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Our Board

Dr. James Douglas, Board Treasurer 
 

James Matthew Douglas was born in 1944 in Onalaska, Texas, the third of nine children to Mr. and Mrs. Desso Douglas. He grew up on north Houston and attended Houston public schools, graduating from Kashmere Gardens High School in 1962. He graduated from Texas Southern University in 1966, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. Mr. Douglas earned his Juris Doctorate degree in May 1970 from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University where he graduated number one, was a member of the school’s Moot Court Team, and was the recipient of ten American Jurisprudence Awards. He continued his legal studies at Stanford University’s School of Law where he received a J.S. M. degree in Computer Law in June 1971.

James Matthew Douglas began his professional career with Singer General Precision- NASA in Houston, Texas, where he was a computer analyst assigned to the Lunar Module Mission Simulator and was specifically responsible for program development and analysis of the Environmental Control and Interface, and the Reaction Control Systems for five years.  Mr. Douglas began his teaching career as an Assistant Professor of Law at his alma mater, Texas Southern University, in September 1972, where he became the first African-American administrator, serving in the capacity of Assistant Dean of Student Affairs. Mr. Douglas extended his legal education career at Syracuse University’s College of Law and in September 1975 where once again he became this law school’s first African-American faculty member and its first African-American administrator.  During his tenure at Syracuse, he served as Associate Professor of Law and Associate Dean. Mr. Douglas received tenure at Syracuse during the fall of 1977 and in July of 1980, he continued his career in legal education at the Northeastern University School of Law as Professor of Law until returning to his alma mater, Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

In August of 1981, Mr. Douglas became the seventh dean in the history of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Mr. Douglas also served as a professor of Contracts Law and as the Ex-Officio member on several faculty committees. He has dedicated his life to the continuing legal education of students from all ethnic backgrounds. During his tenure as Dean, he was not only involved in issues that affected the Law School and the University but also in issues that affected the community as a whole.  He served as president and member of numerous boards and committees both in the legal profession and the community at large.

In August of 1995, Mr. Douglas was appointed Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Texas Southern University. After two months as Provost, he was appointed Interim President of Texas Southern University. On December 8, 1995, Mr. Douglas was appointed the ninth President of his alma mater. In the fall of 1999, Mr. Douglas returned to legal education when he became the Distinguished Professor of Law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

In the summer of 2000 Mr. Douglas was hired by Florida A. and M. University to develop plans for its newly approved law school. His plans included all curriculum designs, humans resource needs, facility designs, and budget preparations. In other words, his work included all plans necessary to start up a new law school. The Florida A. and M. Law School opened in the fall 2002 and received ABA provisional accreditation in the summer of 2004. In June of 2005 Mr. Douglas returned to the Florida A & M Law School as its Interim Dean where he remained until January of 2007.

In January of 2007 Mr. Douglas again returned to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law as the Distinguished Professor of Law in February of 2008 Douglas again moved back into university administration when he assumed the position of Interim provost under the newly appointed president of Texas Southern University. He remained in this position until October of 2008 when he was appointed Executive Vice President. In June of 2009 Douglas added the duties of the Interim General Counsel to his set of responsibilities. In the summer of 2012 Douglas became the Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Community Relations. In fall of 2013 Douglas returned to his first love as Distinguished Professor of Law.

Mr. Douglas has served or is currently serving as a member of numerous boards and professional organizations such as the American Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, Houston Bar Association, National Bar Association, Gulf Coast Legal Foundation, Hiscock Legal Aid Society, Law School Admissions Council, The Homeless, Boy Scouts of America, NAACP, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston, and the Advisory Board of Butterworth Legal Publishers, to name a few. He is a member of several professional organizations including The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the Texas Bar Foundation, the Houston Bar Foundation, and the National Bar Foundation and was voted Outstanding Alumnus of Texas Southern University in 1972. He has received various prestigious awards including the National Bar Association’s Profiles of Prominence Award, the Mickey Leland Humanitarian Award, the Texas Board Foundation’s Outstanding Contribution to Legal Education Award, and Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America Award. Douglas also serves on the boards of Energized for STEM Academy, Inc. and Energized for Excellence Academy, Inc.

Mr. Douglas’ accomplishments consist of, but are not limited to, various publications and numerous professional newspaper and magazine articles and professional lectures. He has also published several law review articles. He is married to Tanya and has three children, DeLicia Renee’ Smith, James Matthew Douglas II, and Erika Carter.

Paula Harris
 

Paula McCann Harris has been the ESTEM Academy Chairman of the board since 2016.  She has worked with our governance policies, budgeting and auditing. Paula has worked to provide national STEM, experiences for ESTEM children, she currently is sponsoring our year-round STEM Chicks Program and has hired our Juniors and Seniors for internship experiences.  Paula is a 30-year executive with a large oilfield service company where she currently holds the title of Director, Global Stewardship. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in Petroleum Engineering.


Mrs. Harris has received numerous recognitions, including being named Black Engineer’s “50 who make a Difference”, “Key Women in Energy”, “Greater Houston Women’s Chamber -Woman of Distinction”, and the “Women of Color in Technology” award. She has been appointed to the, Theater Under the Starts (TUTS) board, Space Center Houston Board,  , and the Menil Development Board. Paula has been profiled in the “Black Engineer” “Graduating Engineer”, “Money Magazine”, and “Rolling Out”. Paula’s other memberships include Jack and Jill of America where she holds a national office, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Executive Leadership Council, The Links Incorporated, and American Leadership Forum.  Paula previously served on the Houston ISD school board.


Mrs. Harris’ first book “For Sister: The Guide for Professional Black Women”  was published in 2003. Paula formed her own publishing company—Madison House Publishing.  Paula’s latest book is a children’s book entitled “When I Grow UP, I Want to Be an Engineer”. This book has been translated into 4 languages and over 100,000 copies have been distributed around the globe by government entities, universities, K-12 school systems and organizations such as the Houston Children’s Museum, the Offshore Energy Museum, and the Girl Scouts.  

Paula and her husband Dwayne own DPM Investments and are also the proud parents of their Spelman bound daughter Madison Serelia Harris.

Dr. Opal Brandy