African American Student Services Staff

Dr. Tonya R. Strozier
(520) 584-7500

Dr. Tonya Strozier has a proven track record in school turnaround, transformation, and improvement.  Her educational leadership experience includes magnet, charter, traditional public, and virtual schools. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Family Studies from the University of Arizona and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. She also earned a Ph.D. in psychology, technology, and learning from Grand Canyon University. 

In the community, Dr. Tonya launched the Tucson Alliance of Black School Educators, is a member of the Mayor’s Racial Equity and Justice Advisory Board, peer reviewer for American Educational Research Association (AERA) and an invited scholar at Grand Canyon University’s Reflective Practice Institute.  Dr. Strozier also serves as adjunct faculty for the University of Arizona and Carolina University. 

Shermaine Fort
Program Coordinator

Shermaine Fort is currently a Coordinator in the AASSD. In her role she is given the opportunity to live out her passion by supporting both parents and students. She guides parents by helping them navigate challenges and better understand the school system. She advises and advocates for students who face barriers that seem insurmountable. Ms. Fort, creates, implements, and monitors programs ensuring fair and equitable treatment for all children. Shermaine holds degrees in Criminal Justice, Psychology, and a
MA in Executive Leadership. She is also certified as a Trainer of Trainers in Restorative Practices.

Program Specialists

Kamilah Johnson

Kamilah K Johnson, program specialist. Mother of one, wife of Cholla High School alumni. I obtained an MBA from Dominican University's Brennen School of Business. My role is to culturally inspire, uplift and advocate for African American Scholars within TUSD. 

Haley Benson

Hi my name is Haley and I am so excited to be working with African American Student Services! I was born in Long Beach, California and raised right here in Tucson. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in Global Studies with an emphasis in Human Rights and Social Justice and a minor in Africana Studies. My education provided me opportunity to learn more about the history of my people throughout the African Diaspora, and birthed a hunger in me to see equity and justice actualized for people of color. As a child growing up in Tucson, I did not see much representation of black history, culture, or success. I know firsthand the consequences of lack of representation within one’s formative years, which is why I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a mentor to black students in TUSD. As a Program Specialist I will be working with students on an individual level, helping to problem solve, and offering encouragement as students work to achieve their goals. I also look forward to planning events and providing enriching experiences for our students to participate in. 

Chantal Tatum

My name is Chantal Tatum and I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. I attended elementary, middle and high school in the Tucson Unified School District then attended the University of Arizona where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Policy. It has always been my passion to advocate for children and I am excited to join the African American Student Services Department as a Program Specialist to continue to advocate for children within the Tucson Unified School District. I can remember receiving rewards and meeting with the African American Student Services Department in school and I am excited to continue the legacy of this department.

Daniel Palmore

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Daniel Palmore, a Program Specialist with the African American Student Services Department. Because of my father’s military service, I was born in Heidelberg, Germany. I lived between Panama and Germany over the next 9 years before moving stateside in 1980. I have primarily lived in Arizona since then. I grew up in Sierra Vista, AZ and moved up to Tucson after high school to attend the University of Arizona. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and African American Studies. I then went on to earn my Master’s degree at ASU through a component campus here in Tucson. Since graduating with my Master’s degree, I have primarily worked in the behavioral health field, which was definitely fulfilling. With that being said, I’m always looking for new challenges to help me grow and facilitate my desire to positively impact others. I feel this opportunity with the AASSD is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

RTI Specialists

Karyn White

Born in Chicago, I moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology and my teacher certification. I have 26 years of teaching and assessment experience. During this time, I earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Technology and became a National Board-Certified teacher. My core values are love, wisdom, truth, and compassion. My mission is to help students use their strengths to find their voice. I am honored to help promote equity working with African American students to help them develop skills to be successful in whatever areas they may choose.

Alesha Farrell

My name is Alesha Farrell. I am a Response to Intervention (RTI) Specialist who passionately promotes culturally responsive literacy instruction, fostering a love of learning and enhancing student outcomes. I have a B.A. in Media Arts and a post-bac in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. With six years of teaching in TUSD and thirteen years of experience as a youth mentor, community intern, and family-community liaison, I advocate for students, families, and community building. I am honored to be part of this incredible department and community. 

Niaja Nolan

Niaja Nolan is from the Bay Area and graduated from the illustrious Howard University with her Bachelor's of Science. She also graduated with her Master's in Public Health from George Washington University. Ms. Nolan's role as our Response to Intervention (RTI) Specialist is to serve our community by helping to empower our scholars and support them in improving their reading literacy. She also serves as an advocate and mentor for our scholars, keeping compassion and equity at the forefront. Ms. Nolan feels, "It is a blessing to have the opportunity to pour into our youth and provide them with support and encouragement that gives them the confidence to flourish."

Stephanie Harrison

My name is Stephanie Harrison, I am native to Tucson. I am passionate about mental health, social issues and education. I am entering the department with seven years of teaching experience. A product of TUSD, I attended Blenman Elementary, Doolen Middle School and Catalina High. I went on to graduate from Northern Arizona University with a bachelors in general and special education. I’ve taught third, fourth and fifth grade general education and kinder/first grade inclusion as a special education teacher. I am excited to be a part of the African American Student Services department; one because growing up I did not have much representation in educators and that is an important part to our school environment. Also, I am passionate about growth and this role will allow me to work with students at their level, promote success and see the difference we as educators make in the lives of our students. 

Behavior Specialists

Marissa Bell
I serve as a Behavior Specialist in AASSD. I was born near Seattle, WA but call Southern California home. I come from a large multiethnic family and grew up as a military brat which has allowed me to experience many different cultures. I have been working with youth in different capacities for the past 8 years and chose to work in this department because I have a passion for social justice and mental wellness; I believe behavior is a form of communication and so I want to be the advocate and support that I never had when I was in school. I have a bachelor's in psychology & Sociology and I am currently finishing up my master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I look forward to supporting your student!

Julian Gomez
Having been born and raised in Tucson, Az, I am the product of the Tucson Unified School District and an example that it takes a village to raise a child. I proudly hold degrees from Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. As a Behavioral Specialist in the department, I have dedicated my career to advocating for our students and their families. I firmly believe in providing inclusiveness and a supportive environment that nurtures the growth and well-being of our students. It is an honor to contribute to the African American Student Services Department’s mission of empowering every student for success in life. 

Student Success Coach

Dionte Williams

My name is Dionté, I’m a Tucson native. I have a bachelor’s degree in communication, and I minored in psychology and graduated from the University of Arizona. I like sports and in my free time I like to relax, play with my dog.

Sharon Williams

I was born in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1985, I graduated from the Ohio State University with a BA in Sociology.  I have lived in Arizona for 26 years with my husband. We have 3 sons, 2 daughters-in-law and 2 grandpuppies!  In my free time i enjoy biking, watching sports, reading, and spending time with my family.  I am very passionate about the work that we do in AASS. I love empowering students to be the best version of themselves. Challenging them to know who they are, identify their passions and ultimately understand their purpose for which they were created.

Dr. Richard Langford

I have worked for TUSD for 23 years. In my role as a Student Success Coach, I help to support students who have unique challenges mitigating their academic and personal success. I help identify student barriers to academic success and assist schools in creating and applying action plans for overcoming challenges. 

Amy Gile

I am a Tucson native.  I attended college in California and Texas and earned a BA degree in Psychology.  I returned to Arizona after college and have over 25 years of experience working in social services and the education system.  I have been employed by TUSD since 2008 and have been with the African American Student Services Department for 9 years.  I enjoy supporting students and helping them to achieve their academic goals of graduation and beyond.  Outside of work, I am blessed with the busy life of being a "sports mom." 

Rosalind Longmire

Mrs. Rosalind Longmire is a native of Tucson, where she attended school in the TUSD. Rosalind is a graduate of Grand Canyon University. She is a non-profit community leader and a business owner for 20 years. Rosalind is married and the mother of two adult children.She is passionate about helping others, especially children and youth, reach their full potential.

Administrative Assistant

Andrea Peterson

Andrea was born in New York and moved to Arizona 27 years ago and fell in love with the Southwest. I've worked in education for 20 years and have loved working in many capacities throughout that time. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's in business administration.