Program Leadership

The program leadership is comprised of a Board of Directors and an Advisory Board.

​​​Meet the people behind the scenes who are responsible for maintaining The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program’s success. Our Board members and members of the Advisory Board are volunteers. They help minimize program costs, which makes the program much more effective.  

  • The money goes where it is needed – paid to the students’ college or training program for their college education or workforce development training.
    • The Board of Directors meets monthly on the first Sunday of each month from 6:00 to 7:00p.m.

Both the Directors and Advisors are accomplished, community leaders. In addition to providing their skills, they are role models for The Bernie scholars. Our Board and Advisory Board members get to know the awardees through their application review and personal interviews.

The Board of Directors meets regularly.  The Advisory Board meets twice a year and also advises and participates in events and planning.  If you would like more information or to become a volunteer, please send your request and questions to We are currently seeking board members, advisory members, consultants/advisors, grant writers, and researchers.

Board Members

Beverly Coleman

Sandra Edmonds Crewe

Lynne Harris

Audrey June

Kasey Kasemen

Kia B. Konde

Rishi Nixon

Silvio Renzi

Nancy Scull

Tommy Tavenner

Sonya Hall Turner  

Whitney Williams

Greg Wims

Advisory Board Members

Bruce Adams
Catherine Leggett
Susan Messitte
Bernie Tetreault

Founding Members

Jim Brodsky
Barbara Heyman
Reverend Lon Dring
Joyce Siegel
Bernie Tetreault


Board Members

Beverly Coleman has served as the Director of Montgomery College TRIO Educational
Opportunity since July 2014. Prior to coming to Montgomery College, she worked for
the Community College of Baltimore County, Goucher College and Penn State
University. She has dedicated the last 25 years of her career to assisting low-income,
first-generation (college), and underrepresented individuals in the pursuit of secondary
education and post-secondary education and training opportunities. Beverly’s
commitment to empowering others has resulted in the development of the Montgomery
College Single Parent Conference, and work with the Baltimore County Black Teachers
Alliance Pipeline to Prosperity. Beverly is a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Drum Major for Justice” award from the Frederick Douglas Society of West Chester
University. She is a graduate of West Chester University with a Bachelor of Science in
Criminal Justice and a Master’s of Science in Administration.

Sandra Edmonds Crewe is Dean and professor of Social Work at Howard University,
Washington, D.C. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Catholic University,
Washington, D.C. She also earned a PhD in social work from Howard University,
Washington, D.C. Dr. Crewe is a National Association of Social Workers Pioneer and is
a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW). Dr. Crewe specializes
in ethnogerontology and caregiving across the life span. She also conducts training in
mental health awareness and suicide prevention with a focus on African Americans. Dr.
Crewe resides in Largo, Maryland, with her husband Dwight. Dr. Crewe is a long-time
member of First Baptist Church of Highland Park, Landover, Maryland. She is a native
of Halifax County, Virginia.

Lynne Harris, Board President, is an at-large member on the Montgomery County
Board of Education. Her professional life has included careers in nursing, law, public
health and teaching Medical Science at Thomas Edison HS of Technology. Lynne holds
a Nursing degree from The University of Tulsa, a J.D. from Washington University in St.
Louis, and a Master of Health Science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of
Public Health. Lynne chairs the BOE’s Fiscal Management committee, represents the
BOE on the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, and formerly served on the
Montgomery County Commission on Children and Youth. She chairs the Mentor
Advisory Board of Communities United Against Hate/Youth Creating Change. Lynne
also served 8 years on the Montgomery County Council of PTAs Board of Directors,
including 3 years as Vice President for Advocacy, and 3 years as President.

Audrey Williams June is a veteran journalist who has written about higher education
for more than two decades. An award-winning reporter for The Chronicle of Higher
Education, she explores and analyzes data to uncover higher-education trends and
insights. Prior to arriving at The Chronicle, she worked as a business reporter for The
Charlote Observer and as an environmental reporter for The Macon Telegraph in
Georgia. She is an early literacy advocate who taught early literacy skills to
preschoolers for a decade as a Fairfax County Public Library volunteer. Audrey has
also served on the board of Reading is Fundamental of Northern Virginia, which

provides free books to elementary and middle school children. She is a graduate of
Florida A&M University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Rev. “Kasey” Kaseman has degrees from Westmar College, Andover Newton
Theological School and Yale Divinity School.  He has been engaged in ecumenical and
interfaith work, a college admissions counselor, a mentor, and incorporator and director
of nonprofits that impacted public education, anti-poverty programs, civil rights,
affordable housing and health care.  His experience includes marketing and fundraising.
 He has served as a pastor, executive director, corporate vice president and public
official in Montgomery County since 1979.

Kia Booker Konde is a Philadelphia, PA, native now residing in Maryland. Kia has
worked in Program and Grants Management in the federal service for twenty years. She
is currently employed with the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as a
Community Planning & Development Specialist in the Community Development Block
Grant (CDBG) program. She earned an MBA in Urban Economic Development from
Eastern University and a BA in Telecommunications from The Pennsylvania State
University.  Kia has committed her life to the cause of fighting poverty and helping to
improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens. Kia is as devoted to her
volunteerism as she is to her employment. She chairs the Legislative and Bylaws
Committees in her Federally Employed Women (FEW) Widening Opportunities for
Women (WOW!) Chapter, is advocate and fundraiser for The Arthritis Foundation, proud
member of the Junior League of Washington, the NAACP, and recently joined The
Bernie Scholarship Awards Program’s Board to help youth from low-income families
achieve the dream of a college education.

Rishi Nixon Rishi Nixon is the Student Trustee of Montgomery College. He is pursuing
an associate degree in mathematics and has held various public service roles, including
as chair of the educational services grant evaluation subcommittee for Montgomery
County’s federal Community Development Block Grant fund, Vice Chair of the
Montgomery County Commission on Children and Youth, and as a Youth Advisor to
Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles.

Silvio Renzi is founder and CEO of Previse Solutions, a software company in
Gaithersburg, Maryland. He has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur
building and managing businesses. Silvio is dedicated to service, holds various
positions within his community and volunteers for various charities including The Bernie
Scholarship Awards Program and Ride Allegheny, an organization raising over $500k
per year for Operation Second Chance. Silvio holds an MBA from Seton Hall University
and a BSBA from Boston University where he was a member of the Sigma Chi

Nancy Scull, Board Secretary, was Coordinator off the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS)
Program at the Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC), Montgomery County’s public
housing agency, for 22 years until 2015 when she retired. Nancy created a Maryland,
D.C. and Northern Virginia FSS Coordinators’ Roundtable Group for information-

sharing, client and program advocacy. Partnering with the annual Capitol Hill
Legislative Day of NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment
Organizations), Nancy led up to 50 advocacy teams of FSS staff and FSS clients to tell
their stories at annual meetings on Capitol Hill with Representatives’ and Senators’ low-
income subsidized housing and welfare legislative staff from most states. In 2014 she
was awarded by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett the Roscoe Nix
Distinguished Community Leadership Award. She holds a B.A. in French and
Secondary Education from American University, M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from
University of Hawaii and a Master of Science in French and Linguistics from
Georgetown University.

Thomas “Tommy” Tavenner, Board Treasurer, CFP ® , AIF ®  is the Founder and
Executive Officer for Tavenner Financial, Inc. Tommy received his Bachelor of
Science degree in Business with an emphasis on Management Studies from the
University of Maryland (UMUC). He earned the Certified Financial Plannerä certification
in 2001 after completing the professional education program through the Certified
Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.  Tommy has earned the Accredited
Investment Fiduciary ® (AIF ® ) professional designation from Fiduciary360. He has
been in the securities and insurance business since 1996. His clients include both
Corporate Retirement Plans as well as individuals who rely on him for Financial
Planning, Wealth Management and individual insurance needs. Tommy is currently
writing his first financial book, and is active in his home state of Maryland in developing
financial literacy programs through the Maryland school system. He is co-founder with
his wife Michelle of the nonprofit In Honor of Her, Inc. (, an
organization that fosters education for the prevention of Domestic Violence.

Sonya Hall Turner, Board President’s Support, has over 25 years of contracting experience and has worked both for and with in-house corporations and at a law firm. She currently is the Vice President, Contracts with Turning Point Global Solutions, L.L.C. in Rockville, Maryland, where she manages inception to close-out of the company’s commercial, Federal and State government contracts, as well as reporting and pricing. Sonya holds a B.A. from UNC-Greensboro, a MBA and MS from UMD, Global Campus, as well as a Paralegal Certificate. She serves on the Board of Transformation Theatre, is a certified Interior Decorator, active at her church, Kingdom Fellowship AME, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated, the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP and PVC-NCNW.

Whitney Williams is a first-generation student and two-time former recipient of the Bernie Scholarship Awards Program that supported her dreams of attending the Illustrious Morgan State University. Ms. Williams earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Biology with a minor in chemistry. She is currently in the process of applying for her Masters in Physician Assistant studies. She serves as a junior youth mentor in her community where she is dedicated to inspire , uplift , and create community service activities with young men and women. Her goal in life is to become a Health Care Provider to limit the amount of health disparities in low -income communities and represent multi-racial demographics.

Greg Wims, Board Treasurer, is a 5th generation resident of Montgomery County, Maryland. He has volunteered with many non-profits over the years and has over 48,000 volunteer hours. He is the founder for the Victims’ Rights Foundation. He is currently the Montgomery County, MD Director, Up-County Regional Services Center. He was the VP for Government Affairs at Bold Concepts, Inc. for 20 years. Greg is the Past President, State of Maryland NAACP and Past Governor, Rotary International, Central Maryland and Washington, DC. He has received over 100 awards including Leadership Montgomery’s Leader of the Year Award. He is most proud of receiving the “Key to the City” from the City of Gaithersburg where he was born and raised. Greg is married and has three children and two grandkids.

Advisory Board

Bruce Adams is the Director of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s Office of Community Partnerships (OCP). He served as an elected Montgomery County Council member from 1986-94 and was Council President 1991-92. He served as Senior Fellow at The James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland (1995-97), Fellow of the Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University (1979), Associate of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation (1982-1986), and National Research Director for Common Cause (1977-1982). Bruce was named 1998 Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine and received the 1993 Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Scull Metropolitan Public Service Award for enhancing intergovernmental cooperation in the Washington Metropolitan Region.

Catherine Leggett is Senior Vice President for Human Resources at ICMA-RC, a nonprofit independent financial services corporation providing retirement security for Public Sector services. Mrs. Leggett was named Democrat of the year in 2007.  As Montgomery County’s First Lady, she is very active in the community as a lifetime board member of the Montgomery Hospice, Chair of Maryland State Commission for Public Art and a former member of the Boards of Young Audiences, Imagination Stage, Maryland State Arts Council and Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council. In 2016 she received The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program’s Community Service Award.

Susan Messitte is a Member of and past President of the Foundation Board of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  She is a community activist having served on several Boards including Judicial Nominating Committee and Juvenile Justice Committee for Montgomery County.  She is the past President of Woman’s Democratic Club and is a retired consultant for nonprofit organizations and a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil.

Bernie Tetreault for whom The Bernie Scholarship Awards Program was named, served as Executive Director of HOC for twenty-four years. During his tenure, the organization was transformed from a traditional Public Housing Authority to a multi-faceted housing agency, providing both single family and multifamily financing, developing both large and small housing developments, and providing housing management and resident services programs. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Housing Conference and was a founder and past president of the Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies. He is the founder and President of the Innovative Housing Institute and was real estate advisor to the DC Housing Authority helping them develop mixed income communities on revitalized public housing sites. Bernie is known and respected around the country as a progressive housing innovator for affordable housing.