Kenya Bradshaw, Dr. Basil Smikle Jr., and Rachel Willis
Kenya Bradshaw, Dr. Basil Smikle Jr., and Rachel Willis

MARCH 6, 2023 — FoodCorps announced today the addition of two new members, Kenya Bradshaw and Dr. Basil Smikle Jr., to its Board of Directors, as well as the appointment of Board Member Rachel Willis to Board Co-Chair. 

Kenya Bradshaw is Chief Program Officer for Reconstruction US, an educational technology platform that develops and teaches content that intentionally centers the voices, lived experiences, and histories of Black folx. Prior to joining the leadership of Reconstruction, Kenya was Vice President of Policy and Community Engagement at TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project), overseeing strategy to support districts in dramatically transforming their approach to community engagement in order to create real and lasting changes in education.

Before joining TNTP, Kenya served as the Tennessee Executive Director for Stand for Children. She also has worked for the Urban Child Institute, The University of Tennessee, and the First Years Institute, advocating on behalf of children and youth. In 2008, her work with the Shelby County Office of Early Childhood and Youth led to the creation of child impact statements as a tool for local governments to use to ensure that every action they take is in the best interest of children. In 2012, she was named one of “12 Who Made a Difference” in Memphis by the Commercial Appeal, and an honoree for the Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 Awards. Kenya served eight years on the board of the National Civil Rights Museum and is a Pahara Fellow.

Dr. Basil Smikle Jr. is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the Public Policy Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. He also lectures at Columbia University in the School of International and Public Affairs and Teachers College. With over 15 years in higher education and 25 years of a career dedicated to public service, Basil regularly shares insights on electoral politics, governance, and public policy on national media outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg TV. 

Previously, Basil served as the Distinguished Lecturer of Politics and Public Policy at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. He was appointed by former Governor David Paterson to serve as the Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential cycle, where he worked closely with elected officials and community leaders to manage electoral and fundraising strategies for the State. He received awards from the Governor and Comptroller of New York State for his commitment to public service and education equity.

“FoodCorps is a far stronger organization with Kenya Bradshaw and Dr. Basil Smikle at the leadership table, lending their respective expertise in culturally affirming education and political strategy to our shared mission of reimagining the role of food in school,” said Curt Ellis, FoodCorps CEO and Co-Founder. 

In addition, Rachel Willis has been appointed to Board Co-Chair alongside John Gomperts. As the CEO and founder of Elevating Equity, an organization that supports education-based leaders in creating anti-racist, culturally responsive environments, Willis brings a strong expertise at the intersection of education systems and racial justice — the center of FoodCorps’ strategy and purpose for its next chapter.

Willis has a deep history of leadership and engagement at FoodCorps, as a longtime trainer of staff and service members and as a voice on the Board who has consistently looked out for the wellbeing of the people — including staff, service members, and partners — who are critical to FoodCorps’ mission. Willis and Gomperts bring complementary skills, backgrounds, and areas of focus to their roles as Co-Chairs.

“In her many years of work with our staff and service members, Rachel has played a critical role in FoodCorps’ efforts to become a more just and equitable organization,” said Ellis. “Now, as Co-Chair of our Board of Directors, Rachel is poised to accelerate FoodCorps’ progress as we work towards a future where food is a daily source of joy and power for the students we serve.”

FoodCorps looks forward to leveraging these leaders’ talents and expertise as we work toward our 2030 goal: that every child has access to food education and nourishing food in school. 


FoodCorps partners with schools and communities to nourish children’s health, education, and sense of belonging so that every child, in every school, experiences the joy and power of food. Our AmeriCorps members serve alongside educators and school nutrition leaders to provide children with nourishing meals, food education, and culturally affirming experiences with food that celebrate and nurture the whole child. Building on this direct service, FoodCorps advocates for policy change, grows networks, and develops leaders in service of every child’s health and well-being.