photo of boardroom table with chairs around it

Board of Directors

Meet Our Board

C. Waters-Hassan, Founder

C. Waters-Hassan, Founder

“Educator for Life”

Cheryl Waters-Hassan’s inspiration is the result of hearing her grandmother say, “Cheryl’s going to be a teacher”.

Cheryl is a product of Baltimore City Public Schools, and a graduate of Coppin State University with a B.S. in Education, concentration Special Education. She earned her M.S. in Education, concentration Disciplinary Literacy, at Goucher College. Her career as a special educator extends over 45 years and three Maryland school districts and the District of Columbia Public Schools. Throughout her career in the high school setting she has been a pied piper for underserved students in need of guidance and information about post secondary education. Her passion for young people keeps her energized.

The Anna V. Waters Scholarship fills a long-standing void by providing encouragement and recognition through financial support to students. This unique scholarship focuses on students who successfully complete high school with a “C” average and intend to pursue post secondary studies.

Christine Amihere

Christine Amihere

Mrs. Christine Amihere was inspired by the goals of the Anna V. Waters Scholarship and has contributed to the administration of the scholarship since 2014. As a high school chemistry teacher, Mrs. Amihere has witnessed the need for including a deeper swath of students receiving scholarships that encourage students to pursue their vocations. Students need the encouragement and monetary help that the Anna V. Waters community offers to African American C students. Mrs. Amihere began her professional career as a modern dancer and is the beneficiary of public support, scholarships, and donations. She served on the board and was an administrator of several non-profit dance companies in Kansas City and New York City. She entered the teaching profession over fifteen years ago with the ideals of supporting equity in public education. She continues to believe in the value of public education and to strive for equity and excellence.

Menelik Paul Coates

Menelik Paul Coates

Menelik Paul Coates is an Assistant Attorney General of Maryland in Baltimore. Prior to September 2018, Menelik was a prosecutor in Prince George’s County, Maryland and he served as a law clerk for former Chief Justice Robert Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state. Menelik is an alumnus of the University of Maryland Carey Law School, class of 2012, and of Howard University, undergraduate class of 2005. He is also the father of two beautiful twin girls, and the youngest son of Cheryl Waters-Hassan.

April Copes

April Copes

Dr. April E. Copes has worked with the Anna V. Waters Scholarship since its inception, developing literature to promote the scholarship fund, support fundraisers, and bolster its expansion. A veteran educator, Dr. Copes taught high school students and served as a scholarship chairperson for the District of Columbia Public Schools for 16 years. In that capacity, she championed first-generation high school students who desired a college education but lacked the financial and social support to turn their dreams of a college degree into reality. Through her work with the A.V. Waters Fund, she remains a proponent of access to higher education for all students, especially those often overlooked. Dr. Copes is an Associate Professor of Communication at Anne Arundel Community College.

Andrea S. German

Andrea S. German

Ms. Andrea German is the Special Education Department Chair and Equity Coordinator/Liaison at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts in Dundalk, Maryland. Previously she spent eleven years at Catonsville High School in Catonsville, Maryland as Special Education Department Chair. Ms. German earned BA and MA degrees in American History at Mars Hill University and Western Carolina University, respectively. She earned an additional master’s degree in Special Education/Learning Disabilities at American University in Washington, D.C. Most recently she completed a post-graduate professional certificate in Culturally Proficient Leadership at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. German has particular interests in promoting high school special education and facilitating broader conversations around race, racism, white supremacy and, in particular, around racial inequities within the context of education.

Joel Miller

Joel Miller

Mr. Miller is currently a doctoral student. He considers it a great privilege to have had the opportunity to work as an educator for over a decade. His graduate research is focused on the historical developments of special education and the ways in which those developments impact contemporary teaching practices as well as constructions of student identity. His teaching experiences have been in adult literacy, secondary special education, and, most recently, at the undergraduate level. His instructional philosophy drives him to struggle alongside students to help identify strengths and to find ways in which their assets might contribute to their own development, and the development of others. He and his wife live in Dundalk, Maryland.

Tanwa M. Suma

Tanwa M. Suma

Tanwa M. Suma attended and graduated from the Community College of Baltimore (CCB), currently known as Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) and Morgan State University. She has over 20 years of experience working in the private sector, including serving as Diversity Outreach Coordinator for the Central Maryland Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association. She has over 30 years of experience in government services as a Case Worker, Case Manager and Supervisor in Family Services. She is also an entrepreneur with nearly 40 years of experience in Direct Marketing with Mary Kay Cosmetics, owning and operating her own business. She is the recipient of numerous awards in all of these areas. Ms. Suma has volunteered in several community service organizations, including Cooperative Extension Services as a 4H Leader, the Family & Consumer Services(F&CS) Advisory Board at Morgan State University, and the NAACP Baltimore City Chapter. She currently volunteers as a member of the Senior Companion Advisory Council, Health Freedom Inc. (previously C.H.A.M.P.) on the planning committee and conductor of a walking group.

Ashley Whidby

Ashley Whidby

Ashley Whidby is one of the first recipients of the Anna V. Waters Scholarship. In the Spring of 2019, she earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence (law degree) at the University of Maryland’s Francis King Carey School of Law. She received her Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from the Community College of Baltimore County in 2013. In 2016, she graduated cum laude from the University of Baltimore, where she majored in Jurisprudence and Philosophy. During her time at the University of Baltimore, she co-founded the Women of Color Student Association as a response to the lack of representation of women of color in the legal and other professions. She also served as Vice-President of the Pre-Law Division of the Black Law Students Association. During law school she was elected as the Student Representative for the Student Bar Association Class of 2019. She has served on the Black Law Students Association Executive Board. She served as student ambassador to the Lawyers’ Alliance of the Public Justice Center and was a member of the National Trial Team. She has spent two summers interning at the District of Columbia Public Defender’s Services as a law clerk. She hopes to dedicate her legal career to advocating for marginalized communities and working toward fairness and equality in the justice system.