Board Members

James R. Wroten -Founder/Executive Director

James Ray Wroten is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada and is the founder of Academics & Athletics Connection/LV Stars, Inc. (1996, Incorporated in 1998).  The idea was sparked after he attended several boys’ basketball league games at the local community centers and was left very disappointed in the conduct of many of the young men participating.  He witnessed bad attitudes and lack of sportsmanship.  The boy’s had no discipline and from their actions, they weren’t even having fun. So instead of criticizing, he decided to get involved and developed a youth sports programs while also adding components that were necessary for the overall growth and development of the student athlete.  AAC/LV STARS, INC. was born January 1996.  He is a father of 3 children:  a daughter and 2 sons.  He realizes and understands that being a parent is mostly on the job training.  There are no scripts or handbooks to follow, but there are some key elements that go a long way in helping a child succeed.  He is a product of a 2 parent household where his father was a great disciplinarian, so discipline is vital.   His mother was the GREATEST mother and woman he’s ever known. She was open minded, nurturing, and she possessed an angel like spirit through her unconditional faith in God. She was consistent in her actions, providing balance to their home.   Balance and Love would be other elements in the household that he feels are needed, along with an ability to communicate with each other.

James has been working with the youth, coaching basketball, football, baseball and strength training in Las Vegas for over 20 years.  He has interacted with them growing up in single parent homes, youth that were HIV positive, youth dealing with ADHD and ASD, youth coming from homes with drug, sexual, physical and emotional abuse. He has assisted over 300 youth to achieve college scholarships, both academic and athletic, educated them through the recruitment processes, assisting them with the SATs or ACTs, registering for the NCAA clearinghouse, and helping them by researching schools and scholarship programs. He has received a number of awards for his service in the community at churches, community centers, specialty programs and private organizations, nonprofit and for profit groups as well. His teams have won a host of competitive tournaments over the years, local and out of state.  These tournaments provided a unique cultural experience for many of the youth in the program, many who have never traveled outside of their community.

“I believe that our youth have a bright future, but we all must take part in making sure they receive the information they need.  We need to help them tap into their hidden talents and extract the best from them.  Our program gives them a chance at an exciting and fulfilling life and an opportunity to see themselves in positive action and reflect that back to their community. “ “

Jamesha D. Wroten – Treasurer

“I am pleased to present myself as a member of the AAC LV Stars. This organization has been a part of my life for many years. From the sideline, I have watched my father encourage and assist the youth throughout the community to never give up and to reach for the highest star. I am honored to be a part of this legacy and to have the opportunity to assist from a more hands on perspective.

I feel fortunate to be a part of an organization where the culture is focused on education, high expectations, and collaboration. My strongest attributes are encouraging and motivating youth to meet their highest potential, and to become lifelong learners. I encourage parents to take an active role in their child’s education, health, and community endeavors. It is my intention to honor traditions previously established and build a community that we rely on as our future. ”

Johnny Doyle – Program Administrator

He has been an active member of the AAC LV Stars in the Las Vegas community since 2005. Johnny initially volunteered with the YMCA of Southern Nevada but ultimately became the Youth Sports and Fitness Director.  It was in this role that he saw first hand the needs of the youth in the Las Vegas area.

Johnny Doyle was involved in several youth groups and activities while working for the Los Angeles Clippers. Growing up in Los Angeles, he has seen how a good coach, mentor or parent can change a young mind and steer them in the right direction. “I know this first hand because I was one of those kids.”

Dr. Verna Dell Culverson – Director

Verna has been associated with AAC LV Stars since 2006.  She is an educator in the Clark County School District and is the Program Director for a youth camp at Lois Craig Elementary School in North Las Vegas, NV.  “I love children.  I believe in the well-being of a child, because if I can teach a child or have some influence in his/her life and increase awareness of life skills then I have done my job. I believe that education is extremely important and to have structure in one’s life is equally important.”

Dr. Jeffrey L. Gelfer- Academic Director

Dr. Jeff Gelfer is a professor and serves as the coordinator of early childhood programs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  He teaches courses in early education programs, play theory development, curriculum development, strategies in early childhood education, program administration, child development, literacy and parent education. Dr. Gelfer serves as the program editor for the Early Childhood Education Journal Teacher Education Division.  He has been a school psychologist, learning disability specialist, kindergarten teacher, and administrator for the Easter Seal Society. He has published over 30 articles, co-authored one textbook and developed administrative program manuals for early childhood programs and is on the board of directors for Easter Seals of Nevada.

“I have helped James in the past generate grants and organize.  My son was a past participant in the Stars organization. He played basketball from 6th grade until graduation with James and his highschool team.  Sacha is now finishing up his Ph.D in Economics at U of Oregon and much of his success can be attributed to his years with James and the Stars organization”.