Eleni A. Rossides, Executive Director, joined WTEF as executive director in September 2004. A native Washingtonian, Ms. Rossides grew up playing tennis on area courts. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, where she was ranked number 1 in the country and was a championship player on the women’s tennis team. After Stanford, she spent eight years as a tennis pro on the women’s professional tennis tour. During part of this time, WTEF’s present Program Director, Willis Thomas, Jr., was her coach. Following her professional tennis experience, Ms. Rossides received her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and spent several years in the private sector. She served as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co. Ms. Rossides has important strategic and leadership skills; experience in business; and broad contacts in DC’s business, philanthropic, governmental and educational community. In October, 2009, Ms. Rossides won the 2009 EXCEL Leadership Award recognizing and honoring outstanding nonprofit leaders for excellence in the areas of innovation, motivation, community building, ethical integrity and strategic leadership.
Willis Thomas, Jr., WTEF Program Director, is an experienced tennis coach on both the grass roots and professional levels. A former junior doubles partner of the late Arthur Ashe, Mr. Thomas has played tennis since the age of ten and was one of the first African American tennis talents from our nation’s capital. After a stint on the tour as tennis coach to professional African American stars such as Zina Garrison, Lori McNeil, and Rodney Harmon, Mr. Thomas returned to his roots to launch and direct the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program at WTEF, a program combining tennis and educational opportunities for at-risk youth. In 1998, NBC-TV featured Mr. Thomas during Black History Month, profiling him as a community leader who has made a difference in the lives of at-risk children by helping them to choose sports over life on the streets. In 2001, Mr. Thomas was named Washingtonian of the Year. In 2005, local PBS station WETA recognized Mr. Thomas as “Hometown Hero” for the month of February.
Mike Ragland, Director of Tennis (WTEF New Site), Mike has over 30 years of teaching experience; he is a USPTA Certified Professional who brings a "keep it simple" philosophy to his tennis coaching. His belief is knowing the fundamental basic of strategy combined with tennis skills is the perfect combination to elevate one's tennis game, regardless of age or ability. For 10 years at Arrowhead Country Club in Glendale A.Z., Mike coached individual players and teams as well as directed the junior tennis program. He formerly was the Director of Tennis at Metro Sport and Health Club, Vistancia Village Community and the D.C. Parks and Recreation department. Mike played collegiate tennis at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C. where he received his B.S. degree in Business Administration as well as being named All Conference and All District for tennis. Mike also serves on the advisory staff for Head Penn Racquet Sports.
Betty Brooks, Reading Specialist, brings over thirty-five years of experience as an educator to WTEF. A former teacher, principal, and administrator, Ms. Brooks is dedicated to improving academic prospects for disadvantaged students. Ms. Brooks co-founded Mentors, Inc. in 1987, an innovative effort to connect disadvantaged students enrolled in DC public schools with mentors among the city’s highly educated professionals. Ms. Brooks holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education from New York University, and advanced certifications from Harvard University, George Washington University, and Teachers College/Federal City College.
Dr. Mary Johnson, College Counselor, Center for Excellence (CFE), joined WTEF in September 2004, bringing to the program the skills and organizational eye for detail needed to help run the many aspects of the CFE. Dr. Johnson has more than thirty years of experience in education with the DC Public Schools, including her tenure as founder and principal of the Washington Math & Science Technology Public Charter High School and Director of the Frank W. Ballou Mathematics Science Technology Academy/School-Within-A-School Charter School. Dr. Johnson holds a Masters in Mathematics Education from Hampton University and a Doctorate in Mathematics Education from the University of Maryland. She is also a founder and director of SUCCESS IN LEARNING MATH CENTERS (Math in the Mall) in Maryland and Washington, DC. Johnson’s success with her students has been featured in local and national publications and on television. She is the author of several books and articles on mathematics education and the recipient of numerous professional and community awards in recognition of her work.
Josh Dee, Special Events and Marketing Coordinator, graduated from The George Washington University in 2009 with a degree in Business Administration and a double concentration in Sport/Event Management and Finance. Josh comes from the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, DC.
Claire Duffy, Special Events and Marketing Associate
Bill Hawthorne, Development Associate, graduated from the University of Richmond in 2009 with a degree in English and Anthropology. Mr. Hawthorne comes to WTEF after a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA, where he helped support and administer a youth mentoring program in rural Western New York.
Ellen Miller, Director of Tennis (16th & Kennedy), is an industry leader in 10 and Under Tennis and an experienced tennis professional who has worked with juniors of all ages and abilities. Most recently she was the director of junior programs at the Tennis Center at College Park and was responsible for building a program that was regarded as one of the best junior programs in the country. That success landed Miller a spot as a faculty coach for USTA National, for which she travels the country training coaches on the 10 and Under Tennis philosophy. Miller has a B.A. from Rice University and a Masters degree in Elementary Education from The George Washington University.
Alfred (AB) Morgan, Coordinator, Center for Excellence Academic Program, has more than thirty-four years of experience with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DCCPR) in developing, organizing, analyzing, implementing, and evaluating recreation and education programs designed primarily for youth and young adults. Morgan was a unit director at the Anacostia Recreation Center and the Langdon Park Recreation Center and was Manager for Region Three of the DCDPR. Responsibilities included management of sports leagues for various activities and complementary educational activities to improve self-esteem and improve grades. Morgan received his B.S. Degree in Sociology from Elizabeth State College and has continued to take professional educational courses through the University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland, College Park.
Jeff Thomas, Coordinator, Arthur Ashe Children’s Program, is responsible for the administration and implementation of the academic portion of the AACP. A native Washingtonian, Mr. Thomas played in Junior USTA tournaments and attended the University of the District of Columbia. In 1993, Mr. Thomas was one of the first coaches for the Arthur Ashe Children’s Program, and in 2004 he was appointed to oversee and coordinate the program full-time.
Karin Sheets, Grant Writer/Executive Assistant, brings to WTEF 15 years of experience in fundraising and operations in the nonprofit sector. She is passionate about supporting DC youth, having most recently led fundraising activities at Mentoring to Manhood and Brainfood. She served as Development Director at Mentors, Inc., where she also served as a mentor. She is equally passionate about tennis, having played competitively in the Washington area for nine years. Karin earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington, and completed a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.
Teresa Smith, Accountant
Gerald Weston, Counselor, for the Center for Excellence, brings to WTEF thirty years of experience in career counseling, program development and management, and job placement and monitoring in correctional institutions and community-based rehabilitation programs. Mr. Weston received a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Howard University and has also done graduate work there.