Meet the Board of Directors


Ms. Marshalette R. Wise

CEO, President & Founding Director

Ms. Marshalette R. Wise has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Secondary English Language Arts Education from Tuskegee University. She has a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Educational Leadership and a minor in The African Diaspora from the University of Minnesota. Marshalette also holds a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from the University of Cambridge – Teaching House New York. 

Ms. Marshalette R. Wise has taught for four years on both the elementary and secondary level in public schools in America. She has also traveled extensively abroad and taught internationally in such places as Gyeonggi-do Institute for Foreign Language Education (GIFLE) in South Korea and at both King Saud University and University of Dammam in Saudi Arabia.

She is the author of a children’s book, “Johnny’s Birthday Surprise: Shhh! It’s a Secret!” as well as the owner of an educational literary publishing company, WISE Scholars Publishing. She also has a mentoring program called WISE Scholars Mentors.

Ms. Marshalette R. Wise is currently the CEO, President & Founding Director of WISE Scholars Foundation and its Board of Directors. She has plans to open WISE Scholars Academy, a public boarding school which will also serve as a college preparatory for the socio-economically disadvantaged and “at-risk” student populations in Atlanta, Georgia.


Mr. William Wilson

Executive Board Member

Mr. William Wilson joined the staff of the University of Minnesota as Program Coordinator in the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs since 1969 where he worked until his appointment as Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights.

Upon completing a four-year term, he was elected to Saint Paul City Council in 1981 becoming the first African American elected to Saint Paul City Council. He served on the Council for 13 years, four of which he served as its President.

In tribute to his contributions to the Saint Paul City Government, a bronze bust of Mr. Wilson is displayed on the third floor of Saint Paul City Hall.

In 1968, Mr. Wilson founded the Inner Youth League to provide needed services for African American youths in Saint Paul. His continued commitment to molding the youth of today as leaders of tomorrow no doubt left him with the desire to do more.

Upon retiring from public service, it was no coincidence that in 1999 his vision to do more became a reality and Higher Ground Academy, Minnesota’s premier Afro-Centric K-12 school was born and he serves as the Executive Director. Today, Higher Ground Academy is doing better than ever. Mr. Wilson has received many awards for his leadership of this groundbreaking charter school. His second school is now in progress.

Mr. William Wilson is a currently an Executive Board Member of the Board of Directors of WISE Scholars Foundation.


Dr. Michele Wise-Wright

Executive Board Member

Michele R. Wise-Wright, Ph.D., is an award-winning electrical engineer and pharmaceutical sales specialist. Michele Wise-Wright has a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, a M.S. in Engineering Management/Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tuskegee University.

Wise-Wright is a top-level corporate and award-winning professional with 20+ years of notable experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. She has worked for various Fortune 500 companies such as Novartis, Proctor & Gamble, Pillsbury, and Martin Marietta.  Most recently, she served as territory sales manager for Savient Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Little Rock. Prior to that, she spent seven years as a senior clinical specialist at Genentech, a biotechnology company also in Little Rock.

She is currently the CEO of the Ozark Regional Branch of the American Red Cross. Wise-Wright oversees the Red Cross’ blood services to 52 hospitals in Arkansas, southwestern Missouri and the greater Memphis area.

She is also the author of a published book entitled “Dear Success Seeker: Wisdom from Outstanding Women Achievers.” Wise-Wright is a motivational speaker who has been invited to speak at several universities, events, and dedications/award ceremonies. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Dr. Michele R. Wise-Wright is a member of the Executive Board of Directors of WISE Scholars Foundation.


Dr. Xavier Nicholas

Executive Board Member

Dr. Xavier Nicholas has a Bachelor’s degree in English (B.A.) from Tuskegee University; a Master’s degree (M.A.) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in English from the University of Michigan.

He has taught at various universities such as Bryn Mawr College and his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

Dr. Nicholas is currently a tenured Associate Professor of English at Tuskegee University (a Historical Black College and University [HBCU]).

His mission as a teacher is to encourage students to think for themselves. His research and teaching interests are: African American Literature, Southern Literature, Literary Theory, and Composition. He is in the process of completing research on Hurricane Katrina and the educational and economic after-effects which will be compiled into a book, published under a grant he received.

Dr. Xavier Nicholas is a current member of the Executive Board of Directors of WISE Scholars Foundation. As a board member, he is confident that WISE Scholars Foundation is an institution committed to encouraging individuals to become productive members of the community and lifelong learners.


Dr. Victor M. Brown

Board Member

Dr. Victor M. D. Brown is a native of Montego Bay, Jamaica. He was an at-risk child and the first in a family of 14 children to attend college. He is a 1995 graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica where he received a B.Sc. with honors in Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 1997 he was awarded the Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship to England where he served as Ambassador of Goodwill for Rotary International. He earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry with an emphasis on Biotechnology and Molecular Biology in 1999 through a joint program between the University of the West Indies and Wye College, University of London. In 2010 Dr. Brown graduated from the Goizueta Business School, Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a M.B.A in Management.

Over his career, Dr. Brown has held several positions including being recruited to work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. While at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, he served as the Postdoctoral Research Associate Representative on the Postdoctoral Advisory Committee and Chaired the Postdoctoral Council from 2002-2004. Additionally, he held an appointment as a Research Assistant Professor in the College of Agricultural, Environmental and Natural Sciences at Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, AL where he was not only a scholar in the Alabama Collaboration for Cardiovascular Equity Research Training Program, but he was also Advisor to the Tuskegee University chapter of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences and a Member of the Selma Early College High School Advisory Board.  In 2011, Dr. Brown joined Burlington County College in Pemberton, NJ as the Dean of the Division of Science, Mathematics and Technology where he developed innovative approaches to expose students to the latest developments in science and technology. In April 2013, Dr. Brown was appointed the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, GA.

Dr. Brown has an extensive research and grant writing background. As a graduate student, he developed molecular diagnostic techniques to combat plant pathogens and to differentiate between plant species in Jamaica. As a scientist, Dr. Brown discovered a novel nuclear export signal that governs the impact of antilukemic agents on cancer cells. He was also involved in assessing the impact of obesity and its effects on cardiovascular disease and diabetes within underrepresented minorities. Additionally, individually and as a team member, Dr. Brown has successfully applied for and obtained grants totaling over $3.2M from several federal agencies including NASA and the USDA. The grants focused on providing meaningful educational opportunities for teachers and students interested in pursuing careers in STEM, including Bioinformatics, sustainability and green technology and expand higher education offerings at 2- and 4-year institutions.

Dr. Brown has over 20 years of experience in youth ministry, organizational development, team building, education and training. He has extensive experience working with institutions as a specialist in program development and advancing cultural shifts in organizations. He has provided organizations with the tools to maximize their potential. He has extensive experience working developing workshops that focuses on service learning, leadership development, personal development and strategic planning. Dr. Brown has provided life coaching for individuals who are focused on achieving their academic and career objectives. His workshops are directed towards one’s spiritual, personal, career, social or fitness goals.

Being one himself, Dr. Brown has a passion for increasing the number of college-eligible disadvantaged youth. He continuously collaborates with schools to encourage and motivate students to consider attending college and maximizing their potential. He is the Founding Director of Tuskegee University’s AgriTREK Program, which included a two-week residential program to create awareness of the educational and career opportunities in STEM through research, leadership development and personal enrichment.  For the past 15 years Dr. Brown has been actively involved in academic, personal enrichment and leadership development for socio-economically challenged underserved minority youth and teens not only in Jamaica but in the USA. He has a passion to expand the K-12 pipeline in underserved communities, thereby increasing the number of eligible college students by creating awareness and exposing underserved minorities to advanced scientific technologies.

Dr. Brown is a born-again Christian who has been actively involved in ministry since the age of 15 years old. In high school, he was a member of Inter School Christian Fellowship, an international organization that encourages high school student to live a life that is pleasing to God. As a student at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Brown was actively involved in University and College Christian Fellowship. Prayer was a routine part of Dr. Brown’s daily actives as he regularly met and prayed with friends throughout the course of the day. These years formed a critical point in his life as he sought to draw closer to the Lord. Dr. Brown has a deep-seated desire to proclaim the good news of the gospel wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. He has taught and preached in Jamaica, Britain and the United States of America.

Dr. Brown was also a minister at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, TN under the direction of Rev. Donald L. Johnson. He also served as a minister and a member of the True Deliverance Holiness Church in Auburn, AL under the direction of Bishop (Dr.) Nolan T. Torbert. Dr. Brown has been affiliated with several organizations including Gamma Sigma Delta, The Honor Society of Agriculture; Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society; Jamaica Society for Science and Technology; American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; and American Association for Cancer Research.


Dr. Richard Whittington

Board Member

Professor Richard Whittington is the HBCU-Up Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) at Tuskegee University. He obtained his academic success by attending the historic Tuskegee University (BS, MS) and Auburn University (PhD). His research focuses on aquatic pathogens that negatively impact production of major fish cultures such as catfish and tilapia. For over seven years, he has taught courses such as of Cell and Genetic Biology, Organismal Biology, and Microbiology at both institutions. Dr. Whittington developed his skill for working with young people through his involvement with GROW CELLS Summer Academy, Integrative Biosciences Research Experience for Undergraduates, Project GRAD Knoxville, AMACHI Leadership Foundation, Southeast Science Partnership, Fast Track Science Camp, and Science America Camp.

His research fields are: Aquaculture, Bioethics and Microbiology.

Some of his collaborations include:

  • Dr. Deidre Quinn-Gorham, School of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Tuskegee University

  • Drs. Olga Bolden-Tiller and Deloris Alexander, College of Agricultural, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Tuskegee University

  • Dr. Covadonga Arias, College of Agriculture, Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures, Auburn University