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Woodward Hines Education Foundation hires two staff and promotes four

Shanell Watson

Nikki Jackson

Melia Dicker

Deonica Davis

Chellese Hall

Brian Thomas

The Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) has hired two new staff and promoted four. WHEF’s mission is to help more Mississippians obtain postsecondary credentials, college certifications, and degrees that lead to meaningful employment. The foundation’s signature program, Get2College, assists students, families, and counselors with planning and paying for college.

Nikki Jackson has joined WHEF as the Executive Assistant to the president. She is a native of Canton and earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in Political Science and International Relations. Jackson has over 14 years of experience as a paralegal and administrative management.

Deonica Davis has joined the foundation as Production Coordinator, a new role that will focus on design, publications, and integrated marketing. Davis is a native of Pearl and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. She previously was a Graphic Designer at The Cirlot Agency

Shanell Watson was named Program Officer. Formerly serving as the Associate Program Officer, Data Analyst and Technical Coordinator, Watson has been on staff at the foundation for more than 10 years. Her new leadership role will focus on the foundation’s priority of persistence and completion through grantmaking. Watson is a Certified Public Accountant who received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master of Accountancy from Millsaps College.

Melia Dicker was named the Director of Marketing and Communications. She joined the foundation in February of 2017 as Director of the Jackson Get2College Center and has led the implementation of virtual learning technology such as webinars and text messaging. She previously was the Communications Director for the Mississippi Arts Commission. She is a graduate of Santa Clara University and earned a certificate from the Else School of Management at Millsaps College.

Chellese Hall was named Communications Manager. Since joining WHEF in January of 2017 as Communications Coordinator, she has helped establish branding and digital media platforms and will continue to grow public relations and student engagement. Hall previously was in the marketing department for the Mississippi Children’s Museum after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Electronic Communications and Journalism from Belhaven University. She is an active board member of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi and community volunteer through various organizations.

Brian Thomas was named Director of the Jackson Get2College Center. When he joined the Get2College program staff in August of 2015 as an Assistant Director and College Advisor, he brought six years of college admissions recruiting and advising experience at Jackson State University. In his previous role at Get2College, he led the Camp College summer program and the pilot school program at Pelahatchie High School. He is a graduate of Belhaven University and is a member of the National College Access Network and the Southern Association of College Admission Counseling.


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