Board Members and Staff
Curtis Bell II
Judge Bell became a member of the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2007 and continues emeritus status with SHARE.
Ed is a graduate of Western Michigan University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration in 1977.
Ed has served as Technical Director of Cardiac Laboratory Studies and Administrator of Borgess Medical Center. Upon retirement in 1983 he established Physicians Planners Consulting where he served as medical consultant to numerous medical practices throughout southwest Michigan. Ed has served on the board of directors of several organizations, including the State Hospital, the Youth Advancement Academy, the Douglas Community Association, and Allen Chapel AME Church. In 1981 Ed co-founded the 100 Men of Kalamazoo, an organization devoted to serving as examples and mentors for young African American men.
Romeo Phillips, PhD
Dr. Phillips has been a member of the Kalamazoo/Portage community since 1968 when he accepted the position that led to his becoming the first tenured African American professor at Kalamazoo College. He has played an active role in community arts and political organizations, having served as the president of the Kalamazoo Chapter of the NAACP, as a member of the Portage City Council, and as a performer in the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, the Kalamazoo Singers, and other music ensembles.
Dr. Phillips was a founding member of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society and continues his emeritus status with SHARE.
Christine is retired director of the Portage District Library and a member of the Portage Rotary. Christine is involved with many local non-profits, including SHARE and Trauma Recovery Associates. She joined the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2010 and continues to serve with SHARE.
Sue Ellen Christian-Isaksen
Sue Ellen is a Professor of Communication at Western Michigan University with a joint appointment in Gender and Women’s Studies. She was a staff writer for 10 years at the Chicago Tribune and has received the 2016 Michigan Professor of the Year, Michigan Association of State Universities, 2014 WMU Distinguished Teaching Award, and the 2009 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award. Sue Ellen is a member of the Narrative Change team of the Truth, Racial Healing and Reconciliation initiative of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.
She has been the College of Arts and Sciences Women’s Caucus Co-Chair, a Broncos FIRST Faculty Fellow and served on the Student Media Board at WMU for several years. Christian’s scholarly focus is on inclusive messaging and implicit bias in the media. She is the author of Author of Everyday Media Literacy; An Analog Guide for Your Digital Life” and “Overcoming Bias: A Journalist’s Guide to Culture and Context.”
Joanna Donnelly Dales
Joanna joined the Kalamazoo Community Foundation staff in 2007 as a Donor Relations Officer before being appointed to Vice President, Donor Relations in 2012. Joanna is a member of the Community Foundation’s Anti-Racism Transformation Team.
Prior to coming to the Community Foundation, she held development positions in Washington D.C., with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Symphony Orchestra League. In New York State she held development posts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy and with the Preservation League of New York State in Albany.
Joanna holds a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She currently serves on the boards of KC Ready 4s and the Downtown Kiwanis Club. She served on the board of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo for 9 years, including two as chair, and recently completed her service on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals West Michigan.
Joanna lives in Kalamazoo with her husband and three sons.
Byron was born and raised in New York City, and attended Howard University Washington, DC, and Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ, from which he earned a BS Degree in Business Management. He has also served his country in the U.S. Air Force, and is a Vietnam veteran.
Byron Foster’s professional career has consisted of diversified industry human resources positions, executive search vice president, and Managing Director of Inroads/Chicago. He was a Student Advocate at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC’s) for five years.
Byron is currently a member of the Community Investment Committee at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, a board member of Ministries with Community, and serves on the advisory committee for SHARE, a past member of the Douglass Community Association Board and past chair of the Board’s Personnel Committee. Byron joined the Board of SHARE in 2016.
Jennifer Gregor received her Secondary Teaching Degree in Social Studies from Western Michigan University in 2012. She started with SHARE as an intern in 2011 and stayed involved in the organization up to the present as a board member and board secretary. Jennifer has taught at Comstock Public Schools, Portage Public schools and has found her home as Bearcat Teaching 9th Grade US History at Battle Creek Central High school.
While there she has developed a Social Justice and Women’s Studies course and currently spearheads a school-wide International Women’s Day recognition program that includes an assembly and subsequent classroom activities to make students aware of the history, power and contributions of women in the world and how they can help support gender equity.
Jennifer is the mother of three children, one who attends Western Michigan University. Through her internship with SHARE over 7 years ago, Jennifer created a clear vision of what her passion was – social Justice, racial and gender equity and healing – and makes that her focus.
Caitlin is the Reference and Law Services Librarian at the Kalamazoo Public Library. She serves as Co-Chair for KPL’s Antiracism Transformation Team.
Sister Sue McCrery is Director of Spiritual Care at Borgess Health | Ascension. She has a Doctorate of Ministry in Theology and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University, and a B.A. in Music and Education from Nazareth College.
Her work history includes 20 years of teaching in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids and 19 years as a member of the Pastoral Team at St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish in Kalamazoo. She has been at Borgess Health since the fall of 2014 where she facilitates the Diversity Council in addition to directing the chaplains.
Sue has helped facilitate the Summit on Racism at Borgess twice.
Dr. Candy McCorkle serves as the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Western Michigan University. She has served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion/Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Alma College and the Assistant Dean of the Honors program at Jackson College. Dr. McCorkle began her career as a member of the faculty of the Psychology Department at Spring Arbor University as well as the Director of the Master’s in Counseling program at Spring Arbor University. Dr. McCorkle has facilitated many workshops and presentations on various topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Western Michigan University, M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and B.A. in Psychology from Wright State University. Prior to entering higher education Dr. McCorkle served as a therapist working with dual-diagnosed clients (mental health and substance abuse issues) in clinical and correctional facilities.
Michael’s professional background includes positions as news reporter and photojournalist for WKZO-TV (which is now WWMT-TV), and Director of Public Affairs at Channel 3. Most recently, he was a member of the marketing and communications team at Ascension Borgess, where he helped manage public relations along with internal and external communications for the health system. Michael has also worked in corporate communications departments at companies in west Michigan, and he served as the chief speechwriter at Central Michigan University for senior members of the administration.
Michael is a native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and attended Middle Tennessee State University. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Spring Arbor University.
Originally from Detroit, Tina was accepted at Western Michigan University (WMU) in 1966. She attended WMU from 1966-1969. She then married and moved to Kansas City, Missouri where she graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She taught grades 5-6 for two years (1971-1973) in the Kansas City Public Schools.
Tina returned to Kalamazoo in 1974 and began teaching in the Kalamazoo Public Schools (grades 4-6). After receiving a Masters of Arts in Education from WMU, she was hired as an Instructional Specialist, working with classroom teachers on instruction, curriculum and classroom management.
During the 1980s, KPS instituted the Reading Recovery Program which targeted first graders reading below grade level. Tina was selected as 1 of 15 teachers to receive training for that program at WMU as a Reading Specialist.
Executive Director - Staff
Donna Odom is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.A. at Kalamazoo College and her M.A. at Loyola University of Chicago. She founded the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2003. She retired from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in 2010, where she coordinated history programs and special projects.
Donna was a member of the steering committee for the Southwest Michigan RACE Exhibit Initiative, is a board member of the Kalamazoo County Historical Society, the Historical Society of Michigan, and the Michigan Oral History Association. She writes and lectures on regional African American history and the Underground Railroad.
Originally from Benton Harbor, Amber attended Western Michigan University and received her B.A in Public History with a minor in Psychology in 2017. She also works as an Interpretation Specialist for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and has had experience interning at the Western Michigan University Zhang Archives and Regional History Center. Amber will pursue her master’s in library science with a concentration in Archives from Wayne State University in the upcoming fall. While serving as president of Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority, INC she developed a true understanding and passion for social justice and diversity. Through her position as Programs Coordinator, she hopes to spread the importance of Social Justice and racial healing through an understanding of history and community programs.