About Freedom School Oklahoma City Freedom Schools Program Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Executive Director

Amy Brooks Young, M.Ed., Executive Director

Mrs. Brooks Young is an award-winning educator of twenty years. She currently is the Assistant Principal at Independence Elementary in Yukon, Oklahoma where she welcomes 740 4th and 5th graders to school every day. She also serves as the Executive Director for Freedom School Oklahoma City, Inc. FSOKC is a non-profit that provides a summer literacy program for children in the underserved community of Northeast Oklahoma City. In nine summers, her organization has served over 650 children and has distributed over 6,000 books to the community.

She is a graduate of Mustang High School and received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. She went on to earn her M.Ed. in Administration, Curriculum, and Policy from National-Louis University in Chicago in conjunction with a Leadership Program from the Center for Executive Development from the University of California Berkeley. She spent seven years of her career as a teacher and administrator for a college preparatory school for inner city students in Oklahoma City. She has been a teacher leader and trainer on the local, state, and national level. She has received numerous awards for her efforts.

She was awarded the Excellent Educator Award from the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, received a commendation from Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry for Teaching Excellence, was featured in People Magazine in the “Teachers” section, served as a curriculum designer and teacher for a summer program at the prestigious Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, was awarded the national Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award, and was awarded the Young Alumni Award from The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and is a graduate of The Standards for Excellence class of 2011. Amy was awarded Teacher of the Year for Cleveland Elementary, Norman, Oklahoma for 2012-2013 and again for 2014-2015. She was named Teacher of Today in 2013 and in 2015. In May 2013, Amy was named as one of The Journal Record’s Achievers Under 40 for her proven work in her profession and for clearly demonstrating a commitment to making Oklahoma a better place to work and live through her nonprofit work.

Amy is married to Todd and they welcomed their son Cole in 2013. Amy and her husband and son share their home with three rescued poodles and one rescued German Shepherd. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Pets and People Humane Society, an organization that has saved more than 20,000 dogs and cats in the past twenty years, and serves as Board Secretary for the Sycamore Creek HOA.

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Board Members

Amber Shelton, President

Amber Shelton is the Program Director for Youth Leadership Exchange, the high school component of Leadership Oklahoma City. She works with community leaders to help high school sophomores, junior and seniors learn about leadership, community involvement and city government. Amber recently completed her Masters’ Degree in Nonprofit Leadership Currently at Oklahoma City University. Her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education is from the University of Oklahoma. Amber taught elementary physical education and pre-kindergarten for nine years in Yukon, where she was born and raised. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class VIII and the Pi Beta Phi Alumni Club of Oklahoma City. She also serves on the board for the Yukon Public Schools Foundation for Excellence, an organization that provides grants to teachers. She mentors a fourth-grade boy at Lakeview Elementary in Yukon. She has a passion for students of all ages and believes it is up to the community as a whole to work together to help our children succeed.

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Steve Ihekona, Vice-President

Steve was born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma where he attended and played football at Edmond Santa Fe. Steve is currently the Chief Financial Officer and Head of Business Development for Caring Home Health Agency Inc. a family owned company in the OKC metro. He played four years of college football and graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. Steve recently graduated with his MBA in General Business in December of 2014. He is heavily involved with his church and has a passion for working with youth, specifically the mentoring of young men. Steve currently organizes a men’s group called Men United Leadership Group, a discussion group dedicated to helping men further lead in their work, families, and community. He also actively volunteers with the Oklahoma Message Project; a literacy and prevention program that focuses on reconnecting children to their parents in prison through the reading of books on camera. Sports have played a major part in Steve’s life and he makes time to organize summer workouts with young men that can’t afford it.

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Jake Winkler, CPA, Treasurer

Jake is a Manager of Assurance Services for RSM US, LLP in Oklahoma City. Jake was born and raised in Oklahoma City and graduated from Putnam City West High School in 1999. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Central Oklahoma. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and served as External Vice President for the Organization. He was also the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the UCO Student Association. Jake has been an auditor for 7 years and has 10+ years of accounting experience. As an employee of RSM, Jake specializes in audits of governmental entities, healthcare, and insurance. He volunteers with the Y-Achievers program through the YMCA of Oklahoma City, serves as the audit committee chair and the Board of Directors for Upward Transitions, and also was selected as a United Way Board Serve Program participant in 2014. Jake is married to his wife of 11 years, Stacy, and has two daughters, Caroline and Emily.

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Cathy Story, Secretary

Cathy is the Program Coordinator for District Strategy & Development at Metro Technology Centers in Oklahoma City. She assists with strategic planning with faculty and staff helping to develop annual goals of the organization by which MetroTech does its work. Additionally, identifying and creating business partnerships in the community to help our students achieve maximum benefits in both career training, internships, mentoring, and soft skills ensuring their readiness for success in the workforce. Recently serving as Executive Director of the Metro Tech Foundation, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of which included board management, financial responsibility, planning fundraising efforts for the annual banquet and golf tournament. Additionally, supporting the students of Metro Technology Centers through the student emergency assistance program, scholarships, and grants.

Special project and program management include a STEM partnership with the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation; Delta Dental Free Clinic grant with Metro Tech Dental Assisting program; and Innovation District and Page Woodson partnership development. Through her work and other interests, she said she has the opportunity to engage more in the community than ever before for which she’s very excited about. She has a passion for encouraging education and the arts in young people. She said she has seen the value in being the change once you step outside of your own circle to pursue opportunities that have an impact on others. It is with intent, she wishes to strengthen and expand philanthropic interests and efforts.

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Joshua Parsons

Josh Parsons is a financial representative with Morgan Stanley. He currently serves as secretary for the Freedom School OKC board, Metro Tech Foundation Board of Directors as the vice president and the AAA Oklahoma/South Dakota Board of Directors. With past board experiences with The Greater Chamber of Oklahoma Board of Directors, Josh realizes the importance of being involved in the community with a focus of giving back. With two small children at home, Josh enjoys using Lincoln Logs to build with his son Kendall and making his beautiful daughter Campbell laugh.

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Erik Salazar, Past President

Erik is the Chief Financial Officer for the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division of the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Erik moved to Oklahoma to attend the University of Oklahoma, where he earned dual BBA degrees in Finance and Accounting. Erik later received his MBA from Oklahoma Christian University with an emphasis in Leadership. Erik also sits on the board of directors for Limbs for Life Foundation, Infant Crisis Services, Leadership Oklahoma City Youth Leadership Exchange and The National Hispanic Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees. He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City LOYAL Class VIII and is a mentor for Leadership Oklahoma City Youth Leadership Exchange. Erik is a member of the Downtown Club of Oklahoma City and is a member and volunteer at Crossings Community Church.

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Blake Lawrence

Blake is an associate attorney in the Oklahoma City office of Hall Estill, P.C., and has represented clients in a variety of contexts, including representing individuals and corporations in civil matters ranging from corporate collections to defense of employers in litigation. He is also active in the firm’s transactional practice, where he advises the firm’s banking clients in large commercials loan transactions and represents individuals and corporations in the acquisition and sale of entities and real estate. Blake has also extensively advised individuals, galleries, and museums in matters related to the preservation, transfer, and sale of words of fine art, and other intellectual property issues related to fine art. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Canterbury Choral Society, and is a proponent of the arts in Oklahoma City. A graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class VIII, Blake loves Oklahoma City and the diverse economic and cultural climate that it offers to him and his family. He greatly enjoys spending time with Allison, his wife, Bennett, his son, and Charlotte, his daughter.

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Tonya Walker

Tonya is the Case Manager for High School students at Metro Career Academy. She is originally from Arkansas, but Oklahoma is now her home. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Social Work from Oklahoma Christian University in 1994. While at Oklahoma Christian, she went on missionary campaigns to Brazil and Poland to teach English. Tonya worked for the Department of Human Services for four years before she moved to Metro Technology Centers, where she has been for the past 12 years. Tonya enjoys traveling the world, going to sporting events (THUNDER UP!!), shopping, reading, working out and spending time with friends and family.

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Kristy Boone

Kristy Boone lives in Oklahoma City, and is the Founder of Premium Impact, LLC, a sales, marketing, and event-consulting service company. She currently resides on the Freedom School of OKC Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for Downtown OKC Lions Club and on the Advisory Council for the Cox Connects Foundation, as well as the Resource Board for BBBSOK and the Leadership OKC Alumni Board. Kristy is an alumni member of OKConnect, Class IV, and Leadership OKC, Class 33. She performs musical and comedic improvised theatre with BitSing (monthly show), and the OKC Improv Touring Company (private bookings), and hosts corporate improv workshops (connectivation) through her consulting business, PILLC. She is the proud mother of a super fantastic daughter, Sarah, and the owner of two adorable rescued dogs.

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Jan S. Astani

Currently V.P. of Builder Relations with First Mortgage Company, Jan S. Astani’s career encompasses marketing, public relations, professional development training, motivational speaking, writing, talk show host, business development, new home construction, and real estate. A journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma, Jan loves connecting, communicating, and creating both professionally and personally. In addition to her board position with Freedom School OKC, she currently serves on the board of Food and Shelter, One Person, Inc. and Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. She’s also active in the Moore Home Builders Association ad Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma. Jan was the 2011 president of the Moore Chamber of Commerce. Originally from Independence, Missouri, Jan has called Oklahoma home since 1986. Married in 1991, she and husband, Faramarz, are the proud parents of William (1998) and Thomas (2000). Her favorite quote from her late mom is, “Always do your best and try your hardest. While you might not always be the best a something, at least you’ll know you did your best.”

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Darius Jackson

Darius Jackson is a veteran of the United States Marines and served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He has been an active member of the community both professionally and personally. Darius holds a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University. He has worked for Tinker Federal Credit Union for 20 years and currently holds the position of Business Development Representative in the Oklahoma City Empowerment Zone. This position has allowed him to work with the community and assist in the economic development of the area. He is a member of many committees and organizations designed to help revitalize the area in which he has lived most of his life. In addition, Darius is also on the Board of Directors for Red Earth, Youth Services of Oklahoma County, Inc. in addition to several other advisory boards. Darius is a CUNA Credit Union Business Development Professional (CUBDP designation). He is also a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor. The passion for his mission show through his radiant personality that has allowed him to gain respect for the community and area leaders. Darius is the proud father of a teenage daughter, Darien.

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Rich Johnson

Rich first heard of Freedom School OKC by following a Twitter link to a NewsOk article, which just shows the power of social media. After reading the article, he looked up the FSOKC website. The mission statement of helping children develop a love of reading resonated in him. Rich’s mom was an elementary reading teacher and was very passionate about her job. Her love or reading and awareness of the importance of books in a child’s life is something that has stuck with him into adulthood. Being a part of FSOKC, as a donor, then as a Board members, is an important way to honor his mother’s love of reading. Rich graduated from the University of Oklahoma as an undergraduate and then as a joint JD/MBA student. In 2005, Rich graduated with an accounting degree and then in 2009 with a law degree and an MBA. Rich is a transactional attorney at McAfee & Taft with a focus on tax law, new markets tax credit financing, economic development, probate and estate administration, mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law. Rich also gives his time to United Way and Oklahoma Contemporary “Art of Brunch” committee member.

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Friends of Freedom School Advisory Board

Colonel Dedrick Hoskins

Mr. Hoskins is retired Colonel of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. His last assignment before retirement was Deputy Chief Information Officer for the State of Oklahoma. Prior duty assignments included Antiterrorism Officer and commander of the 63rd Civil Support Team, a unit which specializes in response to weapons of mass destruction incidents. Mr. Hoskins is a combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War. He received his Bachelor's degree in Science from Cameron University. He is an active member of Wildewood Baptist Church where he serves as deacon, Sunday School Teacher and finance committee member. He and his wife Virginia have three children, Malisha, Joseph, and Erin.

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Jabee Williams

Jabee is a rapper from Oklahoma City whose music, according to Chuck D. from Public Enemy, “has the potential to change the world.”  His new album is Black Future, released in August 2016 with a 4,000-seat sold out show at The Criterion in Oklahoma City. The album reached #25 on iTunes. “Monument,” a track from the album feat. Chuck D., premiered on Billboard, and another track, “By Any Means,” premiered on Mass Appeal.  

Jabee has toured with Run the Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P) and Murs, and has been featured on Sway in the Morning, MTV, XXL, Complex, The Source and Vibe. He has also performed at Kevin Durant’s celebrity basketball game and Russell Westbrook’s celebrity comedy show.  He released his first full-length album, Blood is the New Black, in 2008, co-produced by DJ Vadim, and the following year linked with DJs Mick Boogie and Terry Urban to record a mixtape called Must Be Nice. In 2011, Jabee partnered with DJBooth.net and IMKING clothing to produce the Lucky Me EP, featuring Carlitta Durand.  In 2013, his second full-length album, Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt, recorded under the guidance of hip-hop legend Murs debuted at #50 on iTunes. A track from the album, “Stephanie (Super Ugly),” was produced by El-P. 

Jabee received the Oklahoma Gazette’s Woody Award for Best Hip Hop in 2007 and 2009, the Oklahoma Street Music Award for Album of the Year (Blood is the New Black) in 2009, and in 2010 was recognized by URB magazine as an Artist to Watch.   In 2014, Jabee collaborated with Oklahoma City-based marketing agency Funnel Design Group to create, “What If?” a television commercial promoting Science Museum Oklahoma. The video won an Emmy for commercial writing and performance.  Jabee had the opportunity to tour Europe in 2015 with Swedish hip hop group Looptroop Rockers.  Jabee also serves as City Care Student Director where he recruits students and mentors for the program.  He also prepares a weekly faith-based message.

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Colonel Dedrick Hoskins

Khanita Jefferson is a native Oklahoman. In 2006, she earned an undergraduate degree in Organization Leadership from Southern Nazarene University, and 2009 she earned a Masters in Educational Leadership from Mid-America University. Ms. Jefferson has been employed with Metro Technology Centers for fifteen years and has served in every aspect of student development. Outside of work, she has two children that keep her busy with their choice of activities. Ms. Jefferson is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. In her spare time, she enjoys designing and creating projects, shopping, spending time with family and friends. Her motto is “Keep life fair and balanced”.

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