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Four Candidates Seek Seat on STLCC Board of Trustees

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Four candidates will vie for the Subdistrict 1 seat on the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees in the April 2 election.

The incumbent, Doris Graham, will be challenged by Theo Brown, Sr., Cortez Harris, and Clem Smith. The winner will serve a six-year term.

About the Candidates

Doris Graham, PhDDoris A. Graham, Ph.D., was elected to the STLCC Board of Trustees in 2012. Graham, of north St. Louis County, spent 38 years as assistant principal at Ames Visual and Performing Arts Elementary School in St. Louis and retired in 2005.

During her tenure with St. Louis Public Schools, Graham was a classroom teacher, remedial reading specialist and co-host of an after-school radio program. She also served as an administrator during summer school.

She also served on the Ferguson-Florissant School District Board for 23 years. During that time, the district twice was recognized as a school district of distinction by the Missouri School Boards Association. 

Among the recognition she has received for service include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. Louis Teachers Union, the Legacy Award for Community Service from the National Council of Negro Women Inc. Gateway Metropolitan Section and the Legacy Award from the St. Louis Argus. She also was recognized by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority as one of its Women Making a Difference honoree.

Graham is an associate minister at her church, and also engages in sorority activities. She also served on the Berkeley Senior Citizens Commission.

She earned a doctorate in educational administration/superintendency from Saint Louis University, a master’s degree in elementary administration/principalship from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Harris Teachers College. She also holds a master of arts in pastoral studies from the Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Theodis Brown, Sr.Theodis Brown, Sr., of north St. Louis County, currently is the chief of the Castlepoint Fire Protection Association. He is also a trustee and retired sergeant at arms officer of the Castlepoint Community Association. Brown was elected to the STLCC Board of Trustees in 2014, resigning that same year.

Brown is a former St. Louis County Government paralegal and a retired state abuse and neglect lead investigator who also serves as St. Ferdinand Township Committeeman. Brown is listed in the International Biographical Centre’s Outstanding People of the 21st Century and in both the 19th and 30th anniversary editions of Who’s Who of American Law. He was recently listed in Who’s Who in the World for 2015 and will appear in Who’s Who in America in 2016. He also publishes St. Louis Private Eye Magazine.

Brown graduated from the St. Louis Police Academy in 1970 and formerly served as the chief of police and fire marshal in Kinloch. He is a 1977 graduate from the St. Louis Major Case Squad Police Detective Academy. He is a member of the Missouri Peace Officers Association, the Missouri State Investigators Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the St. Louis Police Veterans Association. He graduated from the St. Louis Fire Academy in 1978 and is a member of the Fire Marshal Association of Missouri. In 2008, Brown completed a six-hour State Certified Fire and Rescue Training Institute with the University of Missouri-Columbia. A freelance paralegal who studied at the Blackstone School of Law, Brown is also a member of the National Paralegal Association. A graduate of Sumner High School, Brown is also a former member of the Alumni Association of St. Louis Community College.

Brown is married with five grown children. 

Cortez HarrisCortez Harris currently serves on the Parking Ministry at Church on the Rock in St. Peters, Mo.  Harris obtained his high school diploma from Charles Sumner High. He attended St. Louis Community College and graduated from Columbia (Mo.) College with a bachelor’s in business administration. 

Harris has been employed over 13 years as a union carpenter. He currently serves as a delegate to the Mid America Carpenters Regional Council and the St. Louis Union Label and Trades. Harris is also a delegate for the Local 97 United Brotherhood of Carpenters E-Board. He served as a mentor to the new apprentices that joined local 97 carpenters’ union. Harris also serves on the Architectural Review Board for the City of Black Jack. 

Harris is married with four children and a grandson.

Clem Smith is a stationary engineer for The Phillips 66 Company, and former State Representative of St. Louis County’s 85th district (2011-2019.)

Clem SmithSmith has over 13 years’ experience in community advocacy, legislating, government oversight, and policy research. He served eight years in the Missouri Legislature, and five years as senior policy advisor for State Senator Karla May.

One of Smith's notable achievements was the successful passage of the College Credit Disclosure Act in 2018. As the author of this legislation, he demonstrated a keen focus on education policy. The act provides transparency and support for college students by requiring institutions to disclose information about the transferability of college credits.

Smith is a graduate of St. Louis Community College’s Boeing Pre-Employment Training program which led to seven years of employment at The Boeing Company. He formerly served on the executive boards of National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Labor Caucus of State Legislators, and the Advisory Board of Missouri Vocational Enterprise Program.

In 2023, Smith helped start the Uplift Foundation of Greater St. Louis to assist in the areas of youth mentoring, financial empowerment, and eliminating educational inequity. He is a member of the St. Louis Community College Alumni Association, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the International Union of Operating Engineers. 

Smith is a recipient of the MLK, Jr. Political Service Award from the Urban League of Greater St. Louis & Saint Louis University, the YMCA of Greater St. Louis Legislative Award for Youth Development, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society Advocacy Award.

A graduate of Clayton High School, he earned his bachelor's degree from Columbia (Mo.) College, and Certificate of Specialization in Skilled Trades Industrial Training from St. Louis Community College.

(Bios provided by the candidates.)

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