From The Fire

The Staff

SHURMAN L. RIGGINS

Executive Director

Shurman’s Life Moto is God☆Family☆Country. A former shoe-shine and paper-boy Shurman says “I believe everyone has a Dream and a right to pursue their Dream but not the right to achieve their Dream. I believe that right only comes from the work they put in to achieve their Dream. If they are ready to work, I’m their Coach.”

Shurman stresses the importance of Family, Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Success Principals and Financial Literacy. He is a graduate of Jersey City State College, (New Jersey City University), certified in Leadership, Coaching and Youth Education by the John Maxwell Team® (JMT) and is certified by Success Dynamics International® in Emotional Intelligence. He is a retired 22 ½ year Army Veteran and received numerous military awards and accolades. As an eternal optimist Shurman says his glass is always filled with Mountain Dew and the perpetual learner in him reads 50 books a year. For 40 years Shurman has worked with individuals, school districts, municipalities, JROTC programs, Youth organizations and corporations to set them all on their Success Journey.

Shurman is the CEO and Founder of two companies, The Riggins Coaching Institute (RCI) and The Kimbro Success Academy (KSA). RCI provides Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking and Business Coaching services and KSA is dedicated to Teaching, Training and Coaching (TTC®) people of color in the success strategies and principles found in Dr. Dennis P. Kimbro’s books and financial literacy aiding them in generating and keeping wealth so they can pass that wealth on to their future generations. From The Fire is focused on helping Young Men of Color to identify and improve their talents and skills by educating them in Leadership, Critical Reading, Critical Writing and Social Justice.

Shurman’s favorite scripture is 1st Timothy 5:8 – But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

He has been married for 30 years and lives in Lawrenceville, NJ with his wife, they have three children and three grandchildren.

TOBY SANDERS

Co-Founder and Director of Fundraising

Rev. Toby Sanders is a teacher, motivational speaker, writer, and social activist for educational and economic justice and faith-based economic development. He is an adjunct professor, scholar, youth mentor, board member of Children’s Futures, and former President of the Trenton Board of Education. Rev. Sanders is the founding Pastor of Beloved Community of Trenton, New Jersey. He is an honors graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and a Masters of Divinity graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where he received the prestigious Aaron E. Gast Award in Urban Ministry. He studied Religion Ethics and Politics at Princeton University, where he received a Presidential Fellowship.

ISAIAH WASHINGTON

Executive Assistant

Isaiah Washington is a sophomore at American University in Washington, D.C. He was accepted into its Honors College and Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholars Program, the institution’s premier Honors community through which he is provided full tuition. He is majoring in Literature with a minor in Political Science. As one of the university’s Honors Program Associates, he serves as a teaching assistant for the Honors Complex Problems Course, “Black is Beautiful,” cultivates an inclusive living-learning community, and champions scholarship through co-curricular and extracurricular activities. He is also a Copy Editor for The Blackprint which is a student publication that centralizes minority voices, a member of the NAACP chapter, and the Editor for Circle K, a community service organization. He serves on the institution’s Literature Department Outreach Committee, advising the Director of Outreach, Department co-chairs, Admissions Office, and Career Center. He was elected to be a Student Media Board co-chair, a role in which he supervises all ten of the student media organizations on campus. He intends to pursue a career in journalism, law, and public policy.

JASON MCNATT

Director of Counselors

In 2011, Jason McNatt began his professional career with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) as an elementary school paraprofessional and teacher at Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School (METLCS) in the Bronx. His first five years were spent working with students ranging from 1st to 3rd grade, before being promoted to the role of Middle School Dean of Scholars. Under the position of Middle School Dean of Scholars, Jason would spend the next seven years achieving academic and behavioral success at METLCS, where he helped in improving state test scores by 30% while decreasing suspension rates by 50%. His ability to be completely transparent with students and parents have been of a great benefit to him, in building and sustaining great relationships amongst the school community. As a result, he was promoted to his current position of Director of School Culture. Jason holds an Associate of Arts (A.A) degree from Hostos Community College of New York, and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Lehman College of New York, where he graduated summa cum laude. HE also holds a Master of Public Affairs and Administration (M.P.A) degree from Metropolitan College of New York, where he graduated summa cum laude, and was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha, the international Honor Society for Public Affairs and Administration.

Jason will be enrolling at Iona College in New Rochelle to pursue his Education Doctorate in Executive Leadership (Ed.D.)

Jason’s favorite quote is:
“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.’

MACO FANIEL

Director of Curriculum

Professor Maco L. Faniel is a native of Houston, TX. He uses his gifts and talents as an Educator, Scholar, Writer, and Speaker. In each role, he attempts to change the world in the pursuit of justice and to help folk become justice-oriented in their thinking and daily praxis.

Professor Faniel is currently Director of Tutor Training and Justice Education for the Petey Greene Program. In this role, he oversees training and professional development for program staff, functioning in a train the trainer role and mentor to early career professionals. He is responsible for tutor training and justice education curriculum to ensure that tutors can effectively tutor and understand the context of tutoring system-impacted people and how to pursue systemic change.

Professor Faniel is the author of Hip Hop in Houston: The Origin and Legacy, (2013) the first book that examines the history of Houston’s hip hop culture. Professor Faniel is also a contributor to the book Religion in Hip Hop: Mapping the New Terrain(2015) and Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City through Mutated Lenses(2021).

Professor Faniel holds a terminal Master of Arts Degree in History from Rutgers University, where he was trained as a historian of African American life and culture. He holds an MA in History from Texas Southern University and a BA in Speech & Communications from Texas A&M University

Professor Faniel examines how hip hop generation African Americans have made meaning of life in the face of forces that destabilized black communities in the post-Civil Rights Era. More specifically, Professor Faniel’s work focuses on local hip hop cultures and the policies circumscribing the life chances of black people in America, such as the war on drugs.

Over the last nine years, Professor Faniel has used his research, writing, and teaching to help students become justice-oriented citizens. Most recently Professor Faniel taught courses at Virginia Union University, Providence College, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Texas Southern University, Hunter College, five prisons in New Jersey through The New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium, and Lone Star Community College.

Since the summer of 2016, Maco has been an instructor for the At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy and the From the Fire Leadership Academy for Young Men. For each academy, he teaches a two-week critical reading course for high school girls and boys of color.
Professors Faniel’s writings have appeared in numerous web and print publications. As a public scholar, Professor Faniel is often invited to write, teach, and speak about issues of justice and equity, mental health, and hip hop and popular culture. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and firmly believes that average people follow paths, but leaders of significance carve out trails.

DELROY LINDO, ACTOR & DIRECTOR

Program Chair, Leadership Academy for Young Boys

Delroy Lindo has had memorable roles in films such as The Cider House Rules; Heist; and garnered critical acclaim in a trio of films with director Spike Lee, Clockers; Crooklyn and Malcolm X. Other notable films include Wondrous Oblivion; The Core; The One; Gone in 60 Seconds; Ransom; Get Shorty; Romeo Must Die; This Christmas (also as executive producer); the recent remake of Point Break; and Pixar’s Up! He’ll next be seen in the independent films, Malicious and 001LithiumX. On TV, he currently appears as Adrian Boseman in CBS’ The Good Fight (sequel to The Good Wife). He’s featured in TV series such as Believe; The Chicago Code and Kidnapped; and in TV films, such as Soul of The Game; Profoundly Normal; Strange Justice (winning a Peabody Award); & Glory & Honor. He won an NAACP Award for a guest appearance on Law and Order: SVU. On Broadway, Lindo received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, playing Herald Loomis in August Wilson’s, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone; and played Walter Lee in the Kennedy Center and Los Angeles productions of A Raisin in the Sun (Helen Hayes Award Nomination and NAACP Image Award, Best Actor). Lindo directed the plays Blue Door and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at Berkeley Repertory Theater; and won a Los Angeles Theater Weekly Award directing the play, Medal of Honor Rag. Mr. Lindo has an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Virginia Union University; a BFA degree (cum laude) from San Francisco State University; and a MFA from New York University.

DANNY GLOVER

Actor, Producer, and Humanitarian – KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. His first leading role was in 1984’s Oscar®-nominated Best Picture Places in the Heart. The following year, Glover starred in two more Best Picture nominees: Peter Weir’s Witness and Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. In 1987, Glover partnered with Mel Gibson in the first Lethal Weapon film and went on to star in three hugely successful Lethal Weapon sequels. Glover has also invested his talents in more personal projects, including the award-winning To Sleep With Anger, which he executive produced and for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor; Bopha!; Manderlay; Missing in America; and the film version of Athol Fugard’s play Boesman and Lena. On the small screen, Glover won an Image Award and a Cable ACE Award and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO movie Mandela. He has also received Emmy nominations for his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove and the telefilm Freedom Song. As a director, he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Showtime’s Just a Dream. In 2005, Glover co-founded Louverture Films dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. Glover graduated from San Francisco State College and attended The Black Actors’ Workshop, American Conservatory Theatre. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from San Francisco State University in May 1997.