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HomeAchievement Awards Honorees 2019 (bios)

2019 EXEMPLARY SERVICE HONOREES Bios                                                           

Curtistine Walker is the Director of Pittsburgh Schools Food Service. In this role, she is responsible for the overall operation of the Department of Food Service in Pittsburgh Public Schools. She is an advocate for child nutrition and has served as the State President of the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania and currently serves as the President of Pittsburgh Regional Food Service Directors.

Curtistine is a member of various community and social organizations that provide various services to communities in Allegheny and Beaver Counties.  She has been a speaker for various professional, social and community organizations, and participated in various panel discussions representing Pittsburgh Schools Food Service on issues related to child hunger, food rescue and procurement.

Curtistine received the 2000 Community Service Award from the Business and Professional Auxiliary of the Church in the Round in Aliquippa, Thelma Flanagan Award of Excellence from the School Nutrition Association, Community Service Award from the Pittsburgh Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the 2008 Women of Distinction Award from the Pittsburgh Courier.

Curtistine received a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics Education from Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Science degree in Vocational Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She also has certifications in Early Childhood Development and Interior Design and has received certificates for completing the School Nutrition Associations Executive Management Academy at Georgetown University.


A visionary leader in education and business, Dr. Daria Crawley has led an impressive career in the classroom, boardroom and within the halls of government. Currently, Dr. Crawley is a Professor and Management Department Head at Robert Morris University where in addition to her administrative duties she teaches courses in business management and continues her research examining altruism in women, mentoring and gender wage inequities.  

She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and doctorate from the University of Michigan.  Early this year she served as a Faculty Coach on a global consulting project with students from Robert Morris University and FHS St. Gallen University in St. Gallen Switzerland.  She is an active mentor and Co-Advisor of the School of Business Women in Business student club.  Occasionally Dr. Crawley can be heard on KDKA radio providing the talk back commentary with Larry Richert (KDKA Morning News Host) after the RMU Pittsburgh Speaker Series lectures.  Dr. Crawley, is a member Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Jack and Jill of America, and the Pittsburgh Chapter of The Links Incorporated. She is the mother of two young sons, Xavier and Vaughan.


Charles DeShazer, M.D. is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Highmark Health Plan.

Dr. DeShazer is a board-certified internal medicine physician executive with over 20 years of management experience in medical informatics, quality improvement, medical management, and care delivery redesign. 

For Highmark, Inc., Dr. DeShazer is accountable for defining the Health Plan clinical strategy and representing the Health Plan to the business, medical, and regulatory communities. He is responsible for overall medical leadership and direction in the development, organization, management, and strategic direction of Highmark Health Plan's processes related to health care quality, efficiency, and cost improvement. 

He previously worked for Kaiser Permanente, Humana Insurance, and BayCare Health System. In prior roles, he was responsible for enterprise quality and analytics for a 12 hospital Integrated Delivery System, implementation of the patient-centered medical home model, oversight of utilization management, implementation of disease management programs, leveraging a system-wide EHR to achieve meaningful use objectives, supporting the development of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), creating tools and infrastructure for quality and performance management, and implementing patient-centered technologies such as Personal Health Records (PHRs) and telehealth systems. 

Dr. DeShazer is an Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) certified Improvement Advisor. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, IL


Donna Jackson is a retired Telecommunications Officer for the City of Pittsburgh. She has a passion for community engagement and revitalization, and is a strong proponent of quality affordable housing, equitable provision of public and community services, quality education for all, and a fair distribution of economic opportunities across the city. With a vision for change in the Larimer neighborhood, Donna was instrumental in engaging the community around green sustainable development. Donna contributed to the creation of five action teams targeting – vacant lot care, the health and well being of the neighborhood, beautification of green spaces, celebration of successes, and communication. She also helped advance the formalization of the Larimer Vision Plan that serves as the foundation and guiding document for community change.

As Board Chair of the Larimer Consensus Group (LCG), Donna has helped the organization provide a strong voice for residents in decisions about development in the Larimer community, and led an award-winning process of comprehensive community planning. LCG also significantly contributed to Larimer’s award of a highly competitive $30 million Choice Neighborhood grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy for the community.

Darelle Porter is the Executive Director of Ozanam. Ozanam is a nonprofit organization in Western Pennsylvania that helps underprivileged children. Ozanam provides a after school program, dinner program, SAT Prep classes, strength and conditioning program, high school program and development basketball.

Porter graduated from Perry Traditional Academy in 1987 where he was named football and basketball Player of the Year by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Athlete of the Year by The Pittsburgh Press. Porter graduated from the University of Pittsburgh where he was a member of the men’s basketball team - leaving as the University’s all-time assists leader and a member of the 1,000 point club. Porter also served as the Men's Head Basketball Coach at Duquesne University.

Devin Patterson is a Counselor & Psychotherapist with over two decades of experience in the counseling/ helping profession. Devin is currently employed as a Counselor and Assistant Professor at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). 

Devin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania and has been in private practice since 2010. Devin L. Patterson Mental Health Services provides counseling services for grief and loss, anger management, trauma, depression, pre-marital and marital counseling, domestic violence, and gender related issues. 

Devin is a domestic violence and relationship consultant for several local agencies and currently serves as a Board member for The Center for Victims and The Serenity Transitional Living home. In addition, Devin is a mentor, consultant, and supervisor to graduate level students at two local universities. 

Devin donates time as a mentor and advisor to young African Americans in the field of counseling and psychology. Devin is currently working towards his Doctorate in Psychology and anticipates graduating in the Fall of 2020.


Brian Burley is a bestselling author of YNGBLKPGH, speaker, and entrepreneur.  As the founder of YNGBLKPGH, Burley helped create a community of over 4,000 black millennials across the region and country focused on giving back to the next generation. 

In 2019, Burley delivered his first talks for TedX and graduated from Leadership Pittsburgh’s Leadership Development Initiative (XXVI).  He also became the Director of Economic Inclusion at The Allegheny Conference on Community Development where he is spearheading their efforts around equity and cultural inclusivity.  Burley previously held roles in the financial services industry and in healthcare automation. 

In 2017, Burley was a recipient of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Award and the New Pittsburgh Courier's Man of Excellence.  He also represented the first Pittsburgh region cohort at Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program.

Burley serves on the board of The Allegheny County MWDBE Advisory Committee and The University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Excellence. 

Burley received his undergraduate degree from Morehead State University, where he was a member of the football team, and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.   


Rashad Byrdsong is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Community Empowerment Association (CEA), a unique, community-based organization.  He has successfully grown CEA from annual revenues of $5,000 to over $2 million.  As President and CEO of MA’AT Construction Group, Byrdsong has created enterprises as economic generators through employment, training and investment in targeted, distressed Black communities.  CEA has hired over 500 employees, worked with over 20,000 youth and trained over 500 individuals through its Construction Industry Training Program.  Byrdsong created a comprehensive Public Health Approach to Violence Reduction for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  This approach has been presented throughout Allegheny County and calls for a paradigm shift that views violence as a preventable social disease.  Byrdsong is a noted national and international speaker/presenter about the work of CEA, and recipient of numerous professional awards for his work and ongoing commitment to empowering the lives of African Americans.  Byrdsong has co-authored four articles:  “Afrocentric Intervention Paradigm:  An Overview of Successful Application by a Grassroots Organization” (Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 2013); “Suggested Paradigm For Violence Reduction:  A Community-based Public Health Approach” (Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 2015);  “Historical Overview of Black Suffering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA:  Depth of Contemporary Social Work Challenges” (International Journal of Social Work, 2017); and “Drug Abuse Trend and Profile of Current Social Crisis” (HSOA Journal of Addiction & Addictive Disorders, 2019)

Ronald Coursey, Jr., a native of Columbia, Maryland, was named the Director of Athletics for the Woodland Hills School District in July of 2017.  Coursey attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned a varsity letter in basketball.  He later attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.  He continued his education at Frostburg State University, earning both his M.Ed. and M.B.A. degrees. 

In addition to serving as an athletic administrator, Coursey has served as a teacher, youth advocate, and dean of students in his educational career.  Prior to his arrival at Woodland Hills, he served as the district athletic director for The School District of the City of York, Pennsylvania. In this role, he was tasked with leading the resurrection of a tradition rich athletic department. Prior to his tenure in York, Coursey served as the high school dean of students and director of athletics at Propel Andrew Street High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He was responsible for the growth and development of athletics at the high school. 

Coursey is a tireless advocate for the education and advancement of urban students and has dedicated his life to using athletics as a vehicle to transport students to their future professional achievements.  Coursey is a member of several professional organizations and serves as the graduate advisor for the University of Pittsburgh undergraduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Tyrique Cox is the current Vice Basileus of the Omicron Psi Chapter, a position he has held since becoming a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is also a graduating senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Finance and Business Information Systems. As an international student from The Bahamas, Tyrique has made it his purpose to better the college experience for all unrepresented demographics on campus by joining the Black Action Society, the Office of International Students Advisory Board and a multitude of other organizations. Tyrique plans to continue his education or secure a full time position post-graduation.

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