board of directors
Dr. Garrett V. Ridgley
Dr. Ridgley was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was educated at Colby College in Maine, Howard University in Washington D.C., and the University of Michigan. He was Chairman of the Department of Dentistry at Howard University until his retirement in 1991. Dr. Ridgley believe in the worth of all children, and that all children should be trained to fulfill their God-given gifts and talents.
Dr. Jacob U. Gordon
Dr. Gordon is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas and currently serves as the President & CEO of the American Health Coalition Inc., a national and international health and health-related issues organization. During his tenure at the University of Kansas, Dr. Gordon was also the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Multicultural Leadership and Research Fellow at the Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies He was educated in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Africa. Throughout his more than 35 years of academic career, Dr. Gordon’s record of public service was deeply rooted in the application of research for the improvement of human quality of life. He devoted much of his research, teaching and public service to public education, human and civil rights, leadership studies, substance abuse services, and school and community program evaluation.
Dr. Susie P. Ridgley
Dr. Ridgley was born, raised and educated in the Washington, D.C. area and is a retired school counselor. She believes that each child should be nurtured, inspired, and empowered to reach for excellence and to find their calling in life.
Dr. Barbara McDade Gordon
Dr. McDade-Gordon, is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida with affiliations in the Center for African Studies and the Center for International Business Education & Research. She received her Ph.D. in Geography & Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2004 Dr. Gordon has also served as Director of the Upward Bound Academy at UF, a college preparatory program for promising high school students from low-income households. Dr. McDade Gordon is a member of the Board of Directors of Girls Place, Inc., and the East Side Student Assistance, Inc., which provides scholarships for local students.
Her academic research has focused on Entrepreneurship and Business Development in Africa and now on developing effective support services for first-generation college students. Dr. McDade-Gordon has travelled throughout Africa to countries including Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and Botswana.
Dr. Peter Osei-Kwame
Dr. Osei-Kwame was born in the small Asante village of Daboya in Ghana, West Africa. He received his B.A. from the University of Ghana at Legon, and went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa at Iowa City. He taught Geography and African Studies at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi Ghana; University of Iowa at Iowa City; and University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1998 he began working for the US Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, as a Supervisory Geographer. He founded ACEF in 2004 because of a deep belief that every child – even those who live in the most remote villages in developing countries – deserves an education and an opportunity to dream big.
Anna was born in the small town of Old Offinso Ashanti in Ghana. She graduated from high school in Ghana, and attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She followed her husband, Dr. Osei-Kwame, to the U.S. in 1970 and worked as a caregiver for senior adults until her retirement in 2003. She believes that every child is a potential future leader and should receive an education that prepares him or her for a unique mission.