lorita williams

Lorita B. Williams


As the founder of Accelerated College Experiences, (ACE) I know firsthand the impact being unprepared can have on students’ abilities to consistently persist in their studies, or graduate with a transferable GPA. I have taught College Experience for in-coming freshman, a course designed to help students transition to college life, at Roxbury Community College for over 10 years. At Simmons College I worked very closely with incoming minority freshman and student affairs in my role as the Executive Director of Alumnae/i Relations.

At both institutions, I witnessed the challenges students experienced adjusting to college life, and how overwhelmed or disengaged they became from what we were teaching as they tried to acclimate to their first year of college. It was through observations and trying different approaches in my own classroom that I developed the ACE approach. In 2010, I piloted the program to test my theory. We’ve spent the past five years monitoring and evaluating the outcomes, and we have proved this approach has merit.

As long as retention continues to be an issue there will be a need for ACE. Our goal is to help improve retention and graduation rates using an innovative and collaborative approach.

Our ACE trainers and coaches are seasoned professionals from diverse higher education and professional disciplines who are committed to development. We work together to ensure that every student gets the tailored support they need to succeed in college.

sherryann sylvestre

Sherryann V. Sylvestre

Certified ACE Facilitator and Curriculum Designer

Sherryann V. Sylvestre is an education professional. She is an academic coach, counselor, and mentor, with a heart for equipping young people with the mindset and tools to achieve at high levels.

As a certified ACE Facilitator, Sherryann trains high school and college students in research-based strategies for academic and personal development and provides group and individual coaching. She is also the curriculum designer for the high school accelerated experiences curriculum for grades 9-12 and the Onboarding programs.

Sherryann has worked with The Efficacy Institute, a national education training, and consulting organization, utilizing an extensive background in key levers to human learning and education reform. She has trained educators, parents, and students, as well as led Train-the-Trainer instruction. She presently serves as a high school counselor (grades 11-12) for Union Academy, guiding students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development, and college and career planning.

Sherryann holds a B.A. from Wheaton College, MA with concentrations in Social Psychology and Education, and an M.Ed. in Education Management from Strayer University, NC.

derek washington

Derek Washington

Certified ACE Facilitor and Coach

Derek Washington is an education specialist that has established himself in a myriad of exceptional, skilled and acknowledged educational and social programs. As an instructor for the Roxbury Community College he advises and coaches new students in a college curriculum course. There, he helps to implement various strategies of learning and assists in guiding first-year students to a career path. In conjunction, Derek has aligned himself as an Intensive Care Coordinator and Consultant for the Children Services of Roxbury, Massachusetts.

He is multifaceted and resourceful and has served as a policy maker and developer of Special Education Activities for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Derek started his educational career with Boston Public schools holding several positions such as Lead Teacher, Student Voice Coordinator and Assistant Summer School Coordinator. Derek started his community and youth development serving as an Area Coordinator for Action for Boston Community Development. Derek has proven to be a compassionate advocate for educational and social advancement and reform for the youth and the community.

Derek holds a M.Ed. in education from the University of Massachusetts, specializing in special education. He has also acquired a Bachelors of Arts at the university of Massachusetts focusing on public and community service and has received certification (CANS) Children and Adolescent Need and Strength. Derek is currently working on his CAGS in educational administration.

Suhaily Penix

Suhaily Penix, Science Tutor

Intro to Biology, Intro to Chemistry and Organic Chemistry I

Suhaily Penix is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry at Wellesley College, with the plan to eventually earn her Ph.D. also in Biochemistry. In 2015? She graduated with an associates degree in 2015 from MassBay Community College with a GPA of 3.99.

In March of 2015, she received Honorable Mention from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation, the awarding body for the highest and most prestigious undergraduate prize in science, engineering, and mathematics, competing with students from research powerhouses like Harvard and MIT. Mrs. Penix was the only student nationwide from a community college to receive such an honor.

Suhaily Penix was also named by the Department of Higher Education as one of the “29 Who Shine,” a recognition that goes to the best and brightest students from the state’s 29 state universities and colleges and was acknowledged by the Governor and the Commissioner of Higher Education at a ceremony on May 14, 2015. She was also awarded The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship which is the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the country. Selection criteria focused on academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, leadership, and a desire to help others.

Suhaily Penix began her studies at MassBay, in large part to show her three daughters, ages 15, 11, and 8, how important it is to make education a priority. Now she is working towards a career she loves while tutoring students in biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry I.

Chelsey McKinney, ACE Alumna Coach

Chelsey McKinney is from Memphis, TN. She attended Earlham College in Richmond, IN and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Languages and Linguistics with a focus on the foreign languages of Arabic and Spanish in 2014 with a 3.4 GPA. She now lives in Minneapolis, MN and works for the Minneapolis Public Schools as a Site Coordinator. Her position in Minneapolis Public Schools involves working with middle school students to inform and provide support for postsecondary education. Chelsey participated in the ACE Pilot Program in 2010 and joined us this year as our first Alumna Coach.