Miss Congeniality Girls | Our Team

Our Team

letter-noteFounder and CEO , Angelique S. Jackson, Ed.D.

img_9072 Dr. Angelique S. Jackson is an educator and social entrepreneur.  Angelique has had a diverse career in Urban Education, to say the least.   Immediately upon graduating from undergrad, she briefly served as a Pre-school director before embarking on a 12-year career, in the inner city, with Chicago Public Schools.  As an educator, she served in various capacities as a teacher, assistant principal, and reading coach.  Prior to getting married and moving out of state, Angelique was a tenured track  university professor at Chicago State University.   She taught in the graduate literacy and elementary education department for six years, resulting in opportunities to present on numerous topics nationally and internationally.

Inspired by her passion for fitness and learning, she opened a children’s fitness and learning center in the south suburbs of Chicago, Our Youth In Shape.  Immediately following, she expanded her fitness and enrichment programs into several community based organizations, as well as several schools in Chicago Public Schools, offering after-school and summer programs.  Opportunities to provide professional development workshops for teachers, on literacy and learning, were also an instrumental benefit, resulting from her programs.

While implementing different programs to include etiquette comportment, character building, fitness, and entrepreneurship for kids, to name a few, she recognized the need to develop a program to focus on girls of color and hence, Miss Congeniality Girls, LLC was born.

In addition to advancing Miss Congeniality Girls, Angelique is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading and Literacy Studies at Barry University.  Consequently, teaching in the graduate literacy program,  has inspired Dr. Jackson to expound on Miss Congeniality Girl’s research during her professorship at Barry University.  She presented the following workshop presentation at the Florida Annual Literacy Conference (Jackson, A.S., Strange-Martin, N. (April 2015).  Miss Congeniality Girls:  Journal writing for Inner-City Girls. Workshop Presentation presented at the 31st Annual Florida Literacy Conference.  Orlando, FL.) in an effort to demonstrate the connection between culturally relevant journal writing and emotional literacy.

Subsequently to presenting at the Annual Florida Literacy Conference, Dr. Jackson submitted the following Poster Presentation Proposal:  Jackson, A. S., Strange, N.Y. (January 2016, under review).  Miss Congeniality Girls (MCG) pilot program goes to Chicago: The call to culturally responsive social and emotional literacy learning.  A poster session and paper submitted for presentation at the 14th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education (HICE), Honolulu, HI. This poster presentation will highlight the variables associated with the development and application of Miss Congeniality Girls programs that were implemented in various inner city schools in Chicago.  The challenges and successes with Miss Congeniality Girls, as it relates to analytic culturally responsive Social and Emotional Literacy Learning, will be highlighted.  Topics to be addressed include the problem statement, overview of MCG, culturally responsive curriculum development, fitting the program into the school culture, observations, where MCG stands today and tomorrow.

Opportunities for grant writing, publications, program expansion, and paper and workshop presentations are in the works…stay tuned!!

Dr. Jackson has a bachelor’s of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, a master’s degree in Urban Education and Accelerated Brain-Based Learning from Cambridge College and a doctorate’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction Educational Psychology from Loyola University Chicago.  She also holds a state of Illinois type 03 teaching certificate, a type 75 state of Illinois administrative certificate, and credentials as a certified “Critical Friends Coach”.

Angelique is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority as well as several professional organizations that allow her to stay current in her field.  When she is not working  to advance Miss Congeniality Girls, she can be seen working out, shopping, reading, learning new ways to cook, and always seeking new ways to reach our children!!

Professional Counselor, Strategist, Curriculum adviser and blogger for our column “Sassy Girls Counseling Corner” 

Linda Thomas Poindexter, Ed.S.

linda new picLinda Thomas Poindexter is a native of Nashville, TN. She matriculated her educational endeavors at Tennessee State University where she received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology in 2004 and completed her Masters in School Counseling in 2006. While in Nashville, TN she worked as a school counselor for three years at Croft Middle Design Center.  Croft Design Center is a Global and Environmental friendly school which partners with the Nashville Zoo.  Croft Design Center has onsite animal habitats and was the only school of its kind in the nation!   She got married to another educator and moved to her husband’s hometown of Birmingham, AL.  She worked for four years at McAdory Elementary School in Jefferson County Schools and enjoyed having a change of pace with the younger students.  However, her heart was still with middle school students.  Linda is currently working on her second year at Hueytown Middle School in Jefferson County schools.  In the spring of 2013, Linda received her Education Specialist degree in Administrative Leadership.

Recently, Linda has become passionate in the area of mentoring preteen girls.   She noticed there was always “girl drama” and little resources to help with those preteen issues. After compiling information and forming a group herself, she noticed a decrease with the discipline issues and drama, that occurred daily with the group.  Therefore, thinking it would be helpful, she created a group manual, “Drama Free Tweens- A Group Manual for “Sassy” Preteen Girls, to share with other school counselors on how to embrace preteen girls and get rid of the drama!  Find “Drama Free Tweens- A Group Manual for “Sassy” Preteen Girls, here, published by Marco Publishers, a leading publisher for social and emotional well-being curriculum.

Linda is a member of the following professional organizations:

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

American School Counseling Association

Alabama Counseling Association

Alabama School Counseling Association

Alabama Student Council Association

Alabama Education Association

Linda joins Miss Congeniality Girls, with a desire to continue being a blessing for girls, offering  professional strategies and curriculum advice.  She is extremely happy with the addition of her new weekly blog column “Sassy Girls Counseling Corner“, which offers weekly topics and inspirational messages to help girls stay calm, and socially and emotionally well, with sass.


Attorney, Legal Strategist, Health & Wellness Aficionado, Blogger

Nicole D. Jackson, Esq. 

nicoleNicole D. Jackson is no stranger to adversity.  Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Nicole realized, at a young age, that she wanted to beat the odds that were against her.  She chose to leave her family and friends and move to the small town of Muncie, Indiana, where she attended Ball State University and graduated in 3.5 years, with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration.  During undergrad, Nicole worked two jobs to fund her education, and completed internships over the summers with the Gary South Shore Railcats Minor League Baseball team and The WNBA Chicago Sky.

Upon graduating, Nicole interned with The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in Lilburn, Georgia, and subsequently moved back to Chicago and worked for the corporate offices of Wilson Sporting Goods Company.  A controversial and unexpected layoff at Wilson was the sign Nicole needed to pursue her growing interest in the practice of law.

In 2009, faith brought Nicole to Columbus, Ohio to attend Capital University Law School.  Nicole quickly developed an interest in Labor and Employment Law.  During her tenure at Capital University Law School, Nicole served as President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Association, and member of the Labor and Employment Law Association, and Black Law Student’s Association.

Nicole also completed an externship with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Employment Law Section (Fall 2011), Minority Clerkship with the Honorable Judge Laurel A. Beatty at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (Summer/Fall 2011), and received the CALI Award for earning the highest grade in Capital’s General Litigation and Small Business Clinic (Fall 2011).  Notably, while clerking for Judge Beatty, Nicole successfully drafted complex decisions ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment in labor and employment law matters including two decisions that were adopted by the Judge and subsequently affirmed by the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals, see Garrett v. Columbus Civ. Serv. Comm., No. 10CVH-02-2125, affirmed Ohio 10th Dist. No. 11AP-1113; Cantwell v. Franklin County Bd. of Comm., No. 09CVH-13720, affirmed Ohio 10th Dist. No. 11AP-849.

In the past, Nicole was a recipient of Academic Dean’s List honors, the Academic Dean’s Scholarship, and the Floyd D. Weatherspoon Endowed Scholarship for Employment Discrimination & Labor Law.  Nicole also graduated with a Certification of Completion in the Labor and Employment Law Concentration.

Nicole is currently a licensed Attorney in the State of Ohio.  She works as a Staff Attorney for the Professionals Guild of Ohio Labor Union.  In this position, she negotiates collective bargaining agreements and represents union members in grievances, arbitrations, disciplinary hearings, and other employment law matters.

In her free time, Nicole enjoys cooking healthy foods, watching sports, writing, working out, and spending time with her family.

With a desire to empower girls on health, wellness, and overall social and emotional wellness, Nicole joins Miss Congeniality Girls.  She will share her insights, on these topics, via blogging,  and virtual/live professional workshops and seminars.

 Hispanic Community Advocate, Health and Wellness Programs

Yesenia Sanchez 

yesiniaYesenia Sanchez is a walking testimony, when it comes to applying Social and Emotional learning skills, to life. Born and raised in Chicago, Yesenia describes herself as a strong and caring woman, with much ambition for life. Ms. Sancehez is a single mother of two beautiful children, with maternal and paternal roots in Mexico. Ms. Sanchez is inspired from her non-English speaking parent’s grit, coming to America, in search of the “American Dream” and accomplishing all they set out to do.  Yesenia quotes them to this day “they always told us that everything is possible in life, you just have to want it… I believe it’s true”.

Yesenia has achieved many goals, she has set for herself, including being the first female, in her family, to graduate from high school.  After graduating, she worked as a teacher assistant, in the educational field, with infants and toddlers.  The joy from working with children and the skills she acquired from this experience, led her to go back to school.  She recently completed the requirements for National Healthcareer Association( NHA), receiving her certification, as a phlebotomy technician, and now working in the field.  With a love for helping others and a strong passion and desire to teach children, Yesenia joins Miss Congeniality Girls, as a program advocate for the Hispanic Community.  As Ms. Sanchez continues her journey, she quotes “that no matter what life throws at you, never stop and keep moving forward”.


Director of Literacy and Research for Miss Congeniality Girls

Nicole Yvette Strange-Martin, EdD


nicole strange.redojpgDepartment Chair, Department of Reading and Literacy Studies
Associate Professor of Reading and Literacy Studies

EdD, Reading and Language Arts, Temple University
MS, Middle Grades Education – English, Fort Valley State University

Dr. Nicole Yvette Strange-Martin is Chair and an Associate Professor of the Department of Reading and Literacy Studies.   She came to Barry University with more than seventeen years of experience in educational settings.  For more than eleven years, Dr. Strange-Martin taught undergraduate and graduate reading courses at Chicago State University (CSU) in Chicago, Illinois and served on doctoral dissertation committees as a tenured Associate Professor of Reading.  From 2008-2011, she was the Graduate Reading Coordinator at CSU and also worked in the capacity of the Director of the Graduate Reading Clinic.   She was responsible for preparing accreditation report for the Graduate Reading Program – The National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) and served as the NCATE Standard 4 Diversity:  Data Manager for the College of Education at CSU.  She was awarded a Faculty Excellence Award in Research (2007) and Teaching (2006) from CSU.    From 2001- 2007, she was the Chapter Advisor, Rho Chapter of Alpha Upsilon Alpha, the Honor Society for the International Reading Association and also was a member of the Alpha Upsilon Alpha Steering Committee (nationally).   While at Chicago State University, Dr. Strange-Martin also served on Graduate Council, University Personnel Committee (retention/promotion/tenure), Electronic Portfolio Taskforce (retention, promotion, tenure & post-tenure – Livetext) along with a myriad of other internal and external service accomplishments.

In addition to university research and service in Chicago, Dr. Strange-Martin was an independent literacy consultant with The Pleasont Group Reading Specialists, Inc. from 2001-2006 for The Chicago Public Schools.  She was elected to the Chicago Area Reading Association (CARA) Executive Board as well as other literacy boards and projects focused on closing achievement gaps in literacy.

While earning her doctorate from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA), she worked as an Instructor and a Writing Center Coach in the English Language & Culture Department at Delaware Technical and Community College in Wilmington, DE and taught middle and high school English in the Christina School District in Newark, DE.   She also worked closely with teachers in the Philadelphia School System as a Reading Supervisor, Team-Teacher and Student Mentor.

Recently, Dr. Strange-Martin was awarded the Best Paper in Session at The Clute Institute Academic Conference in Key West, Florida for her research presentation title, Empowering bidialectal students in a bidialectal classroom (March 2013).   She is a peer-reviewer for Literacy Research Association (LRA), Illinois Schools Journal and The Learner (Book Review – Language and Literacy).  Dr. Strange-Martin also worked with Louisiana’s Department of Education, Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Grants, Baton Rouge, LA.  She participated in the People to People Ambassador’s Program; Language and Literacy Education Delegationin China (Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai).  In addition, Dr. Strange-Martin was awarded the NEA Foundation Grant in Learning and Leadership to present at the Harris Manchester College in the University of Oxford, Oxford, England.   She is the Newsletter Editor for Concerned Educators of Black Students (CEBS): A special interest group of the International Reading Association (IRA).

Dr. Strange-Martin has presented at peer-reviewed international and national conferences in Hawaii, China, Greece and England as well as state and local presentations, workshops and seminars.  In addition, she has an extensive list of peer-reviewed publications.   Dr. Strange-Martin also holds membership with Literacy Research Association (LRA), International Reading Association (IRA), Phi Delta Kappa, Alpha Upsilon Alpha along with other specialized professional associations.

Her research interests include bidialectal students, culturally responsive literacy practices, generational family literacies, literacy traditions of minority students and effective reading strategies for bi-dialectal students.  She also has strong interest in hybrid and online classroom formats for graduate students.

Dr. Strange joins Miss Congeniality Girls as Director of Literacy and Research.  We are blessed to have her on our team.


 Stay Calm | Stay Mindful | Stay Balanced | Stay a Miss Congeniality Girl  

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