Captain Michele Naughton – The Back Story
Norfolk Police Promotes the First African-American Female Captain in the Departments 222 Year History. Captain Naughton began her career with the Norfolk Police Department in 2000 as a police recruit, and graduated with Recruit Academy Class 67 in 2002. Her career assignments include the Patrol Division, Detective Division, Training Division, and Vice-Narcotics Division. Captain Naughton currently serves as the Commanding Officer of Public Relations Information Marketing and Engagement – P R I M E. Captain Naughton earned both her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration-Management (2013), and Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice (2018), from St. Leo University. Naughton is also a graduate of the Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) Session 41, and has received several community awards for her excellence in leadership and community outreach. Captain Naughton is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
Captain Michele Naughton’s path to law enforcement may seem unorthodox to many, however her ascension through the ranks of the Norfolk Police Department is nothing short of hard work, incredible perseverance, and listening to the sage advice of one’s own mother.
Captain Naughton considers herself a military brat, as her father was enlisted in the United States Army, and her mother and siblings travelled with him to several duty stations across the country and Europe, before she turned 18. In 2000, Naughton made two life changing decisions.
The single mother of 3 moved from New York to Norfolk, Virginia, and applied to the Norfolk Police Department within months of her arrival. Naughton’s mother, a Norfolk native, persistently advised her daughter to consider applying to the police department. Disappointed by the 2 jobs she left back in New York, Naughton finally responded to her mother’s advice and applied to the Norfolk Police Department.
Naughton advanced through each rigorous pre-employment background investigation, physical agility test, and mental evaluation, however she still needed to support her family, and worked an unfulfilling retail job, while praying that she would be accepted at the Norfolk Police Academy. Less than a month, after taking the retail position, Naughton learned she would embark upon a new career: she had been accepted into the Norfolk Police Academy. Naughton understood that the education and training would challenge her physically and mentally, however an unexpected knee injury during defensive tactics training and subsequent knee surgery, would temporarily take her away from the academy. After a brief recovery and physical therapy, a more determined Naughton returned to a new academy class in 2002. Her vision of a robust career and opportunities that would benefit her young family, became crystal clear, and drove her to complete Academy Class 67.
As a rookie patrol officer, Naughton began to authentically embedded herself into any community she served, and drew from her own early life experiences to empathize with citizens who often felt disenfranchised or unheard…serving at one time as Community Resource Officer, in the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority communities. At one time, Naughton lived in government housing during her childhood, and as single mother.
The former military brat was a skilled communicator in any environment, and began to emerge as a leader when she was named Officer of the Year in 2003. This was a bittersweet career moment, as Naughton was still mourning the loss of her dear friend and fellow academy classmate, Officer Sheila Herring, who lost her life in the line duty earlier that year. The loss was devastating, and Naughton realized this was the first time she had experienced the death of a close friend. Two years later in 2005, there would be more bittersweet news for Naughton and her family: She was pregnant, and diagnosed with cancer. Never one to retreat when challenged, the now veteran officer waged war on the disease, beat it, and has been in remission since 2006.
Just as her mother had encouraged her to apply to the police department, her patrol partner urged her to test for the rank of Sergeant. She tested, and ranked first on the Sergeant’s eligibility list, and thus promoted in 2011. With more advanced training under her belt, and a solid reputation for authentic engagement with citizens, it was now time to test for the rank of Lieutenant. Again, Naughton tested well, and placed number one on the eligibility list for Lieutenant’s. As soon as she was promoted to Lieutenant in 2015, she was immediately assigned to Norfolk’s most challenging area for crime. Community stakeholders praise her command leadership, and ability to swiftly address neighborhood issues with an action plan and resources.
With each promotion and greater responsibilities, the cancer survivor, single mother, and now grandmother since 2018, has increased her level of commitment to community engagement, recognizing that the heightened level of outreach will positively affect civic relationships, now and for the next generation. Captain Naughton, serves weekly as a literacy tutor with the PLUS initiative, co-host’s the bi-weekly radio talk show – “WE Are ONE – NPD and YOU, in addition to the Cops & Curls, Five-0 & Fades, and Building Relations Before Graduation initiatives.
A digital journalist/reporter with WAVY TV in Portsmouth, Virginia.
She grew up in Winchester, Virginia and is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. At UMD, she participated in the CBC-UNC Diversity Fellowship Program led by UNC and WRAL. During college, Kara was a member of Capital News Service and ViewFinder presented by the University of Maryland. Both programs won numerous regional and national awards. She spent two years as a multimedia journalist at KFDM/KBTV in Beaumont, Texas, where she covered everything from historic flooding to crime. Her station was awarded the Texas Associated Press Jordan Flaherty Award in 2016. After spending two years in Texas, Kara joined the WAVY Team in June 2016.
In June 2019, Kara was also one of 120 young women chosen to participate in the Given Forum, a catholic leadership forum held in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Hampton Roads Black Media professionals,where she serves as membership chair. In her free time, Kara volunteers at local soup kitchens, reads to local students, and sings in her church choir.
Valerie Slater leads the RISE for Youth Coalition and advocates for the rights of our Commonwealth’s youth and their communities. Previously Valerie worked as a Juvenile Justice Attorney with Legal Aid Justice Center and coordinated RISE efforts from the JustChildren Program of LAJC. Valerie also worked to protect the rights of children with disabilities in community, residential and juvenile justice facilities throughout the Commonwealth at the disability Law Center of Virginia. Valerie earned her JD from the University of Richmond and her BA from Colorado State. Valerie brings to her work an unwavering commitment to strengthening youth and communities to lead efforts and realize their visions for change.
Shari Evans is a professional designer with 10+ years of experience developing creative content in the advertising and marketing fields. She leads and collaborates design efforts with a diverse creative team as the Senior Designer of Centura College, an allied health and trades school, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, the largest trainer of FAA licensed aircraft mechanics in the world, Tidewater Tech, a specialized skill training facility, and the Military Aviation Museum, one of the largest private collections of war era military aircraft in the world.
Shari’s career highlights include creating the visual identity for Warbirds Over the Beach, Biplanes and Brews and Flying Proms, a WWII, WWI and symphony air show respectively, live painting for Friends of Hampton Roads, completing a lobby mural for Ingleside Elementary, and facilitating past summer and evening art-centered sessions for the wonderful students of Teens With A Purpose. Most recently, Shari was honored to have her logo design selected as the brand for the 2020 Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s Bicentennial Celebration.
Born and raised in Norfolk, Shari is a proud alumna of local universities. Shari graduated from her Home By the Sea, Hampton University, with a Bachelor of Arts, then went on to graduate from Norfolk State University with a Master of Fine Arts. Behold.
Shari Evans lives in the Hampton Roads area with her husband and two year old son.
Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. is the President & CEO of Hip Hop Caucus, a minister, community activist, former U.S. Air Force Officer, and one of the most influential people in Hip Hop political life. Rev Yearwood entered the world of Hip Hop Politics as the Political and Grassroots Director for the Hip Hop Summit Action Network in 2003 and 2004, and as a key architect of P. Diddy’s “Vote Or Die!” campaign in a run up to the 2004 Presidential Election. To carry the energy of the efforts beyond election day, he founded Hip Hop Caucus in September of 2004. The goal of Hip Hop Caucus is to build a powerful and sustainable organization for the culture’s role in the civic process and empowerment of communities impacted first and worst by injustice. As a non-profit, non-partisan, multi-issue organization, Hip Hop Caucus focuses on addressing core issues impacting underserved and vulnerable communities, with programs and campaigns
that support solution-driven community organizing led by today’s young leaders. Through a collaborative network, Hip Hop Caucus holds elected officials accountable, shapes policy, and builds more diverse and powerful movements to ignite positive change. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Rev Yearwood established the award winning Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign where he led a coalition of national and grassroots organizations to advocate for the rights of Katrina survivors. The coalition successfully stopped early rounds of illegal evictions of Katrina survivors from temporary housing, held police and government entities accountable for injustices committed during the emergency response efforts, supported the United Nations “right to return” policies for internally displaced persons, promoted comprehensive federal recovery legislation, and campaigned against increased violence resulting from lack of schools and jobs in the years after Katrina. In 2008, Rev Yearwood led Hip Hop Caucus’ launch of Respect My Vote! , a campaign and coalition that works with Hip Hop artists to engage young people in the electoral process. Since its inception, numerous celebrity partners have joined the campaign during election cycles to reach their fan bases, including T.I., 2 Chainz, Amber Rose, Future, Keyshia Cole, Vic Mensa, Charlamagne tha God, Keke Palmer, Omar Epps, and more. The campaign has registered and mobilized tens of thousands of young voters to the polls and in 2008 set a world record of registering the most voters in one day (32,000 people across 16 U.S. cities). Respect My Vote! is the longest running hip hop oriented voter engagement program, having been active in United States elections for over 10 years. As a national leader and pacemaker within the Green Movement, Rev Yearwood has been successfully bridging the gap between communities of color and environmental issue advocacy. With a diverse set of celebrity allies, he has raised awareness and action in communities that are often overlooked by traditional environmental campaigns and elected officials. His innovative stance has garnered the Hip Hop Caucus support from several environmental leaders including the Sunrise Movement, League of Conservation Voters, Earthjustice, and Zero Hour. He is a leader in campaigns calling for divestment from fossil fuels causing climate change, increasing diversity in the climate movement, ensuring everyone has clean water and air, and international efforts to address climate change. He has also fought on the frontlines for vulnerable communities, including at the international climate negotiations in Paris and efforts to fight new oil pipeline developments in Maryland and at Standing Rock. He has received numerous awards for his work, including being dubbed as a New Green Hero by Rolling Stone and recognized by the Obama White House as a Champion of Change. In 2018, he helped launch “Think 100% – The Coolest Show on Climate Change ”, a multimedia communications and engagement platform to challenge environmental injustices and share just solutions to climate change, including a transition to 100% clean energy for all. The platform is centered around the Think 100% podcast co-hosted by Rev Yearwood and Grammy-Nominated Singer & Actress, Antonique Smith. Guests include leaders from communities on the front-lines of climate change, elected officials who are boldly leading, and cultural creators and artists who are reaching hearts and minds.
Andria P. McClellan was elected to City Council on May 3, 2016 to represent Superward 6 (PDF).
Andria was raised in Hampton Roads and educated in Virginia Beach Public Schools, graduating in 1987 from Green Run High School. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1991 from the University of Virginia, after which she began her career in sales and marketing, working for two Fortune 500 companies. Following that, Ms. McClellan graduated from the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 and then ran two small businesses before returning to Hampton Roads to focus on raising her growing family. She has resided with her family in Norfolk since 2002.
Ms. McClellan currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, where she serves on the Regional Broadband Ring Subcommittee and Chair of its Coastal Resilience Subcommittee. She is a member of the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (HRT) where she serves as the Chair of the Smart Cities & Innovation Committee. From 2018-2019, she co-chaired the Mayor’s Commission on Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation, creating the region’s first ever Climate Action Plan.
Additionally, she is a current board member of WHRO, CIVIC Leadership Institute, Elizabeth River Trail Foundation, 757 Angels, 757 Accelerate, the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, the UVA Center for Politics, and the Democratic Business Alliance of South Hampton Roads, and serves as the co-chair of the search committee for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director international search. She was also tapped in 2016 to be a member of the NewDEAL Leaders, a national organization of pro-growth progressive state and local elected officials.
Prior to being elected to Council, Ms. McClellan served the city of Norfolk on the Norfolk Planning Commission, and prior to that, the Norfolk Commission on Arts & Humanities.
Ms. McClellan is a graduate of the CIVIC Leadership Institute Executive Program, Emerge Virginia, and the Sorensen Political Leaders Program.
Ms. McClellan has received gubernatorial appointments to serve on the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board (2003-2005), the Virginia Family & Children Trust Fund (2014-2015), and the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Local Government Advisory Committee (2015-present).
Previously, she served on the boards of the ACCESS College Foundation, Hampton Roads Technology Council, Nauticus Foundation, Samaritan House, Tidewater Venture Mentors, The Up Center, Virginia Coastal Coalition, The Williams School, OneVirginia2021 Regional Advisory Board, Norfolk Pubic School’s Open Campus Advisory Board, and the Democratic Party of Virginia.
Ms. McClellan has been recognized as an Outstanding Emerging Philanthropic Leader of Hampton Roads, 2018 Women in Business honoree by Inside Business, as a Famous Former by the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Cost, a YWCA Woman of Distinction, Bank of America “Local Hero” and in in 2003 was named among Inside Business’s Top 40 Under 40.
Ms. McClellan currently resides in Ghent with her three sons and husband, Mike. Ms. McClellan is a member of the Ghent Neighborhood League and Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Ms. McClellan is focused on a pro-growth, innovation platform which includes improving public schools; diversifying the economy in a city home to the largest Naval Base in the world; finding innovative solutions and funding to address sea level rise and climate change mitigation; and, creating a more engaged, accessible and transparent city government.
Mekbib Gemeda serves as the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at EVMS. He is charged with spearheading efforts to build institutional capacity and human capital to address health equity and workforce diversity gaps that EVMS strives to impact as it seeks to become the most community-oriented school of medicine and health professions in the United States.
To that end, Mr. Gemeda oversees EVMS Diversity and Inclusion, which supports efforts to integrate diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority across the mission areas of education, patient care and research at EVMS. Initiatives focus on supporting the integration of cultural competency and community health in the medical and health professions curriculum; developing and implementing programs to enhance diversity among students, residents, faculty and staff; and advancing community engagement and partnership.
Prior to joining EVMS, Mr. Gemeda served for eight years as the Assistant Dean for Diversity Affairs and Community Health and the founding Director of the Center for the Health of the African Diaspora at New York University School of Medicine. He implemented successful programs at NYU to increase diversity among students, residents, faculty and leadership, and he established pipeline and community engagement initiatives. He also led efforts to integrate into the core medical curriculum cultural competency and a social determinant framework.
Mr. Gemeda has more than a decade of experience in national and local efforts to reduce health disparities and increase diversity in the biomedical workforce. He was involved in developing a robust NIH-supported biomedical research center and a nationally recognized faculty and graduate-student recruitment and retention program at Hunter College of the City University of New York.