Academics » Opportunity Academy

Opportunity Academy

ABOUT

LUMIN Schools recently launched a career exploration program for its 452 middle school students under the direction of La’Ketta Caldwell, Director of the Opportunity Academy. Through this program, students connect with professionals from a variety of industries on a weekly basis through the Lemons 2 Lemonade Leadership Series where leaders share how they have turned life’s “lemons into lemonade” on their own unique career paths. LUMIN is primarily focused on featuring leaders who are people of color. Right now, the leadership series is happening virtually so students and staff across the network can tune in, but next school year the program will include in-person meetings and workplace tours.

 

As part of this new program, 7th and 8th grade students can apply to become LUMIN Ambassadors, pledging to be a positive influence on their friends, family, school and community. Students who have been selected to participate in this program will gain valuable leadership skills in preparation for high school and beyond. In addition, they will receive incentives like a letter of recommendation, assistance in resume writing, invitations to attend special field trips, and more. At the end of the school year, 8th grade graduates from the program will be awarded a care bag to help set them up for success in high school.

 

By the end of this academic year, 8th graders in this program will launch their own lemonade business where they will focus on product development, marketing and sales. This project will be an educational competition that also raises money for a local non-profit. 7th graders will create business plans and present them as if on the show Shark Tank. The winning team will receive prizes that will further their education.

MEET THE DIRECTOR

La'Ketta Caldwell
LUMIN Schools is thrilled to welcome La’Ketta Caldwell as its first Director of the Opportunity Academy. In this role, La'Ketta operates LUMIN Schools’ new network-wide career exploration program.  
 
La'Ketta joins LUMIN with rich experience in youth development, and program creation, as well as a vast network of community connections. She spent the past 13 years at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, most recently as the Director of the Arts program. Her efforts to use the arts to help youth deal with trauma has garnered local and national media attention, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside funding. In addition, she has worked tirelessly to give underserved youth access to people, places and experiences that will broaden their world views and give them a platform for their voices to be heard. As a result, youth in her programs challenged the outside perceptions that both labeled and limited them based on their ZIP code, skin color or economic status.
 
She has a gift for creating partnerships. If you know La'Ketta, you’ve likely heard her say many times, “My babies deserve the best.” This philosophy has compelled her to form partnerships with the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Film, business leaders, politicians, foundations and many others who fostered life-changing opportunities for “her babies.” For example, her plea for support to send Club members to Washington D.C. for an educational trip was answered by former Senator Herb Kohl who paid for hundreds of Club members to spend a week in Washington D.C., including at the most recent presidential inauguration.
 
La'Ketta is a sought-after speaker, facilitator and performer. In 2016, she was chosen to give a TEDx Talk. She was a Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Training Associate, and she consults, offering training on team-building, social justice and social-emotional learning. She has also been a featured performer on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. In 2020, she published her first book, I Am Not Your Superwoman. La'Ketta is an adjunct professor at UW-Milwaukee and was named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2015.
 
Lemons 2 Lemonade

Do you know someone who would enjoy sharing their education and career journeys with our scholars? (Maybe it's you!) If so, please contact La’Ketta Caldwell at caldwell@luminschools.org for more information.

UPCOMING SPEAKERS

Denisha Tate-McAlisterDenisha Tate-McAlister is an award-winning leader and author with 20 years of executive experience. Denisha holds a bachelor's in psychology degree from the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. She found her calling at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America where she developed programs, trained staff, measured outcomes and learned strategies to align organizations to function at optimal capacity where she served as the Vice President, Chief Operations Officer (COO), and Chief Strategic Officer (CSO). In her experience, she has led departments of 120 people and systems with nearly 900 employees. Denisha received The Business Journal 2013 Women of Influence award. In 2014, she founded the Denisha Tate & Associates, LLC consulting firm focused on principles of Leaders Lead & Live Love. Through her consulting business, Denisha helps non-profits and churches achieve lasting success.

Angela AdamsAngela Adams serves as the Vice President of Community Relations at the Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metro Chicago. In this leadership role, Angela leads the organization through the process of establishing a shared vision and action plan for community engagement through strategic partnerships, sponsorships, and volunteerism. She holds positions on the board of directors for Froedtert Hospital, Carmen Schools, and the African American Leadership Alliance MKE (AALAM). Angela is committed to serving others and bettering her community. In 2018, Angela was named a Woman of Influence by the Milwaukee Business Journal for her impact on community organizations in Milwaukee. She volunteers with The Marcus Performing Arts Center and is a dedicated member of the Milwaukee Chapter of The Links, Inc. As a military wife and mother, Angela was recognized with the Wisconsin National Guard Partnership Award for 20+ years of service to military families.

Kim LockKimberly "Kim" Lock is a dynamic speaker, author, and teacher. A successful entrepreneur and CEO, Kim is passionate about helping women heal, forgive, and find their God-given purpose. In 2018, Kim launched an intergenerational movement and conference entitled Woman2Woman where she empowers and motivates women. She received her Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics from Liberty University. Kim believes that two things helped her become the woman she is today: making the choice to dedicate her life to her first love, Jesus Christ and courageously picking up a pen. Once Kim realized the freedom that comes with sharing her story and writing her first book entitled, Who You Callin’ Silly? When she learned that her then publishing company would no longer provide publishing services, she acquired the rights to all of her books and decided to launch her own publishing company, KRL Publishing. To date, KRL Publishing has guided and supported authors on the journey of turning their ideas and stories into life-impacting books and is also the publishing company that services the nine books authored by Kim.
Natalie HaydenFrom mental bondage to an outspoken community advocate. From a domestic violence shelter to becoming a transformative coach for others, Natalie Hayden has journeyed from brokenness to wholeness and uses her experience to uplift others. She is a public speaker, certified personal trainer, co-founder of a podcast, and a career transition instructor for the Department of Labor Milwaukee Job Corps where she helps job seekers develop the skills needed to secure employment. As a woman of servitude, vision, and purpose, Natalie uses her testimony to the value of life’s valleys and the power of acts of love. She is dedicated to facilitating the growth and evolution of human consciousness. In her newly launched podcast ‘EXPOSED’, Natalie and her co-host go behind the walls of their own lives to reveal deep, concerning truths about relationships with domestic violence and how to transform from the inside out. She brings awareness, education, and tools for prevention to her listeners to help bring an end to violence and abusive relationships.

Roy CambroneroRoy Cambronero is a Financial Advisor and Growth and Development Director at Northwestern Mutual and a former Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Army. Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, Roy’s family moved to Milwaukee when he was an infant. He began his career at the Latino Community Center (L.C.C.) as a youth worker and assistant site director. He then went to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to work as a family service specialist. Roy is hugely proud that his three-person team at the Clubs who grew the family share program budget from -200K to over 2 million in a year. Roy received an offer he couldn’t refuse from Northwestern Mutual to become a financial representative. After only six months, Roy was in the top 10% of first-year representatives in the organization. It was at that time, duty called and Roy left to serve in the U.S. Army for 12 months stationed in Honduras as an intelligence analyst. His work focused on the Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to expose key drug trafficking organizations and contributed to the identification of corrupt personnel involved in narcotics, weapons, and human smuggling. His expertise on various Central American topics was codified and published to the Library of National Intelligence. Returning home, Roy picked up where he left off at Northwestern Mutual helping individuals, families, businesses, and communities identify, set up, and secure the building blocks for financial security.
Dr. Katina Fuller-ScottDr. Katina Fuller-Scott is a leadership, training, and development expert, national speaker, and executive coach. Dr. Katina has a Bachelors in Middle & High School Education from Lakeland University, a Master's in Educational Policy & Leadership from Marquette University, and a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University. She is a certified speaker, coach, and trainer. Leveraging 20+ years of leadership and experience, Dr. Katina founded BE What Matters, a social purpose movement committed to transforming lives and spaces by providing professional speaking, leadership coaching, strategy consulting, training, and development. Previously, Dr. Katina worked as a teacher and K-12 school principal, was the Senior Director of Strategy for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, and continues to serve as an adjunct professor at Alverno College in the graduate-level education and business programs. 
LaRae NorwoodLaRae Norwood is the Creative Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. Rae has been part of the Clubs movement for more than 15 years after earning his Bachelor’s in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. He enjoys communicating the Clubs' mission through design and branding work for TV, print, digital, and social media. Rae was born and raised in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood and is a graduate of John Marshall High School. He is passionate about youth development and social justice work and spends much of his free time designing brands and messaging for several other non-profit agencies in Milwaukee.
Devon NorwoodDevon Norwood is the Senior Vice President of Asset Management at Baird. Devon focuses on driving productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness as part of Baird Advisors’ client service team and plays an integral role in expanding and deepening relationships with their investment intermediary partners. She has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry with Baird Advisors and previously at Wells Fargo as a Collateral Asset Base Examiner and Auditor. Devon received her undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM). Additionally, she completed several leadership programs including the African American Leadership Program at Cardinal Stritch University and Breakthrough Masters a Baird mentoring program that pairs high-performing women with experienced executives. She is a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity at Baird and served as Professional Development Committee Chair and Co-Chair of Prism, the firm’s Multicultural Associate Resource Group, and is a member of Asset Management’s Advisory & Implementation Council. Devon has been recognized by The Milwaukee Business Journal (Young Professional Power Broker List and 40 Under 40), The Business Journal (Influencers: Rising Stars), and The Milwaukee Times (Black Excellence Award, Corporate Trailblazer).

Veronica ClarkVeronica Clark, a Procurement Counselor at the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services, helps entrepreneurs successfully compete for government contracts. Utilizing strong speaking skills, program development, and conference management, she travels across the state helping entrepreneurs register with the System Award Management, obtain a DUNS number, and create their capability statements. An avid community builder for over 15 years, Veronica has developed a reputation for going above and beyond to guide businesses and individuals to reach their full potential. She earned a Bachelor's of Business Administration in Marketing degree from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Organizational Leadership degree from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee.  

Marquayla EllisonMarquayla Ellison is the owner and creative force behind Ellastic Designs, LLC. Her innate creative skills were enhanced at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Design & Visual Communication from the Peck School of the Arts (PSOA) in 2013. After finding herself unsuccessful in securing internships to supplement her education during her freshman year, and with the amazing support of family and friends, Marquayla started Ellastic Designs, LLC a small design firm set on creating customs digital and print designs for small businesses, local philanthropic professionals, non-profits, and organizations. Since 2011, Ellastic Designs has illustrated a creative vision for many clients including Historic King Drive BID, Near West Side Partners, Traci Braxton, The Milwaukee Health Department, Signature Dance Company, Milwaukee Film, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, and ACLU-WI – just to name a few.
Shanee JenkinsShaneé Jenkins is a skilled, servant leader who has leveraged her passion for people and community in various sectors for 20+ years. Shaneé leads the social responsibility efforts at the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee as a Vice President where she has served for the last 15 years where she is responsible for mission advancement, community partnerships, volunteer engagement, and advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity initiatives internally and externally. She serves on the Multicultural Advisory Committee at the YMCA national level and previously on the Talent and Knowledge Management Advisory Board. She lends her leadership at the state level supporting Social Responsibility efforts through the WI/UP State Alliance. Shaneé is the founder and principal of SMJ Consulting Group, LLC where she lends her experience and resources to empower leaders to utilize their platforms for change and impact. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). To fulfill her personal passions, Shaneé is the owner of a small business, the Understated Shop, a conscious apparel company.
Arvind GopalratnamArvind Gopalratnam is the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Bucks Foundation. Arvind grew up in Mequon, Wis., and is a proud graduate of UW-Madison where he earned his Bachelor's in Journalism. He later attended George Washington University to earn his Master’s in Public Relations. Arvind is an avid Wisconsin sports fan and has been all his life. As a member of the Bucks community team, Arvind leads the organization’s mission to make the place in which we work and play a better place for all families to live. Arvind is currently in his fifth season with the Bucks after spending 11 years in corporate communications for NBC Universal and General Electric’s Healthcare business.  Arvind currently serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, and the Special Olympics of Wisconsin.

PAST SPEAKERS

Demetri BeekmanDemetri Beekman serves as the Director of Equity and Educator Development for the School District of Waukesha and is the author of Teaching in the Wilderness. Demetri holds two Master’s Degrees in the areas of Curriculum & Instruction and Administration & Supervision from National-Louis University. He is in the final stages of earning his doctorate from Walden University. With over 24 years of educational and leadership experience, Demetri has served as a physical education teacher, 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade classroom teacher, a PBIS Coach, and an assistant principal at the elementary level. He was the first principal of an alternative K-12 school in Milwaukee and a Directing Principal at both the elementary and middle school levels. Demetri was awarded the Racine’s Heritage Educator of the Year Award along with the Beacon Award presented to the most impactful school leader in the Racine Unified School District in Racine, Wis. With a focus on leadership and teaching strategies rooted in biblical principles, he has a strong background in equity, culture, and professional development for educators. Demetri has implemented school-based mentoring programs to address the social and emotional needs of students and has been instrumental in creating an adult learning framework for equity and culturally relevant teaching.
Marlon LockFor over a decade, thousands of lives have been impacted by Marlon Lock’s messages and music. At age 5, the Lord spoke to Marlon and asked him to preach His word. Pastor Marlon delivered his first sermon at age 10. He graduated from the Milwaukee Police Academy and served as a Police Officer for 5 years until he resigned to become the Pastor of Unity Gospel House of Prayer. In 2015, Marlon released his debut album entitled: The Good Seed Project. The album debuted on the Billboard charts of top gospel albums at No. 19, and was also nominated in two categories for the 2016 Stellar Awards: “New Artist of the Year” and “Traditional CD of the Year.” In 2016, Marlon also became a certified Health & Wellness coach. He also received certification in John Maxwell’s “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.” In 2019, Marlon released his first book entitled Day By Day, which is a 365-day journal that provides daily dosages of affirmations to help readers reach beyond the fears of fear itself, commitment, self-worth, and the capacity to stretch beyond what they can dare to dream.

Nicole ZickNicole Zick serves as a Middle School Math Teacher at Granville Lutheran School. In addition to teaching, Nicole has also worked with their girls’ basketball program since 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Alverno College in Community Leadership & Development, a Master’s Degree from Concordia University in Public Administration, and is a pre-doctoral candidate for her Doctor of Educational Leadership with a focus on childhood trauma. She has written two books titled, Hope and Faith and is writing a finale to the trilogy titled, Love. Her books are autobiographical in nature, with Hope detailing her experiences with childhood trauma and giving a story of overcoming. 

Ola SummersOmorinsola “Ola” Summers began her life and financial services journey after graduating from UWM with a Political Science degree in 2009. She began working for the Milwaukee Teachers Education Center (MTEC) where she gained lots of knowledge and skills, but she felt like something was missing. Omorinsola realized the missing piece was entrepreneurship. God heard her request to one day own a business. She was introduced to the insurance industry at St. Matthew CME church. Throughout the years, Omorinsola began to expand her knowledge in the life and financial industries and realized her journey was more than sales, it was ministry. Through Bara Legacies, an agency that she co-partners, services thousands of life, health, credit and tax clientele. In 2019, she launched Baby Bosses, an entrepreneurial financial literacy program for parents and children. And in 2020, Omorinsola published her first book 31 Days of Wisdom Prayers for Parents and Children.

Ashley NunezAshley Nuñez is a highly-skilled Apparel Technical Designer at Kohl's and a Fashion Designer with her own private label, SE by ANunez Inc., with over 10 years of fashion industry experience. Ashley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a concentration in Leadership from Binghamton University and received her Professional Designation Associates of Art Degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She has worked with multi-million dollar companies like Betsey Johnson, Ivory Ella, JLo Kohl’s, Freshman TJMaxx, JCPenney, Macy’s, Dressbarn, and The Children’s Place. At age 17, she started her own clothing line and showcased her collections in fashion shows in the New York State area. In 2013, she was featured on MTV’s show “Washington Heights” showcasing her first clothing line WeiRdoInk. During that time, her dresses were worn by Latin Grammy-nominated artist Natti Natasha, VH1’s Love and Hip Hop Tahiry Jose, and many others.

Gabby DeyiGabriella “Gabby” Deyi is a television broadcast journalist and personality in Madison, Wis. Before becoming a journalist, Gabby was a research scientist. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Mary's College of California. After a year in labs and seminars, she realized she was not genuinely happy with the path she had taken and pursued her childhood dream of becoming a journalist. During her year as Miss Wisconsin USA, Gabby focused on mental health awareness and breaking down the stigma that comes with it. She wants to be a voice for those who feel voiceless and spread hope when it comes to washing away the ‘embarrassment’ that comes with mental illness. Gabby won Miss Wisconsin USA in her last year of eligibility and wants all the girls and women competing in pageants to know that they “...should never give up no matter how many times you are told "no" because all you really need is one "yes"!” She is proud to be a first-generation American from immigrant parents. She speaks Spanish fluently and has been to 45 countries so far.
LaNelle Ramey
LaNelle Ramey has 25 years of experience working in youth development. As the Executive Director of MENTOR Greater Milwaukee, he supports mentoring programming by aiding in recruitment, professional development, and technical assistance to ensure quality and efficient programming for youth. He has worked with the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, Milwaukee Youth Detention Center, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. He is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. LaNelle is the founding Director of the Black and Latino Male Achievement Department for Milwaukee Public Schools that serves nearly 500 Black and Latino males with culturally relevant academics, mentoring programs, and professional development. 
Ebony LewisEbony Lewis serves as a Director of Leadership & Service and Health & Wellness for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee overseeing program initiatives throughout the city with an emphasis on self-esteem, personal branding, health & wellness and leadership skills. She graduated from Columbia College in Chicago and worked for many years in marketing and public relations. After the tragic loss of her cousin to suicide, she was inspired to write a children’s book titled Dear Black Boy: It’s Ok to Cry, a book that started as a love letter to the men in her life that transformed into a story about mental health in boys of color. Ebony hopes that her book will serve as a part of the necessary conversations around the world about mental health, especially when it comes to the African American community. She is also a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University’s African American Leadership Program, is a proud member of TEMPO Milwaukee’s Emerging Women Leaders group, and was named one of Milwaukee’s 40 Under 40 by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2019. 
Tommy Walls
Tommy C. Walls, Jr. is the Executive Director for a drop-out prevention-focused non-profit for Communities In Schools of High Point, Inc., in N.C. serving over 6,000 students and leading more than 15 employees and associate contractors. He has led several nonprofits that focused on nurturing at-risk youth. Tommy was the COO and Director of Operations for Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte, Assistant Vice President of Operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County in Wis., and the Director of Program Services for Don Moyer Boys & Girls Clubs in Champaign, Ill. He holds a Master of Social Work degree, Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Welfare and Justice, Pre-MSW Concentration from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., and a certificate in Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change and an Organizational Human Services Management Certificate from the University of Illinois and at Urbana-Champaign. Tommy is pursuing his Doctor of Social Work degree at Capella University.
Natalie Natalie Howard is the Marketing and Advancement Manager for the LUMIN Schools Network where she tells the LUMIN story and raises money to support future growth. Previously, Natalie worked for Southwest Vacations managing digital marketing campaigns. This gave her the opportunity to visit the Southwest Airlines headquarters and worked one-on-one with their team. After college, Natalie served as a missionary in the Dominican Republic with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod where she supported disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, lead short-term mission teams, managed finances for mission projects, played guitar at worship services, and taught Sunday school. She learned to speak Spanish and hone invaluable skills during her time there. You can read more about her service overseas in LCEF's Interest Time.

LaKettaLa’Ketta Caldwell serves as the first Director of the Opportunity Academy where she runs LUMIN School's network-wide career exploration program. She has rich experience in youth development, program creation, as well as a vast network of community connections. La'Ketta spent the past 13 years at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, most recently as the Director of the Arts program. She is a sought-after speaker, facilitator and performer. In 2016, she was chosen to give a TEDx Talk. La'Ketta has also been a featured performer on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. In 2020, she published her first book, I Am Not Your Superwoman. La'Ketta is an adjunct professor at UW-Milwaukee and was named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2015.