Governing Board

Sonya N. Twitty: Executive Director/President/Treasurer

Higher Academia’s founder, Mrs. Sonya Twitty, has previous experience as an Employment Consultant, Work Investment Act/Business Service Representative, Case Management Consultant, and Property Manager. She currently serves as Polk Learning Center Director, Tutor, and Organizational Liaison. She has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Gardner Webb University. In addition to her work with Higher Academia, she serves as the Director of Women’s Ministry at Father’s Vineyard in Spindale, North Carolina.

Renee Doggett: Vice President

Ms. Renee Doggett is currently employed as the Senior Manager of the Quality Control Laboratory Excellence team with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS). In 2020 she was awarded the Quality Leadership Award at BMS. Throughout her career, she has worked on launching three successful personalized cancer immunotherapy drugs, each of which have received multiple regulatory approvals and have been launched into the commercial market. Today she is still working towards her goal of contributing to help find a cure for cancer. She has a Bachelors Degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ms. Doggett currently resides in New Jersey.

Tania B. Coffin: Assistant Treasurer

Mrs. Tania Coffin is a retired Licensed Professional Geologist, as well as a Certified Experienced Educator. She has worked as a geological project manager, college professor, and middle and high school science teacher. Additionally she has served as President and Managing Director of a non-profit foundation that promoted, supported and encouraged women of all ages in the  geosciences. Mrs. Coffin holds a Bachelors Degree in Geology from Dickinson College, a Masters of Environmental Pollution Control from Pennsylvania State College, and a Post Baccalaureate Teaching Certification from Keene State College. She has done additional graduate studies in Metamorphic Petrology, Hydrogeology, and Oceanography. She currently resides in Landrum, South Carolina.

Tonya S. Boykins: Signing Treasurer

Mrs. Boykins has worked for over twenty years in the Business and Higher Education Workplace environment. She has worked  in the Division of Affairs with Johnson C. Smith University, in Graduate School Admissions with Gardner Webb University, as a Job-Link Coordinator at the Isothermal Planning & Development Commission, and with the Employment Security Commission. She is currently the Business and Information Technology teacher at East Rutherford High School in Bostic, North Carolina, where she instructs 9-12 grade students in the subjects of Microsoft IT Academy (Word, PowerPoint, Excel), Career Management, and Apple Swift Development (Coding) classes. She has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Johnson C. Smith University, as well as a Masters Degree in Business & Administration from Gardner Webb University. Additionally, she is an ordained minister who serves as Pastor at True Vine Church of God in Forest City, North Carolina.

Stan Gibson: Secretary

Mr. Gibson is a retired project purchasing agent, restaurant business owner and operator of over twenty years. He has also been a food service evaluator for the U.S. Military (Army, Coast Guard, and Air Force).  In addition to being on the Board of Directors for Higher Academia, he serves on the Board of Directors for Polk Vocational Services, the Tryon Kiwanis Club, the International Food Service Executives Association, the Worthy Goal Scholarship Foundation, and is the Outreach Chairperson of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon, North Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Davidson College. Mr. Gibson currently resides in Tryon, North Carolina.