Meet the Leadership

Leisa Herrera, Th.D., Ed.D.

Director of Arts & Education

Dr. Herrera is the SoulDeevas' President.  An ordained minister for more than twenty years, Dr. Herrera has served in many leadership capacities in the community for almost thirty years, most notably as the Executive Director for the 1City Youth Project, a non-profit organization that provided free sports, arts and recreational programs for more than 3,000 young people in its twenty-year history.  She also leads Nu Sigma Theta, an international fraternal organization that encompasses more than 175 members in 26 states and six countries and is member of World Changers Church.  As a tribute to her recently deceased husband Luis, she launched SoulPhamm Inc., in June 2021, which now includes all of the SoulDeevas' and SoulGentz' sports and arts programs.

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Affectionately known as “Mz. Doc”, Dr. Herrera has a commanding presence and believes in the power of community to effect change.  She works diligently to create venues by which everyone can take part in improving the state of their neighborhoods while forming meaningful and lasting professional and social bonds .  Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she was schooled at Epiphany Lutheran Elementary School and Brooklyn Technical High School.  Her academic endeavors also include studies at Universal Theological Seminary, Mount Olive Bible Institute, John Jay College, Liberty University and Northcentral University.  Collectively, she has earned two Bachelor’s Degrees (one in Christian Education and one in Elementary Education); two Master’s Degrees (one in Christian Counseling and one in Management and Leadership) and two Doctorate Degrees (one in Theology and one in Educational Leadership).  A strong advocate for education, Dr. Herrera has always tried to be a good study and has performed with honors in her undergraduate and graduate studies, most recently earning a GPA of 3.95 in her final doctoral program.  She is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society, the National Association of Christian Ministers and the Sports Chaplain Network. In 2015, she received the Phyllis Hyman PHAT Friend humanitarian award from the All Stars Project of New York City for her work with young people in the community and has also received several awards and commendations from local leaders and from the White House (under the Clinton and Obama Administrations).  Although known as very firm, strict, old-fashioned, traditional and "no-nonsense", Dr. Herrera is also notorious for her humor, often bursting into song, fits of laughter and dance; and is an avid fan of the Muppets and Looney Toons.  Her hope is to challenge her peers to create and/or support  programs in their own communities that engage young people and effectively build our next generations of capable leaders.

James Sockwell

Coordinator of Boys' Programming