Schott Welcomes Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks and Miren Uriarte to the Board of Directors

The Schott Foundation is proud to announce the addition of two new members to the Board of Directors:

Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks

Throughout her career, Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks has brought vision, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, political savvy, and strategic thinking to every endeavor she has attempted. She has the ability to bring talented people together to form cohesive leadership teams within organizations and build collaborative advocacy coalitions among very diverse stakeholders. A nationally recognized leader, Sharon thrives on challenges and seeks to develop and foster leadership in others. In January 2014, President Barack Obama named her to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

In October 2009, Mrs. Lettman-Hicks became the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Founded in 2003, NBJC has provided leadership at the intersection of national civil rights groups and LGBT organizations, advocating for the unique challenges and needs of the African-American LGBT community that are often relegated to the sidelines. NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully-empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, gender identity or sexual orientation. In concert with NBJC’s mission to eradicate racism and homophobia, her personal goals are to make the Black family the focal point of NBJC; to tell compelling stories about the Black LGBT community; and to see Black LGBT people understood, embraced and respected for their valuable contributions to society.

Sharon comes to NBJC after eight years at the People For the American Way (PFAW) Foundation, where her responsibilities included leading the “Homophobia in the Black Church” program through their African American Religious Affairs division. As an Executive Vice President at the PFAW Foundation, Sharon's responsibilities included overseeing the institution's dynamic leadership programs and the organization's engagement with supporters and investors, key constituency groups, and coalition allies. She was one of the chief architects of the leadership programs, and provided invaluable vision and innovative implementation models that led to the programs’ tremendous growth. Sharon has been successful in orchestrating strategic partnerships, ranging from building grassroots activism to catalyzing the engagement and investment of key influencers and funders.

Sharon is renowned for her political acumen and an ability to bring together unlikely allies as stakeholders in joint collaborations that strengthen the progressive movement and give power to new ideas and policies. Her efforts to bridge divides across race, religion and sexual orientation were featured in the Gill Foundation's 2007 annual report, which identified her as a key ally for the LGBT equality movement. Sharon has been a powerful spokesperson for religious liberty, and the separation of church and state; her leadership in this arena has gained the confidence of individual and foundation investors. The Rockwood Leadership Institute selected Sharon as one of 24 progressive executive management leaders for the 2008-09 Leading from the Inside OutFellowship Program, designed to strengthen senior leadership in the non-profit sector.

She has appeared on broadcast and in print media nationally, including CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Black Enterprise magazine, the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" and The Root.com. She currently serves as a member of the National Business Inclusion Consortium for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC); Project Advisory Committee Member of the LGBT Safe Schools Initiative for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN); the Advisory Council of Creative Coalition’s Be A STAR: Show Tolerance And Respect, a national anti-bullying initiative; and the Executive Committee of the National Black Leadership Forum. In addition, Sharon has served on the Board of Directors for the National Stonewall Democrats and the Advisory Council of Progressive Majority’s Racial Justice Campaign; and she has been a national trainer for Wellstone Action, Democracia USA and the Front Line Leaders Academy. Sharon believes activism includes the need to financially support your interests—she is a Justice Society member of NBJC, and a fully-paid life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., FAMU National Alumni Association, and the NAACP. Mrs. Lettman-Hicks is the proud wife of a retired Iraqi War veteran who served in the United State Air Force, and they reside in Southern Maryland, near Washington, DC.

Miren Uriarte

Miren Uriarte is a sociologist whose teaching and research focuses on different aspects of the intersection of race/ethnicity and social policy. She is a Professor of Human Services in the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a founding core faculty member of the programs in Transnational, Cultural and Community Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and the founding director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, a research center focused on the experience of Latinos in Massachusetts. She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Havana in 1984-1987, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2004, and was Presidential Visiting Scholar at Wheelock College in 2012.

Miren’s research has documented the history, growth, development and experience of Latino groups in the region focusing on issues such as immigration, the diversification of the Latino population, their economic participation, their interaction with human service systems and the impact of social and educational policy on their lives. In recent years, Dr. Uriarte has focused on the gaps in achievement and opportunity, documenting the effects of educational policy on the outcomes of Latino students and English language learners, starting with the effect of high-stakes testing in Massachusetts on the graduation and drop-out rates among Latino students and, most recently, the effects of the implementation of restrictive language policies on the placement and educational outcomes of English language learners in the state.

Miren has a long history of activism, collaborating often with community-based organizations and educational institutions in Boston. She has served on the Board of Directors of La Alianza Hispana, the Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation, the Massachusetts Advocacy Committee, and the Boston Plan for Excellence. Starting with work in the aftermath of the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools when she served as a Court-Appointed Alternate to a Citizen District Advisory Council (1977-79), she has been advocate for public education in the city of Boston. She has served as a Trustee of Boston’s Fenway High School (1999-2003), a member of the Search Committee for the Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools (2007), and a member of the district’s External Advisory Committee on School Choice (2012-13). She currently serves on the Boston School Committee.