Governing Board and Policies

Meet the Board

The Board of Directors for Genesis Academy have a wealth of experience in Education, Law, Business, Development, and STEM fields, which they are committed to using to ensure that the school and its scholars are successful in every sense of the world.


Gavin A. Samms, Ph.D.

View Dr. Samms' Bio (click here)

Gavin Samms, Ph.D. is the founder of Genesis Innovation Academy and will serve as Head of Schools.  He has spent almost 30 years successfully raising the performance of students at every level of education.

From 2010 to 2014, Dr. Samms served as the founding Principal of Fulton Leadership Academy, an all-boys charter school in South Fulton.  The Academy exceeded state performance objectives in each year under Dr. Samms tenure, with a population that was 100% young men of color (typically the lowest scoring students on standardized tests).

FLA was ranked #2 in the state by Georgia DOE’s 2013 “Beating the Odds” analysis of charter schools. A 2013 study commissioned by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement ranked FLA #1 among Fulton County middle schools in terms of “Value-Added” (the ability to raise test scores). The report also ranked FLA in the top 3% of schools in the state.

Dr. Samms was part of the founding leadership team of Harvard’s Education Innovation Laboratory (EdLabs). While there, he managed large scale educational interventions in partnership with urban school districts, including Chicago, New York City, Houston, and Washington D.C.  During his tenure, Dr. Samms also trained and coached principals on successful school turnaround strategies.

He also served as the Managing Partner for Georgia Tech’s OMED: Educational Services unit, where his team’s nationally recognized efforts led to the closing of the achievement gap between black and white students and helped Georgia Tech become the top producer of African American engineers in the country.

Dr. Samms has a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, with concentrations in Economics and Education Policy, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

He is very happily married to his wife Kimberly and they have four wonderful children: three sons and one daughter.  Dr. Samms is also a lay minister at Fellowship of Prayer International and a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

A few Articles about Dr. Samms' Accomplishments:

Georgia Charter Schools Association: Let Us Now Praise Extraordinary Principals 

NY Times: To Raise the Performance Of Minorities, a College Increased Its Standards  (Gavin's program dramatically improved minority college success and was copied by other colleges nationwide)

Chicago Tribune: Learning To Build A Better Bridge


Eddie Bradford, Jr.

View Eddie Bradford, Jr.'s Bio (click here)


As a Tax Senior Manager, Eddie Bradford’s primary responsibility is the preparation of tax returns for individuals, S Corporations and partnerships.

Eddie is a member of the Real Estate Tax Services Group where he focuses on real estate taxation, including management organization and real estate development.  He also specializes in working with high net-worth individuals and closely held businesses.

Before joining Frazier & Deeter in 2006, Eddie gained two years of experience at a local Atlanta-based accounting firm.  As a staff accountant, he prepared financial statements and tax returns for individuals, C and S Corporations and Partnerships.  He also performed monthly bank reconciliation and year-end adjustments as well as processed the full payroll cycle.


Professional and Civic Organizations

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants
National Association of Black Accountants
Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor
UGA Alumni Association

National Black MBA Association


Master of Business Administration, Mercer University, Atlanta, Georgia, December 2006.
Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, May 2004


Tomika Jones

View Tomika Jones' Bio (click here)
Tomika is an experienced education professional with a background in educational program management and family engagement. Her skill set has allowed her to successfully lead initiatives that engage educational preparedness.

Ms. Jones has a long and varied career in education that has spanned infancy to higher education. Currently, she works with Fulton County Schools in Virtual Learning. There she is part of the online learning program for Fulton Virtual School. Her role includes engaging students, parents, schools, and district staff to determine effective environments for the delivery of educational content. She has also worked as a GED instructor in a local juvenile justice court system. This program allowed students who are court-ordered to continue their education to choose an alternative method in preparation for postsecondary education or career opportunities.

While working in K-12 she worked with Title I funded programs where she held a variety of roles including creating school improvement plans, coordinating a tutoring service for homeless students and serving as a Family Engagement Liaison in a local school. While working in higher education at Georgia Institute Technology as a Program Manager, Ms. Jones pioneered an evening personal enrichment program called Tech2Nite. She is also the former Program Director of a mentoring program for at-risk female high school students and former Board Chair for the Shaw Temple Learning Center.

Tomika is a graduate of Clemson University and she is a member of Shaw Temple AME Zion Church where she is a LIFE Group Leader. Tomika is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has one daughter who is a former collegiate student-athlete and a computer consultant.

Daryl C. Jones

Immediate Past & Founding Board Chair
View Daryl C. Jones' Bio (click here)
Daryl C. Jones currently serves as Vice President of The Integral Group’s Development Division and as the Leader of the company’s Senior Housing Platform. In this capacity, Mr. Jones is responsible for Integral’s senior housing product line, which includes affordable independent senior living residences (known as Veranda) and assisted living residences (known as Oasis). He has dedicated the last several years leading the company’s efforts in obtaining the necessary resources and formulating the required policies to launch the affordable assisted living product.

Mr. Jones is no new player at initiating new business lines. His perseverance, leadership skills, and knowledge paid off while working for a previous employer. Prior to joining Integral, Mr. Jones was the Senior Vice President and Regional Partner for The Shelter Group, where he successfully launched a new business unit for the new construction of elderly projects by utilizing a newly built financing model. In addition, under Mr. Jones’ leadership at Shelter, his group acquired and sold over $1 billion of multi-family assets, primarily in the mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Texas. As a results oriented leader, he was able to achieve for Shelter and its equity partners an overall leveraged return of over 25% through these investments. Mr. Jones continues to employ his “out of the box’ and innovative financing techniques to accomplish the tasks necessary to achieve bottom line results.

Complemented by his extensive experience, Mr. Jones is a High Honors Graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he holds a B.S and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the MuniMae Foundation, a board member of The Foundation of Wesley Woods, a founding board member of Genesis Innovation Academy (charter school), and is on the REAP Advisory Committee (diversity initiative for professional commercial real estate training).

Marcus Shute, Sr., P.E., Ph.D.

View Dr. Marcus Shute, Sr.'s Bio (click here)
Marcus W. Shute, P.E., Ph.D has actively participated in R&D, engineering, agile product and technology development, and manufacturing activities across several technology sectors since 1983. He is experienced in leading cross-functional teams to transition technology innovations from laboratory prototypes to products in compressed timeframes with a wide variety of organizations from start-ups to established corporations. During his tenure at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, he developed expertise, led development efforts, obtained several patents, and is widely published in optical fiber communications, wireless communications, optical fiber amplifiers, planar waveguide technology, polarization phenomena, electronic materials, and initiatives related to increasing minority participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Dr. Shute is CEO of Shute Enterprises, Inc., a firm specializing in technology development and commercialization as well as consulting in various areas. During his career, Dr. Shute has served as a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, AT&T and Lucent Technologies; Vice President of Engineering and as Vice President of Advanced Technologies at Luxcore Networks, Inc., an optical networking systems start-up company; President and Chairman of Nile Valle Investment Group, Inc., a real estate investment company; Co-founder and Director of Aspire 2B, Inc., an educational non-profit, and as Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs and Professor in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Computer Science at Tennessee State University where he was responsible for managing and leading the research enterprise at the University. Dr. Shute also served as the Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs and Professor in the Physics Department and the Dual-Degree Engineering Program at Clark Atlanta University. Currently, Dr. Shute is the Vice President for R&D and Commercialization at 510nano Inc., a renewable energy and technology development company, and also serves Group President of Scarab Technologies LLC, 510nano’s technology subsidiary.

Dr. Shute has received numerous awards and honors including the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, Senior Member of IEEE, selection as Distinguished Member of Technical Staff by Bell Laboratories for sustained technical contributions, 1994 Most Promising Engineer by U.S. Black Engineer magazine, 1999 Golden Torch Award for Engineering Excellence by the National Society of Black Engineers, 2005 NTA Technical Achiever of the Year Award - Engineering by the National Technical Association, 2006 Golden Torch Award for Alumni Technologist of the Year by the National Society of Black Engineers, 2011 Distinguished HBCU Alumni Award by U.S. Black Engineer of the Year/Career Communications Group and finalist in the 2000 Mission Specialist Astronaut Program of NASA. He was also appointed to serve on The National Academies Emerging Research Institutions Committee in 2007 and as a member of the Army Science Board in 2013. Dr. Shute earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Tennessee State University becoming the first student to graduate with a 4.00 out of 4.00 cumulative grade point average, an S.M. in Materials Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Shute is also a life member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., an All-American and world-champion USA Track and Field Masters track athlete and currently a sprinter with the Southwest Sprinters Track Club, Houston, TX, and serves as vice chair of the founding board of Genesis Innovation Academy, Inc.

Stephen Littles

View Stephen Littles' Bio (click here)

Steve Littles is a professional real estate investor with an Atlanta firm.

His industry involvement spans more than three decades and revolves around Mr. Littles’ com- mitment to civic engagement and investments that advance community self-determination and revitalization.

Mr. Littles previously held positions in channel marketing and sales, regionally and nationally, for the semiconductor and computer graphics industries, for more than 15 years.

As a co-founder and chairman of Ideate Education Empowerment, Inc.—a 501(c)(3) entity certi- fied as a Georgia Tuition Tax Credit Student Scholarship Organization—Mr. Littles is on the front line of helping economically disadvantaged students gain access to private school scholarships.

Married and the proud father of two, Mr. Littles was an active parent and parent participant in his children’s public, private and home school activities: PTA board member and several committee memberships covering an array of responsibilities; sports coach, yearbook & technology advis- er, activities bus driver.

Mr. Littles resides in southwest Atlanta and holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineer- ing from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Taylor Brown

View Taylor Brown's Bio (click here)

Coming Soon


Keishia N. Niblack, MPA

View Keishia Niblack's Bio (click here)

With more than 15 years of experience, Ms. Keishia Niblack joined Piedmont Healthcare, Inc. as the Director of Corporate Leasing in October 2018. Ms. Niblack is responsible for managing and directing Piedmont’s 3.7M SF lease portfolio working with both internal and external end-users to achieve a myriad of real estate goals for Piedmont Healthcare, Inc.

Ms. Niblack serves as an advisor to the Piedmont Healthcare Corporate senior management on real estate matters and works with executives to develop and implement real estate strategies consistent with business requirements and operational needs.   Prior to this role, Ms. Niblack worked with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for 6.5 Years where she was quickly promoted to Real Estate Manager.  Ms. Niblack's additional experiences include working with land acquisitions, residential developments, residential sales, and developing the operations and organizational structure for real estate sales.

Ms. Niblack is a 2018 graduate of the Real Estate Associate Program (REAP) and a current member of Urban Land Institute's 2020 Center for Leadership Class.  She is active in her community and volunteers with Gateway Center, Habitat for Humanity, & Open Hand Atlanta. Keishia holds a BS in Public Relations from Georgia Southern University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Ms. Niblack is a native Georgian and currently resides in Decatur, GA with her three children, Jonathan E. (18), Jaida (13) and Gabrielle (10).


To contact the Head of Schools, Gavin Samms, please e-mail (for quicker response, please e-mail

To contact the Governing Board please e-mail

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