NAFEO Welcomes New Team



NAFEO is excited to welcome back to NAFEO Selena Mendy Singleton, who is serving as NAFEO’s Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Singleton previously served NAFEO with distinction as its Chief of Government Relations and Chief of Programs before leaving to provide leadership to the Donna Edwards for Congress initial campaign. She joined Congresswoman Edwards’ executive leadership team where she provided leadership throughout the Congresswoman’s eight-year congressional tenure. Selena is an attorney, a seasoned executive officer, with extraordinary external engagement, outreach, organizational and leadership skills, and an uncanny instinct for people and politics.

Other highlights of Attorney Singleton’s past professional services include Director of Public Affairs, Independent Sector; Executive Vice President, TransAfrica Forum; Senior Staffer, United States Representative; Senior Staffer, United States Senator; Environmental Justice Attorney, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Please join us in welcoming Selena Mendy Singleton back to the NAFEO Nation.

Full Bio:
Selena Mendy Singleton is the Chief Operating Officer at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). She previously served as its Chief of Programs and Director of Government Relations. Ms. Singleton returns to NAFEO after having served for eight years for U.S. Representative Donna Edwards providing strategic leadership, design, and implementation for outreach and engagement for residents of the 4th┬áCongressional District of Maryland. She worked directly with a vast network of thought leaders from Federal, State, and local governments, the private sector, philanthropy, and nonprofits to maximize constituent outreach. During her tenure, Ms. Singleton designed a variety of large and small public events. Her passion for recruiting and maintaining students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) “pipeline” led her to conceive of an annual STEM Forum on Capitol Hill–a seven-year run. Prior to her work on the Hill, Selena was the Executive Vice President of TransAfrica Forum where she founded, coordinated, and directed a legislative and advocacy campaign–One Standard! to ensure fair and just immigration policies for Haitian refugees.

A former environmental justice attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Ms. Singleton was part of the legal team which developed a precedent-setting, multifaceted strategy to assure the relocation of a low-income, African-American community from the perils associated with a Superfund site. She interpreted various environmental laws and regulations and adapted housing, education, and transportation laws to advocate for residents. Before joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Ms. Singleton served as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton. A human rights advocate, Ms. Singleton interned for the Legal Resources Foundation in Zimbabwe, and was the first African-American to clerk for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. Committed to community service, Ms. Singleton was appointed by the Montgomery County Council to the Grants Advisory Committee, and by the Montgomery County, Maryland County Executive to the Montgomery County Commission on Human Rights. As a Commissioner for five years, she conceived of and coordinated forums which involved difficult, complex, and controversial subjects. Today, she is the chair-elect of the Manna Food Center Board of Directors.

Ms. Singleton holds a Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where she served as the Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in Career Counseling from the College of New Rochelle, and a Bachelor of Arts in Child Study from Tufts University.




NAFEO welcomes Derek Simms to NAFEO as our Director of Development. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Derek brings over 10 years of experience in coalition building, fundraising, and resource development to NAFEO. Derek received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and African Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). After graduating from UMBC, Derek joined the Baltimore based investment firm, Legg Mason Wood Walker, where he worked in the firm’s Margin Department and was responsible for computing daily stock value fluctuations in clients’ margin accounts to determine the need for additional collateral to secure client margin loans held by the firm.

Derek left Legg Mason Wood Walker to accept a merit scholarship at the Howard University School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctorate. While at Howard Law School, Derek served NAFEO as a Legislative Intern where he identified and tracked legislation that was of interest to NAFEO member institutions. After earning his law degree from Howard, Derek co-founded Simms & Shaw Sports Management Group, a sports agency designed to provide world class representation to elite professional athletes.

Most recently, Derek was a Development Officer for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation where he was responsible for fundraising, donor relations, building strategic alliances, and serving as the liaison to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Corporate Advisory Council.