We are delighted to welcome our new ISAAC Executive Director, Dr. Charlae Davis.
Charlae was born and raised in Kalamazoo, the child of KPS educators Vern and Auga Davis. She grew up in Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, where ISAAC President Elder Doug King was her youth pastor, and where her family is still actively involved.
After graduating from Kalamazoo Central High School, Charlae went to the University of Michigan and earned her B.A. with concentrations on Race, Class and Gender Inequalities and Social Welfare. She continued at the U-M and earned her Masters of Social Work with a focus on Children, Youth and Families and Community Organizing. Recently, she received her Ph.D. in Educational Policy from MSU, where her dissertation investigated diminishing the achievement gap. She has received an impressive list of awards for her work, including effective community organizing on issues of inequity. Charlae shares one of her memorable community organizing efforts:
“A life changing experience happened in 2006. While studying I noticed the same group of children, ages 10 to 14 years old frequenting the public library in Ann Arbor. These were awesome youth with great potential, yet often found themselves getting into a great deal of trouble. Daily they continued to talk to me, a stranger, sharing their scholastic problems and lack of afterschool activities. I began to brainstorm what type of program I could create. I went door-to-door to visit their parents/guardians, and they expressed an extreme interest in a holistic, partnership type of program to support their children. A true community effort was set into motion, one that included parents, clergy, congregations, college students and the Samaritan Community Development Corporation (Dr. Charles Hawthorne). Working together, the holistic Youth with Purpose Mentorship Program was birthed.”
To the ISAAC Executive Committee it still looked as if Charlae is headed for a brilliant academic career. We asked her whether community organizing is truly the path she wants to take. Here’s her answer:
“I was astounded by the sincerity, awareness and dedication of ISAAC’s board and community members, especially in a society where individualism has become normative. I chose to work with ISAAC because your interfaith commitment to social justice extends beyond mere words into powerful action. It’s encouraging to see an inclusive body of clergy, diverse congregations, and committed community members of faith and consciousness, working together for the common call of equity. I am thankful to God for opening the door and making it possible for me to accept this wonderful position. I’m happy to be a part of the ISAAC family!”