Board of Directors

       

eehairston.jpg

 

   

Ernest E. Hairston, Ph.D., Founder & Honorary Chairman of the Board, grew up in the coal mining town of Stotesbury, West Virginia. His father was a coal miner, and his mother was a housewife. At the age of 5, he contracted spinal meningitis which rendered him profoundly deaf. Through a combination of hard work, family support, mentoring, and scholarships, he became the first Black deaf person to receive a doctoral degree from Gallaudet University. Dr. Hairston retired from the U.S. Department of Education after more than 40 years of public service in various capacities, including Chief of the Captioning and Adaptation Branch.

Dr. Hairston wrote Black and Deaf In America – Are We that Different? with Linwood Smith in 1983. He is one of the founders of National Black Deaf Advocates, the oldest and largest organization of deaf and hard of hearing Black people in the United States. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Maryland School for the Deaf. He is a Director of Artistic Sign Language and an advisor to the Department of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He is a popular inspirational speaker. Contact Dr. Ernest Hairston

MYH_Headshot1.jpg

   

Mencie Y. Hairston, M.Ed., Founder & Executive Director, established High Bridge Foundation, Inc. with her husband, Dr. Ernest E. Hairston, in February, 2012. Having been a self-supporting student in college (University of the Philippines) and graduate school (Gallaudet University), Mrs. Hairston has a personal appreciation for the role scholarships play in allowing students attain their educational goals.

Mrs. Hairston is involved in various educational and community outreach initiatives. She currently serves on the Scholarship Committee for the the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, the Board of Directors of Discovering Deaf Worlds, and the Board of Trustees of Mabuhay, Inc., a Filipino-American community organization which she helped establish 30 years ago in Prince George's County, Maryland. Contact Mencie Hairston

photo.JPG

   

Mayumi Hairston Escalante, President, was raised by two educators. She gained from them a love of knowledge, an appreciation of community, and the understanding that education creates opportunities and pathways. She tutored elementary, middle, and high school students in math and mentored adoptees at Camp Mabuhay, a heritage camp for children adopted from the Philippines and their families. With the help of scholarships, she attended Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, D.C. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Maryland on a partnership award from the university and the late Carl Rowan's Project Excellence Foundation. Mrs. Escalante returned as a volunteer every year the foundation remained active.

She and her husband contribute annually to The Visitation Fund and bring their daughters to alumni events at Visitation and Maryland. Mrs. Escalante works for the U.S. Census Bureau, where she provides training on export classification and ensures the quality of trade statistics. She is an advisor to the Census Bureau Diversity Council and a member of Toastmasters International. Contact Mayumi Escalante 

kelly.jpeg 

   

Michael Kelly, MBA, Vice President, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Morgan State University and holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College. He is currently a senior analyst with twelve years in public service; among his day-to-day responsibilities are data analysis, metrics, and reporting. His accomplishments include work in the relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Mr. Kelly is Chief Executive Officer and President of The Canile Group, LLC.

In addition to his strong passion for education, one of Mr. Kelly's primary reasons for joining the Foundation was to give back to the area that helped shape him into the individual that he is today. While growing up, he had strong mentors that coached, encouraged, and championed his success. After seeing the firsthand the impact that these actions had on his life, he seeks to do the same for today’s youth. Contact Michael Kelly

Brian Alexander.jpg

   

Brian Alexander, M.MIS, Director, is currently a Managing Partner for Alexander & Craig Ventures, LLC, a residential real estate development company.  Mr. Alexander along with his business partner Michael Craig, Jr. founded the company in 2009 and have been working on residential rehab projects in Washington, DC where they have solidified their position in a highly competitive market. Mr. Alexander earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Bowie State University and a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Maryland University College.

Mr. Alexander is a true believer in the power of education and the opportunities it can provide to anyone, not only in a career but, more importantly, in life. He has a great appreciation for the mission of the Foundation and lives by the expression "Pay it forward." His personal experience of creating and seizing opportunities throughout his life has helped him achieve his goals as he continues to create new ones. Contact Brian Alexander

Tolliver1.png

 

 

   

Rebekah Lippman-Tolliver, M.Ed., Director, is passionate about High Bridge Foundation’s mission of promoting the well-being of young people from underserved groups. Born in Lima, Peru, she was adopted by her American family at 15 months old and was raised in Long Island, New York. She could not walk and understood only Spanish upon her arrival to the U.S. Through her parents dedicated care and rehabilitation, she was able to meet and surpass milestones while progressing through a competitive social and educational system within her community. She learned at a young age and is frequently reminded that one’s identity is constantly evolving. Religious, racial, and social diversity are constant threads in Mrs. Tolliver's life. She and her husband strive to instill in their three multi-racial children the same values and structure to which she owes her success.

Mrs. Tolliver earned her Undergraduate Teacher Certification in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and a Master of Education in Reading from Trinity University in Washington, D.C. She is near completion of a Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She chairs her Montgomery County, Maryland elementary school’s Special Education Team. Through this and other leadership roles in the school system, she hopes to build her own legacy that supports children to achieve their potential and become contributing members of society while promoting diversity, self-expression, confidence, and self-esteem. Contact Rebekah Lippman-Tolliver

Trotman.png

   

Kwame Trotman, MBA, Director, is currently Vice President of Global Wholesale Operations at Verizon Communications. In this role, he is responsible for delivering operational support to Global Wholesale Customers, Sales and Marketing.

Mr. Trotman earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Hampton University and an Master of Business Administration from Troy State University. He served eight years honorably in the United States Marine Corps and is a proud father of two children. He served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. Contact Kwame Trotman