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Board of Directors

Doris Negron, Board President. Doris is an accomplished school administrator in Chicago Public Schools. With over 15 years of experience, Doris served as K-5th grade teacher before holding several school leadership positions to implement new initiatives. Doris has a keen passion for developing school staff and is committed to professional growth. An avid, life-long learner, she has a conviction for presenting current educational research to staff to improve pedagogical practices. Presently, Doris is a resident principal at  Evergreen Middle School and looks forward to leading her own school in the fall.

Emanuel Cristian Niciu, Board Vice President. Emanuel is the founder and owner of Skyline Development, LLC., a construction company that brings residential and commercial visions to life. Emanuel also manages several other businesses, including an international pet food company. Born in Romania, then living in Spain, England and now the United States, Emanuel brings a global perspective to his leadership in Teachers Who Pray. His father suffered religious persecution as a pastor in Romania during communism, fueling Emanuel’s passion for Christian ministry. He enjoys infusing his experience, knowledge, and skills to help people in need to grow and flourish. He is a husband, father, and follower of Christ – his most important titles.

Dr. Deborah Tillman, Community Liaison. Deborah is a consultant, speaker, author, founder of Happy Home Christian Leadership Academy for Early Learners, Inc. and “America’s Supernanny” on Lifetime Television. Labeled “a force for good” by The Washington Post, Tillman has a deep passion for children. Deborah holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from George Washington University and a Doctorate in Education from the Richmond Virginia Seminary. She has also studied at Oxford University, Magdalen College in England. Deborah is currently enrolled at the John Leland School of Theology receiving a master’s degree in Christian Leadership. Among her many accomplishments, she has been a recurring parenting expert on the HARRY and Steve Harvey daytime talk shows and contributed articles to Gospel Today, Essence, and Ebony Magazines. She has appeared on The View, Today Show, Katie Show, Wendy Williams, Great Day Washington, and CNN to name a few. Read more.

Katrina Murphy, Board Secretary. Katrina is a visual arts teacher at Christopher Elementary School, which serves a large population of special needs students on the Southwest Side of Chicago. During her 20 years in education, she has taught high school art, served as an admissions counselor and smaller learning communities coordinator, and earned a master’s degree in educational administration. Katrina finds daily joy in teaching her special needs and general education students and collaborating with colleagues in pursuit of her school’s mission to “Reach All, Teach All, and Include All.”

Tara Malven, Board Treasurer. Tara started her career as an intellectual property and transaction attorney at a large law firm in Chicago. After eight years in law, she felt called to make a difference as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools. She accepted a fellowship with the Academy for Urban School Leadership and earned a master’s degree in education from National Louis University. Now a mother and homemaker, Tara lives near Detroit, Michigan, and volunteers for a long list of ministries. She has served as financial secretary of a church that serves 500 families; facilitated countless Crown Financial bible studies and Financial Peace University study groups; led numerous small groups for Bible Study Fellowship and many other bible studies with a particular focus on women ministries and marriage enrichment. Tara also has an active prayer ministry, involving identity transformation, freedom, spiritual healing, and intercessory prayer.  Her desire is to see teachers living fearlessly in their God-given identity through their faith in Christ Jesus.

Cortez Wash, Board Director. Cortez is an English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher for Revere Elementary School in Chicago Public Schools. A teacher since 2007, Cortez has experience in developing curriculum, supporting social and emotional learning, and leading academic and enrichment programs to increase student achievement. In 2009, Cortez was ordained as a licensed minister and became the Chief Adjutant of Pilgrim Assembly Rehoboth Jurisdiction of Illinois. Cortez has led the Sunday Morning Intercessor Ministry since 2017 and creates prayer agendas, plans prayer retreats, and leads book clubs.

Marilyn Anderson Rhames, Founder. Marilyn is an author, speaker, and education consultant specializing in the intersectionality of race, faith, and public education. Her book The Master Teacher: 12 Spiritual Lessons That Can Transform Schools and Revolutionize Public Education is studied in a course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Marilyn’s work has also led to her speaking in the Oval Office and giving two TEDx talks. After a career as a New York reporter, Rhames taught in Chicago Public Schools for 14 years, while also blogging for Education Week and Education Post. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a master’s degree in education from National Louis University. She is currently earning a Ph.D. in education policy at the University of Arkansas.

Advisory Board

Seletia Catching is a senior staff accountant at a large healthcare company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Robert Morris University.  A wife and mother of two teenage sons, Seletia has been highly engaged in her children’s public education since they were in preschool.  She is the former chairperson of the Local School Council at a Chicago public school, and she recently ran for a position on the School Board of her suburban district.  Seletia brings a strong belief in prayer, education advocacy, and financial structure to the Advisory Board

Michael Jebb oversees the development and implementation of The Strategic Prayer Initiative (SPI) at Harvest Prayer Ministries. SPI is designed to help large numbers of American Christians to be more effective in prayer and spiritual warfare. Prior to joining Harvest Prayer Ministries in 2003, Mike spent 14 years in the business world, mostly as the director of human resources for a mid-sized smoked meats company. Mike is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He also holds degrees in finance and communications from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago.

Bridgette Mahan is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and an holds an MBA in Finance from Rutgers University and a Bachelors in Commerce from the University of Virginia. She is a full-time faculty member at the City Colleges of Chicago and is Chair of the Business Department. Prior to moving into education, Bridgette was a First Vice President, Manager of the Corporate Staff Audit unit at First Chicago NBD Bank (Bank One). She has twenty years of internal and external accounting/auditing and management experience.

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