The Uprooted Way.
2022-2024 Board of Directors
Dr. Chris Catchings
Dr. Christopher Catching is a native of Newark, NJ, and pursued higher education through the Educational Opportunity Fund Program (EOF) at Montclair State University and was the first person in his family to graduate from college. He earned his Doctor of Education degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He has served as a dedicated educator, passionate about providing students with access to transformative learning opportunities for the past two decades. Dr. Catching currently serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Stockton University, a role that he has held since February 2018. Dr. Catching has contributed to the national scholarship on educational equity and inclusive student success through scholarship focused on strategies to support Black male college student success and Black college student educators. He is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated.
Felecia Edwards-Smith has over 15 years of experience in education in a variety of roles in admissions, retention, advising, and student success and as the founding Director of First-Year Success Center at the University of New Haven. Felecia comes to us with a strong commitment to not only helping students access educational opportunities and equity, but also creating and implementing programs and support for students to successfully transition to their post-secondary path of choice and graduate. Felecia grew up low-income and was raised by a single mother who emphasized the importance of higher education and it's role in opening doors for her children to access opportunity, mobility, and simply stated "starting off better than she did." Currently, serves as the Director of Alumni Success at Achievement First Public Charter Schools where she supports her team in providing high-quality, proactive support to achieve strong student outcomes and bridging the gap between education and employment. Although Felecia finds her work with students and families fulfilling and rewarding, her greatest joy and rewards come from raising her sons, Elijah and Noah.
Tiffany Green is the founder of Uprooted Academy™, a national program known for its signature offering, "College Apps: 12 Steps to Finding Your Match©," and the creator of "The Uprooted Approach©," a 5-phase multicultural approach to supporting students to design and execute their dreams. As a global speaker, visionary change agent, and college access champion, she manages the organization's vision by partnering with districts and organizations to bring them the curriculum, funding scholarships, providing free resources, and virtual programming to primarily BIPOC and future first-generation college graduates. In addition, she uses her voice across the globe to raise awareness for student success, access, and retention issues. Tiffany has traveled to over 60 countries and is a true adventurer who enjoys cycling, surfing, snowboarding, and cultural activities with friends and family.
Dr. Billy Johnson
Dr. William “Billy” Johnson currently serves as the Director of Educational Strategy at the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. He is certified by the State of Connecticut to be a school superintendent, He has also served as Assistant Superintendent, Director of Instruction, Principal, and teacher. As a consultant, he has worked on strategic plans with districts, organizations, and communities. Dr. Johnson has two master’s degrees, in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University and Special Education from the University of Connecticut and a Doctorate in Global Executive Education at the University of Southern California. He is an Adjunct Professor in Educational Leadership, a board member of the City-Wide Youth Coalition in New Haven, and a Deeper Learning Equity Fellow.
William Ruiz joins us with a background in project management and entrepreneurship. He is a first-generation Puerto Rican American who has earned his Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus in Finance. While he enjoys his hobbies in roasting coffee and traveling around the globe, William has built his career in Project Management spanning across industries including retail, technology, product management, and marketing. Currently, William is a Project manager at JP Morgan and Chase within the marketing team of the Consumer and Community Banking line of business. William is excited to join and support UA in supporting the futures of aspiring students.
Kia is a proud graduate of an HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications. After years in corporate America, Kia earned a master’s degree in Counseling. She has completed multiple fellowships and continuing education opportunities and is pursuing a graduate certification in Nonprofit Management from Harvard University. Even though she enjoyed a fruitful career, Kia was exhausted from over 15 years of begging for a voice in groups that weren’t ready to be inclusive. So, in 2018, she took a leap of faith and established Relevant Solutions Group. From managing multi-million-dollar budgets and large teams for a national nonprofit to launching initiatives and brand campaigns for foundations, Kia is a trusted consultant and thought leader.