The Scholarship Foundation Welcomes New Board Members and Officers for 2024-2025

Jess DewesCommunity, Leadership, News

The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is pleased to announce and welcome new members and officers to the board of directors effective June 4, 2024. Joining the board are Brian Fernandez, Michael F. Jones II, Paula D. Knight, and Gwendolyn Goosby Mizell. Below are brief biographies of The Scholarship Foundation’s new board members.

Brian Fernandez is President at Larson Financial. He has worked over 25 years in the accounting, legal, and investment professions and has spent his career helping families and businesses navigate the complexities of multi-generational wealth. After attending Saint Louis University and completing his JD at Saint Louis University School of Law, he began his tax career at PricewaterhouseCoopers, transitioned to practice tax and estate law at the law firm of Husch & Eppenberger, and then transitioned to the wealth management and family office with Moneta Group and then Matter Family Office. He is a member of YPO St. Louis, serves on the St. Louis Sports Commission Board of Directors, and is an Alderman in Sunset Hills. He is the youngest of eleven and received interest-free loans from The Scholarship Foundation for his postsecondary education.

Michael F. Jones II, PhD, is the Director of Community Engagement & Co-Curricular Education in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences of Washington University. Previously, he was the Associate Director of Community Science at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work, overseeing community-engaged research projects within the Race and Opportunity Lab. In addition to his posts at Washington University, Dr. Jones has served as Adjunct Professor at Missouri Baptist University since 2017 and as Youth and Young Adult Pastor at Friendly Temple since 2018. Dr. Jones received his BA and MA from Saint Louis University and completed his PhD in higher education there as well. In addition, he holds an MA from Reformed Theological Seminary.

Paula D. Knight, Ed.D. is Superintendent of the Jennings School District, a post she has held since 2021. Previously, she was with the St. Louis Public Schools for 27 years, serving as Associate Superintendent for 24 years and Deputy Superintendent & Chief Academic Officer for her final three years with the district. Her board experience includes Flance Early Learning Center and The Magic House. Her BA in elementary education is from Saint Louis University and her doctorate in education is from University of Missouri-St. Louis.


Gwendolyn Goosby Mizell is Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability, Diversity & Philanthropy Officer for Ameren Corporation. She is a member of the national board of the American Association of Blacks in Energy and chairs the Sustainability Committee. She also serves on St. Louis County Workforce Investment Board and recently joined the board of Cardinal Ritter College Preparatory School. In the community, she is a member of the Archway (MO) Chapter of the Links Incorporated and previously served on the board of Mathews-Dickey (Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis). Her MS is from Carnegie Mellon University and her BS from University of Alabama-Birmingham. She has completed further study and training at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University and at Georgetown University.

New board officers for 2024-2025 are Tom Ruwitch, who will serve as President; Debra Kennard, who will serve as Vice President of Advocacy; John Milonas, who will serve as Vice President of Program; and Beth-Anne Yakubu, who will serve as Secretary. They join Muhammad Islam (Vice President of Advancement), Janet Hendrickson (Treasurer), and Jill Nowak (Member-at-Large).