Board of Directors | Our Staff

Board of Directors

Communities In Schools of Metropolitan Detroit is governed by an active board of directors who volunteer their services to improve the lives of students and families in Metropolitan Detroit.

Board members gather for a general meeting six times per year and also serve on committees.


CIS Detroit Board

Patrick Lindsey, Board President

Vice President, Government & Community Affairs, Wayne State University
Mr. Lindsey brings a wealth of experience in board finance, governance, and development of mission-driven public and private partnerships. His expertise supports CIS' financial sustainability, commitment to non-profit best practices and results-driven outcome strategies.

CIS Detroit Board

Brigette Jackson, Secretary & Resource Development Committee Co-Chair

Director, Regional Sales, Starbucks
Ms. Jackson's extensive experience in marketing, management, fundraising, regional and national brand development contributes to CIS achieving its annual resource development and brand recognition goals.

CIS Detroit Board

Sonja Allen, Chief Executive Officer

Since Ms. Allen was appointed CEO in 2011, she has recalibrated CIS' operations and Integrated Student Support (ISS) focus to meet the current public education needs of the metro Detroit region. Today, CIS is financially sustainable and supports and shapes innovations to expand opportunities for more than 10,000 students in metro Detroit —building greater resilience by empowering kids to emerge stronger from obstacles that could hinder positive outcomes for them, their families and their communities.


CIS Detroit Board

Harlan Bivens, Marketing & Public Relations Committee

Detroit Small Business Owner
Mr. Bivens is an accomplished actor, Detroit business owner and long-time mentor to young people. His commitment of time and talent contributes to effective brand awareness and organizational marketing and communications.

CIS Detroit Board

Derek Byrd, Marketing & Public Relations Committee Chairperson

Marketing & Inside Manager, Evans Distribution System
Mr. Byrd's expertise in marketing, brand development and public relations contribute to productive communication strategies and effective marketing campaigns to increase brand awareness and the cultivation of relationships with multiple audiences.

CIS Detroit Board

Mawine G. Diggs, Program Committee

President and CAO, Wayne County Community College District, Eastern Campus
Ms. Diggs is a passionate educator and leader who brings valuable contributions to the development, implementation and evaluation of programs that are designed to empower students to stay in school, gain fuller access to educational resources and realize their true life's potential.

CIS Detroit Board

Deborah El-Amin, Operations Committee

State Director (Nurse/JD) Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Ms. El-Amin brings a wealth of experience as a legal and medical professional who successfully manages operations across the state of Michigan. Her expertise contributes to the success of CIS' ongoing board development, training and productive engagement.

CIS Detroit Board

Nellie LaGarde, HR Committee

President and CEO, NBL & Associates
Ms. LaGarde is a successful entrepreneur and Chrysler Corporation retiree. During her corporate career, she developed and designed volunteer programs, local and national education programs and community partnerships. Her leadership and commitment to excellence in education and the community has contributed to the effective and efficient board governance of CIS of Metropolitan Detroit.

CIS Detroit Board

Barbara Jean Patton, Founding CIS Board Member

Area Director of Development, United Negro College Fund – Michigan
Ms. Patton also serves on the Operations Committee. Her wealth of experience in city/county government, corporate and nonprofit sectors contribute to CIS' effective operations and implementation of nonprofit best practice strategies.

CIS Detroit Board

Rebecca Slay, Resource Development Committee Co-Chair

Director, Basic Needs/Building Foundations (Blended Funding) Initiative for United Way of Southeastern Michigan
Ms. Slay also serves on the Finance Committee. She brings extensive knowledge and experience in non-profit operations, fundraising and fiscal management that contributes to CIS' ability to achieve its fund development and annual budget goals.
Communities In Schools of Metropolitan Detroit, Inc.
26555 Evergreen Road, Suite 530 :: Southfield, MI 48076
Phone 313.571.3402 :: Fax 313.571.3404