Governing Board Members
Yvette R. Robinson, M. A. Ed.
CEO and Founder
Yvette R. Robinson, M. A. Ed., is CEO and Founder of Xavier House Unlimited, Inc..She has worked in the field of child welfare for almost 25 years specializing in serving foster youth involved in juvenile justice, human trafficking, and teen parenting. She has a Bachelor’s in Social Work degree and a Master’s of Arts in Education where her studies focused on At-Risk and Alternative Education. She has served on the Executive Board of the Florida Association for Gifted Children. She has presented at national conferences for SENG (Social Emotional Needs of the Gifted) and NAGC (National Association of Gifted Children) on the needs and identification of youth in the systems of foster care, alternative schools and juvenile justice institutions. Yvette has had the opportunity to collaborate with nationally and internationally recognized gifted researchers to develop best practices in the identification of and services for high-potential, high-intelligence youth in the foster care system.
Dr. Olysha Magruder
Dr. Magruder is the Director of Learning Design and Faculty Development at the Center for Learning Design, Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. She manages a team of instructional designers who design and develop courses for over 22 master’s degree programs and support the Whiting School of Engineering faculty. She directs the Faculty Forward Academy which provides workshops, webinars, courses, and programs to Johns Hopkins faculty. In addition to her leadership in higher education and online teaching and learning, Dr. Magruder has experience as an instructional designer, an online course instructor, and a classroom teacher. She received her doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Florida, focusing on faculty development and educational technology.
Dr. Alissa Cress
Board Vice Chair
Alissa Cress is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, focusing on children with gifts, creativity, and talents. She formerly served as an elementary school teacher and counselor and teacher for youth programs. Her research focuses on minoritized children and children from populations underrepresented in gifted education, teacher training, and parent and society perceptions of giftedness. She received her Ph.D. in Gifted, Creative, and Talented Studies from Purdue University.
Shannon Walker, Esq
Shannon earned her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law in 2021 with a Certificate of Concentration in Social Justice Advocacy. Among her many law school accolades, she was the recipient of the Dean’s Merit-Based Scholarship, and the 2021 Daniel N. Burton “Against All Odds” Award, as well as served as the Vice President of the Black Law Students Association for 2019-2020. Ms. Walker worked with children as a middle school language arts teacher in the Hernando County Schools and then at various community and family-based social service agencies. She served as an intern at the Office of the Public Defender for the Sixth Circuit in Clearwater representing children experiencing foster care facing delinquency charges and as an Assistant State Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Shannon Walker is currently an associate attorney at a large insurance defense firm.
Brandon Peckham, MHA, is a seasoned healthcare administration professional with a remarkable life journey. A former foster child adopted at age 10, Brandon’s path from adversity to success is a testament to resilience and opportunity. A first-generation graduate, he obtained a Bachelor of Science and Master’s in Health Administration from the University of Florida. In his role as Vice Chair for Finance and Administration at the UF College of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology, Brandon manages a $130MM budget and directs the administrative, clinical, financial, business planning, education, and research activities of the department in support of advancing UF Health’s strategic goals. His leadership is marked by strategic acumen and the ability to foster alignment and engagement across the organization. Brandon’s personal narrative fuels his deeply personal commitment to ethical leadership, individualized care, and innovation. His journey from foster care drives his dedication to organizations focused on transformative community impact.
Member at Large
Lewis Rhodes is an educator and instructor with 25 years of experience. After graduating from the University of Florida he entered the teaching field where he taught elementary school for 8 years. He then taught computer skills to gifted and talented students at the Academy of Technology and Gifted Studies at Howard Bishop for 10 years, instructing students of diverse age groups, ethnicities, ability levels, and skill sets. Lewis then established “WIRED! Summer Technology Enrichment Camp @ HBMS,” which teaches middle and high school students courses related to Animation, Multi-Media, and Digital Design where he served as Camp Director. Lewis’s current role is Supervisor of Instructional Technology for Alachua County Public Schools.
Youth Advisory Board Chair
Destiny is the oldest of four children and seemed to view the world through different eyes as she was infinitely seeking something “more”, something different, better. That feeling paired with enduring fearlessness led her through both extremely beautiful and extremely ugly moments in her life. She has lived in most states on the East coast and traveled through the rest, many of which she saw during her time “running” from the foster care system. Today she is a proud mother of two, a self-taught musician and talented head chef. She is dedicated to her health and fitness and pursuing a certification in dietary management. She is still as fearless, but now she puts her energies into advocacy for those who cannot always advocate for themselves.
Mr. DiMauro is the Chief Executive Officer of LPI Learning, Renzulli Learning, Agent Au Pair and is a Partner in GeoVisions and Universal Accounting International. Mike began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher after graduating from Southern Connecticut State University. He taught for one year in a residential treatment center for adolescents. Mike was ultimately hired to be CWTA’s Membership & Development Director where he spearheaded the marketing activities for the Sino-Connecticut Trade Expo bringing more than 100 high-level business leaders from China to the U.S. Mike developed a passion for marketing and a strong aptitude in information technology that led him to the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS), a leading international education organization. Mike had a distinguished career with AIFS, culminating as Chief Marketing Officer. The company achieved record profitability during his tenure as a senior executive while holding seats on the AIFS Inc. Board of Directors, AIFS Foundation Board of Trustees and The Cyril Taylor Charitable Foundation. Mike continues to expand educational opportunities across the world and he and his companies are making a significant contribution to global education, providing participants with the skills required to succeed in the 21st Century.