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Senator George Young

George E. Young Sr. is an American pastor and politician who serves in the Oklahoma Senate from the 48th district as a member of the Democratic Party.  Prior to his tenure in the state senate he served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from the 99th district. He served as vice-chair of the Democratic caucus in the state house and as chair of the Black Caucus in the state legislature.

Estela Hernandez

Estela Hernandez is a civic and community leader, who has worked tirelessly to stress the importance of community involvement and direct participation solving issues facing Oklahomans. A public speaker on the importance of women in business, faith, and family. Estela has been a small business owner for almost two decades, and she understands firsthand the hurdles Oklahoma businesses face. Estela earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business. Estela has been married for 20 years and is the proud mother of three children. She has been working in Senator Lankford’s office as a field rep since Jan. 2021.

Mautra Staley Jones 

Dr. Mautra Staley Jones advances and elevates each institution she touches. Through her educational and community leadership Dr. Jones has become one of Oklahoma’s most sought out thought leaders. Dr. Jones is President of Oklahoma City Community College, the fourth largest institution of higher education in the state of Oklahoma, with a mission of Student Success, Community Enrichment. Her appointment as the President of OCCC makes her the first Black woman to lead any higher education institution in Oklahoma that is not an HBCU.

With a BA in journalism from the University of Oklahoma, an MBA from the University of Phoenix, and a doctorate of education from Vanderbilt University, Jones has years of experience under her belt. Jones, who was awarded the 2021 National Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc, also holds leadership positions in several philanthropic organizations across Oklahoma.

Maureen Hoyler

On October 1, 2013, Maureen Hoyler assumed the position of President of the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit organization that provides professional development, program improvement, and advocacy for nearly 2,800 federally funded college opportunity programs at more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide. Ms. Hoyler has been a voice for low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities. As President, she oversees management of the Washington office and the fiscal affairs of the Association also while serving as the primary liaison between the Association and the United States Congress, the Executive Branch, all Governmental Agencies. She is the official representative of the Association with all other postsecondary educational associations.

Under her leadership, the Council has launched several new initiatives, including the Executive Leadership Institute for College Opportunity Professionals, which brings educational opportunity chapter leaders to institutions such as Princeton, Cornell, and Yale for instruction in various topics such as transformational leadership and public policy as well as provides on-going mentorship by highly experienced college access and success leaders. Hoyler also spearheaded the creation of the First-Generation College Celebration, during which hundreds of campuses recognize their first-generation students and faculty on the anniversary of the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (November 8). She has brokered partnerships with corporations such as Comcast to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for underrepresented students.

Hoyler began her career at the Educational Opportunity Program at Marquette University as an assistant to the then Director, Dr. Arnold Mitchem. Ms. Hoyler moved to Washington in 1981 to establish the Council’s office. As the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, she has played an integral role in the growth of the organization over the past 33 years, starting from a staff of one full-time professional. Ms. Hoyler has lectured widely on federal law and regulations. Over the years, she has received numerous awards from TRIO-based associations. She received her B.A. and her law degree from Marquette University from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Joseph R. Givens

Joseph Givens is the Director of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at Louisiana State University, a program that he has worked with since 2008. Before this appointment, he was the Assistant Director for Educational Talent Search at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas. Givens has served in leadership roles on both state and regional levels, including his current position of President-elect for the Council for Opportunity in Education. He also advocates for marginalized artists and specializes in the scholarly investigation of artists and art movements neglected in the historical canon. He teaches courses on topics of marginalized art, has presented papers at the International Comics Art Conference in conjunction with ComicCon International, and is a contributing author to Oxford University Art Online.

Dr. Arnold Mitchem

Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President Emeritus of the Council for Opportunity in Education, has been a voice for low-income, first-generation students and individuals with disabilities his entire career. Thanks to his work, the federally funded TRIO Programs have expanded by nearly 400% and now serve more than 872,000 students at 1,200 colleges and universities.

He began his career on the History faculty at Marquette University in Milwaukee and was named the Director of the Educational Opportunity Program in 1969. He relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1986 to serve as President of the Council for Opportunity in Education until October 2013.

Dr. Mitchem has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from eleven universities:  CUNY-Lehman College in New York; DePaul University; University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana; University of Liverpool, England, Marquette University; Marycrest College; University of Massachusetts at Boston; Lewis University; St. Joseph University in Philadelphia; St. Louis University; and SUNY Buffalo State.

Kimberly Jones Esq.

Since 2007, Kimberly Jones has served as a leading advocate for low-income students, first-generation students, students with disabilities, and students of color. Currently, Ms. Jones serves as the Executive Vice President at the Council for Opportunity in Education (“COE”). In this role, she serves as the chief operating officer, providing leadership over the organization’s government relations and advocacy efforts; program and professional development offerings for college access and success professionals; print and digital communications, fiscal policies, and information technology; and the development and implementation of all student programming offered by COE. In September 2022, COE’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to elect Ms. Jones as the Council’s third president. Her tenure in this role will begin in October 2023.

Prior to joining COE, Ms. Jones was an Associate in the Communications Practice Group at the law firm of Dow Lohnes, PLLC (now Cooley LLP), where she advised clients on a variety of broadcast and media law issues.  

Ms. Jones has served in leadership roles within various professional and civic organizations, including the Committee for Education Funding, of which she served as President. She is an inaugural Advisory Board Member for Black History 365, a comprehensive textbook and curriculum guide designed for students and educators that spans the breadth of Black American history, and a Board Member of Marked By COVID, a non-partisan charitable organization that promotes accountability, recognition, and justice for the millions of victims of COVID-19, including her father. Ms. Jones also volunteers with the DC Family & Youth Initiative, an organization that provides mentorship and support for young people in and aging out of the foster care system in the Washington, DC metro area.

A Harry S. Truman Scholar, Ms. Jones is a graduate of Yale University and the Georgetown University Law Center. In 2016, Kimberly was named one of the "40 Under 40 Nation's Best Advocates" by the National Bar Association and also received the organization’s Excellence in Activism Award. In 2018, she was selected for the Diversity Executive Leadership Program sponsored by ASAE, the American Society of Association Executives. In 2021, Kimberly earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from ASAE.

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