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About – The Global Academy for Community-Based Education, Inc.

The Global Academy for Community-Based Education, Inc.

About Us

GACBE empowers...

Students to use academic and 21st-century skills to learn about and improve their communities. Our signature program, the GACBE Community Advocacy Project, will help students to research, develop, hypothesize, execute, and reflect on action plans to change issues that impact their communities as well as encourage members of the community to join their efforts in creating change. GACBE provides educators, students, and community partners with the guidance, resources, and materials needed to collaborate and raise the child and the village together!

To promote empowerment, self-determination, and meaningful collaboration among educators, students, and community partners to create and sustain community-based education in schools. 


The global implementation of community-based education models that help students develop academic and 21st-century skills by addressing problems that impact communities worldwide.


Embody the principles of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, creativity, purpose, and faith. Ground ourselves in our vision and mission. Focus on excellence in education and community interaction. Acknowledge and respect differences in values and opinions. Engage in conflict directly and respectfully.


  • Bring awareness of community-based education to the global community.

  • Provide extensive community-based education training and support to educators, students, and community partners.

  • Conduct continuous research on the development of community-based education models in schools and communities

  • Offer students a platform to present, discuss, and solicit support for their advocacy projects in their communities. 

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Our Team

Dr. Ife Damon

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Ife Akinsheye Damon is the founder of The Global Academy for Community-Based Education, Inc. She is an educator of educators with 20 years of experience in the field of education. Dr. Damon has been rated as a highly effective teacher within the NYC Public Schools and Atlanta Public Schools systems, with an above-average success rate of students demonstrating proficiency on state exams. She has been recognized as an American Education Hero by TIME Magazine, and her success in the classroom has also been noted by NY Times, Wall Street Journal, The 74 Million, Staten Island Advance, and other media outlets. Dr. Damon’s doctoral research found that lack of knowledge and support were the primary barriers to the successful implementation of community-based education into curricula. Therefore, as a community-based education advocate, she is dedicated to supporting teachers, students, and community partners with the development of community-based education and other best instructional practices.

Jahi Knox

Chief Operations Officer

Jahi Knox is an accomplished leader with a proven track record in program development, team leadership, and relationship building. He has a history of success in roles such as Social Development Coordinator, Standards and Incentive Officer, and Training Coordinator. Jahi is committed to community outreach. He developed the CBE Youth Development Program geared toward the positive development of at-promise youth. He also organized strategies to help individuals succeed in the local workforce. Jahi is adept at creating and developing innovative programs, managing personnel, leading and training teams, and facilitating seminars and workshops. As the Chief Operating Officer of The Global Academy for Community-Based Education, Inc., Jahi focuses on empowering individuals and communities to take ownership of their learning through community-based education models that promote inclusivity and positive change. 

Dr. Janet Leslie

Board Chair

Dr. Janet Leslie, a passionate educator and community leader, holds a BA in Sociology from CUNY-Brooklyn College, an MS in Higher Education Administration from CUNY-Baruch College, and a Doctorate of Management from the University of Maryland University College. Her focus lies in mentoring non-traditional and students of color within postsecondary environments. With over three decades of experience in senior administrative roles at CUNY, she has worked at CUNY/Kingsborough Community College and CUNY/SLU, coordinating the Joseph S. Murphy Scholarship for Diversity in Labor. Janet founded the Gift of Experience, LLC to offer mentoring and connect students to resources, and co-founded the Leslie-Carter Group LLC to establish generational wealth through real estate. She has held positions in various community organizations, including New York State Women (Formerly BPW) , National Council of Negro Women, Staten Island Museum, and Sundog Theatre. 

Susannah Abbate

Board Treasurer

Susannah Abbate, the Senior Director of Community Impact at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, has been instrumental in expanding the center’s reach since joining in 2010. With a background in history, economics, archives, and information science, Susannah now supervises visitor services, education, volunteer engagement, workforce development, horticulture, and Snug Harbor Heritage Farm. Her leadership has resulted in a more than fourfold increase in the number of people served through education programs. As an advocate for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access, she co-chairs the Schools Workgroup of the Staten Island Child Wellness Initiative, serves on the Anti-Racist Workgroup of Culture@3, and contributes to the advisory board of the Staten Island Community Alliance. 

Dawn Kelly

Board Member

Dawn Kelly, a Howard University graduate with over 30 years of experience in public and media relations, is the CEO of The Nourish Spot Inc., a family-owned healthy food, smoothie, and juice bar in Jamaica, Queens, NYC. She established The Nourish Spot with her children to focus on providing healthier food options in Southeast Queens. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Dawn is actively involved in nonprofit initiatives, serving on various boards and commissions, including the NYC Small Business Advisory Commission, the York College/CUNY Foundation Board, and NYC Queens Community Board 12. As an advocate for education and community development, Dawn hosts a podcast, The Nourish Spot Hour, where she interviews entrepreneurs and program directors from across the nation, sharing valuable information and services that highlight their missions and initiatives.

D'Andre Green

Board Member

D’Andre Green received his high school diploma from the Law program at Curtis High School and holds certificates for Youth Court and the Hour of Code program. D’Andre has actively participated in various programs and initiatives, including Student Council, Youth Court, and the Participatory Budgeting Campaign. As a grammar school student, he was a peer to peer mediator in the Peace Maker Club and as a high school sophomore, he founded the Youth of the Future Club at Curtis High School. With the Staten Island youth court justice center, D’Andre advocated for the Curtis High School Principal to modify the suspension policy that was hurting troubled youth more than helping them. He went to NYS capitol to advocate for increased funding for High School health centers. D’Andre continues to focus on bringing awareness and solutions to local and global injustices.

Juan Kanagui

Board Member

Juan has over 14 years of experience working in nonprofit organizations as an organizational leader and consultant. Prior to joining AMC, Juan helped develop foundation partnerships and wrote grants for Mission Graduates and the YMCA of SF in San Francisco. Juan was born in Mexico and immigrated with his parents to California’s Central Valley at the age of 4. Juan received his Master of Science in Fundraising Management from Columbia University in 2015 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Irvine in 2004. He is the former President of the G.P.A. Greater Bay Area Chapter, a Bay Area Men’s Giving Circle member for the Latino Community Foundation.

Shawna Boyd

Board Secretary

Shawna Boyd is an Executive Level Administrative Professional with over a decade of experience in Operations working cross-functionally in Human Resources, Customer Management, Training and Project Coordination. A graduate of Georgia State University and Mental and Behavioral Health professional. Serving as a Student Peer Mentor at Strayer University, Shawna is driven by empowering individuals and generating positive change, she has aggressively pushed for inclusive practices and varied perspectives. As an advocate for community diversity and inclusivity, she utilizes her experience to service the community by providing linkages for needs such as healthcare, food pantries, counseling, housing, addictive disease, and educational programs. With her steadfast faith in the transformative power of community-based education, Shawna is devoted to strengthening education, promoting social justice, and generating constructive change in the community.

Learn About Our Signature Program