Board of Education of the City of St. Louis
President - Matt Davis
Matt Davis is a parent of two Saint Louis Public School students. He has been a city resident for over 20 years, active in his neighborhoods and his children's public schools.
He’s been a neighborhood association president, a leader of several parent-teacher organizations and a volunteer soccer coach with the YMCA and SLPS.
He is a graduate of Truman State University and Saint Louis University School of Law.
At his law firm, Gallagher Davis, LLP, his practice centers on disability, mental health, pension rights and healthcare advocacy for individuals and families.
Vice President- Antionette "Toni" Cousins
- Community Outreach Manager, Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC).
- Over 25 years of experience and dedication to revitalizing the city of St. Louis North Corridor.
- Served as the Executive Director of a nonprofit for more than 17 years, overseeing multiple developments and rehab projects, a youth center, along with implementing various programs with budgets totaling over $50 million dollars.
- Served as Executive Director for two alternative schools working with St. Louis City and County challenged youth and families by providing 2nd chance programs for all.
- Accountability, passion, faith, hope, dedication, and leadership are her commitment to helping to be a game-changer for the youth and community of the entire St. Louis Region.
- Mrs. Cousins holds a Master of Business in Non-Profit Management from Fontbonne University, a Master of Science in Human Resource Management & Development from National Louis University, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Central Missouri State University. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a native St. Louisan.
Secretary - Donna Jones
Elected to the SLPS School Board in 2006, Donna is the parent of seven children, all of whom attended Saint Louis Public Schools. She has been active in the Saint Louis Public Schools since the 1980s. Donna is a community activist in many capacities and is someone who truly cares about the students of SLPS. Some of the issues Donna has worked on as a Board Member include lead removal, transportation, classroom size and school violence. Donna is a lifelong resident of the 27th Ward and also attended SLPS as a student.
Natalie Vowell studied computer science and music theory at the University of Arkansas and served as the university's youngest and first female computer lab manager. She remains an advocate for young women entering STEM careers.
Natalie moved to St. Louis in 2010 and continued her dedication to technology education as Development Director and Board Member for North City nonprofit WITS Inc., rebuilding unwanted electronics into computers for students and schools and leading workshops teaching families to assemble their own computers from recycled parts. Natalie has provided more than 1,000 free computers for families in need.
In 2013, Natalie founded Project Raise The Roof, an organization that helps northside citizens stop the seizure of owner-occupied homes at City Sheriff’s auctions and keeps houses on the tax rolls—generating school funding and preventing vacant properties. She’s helped more than 70 northside citizens retain their family homes.
Natalie has earned her Advanced and Master Certifications from the Missouri School Boards’ Association. She served as a 2016 Democratic National Convention delegate, has registered more than 200 high school seniors to vote, and is passionate about guiding our youth toward becoming innovators and community activists.
Alisha Sonnier is a leader, activist, organizer, visionary, and scholar who is passionate and dedicated to all things community empowerment and education. She was born and raised in St. Louis, MO, where her commitment to the community comes naturally and dates back to her early adolescence.
A major catalyst for Alisha’s community involvement was the murder of Michael Brown in 2014, during the first year of her undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri -St. Louis. At the age of eighteen, she co-founded the organization “Tribe X,” with a mission to “educate, organize, and empower.” She quickly rose to regional prominence through community organization and activism.
Alisha has continued to develop her strengths to include political action and strategy while exploring the intersection of politics, power, and oppression. She became heavily involved in numerous campaigns in St. Louis, including “Fight for 15,” helping to support and elevate other local and national leaders. Much of Alisha’s work is documented in major publications such as the St. Louis American and the New York Times. She continues to organize locally and nationally around several issues, including criminal justice, healthcare, and other issues that tie in with her overall mission of justice for all.
In addition to serving as the youngest member of the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, she works as a mental health advocate for a global health organization and is the co-founder of BlackTea. BlackTea is a media organization available on all major streaming platforms with the mission of raising the political, social, and cultural consciousness while engaging and entertaining listeners/viewers.
Alisha graduated from the University of Missouri -St. Louis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She heads back to school in the fall to pursue a nursing degree with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. Alisha is committed to a holistic educational approach that centers on connecting scholars and the community and establishes SLPS as a powerhouse in urban education.
Emily Hubbard was elected to the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis in November 2022. In 2015, Mrs. Hubbard, her husband, Roy, and their four young children, relocated to St. Louis from Huntsville, Alabama. Her then first-grader started in their neighborhood school in the Dutchtown neighborhood in January of 2016. As each younger child reached school-age, they were enrolled as well. The Hubbard children are now ages 8, 10, 12 and 14 and in 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th, grades respectively. Her time as a parent at a neighborhood school was and is pivotal in her desire to serve the children of St. Louis.
Mrs. Hubbard presently serves as an adjunct professor of sociology for several local universities. She has previously done work in marketing and communications for J-KEM Scientific as well as the University Press of Mississippi. During her time in St. Louis, she has provided childcare for infants so their moms could go back to work with confidence. Mrs. Hubbard is a native of Mississippi and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in Sociology from Mississippi State University (Hail State!).
In her new role as a board member, Mrs. Hubbard looks forward to being part of decisions that improve the district and allow our children to flourish.
Brittany Hogan has a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Hampton University.
She currently serves as the Manager at Center for Human Service Leadership, Delmar Divine. She has also recently served as Director of Educational Equity & Diversity in the Rockwood School District.
Ms. Hogan is a Board Member for the Innovative Technology Education Fund and is a past recipient of the ROSE (Rockwood's Outstanding Service in Education) Award. In addition, she is an avid reader and traveler.
Student Board Members Sworn In
Student Board Members (L-R) Laila Alhajeri, Sonali Sharma and Rayquan Strickland
On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the leaders of the Board of Education of The City of St. Louis and Saint Louis Public Schools are pleased to announce that three senior students will be sworn in at tonight’s Board Meeting at 801 N. 11ths Street, at 6:15 p.m., just ahead of the regular meeting.
This is the first time SLPS has sponsored students in this position. In accordance with By Laws passed by the Board of Education of the City of St. Louis on Sept. 2019, Laila Alhajeri of Collegiate High School, Sonali Sharma of Metro High School, and Rayquan Strickland of Central VPA High School will join the Board as non-voting members.
Board Member Natalie Vowell, sponsor of board bylaw which created this program, explains, “We are excited for this opportunity to open a new channel through which student voices can be heard. We interviewed a number of deserving students in the vetting process. We selected these young people because we believe they have the leadership qualities needed and will bring a new perspective to the table.”
Ms. Vowell added, “The Student Board Member term is for the course of school year 2022-2023. They will not attend executive sessions, but they will attend regular board meetings on a schedule that fits in with their school and work commitments and they will participate in training and professional board development as determined appropriate by the full Board.”