Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is passionate about creating access and opportunity for young people in STEAM. They serve as a liaison between public schools and the private sector, connecting employers with their future workforce and helping youth make informed, inspired decisions about their education after high school.

Leshan Ferguson

Leshan is one of the founders of Let’s Grow STEAMx and a dynamic educator with more than 17 years of teaching experience. She easily connects with young, eager learners, and her aim is to grow the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers, and creative thinkers. Her goal is to make STEAM learning and experiences accessible to all learners, especially minority and underrepresented students. She is enthusiastic about mentoring young, at-risk girls and encouraging all children to tap into their creativity and imagination, rise above challenges, set attainable goals, and explore all the STEAM opportunities available to them.

Lionel Haynes, Jr.

Lionel Haynes, Jr. is a former U.S. Army Reservist and currently still serves the Department of Defense as a budget analyst. He is an honor graduate of the U.S. Army Finance School and also serves as a Director on the Board of the Columbus State University Alumni Association. A strong advocate for our schools and youth, Lionel is driven by the words of Benjamin E. Mayes, PhD., 6th President of Morehouse College: “Whatever you do, strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead and no man yet born can do it any better.”

Radiah Mallard

Radiah Mallard is a proud retired US Army and Navy Veteran of 21 years who served two tours in Iraq. As a senior warrant officer, she received extensive experience with managing a variety of systems, team building, project management, and problem solving. During her time in service, Radiah was recognized by the Department of the Army three times for excellence in management and service. She is a devoted wife and mother to her four children and is a strong advocate for her son, who is diagnosed with Level III autism and is nonverbal. Radiah now owns PMI Chattahoochee Valley, a property management franchise firm that services Georgia and Alabama. Radiah also has a patent pending for an intellectual product that she aspires for use on a global scale.

David Britt

David Britt is an experienced public professional with a background in leadership, tax administration, Georgia law interpretation, and public service. He has served as the Deputy Tax Commissioner of Muscogee County since 2010. David is a Columbus, GA native, a graduate of Kendrick High School and Columbus State University, and he serves on the Board of Directors and the Technology team at New Birth Outreach Church. He is married to Charisse Britt and has one daughter, Ciara. His favorite quote comes from Hebrews 12:1, “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”

State Representative Calvin Smyre “The Dean”

Georgia State Representative Calvin Smyre, business executive, state legislator, community and national leader, earned his B.S. degree from Fort Valley State University in 1970, majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting.

His career path has taken him from being a community organizer and director of the “War on Poverty” program in Columbus to serving as Executive Vice President, Corporate External Affairs, Synovus Financial Corp., from which he retired in December 2014.

Elected at the age of 27, he is now the “Dean” of the Georgia General Assembly.  As a 47-year legislative veteran, he serves on the most important panels of the House:  Appropriations, Rules, and Higher Education.

Rep. Smyre has a distinguished legislative record, which includes authoring the legislation making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday a state holiday and legislation creating the Georgia Dome, former home of the Atlanta Falcons.  He was also instrumental and co-sponsor of the historic legislation creating a new Georgia State Flag and the HOPE Scholarship Program.

Nationally, he is President Emeritus of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) and a Past President of the NBCSL Foundation.