Reverend Brenda Girton-Mitchell, J.D. began her service as the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education on December 13, 2010. She provides leadership to help meet the goal of engaging community-based organizations, both faith-based and secular in building a culture of high expectations and support for education. Rev. Girton-Mitchell also works as part of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships to implement its mission in cooperation with the Centers for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at 12 other federal agencies.
Her professional life includes working as an elementary school teacher and serving as the President of the Indianapolis Education Association in her hometown, Indianapolis, Indiana; legislative assistant in the United States Senate, legislative counsel for Sears, assistant executive director for Dr. Dorothy Height at the National Council of Negro Women, and director of diversity for Mitsubishi Motors of America. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Education, Rev. Girton-Mitchell served the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA as Associate General Secretary for Justice and Advocacy.
Rev. Girton-Mitchell received a Bachelor of Science degree from Ball State University, a Master of Science from Indiana/Purdue University in Indianapolis, a law degree from Chicago Kent College of Law and a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is an advocate of lifelong learning.
Rev. Girton-Mitchell is an ordained Baptist minister and is actively involved in the ecumenical and community organizations. She serves as Minister for Stewardship and Missions at Metropolitan Baptist Church.
A recipient of numerous awards, she has received the National Council of Negro Women Bethune Recognition Award for an Outstanding Woman in Ministry, the National Bar Association’s Presidential Award, and the Sagamore of the Wabash Award—the highest award given by the state of Indiana—and was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr., International Board of Preachers. She has also received the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Service Award. In 2008, Rev. Girton-Mitchell received The John Wesley Award of Merit, the highest award presented by Wesley Theological Seminary.
Rev. Girton-Mitchell and her husband James Mitchell reside in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Ken Bedell is ordained in The United Methodist Church. He led congregations for 16 years in New York, Maryland, and Ohio. He has taught at the junior high, high school, college and theological school level. As a volunteer with the Mennonite Central Committee he taught high school in Swaziland. In his capacity as executive secretary of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities Ken visited schools and colleges in Argentine, Brazil, Korea, Mozambique, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. His is the author of five books and numerous articles and scholarly papers. His book entitled, “Different Ships—Same Boat,” on ethics was published by the World Association for Christian Communication. For five years he edited the annual “Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches” for the National Council of Churches. After receiving his PhD in sociology he became active in the Religious Research Association where he served on the executive committee. As an early promoter of the use of technology in education and the church, he was the founding president of the Church Computer Users Network in the mid-1980s. He is married to the former Kathryn Hale. They have two grown daughters, Charity Pelletier and Sarah Cook and five grandchildren.
CH (CPT) Eddie Martin, Jr. serves as Special Assistant for the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education. He is an ordained minister and the Chaplain for the 400th Military Police Battalion at Fort Meade, MD, and he is an Assistant Minister at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Eddie is also a participant of the Religious and Foreign Policy Working Group at the U.S. Department of State, where he serves on the Religion and Conflict Mitigation sub-working group. Eddie is a former intern for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFNBP), where he assisted the Office team in accomplishing the daily tasks and initiatives of the OFBNP.
Eddie was born and raised in Northport, AL. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a double degree in International Business (B.B.A.-Business Management and B.A.-Spanish), has obtained two degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary – a Master of Divinity and a specialized Master of Theology (focus: Religion and Society – Christian Ethics), and has completed the Master of Public Policy Program at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy (foci: International Security and Economics and Social Policy). Before moving to Washington, DC, Eddie lived in Charlottesville, VA where he was employed with the Ron Brown Scholar Program, worked as an education policy consultant for the Appalachia Region Comprehensive Center’s (ARCC’s) Intervention and Equity Initiative Team at Edvantia, Inc, and served as the Youth Minister, Justice Minister, and Web Developer for Union Run Baptist Church. Eddie was also a Steering Committee Member for the City of Promise, Charlottesville’s Promise Neighborhood Initiative, where he represented the Faith and Post-Secondary Components of the Initiative. While at Princeton, Eddie served as Assistant Prison Chaplain at Garden State Youth Correctional Facility and Site Coordinator and Instructor for the Princeton Young Achievers After-School Program.
Anna Leach is the Confidential Assistant on Special Projects at the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Anna holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hope College where she majored in secondary education. Anna previously interned with the Center in the spring of 2011, supporting the launch of the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge and other key outreach efforts undertaken by the Center to promote engagement of faith-based and community organizations in education. Anna has served as a teacher of 7th grade World History and Geography. Her classroom experience has provided her with essential skills and perspectives to further the work of the Center and its impact at the local level. Additionally, in her leadership activities on campus, she focused on strengthening community partnerships to create positive change for stakeholders. In her free time, Anna enjoys traveling, reading, and crossing things off her bucket list.