Krissy DeAlejandro is the Executive Director of tnAchieves, a Knoxville-based nonprofit dedicated to increasing higher education opportunities for high school students in Tennessee by providing last-dollar scholarships and mentoring services.
A Tennessee native, she is the first in her family to attend college. Her work with tnAchieves has allowed her to be able to share her experience with students as they embark into higher education.
Krissy received her Bachelor’s degree from The University of the South and her Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
In her free time, Krissy enjoys eating foods prepared by her chef and restauranteur husband, and spending time with him and their three children.
rev. john c. jones
Rev. John C. Jones is the President and CEO of HOPE Toledo, a Toledo-based nonprofit designed to support and ensure high-quality education—from preschool to postsecondary and trade school—for every young person in the city of Toledo.
As a Toledo native, Jones knows first-hand the impact quality education can make on an individual, a family and the broader community.
Prior to taking the position with HOPE Toledo, Jones served as the community liaison for ProMedica with its Social Determinants of Health office. In that role, Jones served the community through the development of mentoring programs, as well as training and placement of youth, young adults and others. During his tenure, he also focused on education and was instrumental in developing the vision for HOPE Toledo.
Previously, Jones served as the President and CEO of the Greater Toledo Urban League. John is also an ordained minister and serves as an Associate Minister at the Christian Temple Baptist Church under the leadership and pastorate of his father, Rev. Charles E. Jones.
Leland Melvin is the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space. The Pro Football Hall of Fame honored his athletic and academic accomplishments by placing his Detroit Lions jersey under glass in Canton, Ohio. Through these professional experiences working on high stakes teams he developed a deep and nuanced understanding of effective team dynamics.
Leland has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Master’s degree in materials science engineering. He worked at NASA Langley Research Center in the area of nondestructive testing creating optical fiber sensors for measuring damage in aerospace vehicles, resulting in publications in numerous scientific journals. After hanging up his space boots he was appointed head of NASA Education and served as the co-chair on the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Education Task Force developing the nation’s 5-year STEM education plan. Leland was the United States representative and chair of the International Space Education Board (ISEB), a global collaboration on learning about space. He uses his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) careers.
dr. gus petticolas
Dr. Gus Petticolas is a dentist, a founding member of The Free Clinic of Lynchburg, and a community activist.
He was born and raised in Sussex County, Virginia, but Dr. Petticolas has called Lynchburg home and served the Lynchburg community for decades.
His passion for healthcare and dentistry has led him to many Board and volunteer roles within Central Virginia and beyond. He served as a founding Board member for The Free Clinic of Lynchburg and the South Central Area Health Education Center (AHEC). He previously served as a chairman for the Lynchburg City Schools’ Dental Careers Advisory Committee and as a consultant for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Head Start program.
His Board work also includes the Lynchburg Dental Society, Step with Links, Inc., Lynchburg Welfare Advisory Committee, Lynchburg Fine Arts Center, Centra Health, Inc., Centra PACE Advisory Board, The Legacy Museum of African American History, Churches for Urban Ministry, Centra Health Foundation, Greater Lynchburg Community Trust, The Center for Holistic Learning at Livingston College, The Link Project, Community Access Network, and Bank of the James. Beyond Central Virginia, he was appointed to the Virginia Board of Dentistry by Governor Tim Kaine, Governor Terry McAuliffe, and Governor Ralph Northam.
Throughout his service to the community and commonwealth, he has explored his own sense of access, opportunity, and the role humility plays in finding his Why.