Education with a concentration in Psychology. He graduated with honors from Elizabeth City State University in May of 2013. He is currently working on his School Administration Degree to further his professional career to becoming a chancellor.





2017 Pacesetters Awardee




Barry White Jr.


 Ashley Park Elementary School



Barry White Jr., popularly recognized as the “Handshake Teacher” is a top tier educator in the South Carolina school system, teaching 5th graders of Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. White earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Claflin University, and is also a distinguished member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.


As an educator for the past three years, Mr. White has made it his mission to build relationships with students and create a family oriented atmosphere, where students can be assured that their voice matters. He strives to inspire through innovative teaching practices, and by nurturing creativity amongst young scholars.


In 2016, Mr. White discovered that a practice he’d implemented as a sign of trust between he and his students, had gone viral. Mr. White’s increasing popularity stemmed from the recording, which depicted him giving personalized handshakes to each of his students, attracting attention all over the world. His purpose—to stress the importance of individuality and the positive impact that giving individualized attention to each student can have. Mr. White has also been featured in the Charlotte Observer, highlighting his efforts as cofounder for the Ashley Park Blue Wings Step Team : the school’s first ever step team, consisting of 4th-8th grade students. It is his goal to create opportunities that will generate collegiate interests amongst students and propel them to strive for for sights and adventures beyond their local surroundings.


Barry White Jr. has been instrumental in youth empowerment, encouraging youth to utilize their personal platforms and gifts to motivate and inspire others. He believes in pushing children to be global leaders, fostering both global and cultural awareness. Mr. White aims to continue his career in educational leadership, with plans of becoming a school principal in the coming years. Barry has also founded an organization, the Barry White Jr. Foundation, where he will be a direct liaison for educators, providing tips on enhancing the learning experience for students, capitalizing on the various learning styles.





AABHE Public Service Award




Venessa Harrison

President, AT&T North Carolina


Venessa Harrison is President, AT&T North Carolina, a position to which she was named in March 2013, having previously served as Regional Vice President of External Affairs. In her current position, she is responsible for the public policy, economic development and community affairs activities of AT&T, a leading provider of wireless and wireline communications services. In her role, she works closely with state and community leaders to help bring new technology and jobs to the state and improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians.

A native North Carolinian, Harrison began her career with AT&T and its predecessor companies in the Operator Services organization. She subsequently she moved through positions of increasing responsibility in the network, business and regulatory and external affairs departments.

In addition to her AT&T responsibilities, Harrison has also been very involved in community, charitable, and education activities. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of North Carolina A&T State University, and on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Chamber, the North Carolina Business Leaders for Education (BEST NC), the Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority (CRVA).

Ms. Harrison holds a Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. She is married with two children.




Joseph H. Silver, Sr. LMI Alumni Award



Dr. Barbara J. Johnson


Leadership and Mentoring Institute 



Dr. Barbara J. Johnson is the 2017 Joseph H. Silver, Sr., Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) Alumni Award recipient. 


Dr. Johnson has worked in academe for over 20 years as both an administrator and faculty member. She received her baccalaureate degree in accounting from Winston-Salem State University, her M.B.A. with a marketing focus from The Ohio State University, and her Ph.D. in Education and Human Development with an emphasis in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University.

Currently, Dr. Johnson is a Vice President for Accreditation Relations at the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of seven regional accrediting bodies in the United States.  Before assuming her post at HLC, she held two executive leadership positions at Meharry Medical College (MMC).  Dr. Johnson previously served as a Professor of Adult and Higher Education and Chair of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University and held faculty positions at the University of New Orleans, Jackson State University, Vanderbilt University, and Volunteer State Community College.  Her early professional experience includes student affairs administration, community college and adult education, marketing research and consultation in both higher education and corporate environments at Wake Forest University Medical School, Vanderbilt University and CB&A Market Research Group. 

Dr. Johnson actively participates in several professional associations within the profession and most notably is a charter member of the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE).  Her affiliation with AABHE/Black Caucus of the American Association of Higher Education began in 1999 when she was selected as the winner of the Dissertation Doctoral Student Award given by the Black Caucus. In 2003, she participated in the inaugural Black Caucus LMI 2003 class.  Once AABHE was established, Dr. Johnson served as the Site Coordinator for the Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI) in 2008 and was appointed Director of LMI in fall 2008.  She works with a committed team of LMI alumni and faculty to prepare African American faculty and administrators for the next phase of academic leadership.  Under her guidance and in collaboration with alumni, donations have increased and several initiatives have been implemented including the Fellows Program, Newsletter, and electronic application process. Through LMI and the academy, Dr. Johnson has mentored numerous students, administrators, and junior faculty. She has been consistently involved for the past 10 years as a faculty member and mentor with the Asa G. Hilliard and Barbara A. Sizemore Research Course on African Americans and Education.  

Active involvement in civic life is a guiding value for Dr. Johnson, and she currently engages in public service in Chicago with the Community Action Committee of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, and often volunteers for national sporting events as a ‘goodwill’ ambassador. Within her sorority, she is the Chapter Representative to the National Centennial Committee.  In addition, she is committed to her church family where she participates using her many talents whether with fundraising, mentoring, or serving meals. 

Dr. Johnson has received numerous awards for her work but for her the highlights are the AABHE Exemplary Award for Public Service in 2012 for her commitment and service to LMI and the Alumni Achiever Award in 2015 from Winston-Salem State University. 


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