Mr. Kaino Phillips is a Pontiac product born and raised. He is the son of the late Mayor Clarence Phillips and Life Long educator, Lorene Phillips. After attending and graduating from Pontiac Northern High School, Kaino took his educational endeavors down to Grambling State University in Louisiana where he matriculated in the educational concentration of Pre-Law (Political Science and Mass Communications). It was during that duration where he catapulted into multiple leadership roles: President of the Student Affairs Commission, President of the Student Senate, Student President of Judicial as well as the Student Government Association Vice President to name a few.
Upon graduating, he returned to Michigan where he continued his passion for change and upliftment. He did that by engaging in multiple leadership roles within numerous organizations within the walls of his community. These positions past and present include: Executive Mentor with the Youth Challenge Academy of Michigan, Mayoral Transitional Board, Graduate Advisor at Oakland University, Executive Board Member for The Young Adults for Change, Graduate Advisor for the Pan Hellenic Council at Oakland University , Executive Board Member of the Pan Hellenic Council as well as the Director of Membership Intake for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. to name a few. The one involvement that he prides himself on most is his many years of being a Motivational Speaker.
Professionally, he has been in the field of corporate sales and management for close to 19 years. Engaging the youth has always been the pinnacle of his passion, Kaino lives by the belief that, “You shouldn’t complain about a problem unless you are willing to engage the problem.” “If you choose not to take actions then you have cast yourself in the role of an enabler and you forfeit your right to complain.” “Embrace your gifts and use them to make a difference.”
Mr Derrick Pettway is a native of Detroit, Michigan.
After graduating from Detroit's Lutheran High School West. Derrick went to Concordia Wisconsin to continue his education and play football. After his Sophomore year Derrick transferred to Grand Valley State University to further his education. While there Derrick join Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc and started getting involved in community service.
In 1999 Derrick started work at Ford Motor Company as an Assembly Associate and shortly after became a Machinist. Derrick became involved with the Union being the elected Sergeant at Arms for UAW Local 400 going on to join the Civil and Human Rights Committee for Local 400. In 2013 Derrick was appointed the Chairman of the Civil and Human Rights for Uaw Local 400.
As a member of The Clarence E. Phillips Ascend Foundation Derrick aspires to continue the Legacy of Mayor Phillips. Also continuing to build upon the foundation on community service that Mayor Phillips has entrusted in us. By giving our youths the resources the become the leaders of today and the future.
Lorene Phillips, raised in Pontiac from an early age, was married to Clarence E. Phillips, former City Councilman, Council President, Mayor of Pontiac and State Legislator for 42 years until his death. They have two sons, Kaino and Damani. After attending city schools and graduating from Pontiac Central High School, she earned a BA from Western Michigan in Secondary Education with majors in English and Speech Communication, a MA from Oakland University in English and completed all course work for a PhD in English at Wayne State University.
Throughout the course of her career she received several awards of recognition for outstanding proficiency in education: Who’s Who in American Education (6 years), Secondary Teacher of the Year for Pontiac Schools, nominee for Disney Teacher of the Year (FIRST Team), National FIRST Team Chairman’s Award and FIRST Team Hall of Fame (team sponsor), as well as Lifetime Educator Award from the Pontiac School District.
Retired since 2011 after 43 years of service, she was an educator in the Pontiac School District teaching English and Speech to thousands of secondary students before becoming a Curriculum Administrator. As a K-12 Central Office Administrator, she directed numerous programs (English/World Language, Social Studies, Science; Supervision of Reading Specialists, Media Specialists; District Coordination of NCAA Clearinghouse, Advanced Placement, Credit Recovery; supervision of educational technology integration) at the district level. Currently, she is a State of Michigan Content Coach working to support literacy instruction at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Her community affiliations included membership on the Pontiac Library Advisory Commission, Pontiac/Japan Sister City Club Member, Pontiac Center Reunion Committee, Pontiac Recreation League, and spotter for the announcer with the high school football program. She and her husband spent all of their adult life promoting a strong, productive community and adamantly advocating for the education and advancement of youth. This commitment was the basis for the development of the original community fund initiated by Lorene and Clarence which provided assistance to those in the community in need, support of programs for youth and scholarships for Pontiac students. “Through the foundation we hope to expand our support of quality community programs that empower youth.”
Charles Thomas Hopkins is a native of Pontiac, Michigan, where he graduated from Pontiac Northern High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in black studies from City College of New York. Hopkins is a former professional musician with 15 years in the music industry. During his tenure as a promising musician he was fortunate to perform and record worldwide with a multitude of wonderful and passionate artist of various styles. When not traveling, he utilized his time by sharing his knowledge of music history, technique and theory to students whose ages ranged from 5 to 65. Also, he conducted and/or participated in seminars nationally discussing numerous topics such as musical genres and styles, origins, etc.
In 2006, he developed a rare hand ailment that precipitated the end of his music career. Although devastated at the inability to perform music, his love and desire to teach and mentor young people has greatly increased. Currently, he is a member of the Clarence E. Phillips Ascend Foundation. As a member, he aspire to diligently continue the legacy of Mayor Phillips' community service endeavors; which was and still is to enhance, uplift, mentor and edify young people in need.
Mr. Curtis R. Henderson is a Pontiac, MI product born and raised.
Mr. Henderson is the founder of Ramon’s Accounting Management & Consulting Group (RAM C Group) and SFS Tax Services. He has several years of government/corporate finance and financial advisory experience. He carries a degree in Accounting with a minor in Economics from West Virginia State University. He also has a MBA in Business from Thomas More College. He has worked as a Cost Accountant for Sun Chemical & Gibson Greetings. Mr. Henderson has also worked as the Financial Managerfor the City of Pontiac-Treasury Department and Budget Accountant for Cincinnati Public Schools.
He worked as a consultant for the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP). Mr. Henderson now works as a Tax Accountant for SFS Tax Services. He has 14 years of extensive accounting experience in both the government and corporate realm. His diverse work experience has allowed him to develop skill sets that are easily adaptable to the current fast paced business industry. As a result, he has an uncanny extraordinary talent for turning in winning results from improbable circumstances. That is Mr. Henderson gift which is the catalyst for his drive.