School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences directory





Dr. Timothy Forde serves as the Chair of the School of Education, Human Development, and Consumer Sciences. He also serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the university. Dr. Forde received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. He has a MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his bachelors from Oakwood University. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Forde has written articles and presented workshops on the topics of diversity, culturally responsive pedagogy and inclusive excellence. In his spare time, he enjoys racquetball, playing the piano and riding his Harley Davidson.

Professor of Education/Chair School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences (502) 597-6044 Send Email

Dr. Phillip Clay currently serves the department as an Associate Professor, and Director of Data and Assessment. In my other capacities, I serve as the Director of the Disability Resource Center and Faculty Senate President. Dr. Clay is a native of Lexington, KY with over 15 years of experience in community service and athletic coaching. He is a legacy of KSU that spans over five decades, graduating from the university twice (Bachelor's 99' and Master's 05'). He really enjoys working at Kentucky State University and serving the surrounding communities, because the "School on the Hill" molded him into becoming the man, professional and father he is today. He is a proud member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and currently serves as the Polemarch of the Frankfort, KY Alumni Chapter.  He has over 20 years of experience in K-College, educating students in various learning platforms. His passion in education is presenting and speaking on various topics such as; Diversity, Equity, Poverty, and Special Education. Student success empowers him to be a positive influence on students' ability to be leaders for change, and make a positive impact in the communities they encounter.

Asst. Professor of Education
Dir. of Data & Assessment SEHDCS
Coordinator of Disability Services 
(502) 597-6041 Send Email

LeChrista M. Finn Dr. LeChrista Finn serves as an Associate Professor for the School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences and a State Health Specialist for Cooperative Extension at Kentucky State University (KSU). As a product of an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and an employee of an 1890 land-grant institution, her responsibility is to conduct meaningful research, teach and equip students and empower communities for future generations. She received her Bachelors in Science from Fisk University in Mathematics and Accounting and furthered pursued her Masters and Doctorate in Public Health at the University of Michigan and Kentucky respectively. As a native of Kentucky, Dr. Finn uses her knowledge and relationships for conducting programming and community-based research with minority and underserved populations. She has a passion for developing, implementing and evaluating programs to effectively work with these audiences around issues of social justice and equity to improve the condition of our communities and the quality of life of others for over 30 years throughout Kentucky and Michigan. Currently, her efforts address community violence such as, bullying, domestic violence, gun violence and adverse childhood experiences. She also is working on issues around trauma and mental health and their impact on African Americans. She works diligently with organizations on a local, state and regional level. She also welcomes the opportunity to serve as a board member of Greenhouse 17 and past Chair of the Community Advisory Council for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians.

Assistant Professor/State Health Specialist (502) 597-6738 Send Email

I have been an educator for 30 years now.  I became an educator because I have always been passionate about learning and I wanted others to be passionate too.  I feel honored to work for Kentucky State University.  The birth of our university began with the school of education.  One of the greatest strengths we have in the school of education is that we get to know all our students and we are vested in their professional success! I want all my students (future teachers) to leave this university having the professional knowledge, skill set, and learning tools to be an effective future teacher.  I also hope some of my passion for this profession becomes their passion as well.  In my spare time I enjoy landscaping and gardening.

Assistant Professor of Education (502) 597-5572 Send Email

Changzheng Wang, Ph.D is a Professor within the School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences. Dr. Wang has been at Kentucky State University for 29 years. In addition to teaching Food Science and Human Nutrition courses, he have conducted research work on the following topics: 1. Effects of dietary components on bone metabolism and risks of osteoporosis; 2. Relationship between dietary and behavior factors and body weight status and prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents; 3. Development of value added products from paddlefish meat. Currently my research work focuses on developing value-added products from Asian carp meat and evaluating the potential of lotus as an alternative crop for Kentucky farmers.

Kentucky State University provides a great place to work with colleagues and students from diverse cultural backgrounds. I grew up on a farm in Hubei, China and my hometown is about a two-hour drive from the world's largest dam, the Three Gorges Dam. I was the first college graduate in my family. Dr. Wang will try his best to work with students as some of them may face extra challenges than others. He is committed to helping students to succeed in their studies and get ready for productive careers.

Assistant Professor of Education (502) 597-6097 Send Email

Dr. Kris Grimes is an Associate Professor for Nutrition and Health and Lead Scientist for Nutrition and Cancer Research at Kentucky State University.  His current area of research centers on the manipulation of metabolic pathways and redox status in order to treat Glioblastoma Multiforme and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.  Dr. Grimes received his BS in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Religion from Centre College in Danville, KY in 2002.  He received a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Kentucky in 2006.  In addition, he holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


Having served at Kentucky State University since 2009, Dr. Grimes enjoys the small university atmosphere that provides the opportunity to work more closely with students in the classroom and in the laboratory.  While research is academics is certainly an occupation, Dr. Grimes considers teach a calling as well.  His hope is to see that each student, regardless of background and experience, have an opportunity to explore their aptitude for the sciences and push them to go beyond what they might have thought possible.


Dr. Grimes has been married to Crystal since 2003 and they have two sons and two crazy dogs.  When not at KSU, Dr. Grimes serves as a lead pastor of a local church and enjoys playing guitar and piano, photography, and hunting and fishing.  

Associate Professor and State Specialist for Nutrition and HealthLead Scientist for the Center for N utrition and Cancer Research  (502) 597-5070  Send Email

Dr. Travella Free is the State 4-H Program Leaders/Assistant Extension Professor 4-H Youth Development Specialist, and Director of the Rosenwald 4-H Center at Kentucky State University. She has worked at Kentucky State University for almost 4 years where she provides administrative leadership and coordination for the development and implementation of statewide 4-H Youth development programs in the areas of Agriculture Literacy, STEM, Health and Well Being, and Civic Education. At KSU she focuses on developing culturally relevant innovative programs to reach underserved youth in underrepresented communities. She also provides leadership to the Rosenwald 4-H Center, which focuses on STEM education for youth ages 5 to 18. Her passion is to make a difference in the lives of youth, families, and communities across the state of Kentucky.  She enjoys gardening and spending time with family. Student success within the 4-H program extends learning that supports their academic interests through engaging projects and presentations, develop leadership skills, gain social confidence, explore new interests, and expand their knowledge.  

Assistant Extension Professor 4-H Youth Development Specialist 4-H Youth Development Program (502) 597-6261 Send Email

Dr, Nesbitt has 9 years (7 years part time, 2 years full time) working in Education. KSU means history: maintaining the culture of what and why HBCUs were created. KSU also means family: a place of support for students, staff, faculty and alumni.  Her favorite hobby is the beauty industry. Her passion in education is assisting students and mapping out their career paths or their passions beyond education. Student success is when a student is confident in where they are and where they are going.

Assistant Professor, Health, Physical Education, and Exercise and Sports Studies

(502) 597-6133 Send Email

Dr. Gavin Washington is an Associate Professor and the Program Coordinator for the Health Physical Education and Recreation Department.  Dr. Washington joined the Kentucky State University faculty in the fall of 2015.  Prior to coming to KSU, he spent over a decade as a Health and Physical Education teacher in the public school systems here in central, Kentucky.  Beyond his P-12 experience, Dr. Washington has worked in the health and wellness industry serving as a Health Consultant, Personal Trainer, Athletic Coach, and as a Health Promotion Specialist.  Considering Dr. Washington grew up in Kentucky, it’s no surprise that KSU holds a special place in his heart.  Some of his fondest childhood memories are centered around attending KSU sporting events and watching the incredible KSU Marching Band.  Dr. Washington became a teacher so he could help his students realize and obtain their full potential.  Student success is very important to him and that goes beyond the traditional measurements of academic success. Dr. Washington wants his students to succeed academically as well as personally.  In his spare time, Dr. Washington enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his family.

Assistant Professor of Physical Education (502) 597-5881 Send Email

Whitney Lawrence, born in a leap year, continued to follow the same trajectory of her entry into life as she took the leap in choosing a career as an educator at a young age. Playing the role of an educator during childhood, coaching cheerleading and becoming a Big in the Big Brother/Sister program, her destiny to teach was no surprise! She has over ten years of experience in education, instructing in public school systems, collegiate level teaching, and leadership. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Education. She earned an Educational Specialist, as well as a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from The University of the Cumberlands. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Field Experience and Clinical Practice and an Assistant Professor at Kentucky State University in the School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences. Her publication of An Exploration of Northern Kentucky Teacher Perceptions toward Determining Ability Grouping Placement began her research interests around improvement of student engagement across all educational levels.

Coordinator Clinical Placement and Student Technology School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences (502) 597-6765 Send Email

Dr. Herman E. Walston has an Ed.D from Vanderbilt University in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood Education. Currently, Dr. Walston holds the rank of Professor in Child Development and Family Relations. Dr. Walston has been at KSU for more than 40 years. He also serves as Director of the Promising Youth Center for Excellence, which focuses on

the needs of at-risk youth ages 10-17. In 2017, he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters

by Kentucky State University for his obtainment of federal grants and programs for children 

and youth. In addition to teaching, he does extensive research in the area of youth development.

Professor of School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences (502) 597-5906 Send Email

Sunday Obi, EdD, is a Professor and Program Director at Kentucky State University. He serves on the board of directors of New vista. An organization that provides outpatient services to nearly 30,000 adults, children and families in 17 Central Kentucky counties. Prior to coming to KSU, he was a faculty member at both Murray State University (2yrs) and Morehead State University (4yrs). Dr. Obi was the founder of the Work Training Program at the Central Virginia Training Center in Lynchburg, VA. He also taught students with EBD at secondary levels in Northern VA. Public Schools (NVTC) Fairfax County VA. In addition, Dr. Obi has over 20 years of classroom and clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities. Dr. Obi is the Initiator and Founder of the Master’s degree in Special Education at KSU. He is a teacher, researcher, and scholar. He is the author or coauthor of more than 80 publications, including books, book chapters, and articles, and has presented papers at many national and international conferences. He serves on the editorial board of Multicultural Learning and Teaching (MTL) in which he serves as Executive Associate Editor. MLT is one of the leading journals in the field of Multicultural Education in the world. Dr. Obi has been serving on this board since 2001, and on Monday, December 18, 2017, he was appointed as one of the Executive Associate Editors because of his undulating contributions to the board. His specific areas of interest include self-concept, inclusion, program development, assessment, classroom management, and effective instructional practices.

Professor and Coordinator of Special Education Program (502) 597-5576 Send Email

Allison Parker-Young, PhD serves as Associate Extension Professor, and Family Consumer Sciences Program Leader in the Cooperative Extension Program at Kentucky State University. Dr. Young has over 25 years of experience in various aspects of education. Kentucky State University represents, an opportunity for students to develop educationally and personally. Dr. Young seeks to provide students the exposure to the wide world of possibilities, what they can achieve and how they can positively impact the community. She want students to feel prepared and confident in the education they receive from KSU.

Extension Associate Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences (502) 597-6135 Send Email

Ileana Gray is the Administrative Assistant III to Dr. Timothy Forde in the School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciences. I come to KSU from Fayette County Schools were I was the Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper to the Principal at Squires Elementary School. Prior to being at FCPS, I was the Administrative Assistant at Montgomery County High School to the head principal and three assistant principals. To me KSU is great for its small campus, focus on student success and diversity. Everyone has welcomed me here as if I have been a part the of KSU family for years. Education means everything to me. It opens the doors to so many more opportunities that otherwise might not be there for someone. At the college level education prepares our youth for more than just the workforce. It gives them the means to go out into the world and do something great.

Administrative Assistant School of Education, Human Development and Consumer Sciencws (502) 597-5919 Send Email