Our Team

"Our school is guided by people fully invested in the vision of the school. The success of each student is at the heart of every decision made."

– Dr. David R. Williams – Co-Founder

Board of Trustees            Consulting Partners            Advisory DREAM Team            Staff            Volunteers

Board of Trustees

David R. Williams

David R. Williams is a Professor of Public Health and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Previously, he was a professor at Yale University and the University of Michigan. The author of over 500 scientific papers, he is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, and the National Academy of Sciences. He was ranked as the Most Cited Black Scholar in the Social Sciences and as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. His research has been featured by some of the nation’s top print and television news organizations and in his TED Talk.

Opal Reid-Williams

Opal Reid-Williams is Board Chair and a founding parent of The Boston DREAM Academy (BDA). She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing from the University of Michigan.  She is a retired Nurse Practitioner and worked in Coronary Intensive Care for most of her career. Since a sudden life-threatening illness and miraculous recovery in 2013, she has dedicated her life to volunteering at BDA as a facilitator. She feels blessed by God for the privilege, of working with the amazing students at BDA. Opal is married to David Williams they have 3 daughters, one son (in-law) and an adorable granddaughter and grandson. 

Rodney Durand

Rodney Durand is the Database Manager for Lesley University, where he has worked for over 30 years. He created and oversees Boston’s Dream Academy’s Record Database. Rodney is a strong advocate for high quality Christian education and believes that we must be intentional in every method we use in educating our youth. He is the father of 4 children, his youngest three have all attended BDA. Rodney has also been a Foster parent for several years. He and his wife Marva are co-founding parents of BDA.
Rodney is a singer and serves his local Seventh-day Adventist Church as both Captain of the Praise Team and an Elder.

Marva Durand

Marva Durand is a strong believe in Christian education. From BDA’s inception, she was a supporter and catalyst for its creation. Marva and her husband Rodney, were co-founding parents; their son and daughter were among the first three original students. Her youngest daughter, Sierra, now attends BDA. Marva believes that every child should have access to high quality education and nurturing care. Marva’s compassionate spirit is reflected in her career, she has worked as a nurse for over 30 years. Currently Marva works in the Intensive Care Unit at Boston Medical Center, the largest safety-net hospital and Level I trauma center in New England. In 2019, she was the recipient of Nurse Excellence Award from New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) and Boston Medical Center. She helps improve wellness not only of her patients, but also her community, by volunteering as Health Ministry Leader at her local Seventh-day Adventist church. Marva is a parent of 4 children, she is also a previous foster parent.

Owena Farrell

Owena Farrell holds a Master of Science in Leadership (Healthcare Management) from Northeastern University, a Master of Business Administration from University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science (Finance) from University of Massachusetts-Boston. Her passion for service led her to volunteering at Boston DREAM Academy several years ago and she feels blessed to be a part of this phenomenal community. She currently works as a Contract Leader for one of the largest health insurance companies in Massachusetts.

Betty Johnson

Dr. Betty Johnson has worked with students, faculty and staff as a mentor, advisor, and counselor for her career in higher education.   As Assistant Dean for Faculty and Staff Diversity, Development and Leadership at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Johnson focuses on establishing programs and policies that support the recruitment, retention, and success of faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups. She also supports departments within the School in the identification of diverse faculty candidates; monitors retention and promotion of underrepresented faculty and staff; and provides professional support and coaching to those at the School and to those in her community.  Dr. Johnson is the co-director of the Donald Hopkins Pre-doctoral Scholars Program and assist with the facilitation of administration and implementation of the Yerby Fellowship Program in the Office of Faculty Affairs, responsible for overseeing the Program’s strategic development, and operations. Dr. Johnson received her doctorate from Regent University, her master’s from Alabama State University and her Bachelor of Science from Texas A & M University.

She is the proud mother of two young adult daughters and grandmother of one grandson.

Paulette Chandler

Dr. Chandler has spent most of her career as an urgent care and primary care physician and clinical researcher. She graduated from Princeton University, Duke University Medical School, and Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Chandler’s clinical and research interests include the brain-gut axis, nutrition, cancer and diabetes prevention, and women’s health. She is passionate about educating the public on the power of healthy lifestyle choices for preventing disease and promoting wellness. She is actively involved with several randomized clinical trials and observational studies.

She has served on the board of Boston Dream Academy for several years and has supported student recruitment and expanded academic enrichment to ensure that all students excel.

Cherie Jackson

Cherie Jackson is the CEO of Tino Kai LLC, the makers and sellers of New Zealand’s number one selling healthy snacks, Frooze Balls. She has 25 years of senior marketing and business development experience across four countries and industries including CPG, education and wellness.

John Gallagher

John Gallagher became a strong believer in Adventist education after personally experiencing its benefits in high school. He started never having heard of Adventism. Now he is a proudly baptized member wanting to give back.  John is a marketing professional with experience within the USDA, DMI, & Fairlife. He has also been involved in coordinating the dream academy’s internship program with DMI.

Milton L. Samuels

Milton came to the United States from Costa Rica at the age of 7years old. He spoke English at home because of his Jamaican Heritage. Spanish was spoken with friends. His academic journey started in Boston public schools and then transitioned to Berea SDA Academy where fellow students he worked with were also his Sabbath and Sunday Pathfinders friends. Milton enjoyed the fellowship, the singing, and learning more about Jesus at the Brea SDA church.

Milton’s love for learning led him to attend Thayer Academy in Braintree Mass. The culture shock jarred him at first but the academic rigor attracted him more. Upon graduating from Thayer Milton attended Loma Linda University with the thought of becoming a medical doctor. Milton liked the idea of helping people but he was not ready for emotional and mental gymnastics that he would have to undergo to fulfill his dream. Ever the pragmatist Milton pursued a degree in business because of its universal application.

With the job market demand for Masters in Business administration Milton pursued his MBA at Atlanta University(Clark Atlanta University). Milton worked in marketing for different companies over his 14 year corporate career. While honing his marketing skills Milton’s passion for human service and intellectual challenge led him to work in management in the Community College system.

Milton is married to Marjorie Samuels (formerly Shillingford) and is the parent of two Oakwood University graduates , Julian and Javana. After achieving his doctorate in Education, Milton is an adjunct faculty for several colleges and universities ever cultivating students and exercising his intellectual curiosity.

Pastor Jenks Brutus

Paster Jenks Brutus is a graduate of Andrews University with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. Pastor Brutus has spent 17 years in the pastoral ministry serving as Assistant Pastor of the Temple of Salem Church in Massachusetts, Pastor of the Friendship SDA Church and Central Slip Church in New York and Pastor of the Shiloh SDA Church in Massachusetts. He is currently Pastor of the Waymark SDA Church in Dorchester Massachusetts.

Pastor Brutus is married to his wife Nancy and together they have three beautiful children, Jedidiah, Hannah and Sarah. He is most passionate about sharing the message of the cross with others and bringing hope to those who are discouraged. 

Eric S. Adams Jr.

Eric Samuel Adams, Jr. serves as the finance chair for the Boston DREAM Academy board. Professionally, Mr. Adams is the founder and managing attorney at Adams Law, a southern California based law firm specializing in criminal defense, civil litigation, and estate planning.

Mr. Adams is a native of Los Angeles, California, and a proud product of Christian education. Mr. Adams graduated high school from Pine Forge Academy, a historically black Seventh-day Adventist boarding secondary school located in Pine Forge, Pennsylvania. He then matriculated through Oakwood University, a historically black Seventh-day Adventist university, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. Mr. Adams finished his formal education at the University of Alabama School of Law.

Mr. Adams currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Jillian, and his son, Jay. Outside of his professional experience, Mr. Adams is an avid investor and sports enthusiast. Mr. Adams also enjoys giving time to high school students through mentorship.

Consulting Partners

Kelly D. Nowlin

Principal, KDN Philanthropy Consulting

Kelly Davenport Nowlin is a fifth generation Andrus family member who has been actively engaged in her family’s philanthropy for over 20 years. She serves on the board of the Surdna Foundation, a family led social justice foundation started by her great, great grandfather, John Emory Andrus over 100 years ago. Kelly chairs the Andrus Family Program Committee, which is responsible for outreach to, and engagement of, nearly 500 Andrus family members and works closely with staff to help guide the Foundation’s program, investment, and communications strategies.

Kelly works in partnership to develop strategies for grantmaking, next generation engagement, governance and overall culture for family foundations around the country. She has worked extensively with nonprofits to help improve marketing and communications approaches and currently supports efforts for arts expansion in the Boston Public Schools through her leadership on the BPS Arts Advisory Board. Throughout her career she has been a passionate advocate for nonprofit organizations, leveraging her national network and knowledge of philanthropy.

Kelly speaks regularly around the country on topics in philanthropy including next generation engagement, social justice and racial equity, power and privilege, impact and evaluation, foundation culture, governance and strategic communications. Kelly was a former board member of Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) and currently serves on the board of the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP). She is a recent graduate of the NCFP Fellows program where she focused her efforts on advancing conversations and practice around racial equity in the field of family philanthropy. Kelly was elected as NCFP’s Board Chair in January of 2022. 

In addition to philanthropy, Kelly has nearly 30 years of experience as a media and communications professional, with acknowledged expertise in social media and brand development. She developed and successfully launched two technology startup ventures.

Kelly graduated with honors from Boston College and currently lives in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

Steve Greeley

President, Shared Cause

Steve Greeley is president of Shared Cause. In addition to managing the firm, he serves as lead consultant on projects involving strategic planning, building partnerships, mobilizing resources, and helping clients ultimately achieve transformational social change. He was instrumental in formulating the Cause Development® methodology.

His recent focus involves building new statewide systems of support for families and young children in Nevada and Mississippi. Steve served as a community consultant for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a national effort of more than 300 cities and towns working to insure children’s reading proficiency by Grade 3. He also participated in a multi-year project to design and coordinate technical assistance for a Lumina Foundation 75-city initiative to improve post-secondary attainment.

Closer to our Boston home base, Steve directed the planning for Thrive In 5, a comprehensive public and private initiative aimed at making all Boston children ready to succeed in kindergarten. He later became the lead consultant for the Boston Opportunity Agenda, a long-term cradle-to-career public and private collaborative.

In the health field, Steve’s projects have included the design of and funding for the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids and the design of strategies for the Global Fund for Children’s Vaccines, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and initiatives of Harvard Medical School and its hospital affiliates.

He has been a featured speaker for the National League of Cities, Kellogg Foundation national programs, National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and numerous other social change entities. Prior to joining the firm in 1995, Steve had extensive experience in fundraising, serving as director of development programs and public affairs at the Massachusetts General Hospital, director of development at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and director of corporate and foundation relations at Bentley University.

He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s degree at the Boston University School of Public Communication.

Bradley Bauler

Senior Consultant, Shared Cause

Brad Bauler is senior consultant. He has worked with leaders of non-profits, foundations, and government agencies creating strategic plans, guiding program and resource development, and helping organizations build the authentic, durable partnerships they need to achieve success.

At Shared Cause, Brad has assisted communities around the country define their strategic plans as part of the process to join the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. These plans call for a whole new way of identifying and recruiting stakeholders and harnessing their combined efforts to achieve early literacy. He has been a key member on the statewide early learning systems change project Shared Cause has taken on in Nevada. His work also has focused on re-invigorating workforce development practices.

Brad has a record of success in health initiatives. He helped create the strategic plans that led to a national network of drug prevention coalitions, called CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America). He has shaped campaigns to eradicate infectious and vector-borne diseases for the US Fund for UNICEF, Partners in Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Kiwanis International.

Over the course of his career, Brad has served as director of development and alumni relations at New England Law | Boston, assistant dean for development and alumni affairs at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, director of development and communications for the River Blindness Foundation, and senior external affairs
executive at the North Shore Medical Center and the VNA of Boston. Brad was a Peace Corps volunteer and is fluent in Spanish.

He earned a B.A. in journalism and philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and did graduate study in communications and public relations at the Boston University School of Public Communication.

Strategic Advisory DREAM Team

The vision for BDA has attracted high caliber businesspeople from all over the USA, eager to contribute to making our school successful and replicable. We are thankful to receive guidance from this phenomenal team:

                  Andy Burness: President Burness Communications

                  Andy Mills: Co-Chairman The Grace & Mercy Foundation

                  Barney Eredia: Founder & President EdEx Solutions

                  Blair Jackson: Founder BCJ Growth Partners

                  Lois Peters: Healthcare Entrepreneur; Philanthropist

                  Tom Gallagher: Co-founder 4Market, Adjunct Professor, University of Notre Dame

                  Wayne Hamilton: VP, Specialty Tax Walmart


Marilyn Rodgers

Lead Site Coordinator

Marilyn Rodgers has spent 30 plus years dedicated to the field of Human Services and Education. She holds a Teaching Certificate in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Education with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has over 30 years of combined experience in teaching, assessing and counseling families involved with substance abuse, domestic violence, disabilities and geriatric social service.

Marilyn is married to Kenroy and has four children, three grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, reading and participating in various church activities. She and her husband have been avid supporters of the Boston Dream Academy since its inception.

She now serves the Boston Dream Academy as the Lead Site Facilitator and Coordinator.


A special thanks to our amazing volunteers who selflessly give their time and expertise to help support our students and school.

Opal Reid-Williams

School Facilitator / Administrator

Opal Reid-Williams is Board Chair and a founding parent of The Boston DREAM Academy (BDA). She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing from the University of Michigan.  She is a retired Nurse Practitioner and worked in Coronary Intensive Care for most of her career. Since a sudden life-threatening illness and miraculous recovery in 2013, she has dedicated her life to volunteering at BDA as a facilitator. She feels blessed by God for the privilege, of working with the amazing students at BDA. Opal is married to David Williams they have 3 daughters, one son (in-law) and an adorable granddaughter and grandson. 

Marjorie Samuels

Music Teacher - Beginner Piano

Marjorie Samuels is originally from Anguilla but grew up across the Caribbean as a pastor's daughter. Marjorie received a Pre-Professional Degree from Caribbean Union College, a Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics from Atlantic Union College, and later a Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education at Andrew University. She has over 38 years of experience working in public and Seventh-Day Adventist school systems.

Since retiring from Boston Public Schools in 2018, Marjorie volunteers at the Boston DREAM Academy, teaching beginners piano lessons. Her wish is that each student will have the opportunity to explore their artistic aspirations. She is forever grateful to her mother, Ernie Shillingford, who was her first piano teacher and inspired her to learn.

Marjorie has a supportive husband, Milton, and two children, Julian and Javana. In her free time, Marjorie enjoys bird watching, virtual traveling, and gardening.

Donald Becker

Music Teacher – Suzuki Institute of Boston: Violin, Viola, Cello, Advanced Piano

Donald Becker, founder, director, and president of the Suzuki Institute of Boston, providing Suzuki Method instruction in the Greater Boston area since 1986. Bachelor of Music Ohio State University, Master of Music Eastman School of Music, Teachers Diploma Talent Education lnstitute in Matsumoto Japan where he studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki for over three years. Founding member, first president and journal editor of the Suzuki Association of Massachusetts, Founder of the Massachusetts Suzuki Festival. He teaches students with special needs such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome. He has been teaching in community based programs Roxbury and Dorchester since 1978 including 8 years at the Boston Adventist Dream Academy. He teaches violin, viola, cello, and piano to student ranging in age from three to ninety three.

Alysia Williams

Language Coach - Spanish

Alysia received her BA in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and BS in Spanish Studies from Andrews University. She earned a MSc in Communication Sciences and Disorders with Bilingual Extension from Columbia University. Prior to attending college, she took a gap year and studied abroad in a Spanish immersion program at the University of Montemorelos in Mexico. She currently works as a bilingual speech-language pathologist, and has volunteered her time to BDA as a Spanish Tutor/coach since its inception.

Kerry Fitzpatrick

Photographer / Website Designer

Kerry Fitzpatrick recently retired from an executive role in healthcare IT to focus on photography and service-based projects. When learning about the Boston DREAM Academy from a trustee, she felt immediately drawn to the team and their mission. BDA’s need for a professional website aligned perfectly with Kerry’s skillset. Kerry flew to Boston to photograph the school, the kids and staff and built the website you are looking at currently. Kerry will remain involved with the school, continuing to evolve the website and providing photography services.

Kerry lives in Chicago, IL with her husband and two children.

John Goncalves: School Facilitator

Carlton Burke: Music Teacher – Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester: Guitar and Drums

Luke Curtis: Science/Mathematics Coach

LaVerne Shaw-Bailey: English Coach

Eric Rivas Santiago: Berkshire Partners Boys and Girls Club of Boston – Sports Coach and Mentor

Steffan Reid: Information Technology Director

Maria Shakes: Treasurer 

Kenroy Rodgers: Building Committee Chair 

Dennis Brown: Building Committee Member

Pastor Tiffany Tan: Building Committee Member

Robert Carruthers: Building Committee Member 

Naomie Fenfen Lebron: Building Committee – Student Representitive

Milton Samuels: Photographer / Videographer

Maria Gomes: Communications Support 

Melvin Henry: Sound and Production Engineer