Jamesha Hayes had just graduated from Rhodes College and was teaching middle-school social studies at Freedom Preparatory Academy Charter Schools when she enrolled in the Master of Education program at CBU in 2011. “During my Leadership and Foundations of Education courses, I had the opportunity to experience a paradigm shift that would become the foundation of my orientation to leadership for the duration of my life. I learned the concept of ‘servant leadership,’ and as a result of learning that concept, I have been successful in my career and in my relationships with others.”

Jamesha passed that lesson on to her students, who as a result all matriculated to high school and 96% of whom were proficient or advanced on the state exam. She also founded after-school programs to aid students in their social emotions, mental health, and leadership development.

While still a graduate student at CBU, Jamesha joined Teach for America as a Social Studies Content Learning Community Leader and has moved through the ranks as a Teacher Leadership Specialist, an Instructional Coach, a Director of Leadership Coach, Managing Director of Institute, and currently served as Managing Director of Programs and Continuum. In that position, she manages a team of directors who are training hundreds of teachers to create inclusive classrooms that “teach the minds” of their students and “touch their hearts” by creating aspiring anti-racist, inclusive classrooms that have rigorous instruction in safe, joyful environments.

Additionally, Jamesha is an active board member of Libertas Montessori School and has served as the chair of the Junior League of Memphis Voluntarism Scholarship Committee since 2019. She was a member of the Advisory Board for A Step Ahead Foundation and was one of 30 young professionals selected to participate in 2014 Embark cohort with New Memphis. She has been a member of the Kappa Delta PI International Honor Society since 2013, and has been active in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority since joining the Rhodes and CBU collegiate chapter of Rho Gamma as a student.

Jamesha became an author in 2019 when she wrote a chapter in the book, A Second Helping of Gumbo for the Soul: More Liberating Stories and Memories to Inspire Females of Color, entitled “When Life Gives You Lemons, Give Life Black Girl Magic: A Story of a Memphis Girl Overcoming Homelessness and Educational Inequity.” A Second Helping of Gumbo is part of a four-book series entitled Contemporary Perspectives on Multicultural Gifted Education, published by Information Age Publishing.

Every time I was on CBU’s campus, I felt some form of being safe, welcomed, loved, respected, encouraged, challenged, invigorated, inspired, and joyful.