Dr. Elam has received countless recognitions and awards at the state, national and international levels. In March 2011 was recognized by Power Broker Magazine as one of the Tampa Bay Florida Area’s Most Influential Educational Leaders. Earlier, in March 2009, she received the Women’s Leadership Award from the University of South Florida and was one of the 2003 recipients of the prestigious Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award by Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA) during the International Committee of Artists for Peace Conference. She has also received the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director’s Award for her work as a member of the Attorney General’s Hate Crime’s Working Committee; has been recognized by the United States Department of Education for her work in Youth Development and Student Achievement; and a recipient of the Florida Education Fund/Florida College Access Network’s Lifelong Service Award.
Elam holds two degrees from New York University (NYU), a Masters and Doctorate of Education; and a Bachelors of Science from CUNY’s York College in New York. Former Director of New York University’s Equity Assistance Center that served New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Dr. Elam has testified as an Expert Witness for the U.S. Department of Justice on Diversity in Education to the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and for the state of Arkansas” Legislative Summit on Closing the Achievement Gap.
Dr. Elam has served on the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) since 2000 and held the Chair position from October 2007 until December 2011. She presently sits as Chair Emeritus of the Commission, a state agency possessing policy-making responsibilities to identify and eliminate unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, private clubs, and service at a public lodging or food service establishment in the state.
Dr. Elam sits on the executive boards of Magnet Schools of America, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Work Group, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Non-violence. She has conducted trainings and reviewed curricula for law enforcement and government agencies such as the Department of Justice- Weed and Seed Programs; Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Human Interactions; the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement; and Courageous Conversations on Race and Reality. She serves as consultant to the Southeastern Equity Center.
Among her publications are “Culture based leadership and preparation: A qualitative meta-synthesis of the literature. Handbook of Research on Educational Leadership for Diversity, Editors Tillman & Scheurich; “New Directions for Culturally Competent Leaders”, “ From the Schoolhouse to the Jailhouse: Can We Stop it?”, “The Journey of Elam: Pedagogy of a Servant Leader”; "Why They Marched: The Struggle for the Right To Vote” a civil rights book for children recommended by both the Department of Education’s “Just Read Florida” Reading List for Educators, as well as the Governor’s Reading List for Black History Month.