Meet The Board of Directors

Mrs. Shirlene Baker, President, Governing Board of Directors: 

Mrs. Baker is the mother of Dr. Trisha J. Baker, and one son, and grandmother of five. Her life’s work has been in service to others regardless of who they are. She retired from the Evanston Dist. 65/202 school system after 26 years of service. She has been a parent/student advocate, teacher, counselor, and mentor to children, teens, and adults. In addition to her role as Board President, Mrs. Baker continues to serve her community as a volunteer and supporter of various charities, church musician, soloist, and Bible study teacher.

“It is my honor and privilege to witness what God has done and is doing in my daughter’s life. Her dedication, determination, and passion for helping young people reach their divine purpose inspires me to do everything I can to help her fulfill her personal destiny.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mrs. Marie Chang-Pisano, Vice-President, Governing Board of Directors: 

Mrs. Chang-Pisano is enjoying her 29th year as a Special Education Teacher in Evanston Skokie School District 65. She has 2 children and enjoys spending time with her family. She has taught courses for the education department at Northeastern University in Chicago and runs a mentoring program for 5th graders where she teaches. Mrs. Chang-Pisano enjoys working with children and continues to be a parent/student advocate, volunteer, teacher, and mentor to children. Her dedication and passion for supporting others on their journey to the Lord inspires her to work with FOCUSED Ministries towards that goal.

What attracted me to serve as a Vice-President of Governing Board of Directors for FOCUSED Ministries, Inc. was the goal and mission, as well as my desire to help others and share the good that God has given me. I hope to be an active part of a family of devoted servants of God in our work to help young women find and maintain a better path in their lives. I’m so excited about FOCUSED Ministries, Inc. and I know it will help many!”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dr. Kwajalein D. Thomas, Governing Board of Directors: 

Pastor Kwajalein, born and raised in Albany, Georgia, enjoys walking hand-in-hand with her husband, Bishop Derrick F. Thomas, as Pastor of Faith Worship Center, in San Antonio, Texas.

As an ordained minister and teacher, she has been involved in ministry for over 20 years. She has a passion and proven ability to teach people to fulfill their God-given destiny.

Often referred to as "Pastor K" by her loving congregation, she leads the “Women of Excellence,” a ministry dedicated to teaching Godly principles for a winning life in Jesus Christ. She hosts annual retreats and conferences for women of all ages.

Bishop Thomas and Dr. Kwajalein have been married for 35 years and have three adult children, two precious granddaughters, and countless spiritual sons and daughters.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mrs. Nicole English, Co-Treasurer, Governing Board of Directors:

A veteran Social Studies teacher with over 20 years of experience, Mrs. English currently serves as Department Chair for the History & Social Science Department at Evanston Township High School.

She also volunteers her time, talent, and enthusiasm working with youth at her church and in the garden beautifying the area around the church.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mrs. Doreen Thompson, Governing Board of Directors:

Mrs Thompson is a native of the lovely island of Jamaica. She is the proud mother of two adult children, Andrew, the oldest, and Camille. She currently teaches second grade in Evanston Skokie School District 65.

Mrs. Thompson came to know and love Jesus at a very young age and being guided by the Holy Spirit, Matthew 6:33 has been the driving force of her life. She have been blessed with a very godly mentor who has been there for her with godly wisdom and spiritual guidance in every major decision she has had make, and just being there for her, even to this day. She is very passionate about the things of God and thanks God for the hope she has in Him and would love others to embrace that same hope.

Mrs. Thompson has very high expectations of herself and values culture and system of beliefs - discipline, respect, honesty, among many others. She is an introvert by nature, but can quickly get out of her comfort zone and defend the issues she feel strongly about.

Mrs.Thompson loves, writing, reading, and just being in the friendly confines of her home with her family. She loves to go walking with her husband as often as she can. Her favorite thing to do, hard as it sometimes is, is to wake up in the wee hours of the morning awakened by the Holy Spirit to read the Bible and spend some quality time with God before facing the challenges of the day.

To borrow the words of the song, “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.” FOCUSED Ministries is a small part of the larger Vineyard that Mrs. Thompson can be a woman of influence in, affecting the life/lives of  young women just the way she has been blessed with a Godly woman in her walk with the Lord. Thanks Dr. Baker for the privilege of being a part of this vision. Many blessings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rev. MICHAEL GIBSON, Governing Board of Directors:

Rev. Gibson is an anointed preacher, teacher, and musician. He is the loving father of three and devoted husband to a beautiful wife. He loves God and his family. He will do anything within his power to help anyone in need.

Rev. Gibson currently serves as the Minister of music at Fisher Memorial.

After serving over 40 years in the US Postal Service, Rev. Gibson now enjoys retirement. His favorite passage of scripture is Romans 8:35-39.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mrs. MARGO MCCOY, Secretary, Governing Board of Directors: 

Mrs. Margo McCoy is a retired educator. She worked as a middle-school teacher for 32 years and retired from Evanston/Skokie School District 65. Mrs. McCoy enjoyed teaching language-arts, reading and social studies and excelled in developing interdepartmental materials and special projects. Since retirement, Mrs. McCoy has become a Freelance Editor working on nonfiction manuscripts, self help blogs and inspirational literature.

Mrs. McCoy is a member of Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Evanston. She is active in the Greeters Ministry and works on the Scholarship Committee. Mrs. McCoy has volunteered to work in community programs which advocate for students and parents.

Gospel music and singing have always been an important part of Mrs. McCoy’s life and she is involved in a family gospel group. Mrs. McCoy’s hobbies include drawing, detective fiction and the cultivation of orchids.

Mrs. McCoy is pleased to be a part of FOCUSED Ministries which supports the spiritual growth and development of young women and is aligned with the ideals that are important to everyone who desires to see our community grow stronger and flourish.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. LARRY WAITES, Governing Board of Directors:

Mr. Larry Waites is a recent retiree from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) where he was a  teacher and administrator. During his tenure with CPS, Mr Waites taught Social Science and Science. He served as the Manager of Advanced Placement for CPS and as the Dean of Students at Von Steuben Metro Science Center.

Mr. Waites is an avid sports fan and music lover, especially traditional Jazz. He is teaching himself how to play the bass guitar and enjoys singing with the Praise and Worship team at North Shore Assembly of God. Mr. Waites is married and has two adult daughters, a granddaughter and a grandson.

He is the founder of two young men’s mentoring programs namely, The Worship Center Boys Academy and Von Steuben’s The Mens Club. He, however, noticed a lack of mentoring for young women. So the opportunity to work with FOCUSED Ministries will allow him to utilize those experiences to mentor female adolescents.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mrs. Tricia L. Murray, Executive Director:

Mrs. Murray currently serves serves as a School Principal in the Evanston/Skokie School District. Her career spans over 20 years serving as a School Principal, School Psychologist, and Special Services Supervisor.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TRISHA J. BAKER, Founder, President/CEO

Dr. Trisha J. Baker. is the oldest of two. Currently in her 24th year of teaching, she has taught at the high school, middle school, elementary school, and therapeutic day levels. She has also served as a Summer School teacher and Administrator/Coordinator. Basketball Coach is also another title that can be included in her background along with Committee Co-Chair. She has also taught Youth Bible study and currently serve as Worship Leader.

Born and raised in Evanston, Dr. Baker where she attended elementary school until her family moved to Skokie where she attended middle school and high school. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Alcorn State University, a historical Black college in Mississippi. During her time at Alcorn, she came to know God for herself through many hours studying the Bible. She developed close relationships with friends, some of which extend through today. She truly believes that God ordained her time at Alcorn where He showed Himself strong in her life.

Some of Dr. Baker’s hobbies include Reading the Bible, tennis, trying to play some golf, spending time with her family, especially her Mom, and with friends.

Dr. Baker truly believes that the Word of God is truth and can change a life like nothing else can in this world. She believes that God loves us more than we can even begin to imagine or even think about, that Jesus Christ died for our sins to give us new life. Dr. Baker’s message to youth, both girls and boys is “God loves you and there is God-given purpose for your presence in the earth.”