St. Louis Promise Zone

2018 Neighborhood Leadership Fellows Cohort Announced

Courtesy of Creating Whole Communities

Advanced Leadership Training Aims to Increase Promise Zone Civic Engagement

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, St. Louis Promise Zone and Creating Whole Communities are proud to announce the 2018 Neighborhood Leadership Fellows Cohort Class. The 2018 Cohort consists of 23 leaders from North St. Louis City and St. Louis County:

Annessa Blackmun, St. Louis City – 3rd Ward
Adam Brown, St. Louis County – University City
Roslyn Brown, St. Louis County – Pine Lawn
Deborah Rice Carter, St. Louis County – Ferguson
Kimberly Ann Collins, St. Louis City – 21st Ward
Rezhe Connelly, St. Louis County – University City
Teyuna Darris, St. Louis County – Ferguson
Umeme Houston, St. Louis City – 3rd Ward
Justin Idleburg, St. Louis City – 26th Ward
Ronald Jones, St. Louis City – 4th Ward
Kimberly Knox, St. Louis County – Normandy
Edward McFowland, St. Louis City – 4th Ward
Marie Oberkirsch, St. Louis City – 5th Ward
T. Christopher Peoples, St. Louis County – Bridgeton
Octavia Pittman, St. Louis County – Berkeley
Carla Reid, St. Louis City – 1st Ward
Lucendia Smith, St. Louis City – 5th Ward
Luther Tyus, St. Louis County – Bellerive Acres
Deborah J Vincent, St. Louis County – Pagedale
Elwyn Walls, St. Louis County – Pine Lawn
Mary Wheeler-Jones, St. Louis City – 21st Ward
JoAnn Williams, St. Louis City – 21st Ward
Kevin Windham, St. Louis County – Northwoods

The mission of Neighborhood Leadership Fellows is to increase the voices of North St. Louis City and North County residents at the civic decision-making tables in order to produce more equitable regional policies for neighborhoods. The primary geographic focus for the program is the federally designated St. Louis Promise Zone.

“Through this program, participants will gain skills and knowledge to become strong civic leaders in their communities, and strong advocates for an inclusive St. Louis,” St. Louis Promise Zone Director Erica Henderson said. “We’re proud to partner with Creating Whole Communities and anticipate great things from this inaugural Cohort.”

“The inaugural year of this advanced leadership-training program drew a large amount of interest. “It was tough to select just 23 fellows from the more than 100 applications received from individuals doing amazing work in their communities,” said Dwayne T. James, NLF Co-Facilitator and County Program Director for MU Extension – St. Louis County. “I look forward to working with and learning from the fellows selected to create a better, more inclusive St. Louis region,” added James.

Neighborhood Leadership Fellows is a nine-month leadership training. The program, set to convene on Jan. 12, will meet one weekend a month from January through September 2018. During the Friday and Saturday sessions, participants will engage in shared collaborative learning experiences through dialogue, and presentations among fellows and respective community and state leaders.

Educational workshops will cover policies, new research, and innovations that promote equitable neighborhood development in areas of housing, education, economic development, public health and safety. Positional power trainings will give participants the foundational knowledge to lead their communities and to serve effectively on boards, commissions, committees, and in elected office. All participants who are accepted receive a $2,000 stipend and a UMSL Chancellor’s Certificate upon completion.

To learn more about the program, please visit