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Meet the Commissioners

Members of the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners are appointed to three-year terms by the mayor of Baltimore City.

Board Chair

richardsonJohnette Richardson is currently the Deputy Director for Neighborhood Housing Services of Baltimore, a community development financial institution that sparks renewed vitality in neighborhoods by engaging community partners, increasing sustainable homeownership, and advancing innovative capital solutions. She is a frequent speaker at local and national training institutes and foundation convenings on topics related to neighborhood revitalization and community economic development. 

An advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Richardson served as the president of the board of directors for Afya Baltimore, Inc., a Baltimore City public charter school organization. She currently serves on the City Leadership Committee for the Community Development Network of Maryland and the Community Initiatives Advisory Committee for Neighborworks America. She is a Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership graduate, completed Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Leadership program, and is a past Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Fellow. In 2012 she was named one of the Daily Record’s Leading Women; in 2017, she was named one of Associated Black Charities’ Women on the Move; in 2018, she was named the Daily Records Maryland's Top 100 Women.  

Prior to receiving her master’s degree in Business Administration from Regis University, Mrs. Richardson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University. She was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in January 2018. She is a member of the Audit and Strategic Planning Committees.

Board Vice Chair

mcfaddenRonald S. McFadden is a musician, educator, and advocate for educational equity in America's urban communities. Reared in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Mr. McFadden is a classically trained baritone receiving his B.A. in Music, and his M.A. in Teaching degrees from Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Comfortable on the opera and concert stage, McFadden has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist and chorister in venues such as the J.F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), Carnegie Hall (New York, NY), Reichold Center for the Performing Arts (U.S. Virgin Islands), The Municipal House with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra (Prague, Czech Republic), and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Baltimore, MD).

Ronald began his formal teaching career in Baltimore City Public Schools at the Historic Booker T. Washington Middle School, where he taught music and served as director of The Golden Voices. He helped to establish an arts integrated school curriculum as arts team lead, and member of the school’s instructional leadership team. In 2015, Ronald was inducted into Cohort 14 of the Emerging Leaders Program with New Leaders for New Schools. Emerging Leaders is a national program that equips current and aspiring leaders with instructional expertise aligned to college- and career-readiness standards. McFadden currently serves on the Instructional Leadership Team as Chairperson of the Department of Fine & Digital Arts, and 7th Grade Lead Teacher at Southwest Academy Magnet School in the Baltimore County Public School System (BCPS). In 2019, McFadden was named a top 5 finalist for BCPS' Teacher of the Year.

In addition to public education, Mr. McFadden is the Founding Artistic Director of the Urban Choral Arts Society, a 501c3 organization dedicated to improving the achievement and esteem of Baltimore area youth through choral music and cultural arts. He is a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the Maryland Music Educators Association (MMEA), the National School Boards Association (NSBA), and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America Inc. Mr. McFadden chairs the Teaching and Learning Committee and is a member of the Policy and Strategic Planning Committee

Commissioner and Chair Emeritus

chinniaLinda M. Chinnia was born and raised in Baltimore City and is both a graduate of City Schools and a former employee, having served as a teacher, principal, director of elementary school improvement, area academic officer, and chief academic officer over a 38-year career. From 2007 to 2017, she served as an event planner and assistant to the bishop at the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has also been an adjunct instructor at Baltimore City Community College, Coppin State University, Towson University, and the Johns Hopkins University. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood education from Towson University. 

In the community, Ms. Chinnia has served as a trustee for the Augsburg-Fortress Publishing House and board member for the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and she is currently a member of the Delaware-Maryland Synod Coordinating Committee for the Lutheran Campus Ministry and the Racial Justice Ministry Team. She has been a member of parent organizations for several schools as well as the Kenilworth Park Neighborhood Association.

Ms. Chinnia was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2014, served as vice chair from July 2018, and assumed the role of chair in July 2019. She is a member of the Policy Committee


bondimaMichelle Harris Bondima  is an instructor in the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program (CCLDP) at Morgan State University. Previously, she worked for 32 years at Baltimore City Community College as a faculty member in environmental science and chemistry and as Dean of Business, Health, Science, and Mathematics. From 1993 to 2011, Dr. Bondima was chair of the Community Relations Commission of Baltimore City’s Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement. She was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and its Mitigation Working Group. Dr. Bondima is a Biotech/Bioscience Consultant and Grant Writer. Dr. Bondima is also a member of the board of the National Council on Black American Affairs NCBAA, and serves on numerous boards and committees that focus on STEM education. Kellogg Fellow, Certified Developmental Education Specialist, Kellogg Institute, National Center for Developmental Education (NADE) and member of Odyssey School Board of Commissioners.

Dr. Bondima received her Ph.D. in science education (with a concentration in environmental science) from the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a master’s degree in environmental science from the Johns Hopkins University, a bachelor’s degree in biopsychology from the University of Maryland–Baltimore County, and certification from Oxford University, England, for work in the area of science and faith.

Dr. Bondima was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2016. She chairs the Strategic Planning Committee and is a member of the Operations Committee.


Commissioner BrooksDr. Durryle Brooks, Ph.D is early career interdisciplinary researcher and a social justice practitioner from Baltimore, MD. He is the Founder and CEO of Love and Justice Consulting LLC, an organization that provides leaders with diversity and social justice learning opportunities to increase their capacity to effectively and authentically engage difference. Additionally, over the past 15 years, Dr. Brooks’ research agenda has explored the impact of systemic oppression on the holistic health of Black communities with a focus on exploring how racism, sexism, and heterosexism impact Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) people’s mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and sexual health. As an educator, Dr. Brooks’ work focuses on social justice education pedagogy, curriculum design, healing and trauma-informed approaches, and strengths-based practices to address both educational and health disparities. Currently, Dr.  Brooks is a Research Associate in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology. His emerging research seeks to examine the material impact of Intimate Partner Violence on Black Gay and Bisexual young men and the community supports they need to feel safe and heal.

Dr. Brooks chairs the Policy Committee and is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.


headshot atieraAteira Griffin is a life-long Baltimore City resident, entrepreneur, educator, and community organizer. She earned a bachelor's in civil engineering from Morgan State University, a master’s in secondary education, and school leadership and administration certificate from Johns Hopkins University. Her love for teaching led her to serve as a k-12 educator and school administrator at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and create leadership training for adults in Baltimore and across the nation. She is the founder and CEO of BOND - Building Our Nation’s Daughters, Inc., which mentors single mothers to cultivate positive mother-daughter relationships and increase their economic mobility two generations at a time.

Ms. Griffin has always believed in the power of a black woman’s voice and uses every chance to lift hers and amplify others. Recently she testified in front of Congress advocating for equitable housing practices across the nation. Ms. Griffin also co-hosts Point of Hue, a podcast by and about women of color. She has spoken on many panels, led sessions, and created experiences for black women and girls, and Women of Color. She has started two initiatives - We See Us: a unifying space for Black women and femmes, and Blackenomics Collective: an organization aiming to advocate and educate for black economic power.

Currently, she serves on the board of Teach For America - Baltimore, The Unity Hall in West Baltimore, and 211 MD. She was awarded the 2019 Echoing Green Fellowship and the 2020 Open Society Institute Fellowship to recognize her leadership and work with BOND. S he believes a part of her life’s purpose is to disrupt all things oppressive to the black community, women of color, and single mother households. Through her experience in urban education, policy, and community organizing, she has learned that purpose, action, and unconditional love go a long way to create change.

Ateira is a member of the Teaching and Learning Committee.


marthaMartha James-Hassan has nearly 25 years of experience in the field of urban education and currently serves as an assistant professor in the School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State University. She earned her undergraduate degree in kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s in inquiry education from Hamline University, and her doctorate in critical pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas. Her current research focuses on teacher professional development, cultural fluency, and interdisciplinary education. She is a national expert in the Common Core State Standards and equity.

Dr. James-Hassan has served on numerous professional committees at Morgan State University and across the nation and is a member of the Boards of Directors for One Village Global and the Fairway Foundation. She was elected to the steering committee of the Council of Urban Boards of Education in March 2017 and is secretary on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, where she is also a member of the ESSA ad hoc advisory committee and the Equity Committee.

Dr. James-Hassan was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2015. She is a member of the Policy Committee


reidVernon A. Reid, Jr., is a retired investment professional who worked at T. Rowe Price Associates from 1977 to 1987 and again from 1999 to 2018. During the intermediate period, he served as principal partner of V.A. Reid & Associates. He is a graduate of three Baltimore City public schools: Frances L. Murphy Laboratory, William H. Lemmel Junior High School, and Forest Park High School. 

Mr. Reid serves on the boards of the Enoch Pratt Free Library and Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST) and on the Impact Investing Subcommittee of the Baltimore Community Foundation. He also served as a vice-president of the T. Rowe Price Foundation, the Walters Art Museum, and the Baltimore City Board of Finance. He is a member of New Psalmist Baptist Church.

Mr. Reid attended the United States Naval Academy. He holds a B.S. in business administration from Towson University and an M.B.A. with a concentration in finance from Indiana University in Bloomington.

Mr. Reid was appointed to the Board of School Commissioners in Fall 2018. He chairs the Audit Committee and is a member of the Operations Committee.


ShantellShantell L. Roberts is a Social Entrepreneur, Advocate for Maternal and Child Health, and Founder of Touching Young Lives, Incorporated; a 501c3 nonprofit organization that focuses on the health and well-being of infants and children. Since its formation, she has worked with families and caregivers throughout Maryland with one goal in mind- preventing another untimely infant or adolescent death. Shantell is a Baltimore native and a graduate of three Baltimore City Public Schools: Yorkwood Elementary, Hamilton Middle School and Western High School. Shantell is also the parent of a student attending a Baltimore City Public School.

Shantell is an alumnus of the 2016 Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab cohort was awarded the program’s inaugural $25,000 seed funding for her Portable Alternative Crib program venture launch. In November 2017, she was selected as an Open Society Institute Baltimore Community Fellow and has since been named a Top 30 Visionary by the Baltimore Magazine, selected by the United Way of Central Maryland as one of the 2018 Philanthropic Five Honorees, the Daily Record for the 2018 V.I.P. “Successful by 40” list and one of the Daily Record’s 2018 “Leading Women” Honorees.

She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for the University of Maryland’s Department of Pediatrics’ Center for Infant and Child Loss, as an Advisory Board Member for the Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab and was appointed by Governor Lawrence Hogan to the State Child Fatality Review Team in April 2019. Shantell chairs the  Operations Committee and is a member of the Teaching and Learning and Audit Committee.

Student Commissioner

student commissioner

Ezra Horwitz (she/they/he), is a rising junior, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and attends Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. Ezra identifies as a LatinX, Jewish, gender-fluid/bigender person. Ezra attended Roland Park Elementary Middle public school from Kindergarten to 8th grade. She enjoys singing, writing, swimming, research and activism/awareness, and plans to become a therapist and neuropsychologist.

During her experience with ASCBC (Associated Student Congress of Baltimore City) and the Student Board of Commissioners for Maryland State, she advocates for the rights of students; especially in terms of equity.

Ezra represents a liberal/socialist democratic point of view. However, she values listening to everyone and is interested in hearing all perspectives. Ezra will push for better funding, and improved treatment of and overall functioning of students and faculty. This work encompasses several things, including more diverse green clubs, an increase in conversation about mental health subjects, making sure schools discuss LGBTQ+ content in health and more.

As a strong activist, this representation will mean proper ethics and standing up for what she believes in through an advocacy plan for cultural rights, the environment, mental health and keeping a strong inclusivity of student interests.

Looking forward, Ezra is excited to work with fellow board members and the student leaders of Baltimore City Public Schools to continue to improve both our community and school system.