Board of Directors
Raji was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, the youngest child of Thomas and Vivian Gourdine.
The Gourdine family, moved to Alabama from Lakenheath, England with the United States Airforce to segregated Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
Raji is the proud Father of two Sons, Joshua Alexander Gourdine, 18 years old, and Isaiah Raji Gourdine, 11.
Raji graduated from St. Jude High School of Montgomery, Alabama in 1986 and Livingston University in 1991 with a degree in Sociology, becoming the first Male descendant of his paternal Grandmother, (born in 1905) to earn a bachelor’s degree
Raji also graduated from Troy University of Montgomery in 1994 with a degree in Counseling and pursued Doctorial studies at Walden University.
It was in undergraduate school at Livingston University in 1989, when Raji became a born again Believer of Jesus Christ, which led to his Missionary Trip to Kenya, Africa in 1990.
However, as Raji embarked on his mission to share Christ’s loving message of salvation to Kenya, Raji received loving affirmations, acceptance and appreciation as a man of African decent for the first time in his life.
Returning to American after nearly 3 months of life changing ministry in Africa, Raji’s mission on life changed from becoming an Attorney to embarking on a journey of Social Science that would lead Raji to becoming a Counselor.
Transformed by his new world view gained from Raji’s encounters with Christ in College and in Africa, Raji began working in Selma, Alabama at George Corley Wallace State Community College, working with first generation and low income students. As a first generation college student himself, Raji wanted to share lessons learned the hard way in College, almost flunking out of College his first year.
Raji’s vocation at Wallace quickly transformed from counseling to mentoring to ministering, with a focus on reaching and equipping young college students for success in education and life.
Raji has accrued twenty plus years of experience in educational administration and curriculum development, developing and implementing retention strategies, academic advising, grant writing, and demonstrated effective oral and written communication as demonstrated by successful grant applications and oral presentations. He has fifteen plus years experience in supervising postsecondary educational programs; Trio staff training and development; administrative skills in budget management, supervision and instruction; as well as, program coordination in developmental education. Raji has also built skillsets covering an understanding of, and a commitment to the philosophy and mission of the two -year college, as well as, advanced knowledge in formative and summative assessments. Raji has three years of college level instruction experience.
On April 4, 2002 and September 16, 2008 respectively, Raji experienced the second and third most life changing events when his former spouse blessed Raji with Son’s Joshua Alexander Gourdine and Isaiah Raji Gourdine.
Having two Son’s encouraged me to turn part of my focus to improving the local economy to create a Community where my Son’s could find high wage, high demand occupations at home. Realizing that a Community is only as strong as the least of these, the youngest of these, therefore realizing a great economy can only happen if you have great schools, assisting parents with building strong families.
It is to this end that I work in our community with organizations committed to making transformative systemic changes in our communities.