Board Members

Committed to solving some of the world’s biggest problems faced by its most vulnerable citizens.

Board Members

Dr. Pearl L. Harmon

Dr. Pearl L. Harmon has served as an educational leader and educator for the past 18 years. Currently she is a Senior Partner of Human Resources Operations & Staffing in the 19th largest school system in the U.S., where she develops and implements priorities for strategic staffing and coordinate human resources that support that the full employment lifecycle. She also manages and supports the use of data to drive and inform human capitol decision making.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Harmon served as a principal, assistant principal, and teacher. Throughout her career, She has focused on developing strategies to improve teaching and learning, student achievement and school performance. As an Instructional Leader she collaborated with stakeholders, to create aligned systems, benchmarks, and monitoring tools to measure students and teachers progress.

Dr. Harmon provides specific data driven feedback to assistant principals, leadership team members and teachers to improve student achievement. She also, mentors new principals, facilitates professional development for principals, assistant principals, aspiring leaders, and teachers.

Dr. Harmon earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education from Tuskegee University, a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction and Administration from McDaniel College, and her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, from Nova Southeastern University.

Reason for joining the board: ” I believe that good teaching is about bridging the gap between theory and practice. Working directly with teachers and key staff members and sharing with them strategies that will allow them to improve student performance is my ultimate passion. In addition, it’s about not only motivating students to learn, but teaching them how to learn, and doing so in a manner that is relevant, meaningful, and memorable. As a Board Member of Child Steps International it allows me to utilize my strengths to support and positively impact the next generation of Liberia.”

Henry D. Williamson
Chairman Emeritus

Henry D. Williamson is a retired diplomat, with over 30 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, throughout Liberia, the African continent and Europe. Mr. Williamson was the Ambassador to the Liberian Permanent Mission to the United Nations Offices in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to that he served as a Liberian diplomat in Egypt and Zaire.

During his time in Egypt, he worked with youth as the Student Advisor. Mr. Williamson also worked as a journalist for the Liberian Broadcasting System, producing the current affairs program ‘Outlook Africa’

Mr. Williams is a skilled communicator and strategist, with experience leading discussions between national and international leaders. Mr. Williamson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Liberia in 1977, and later gained certificates in African Studies and Efficiency in Negotiations.

Reason for joining the board: “I lived a life of service to my country, and want to continue to serve the people of Liberia. Specifically for the civics education program, I will volunteer my experience and time as a former journalist and diplomat in the review of content.”

Caitlin Haugen, Ph.D.

Caitlin Haugen, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Global Teacher Education, a nonprofit organization that supports internationalization of teacher education in the United States. With 15 years of experience as an educator, she has worked as a classroom teacher, a teacher trainer in the Peace Corps in Uganda and Thailand, and a professor.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Drake University, a Master’s degree in International Training and Education, and a Ph.D. in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland.

Reason for joining the board: “ I am joining the CSI board because of the committed staff, working tirelessly at the grassroots level to improve the lives of children in Liberia. I wanted an opportunity to utilize my background in international development to contribute to an amazing organization, and to help CSI advance its mission and meet its goals. ”

Mr.Francis Cooper

Mr. Francis Cooper is a former “Big Four” Financial Management Advisory Senior Manager and Subject Matter Expert in the areas of Public Sector Financial Management and Enterprise Risk and Compliance. He possesses over 16 years of broad advisory consulting and financial management experience. Mr. Cooper has supported US and foreign departmental and agency level entities in successfully implementing managerial control, compliance programs and enhanced overall entity-wide financial operations. Additionally, he has worked on a wide range of local and international consulting engagements in the private and public sectors with key experiences to include but is not limited to, information systems solutions implementation, internal controls, audit readiness reviews, financial operations, financial analysis, and enterprise risk management.

Furthermore, Mr. Cooper has many years of professional experience applying accounting and auditing standards to include, but not limited to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (USGAAP), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (USGAAS), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) and Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS – Yellow Book).

Mr. Cooper has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from University of Maryland, a Master in Business Administration with Dual Specializations in Risk & Project Management from New York Institute of Technology and a certificate in Executive Leadership Management from Yale University.

Reason for joining the board: “Leveraging his skills and competencies, he is poised and motivated to support the Board as it provides the requisite oversight to Child Steps International mission and operations.”

Dr. Joseph Isaac
Vice Chairman

Dr. Isaac is President of AME University in Liberia, a small faith-based institution established in 1995, currently with over 3,400 students enrolled in 10 academic programs in three colleges. He is also a visiting scholar for Planning and Management, and Finance and Budgeting at Morgan State University’s doctoral program for community college leadership. Dr. Isaac is a proven college and university administrator, a seasoned leader, manager, planner and professor with nearly three decades of track record from corporations to higher education institutions. He is a system thinker with strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills, and an extensive background in higher education planning, management, budgeting, and policy development.

Prior to becoming president of AME University, he was vice president for administration and professor at Tubman University, Executive Director for Facilities and Planning at Baltimore City Community College, and Associate Professor for Architecture at Montgomery College. Dr. Isaac devotes much of his research efforts to discovering new tools for successful leadership, change management, strategic planning, policy development, environmental scanning, business development and organizational relationship management.

In addition to his affiliation with Child Steps International, he serves on the AME University Board of Trustees (Liberia); the Editorial Review Board of Planning for Higher Education (USA); Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Richardson-Adam Medical Center (Liberia); and member of the Board of Governors, Booker T. Washington Institute (Liberia)

Reason for joining the board: “Because at the end of the day, when civil conflicts and wars transpire, the citizens that suffer most are children. Children tend to obey orders, so they have become the likely victims for conflict groups and warlords. So, as a father of three, and an educator, I would have it no other way.”

Dr. Karyn Trader-Leigh
Board Member

Dr. Karyn Trader-Leigh is co-owner and CEO of KTA Global Partners in Northern Virginia. She has over 25 years of progressive business and consulting experience specializing in change management, organizational development, diversity management, developing leadership institutes, strategic planning, public policy research and capacity building. Dr. Trader-Leigh has held high-level director positions in the private and public sectors, working in the United States and internationally in Eastern Europe, China, Bahrain, UAE, Turkey, Liberia, Sierra Leone and many other countries.

Dr. Trader-Leigh has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Connecticut College, a Masters degree in International Transactions/Public Policy from George Mason University and a Doctorate in Large Systems Change from Pepperdine University School of Education and Psychology.

Reason for joining the board: “I appreciate the opportunity to renew my connection to Liberia and utilize my skills to support the vital work of Child Steps International. We have an obligation to help bring about a different inheritance, a sustainable future where children can be trauma free, experience healthy development and learn healthy behaviors which contribute to producing citizens that can challenge and change the future.”

Gbessi W. Kemah
Board Member/p>

Gbessi W. Kemah is a Liberian U.S-based businessman and longtime advocate for Liberia. He served on the Union of Liberia Association in America for 15 years, from 1991 to 2006. At that time, the mission of the organization was to raise awareness in the diaspora about the Liberian civil war.

During his tenure, he helped reorganize the organization’s focus from politics to advocacy and collaborative efforts to bring awareness and progressive change to Liberia. The organization continues to be the lead Liberian diaspora advocacy group.

Mr. Kemah was also a founding member of the Liberian Refugees Relief Fund, raising awareness for Liberian refugees worldwide. From 1983 – 1984, Mr. Kemah attended BWI’s accelerated electronics program. He later was able to earn a scholarship to attend the Aerospace and Industrial School in Tel Aviv, Israel. He graduated in 1984 as a Certified Aircraft Mechanic.

Reason for joining the board: “I have an interest in helping the people of Liberia since I left, especially those who have suffered during and after the war. On a research trip to Liberia for Child Steps International, I ensured Child Steps International was established and chartered in Liberia as a recognized Liberian nonprofit. I also visited several schools and was moved by the needs of the students.”

Rochelle Campbell
Board Member

Rochelle Campbell is an accomplished leader, communicator, trainer, writer, and speaker, focusing on governance, policy, and post-conflict sustainable peace. She has spent more than a decade as a public speaker working with a multitude of audiences and subjects.

She has given more than 500 motivational presentations persuading individuals to become organ donors, and helped hundreds in local communities to understand current and historical human atrocities, while helping them to get involved in social change.

Contracting with the U.S. Institute of Peace for more than 5 years as an effective facilitator and trainer, Rochelle has engaged hundreds of national and international policy actors to work together in order to foster cohesive inter-agency cooperation. While with the National Association of Corporate Directors Rochelle has worked hands on with more than 200 military flag and general officers helping them to successfully transition their military experience into the private sector.

She also advises fortune 1000 boards on governance next and best practices. Rochelle has raised thousands of dollars and brought large scale awareness to a number of nonprofit organizations. She has spent her free time volunteering for organizations including One Million Bones, Covenant House Washington, International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Best Buddies International, Transitional Housing Corporation and Azul Wassi, an orphanage in Oropesa, Peru, among others.

She has worked, studied and traveled in a dozen countries and holds a master’s degree in Peace Operations, from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy and a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations with a minor in Peace and Conflict from the University of Utah’s College of Humanities.

Reason for joining the board: “Rochelle joined the board of Child Steps International to pursue her passion for working with international children’s organizations, particularly those working in West Africa, as she loved her time traveling and researching in Liberia.”