News Release

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Thomas Boxley Named Finalist for Executive Director of the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation

August 16, 2023

The Town of Hilton Head Island today announced Thomas Boxley as a finalist for the position of executive director of the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. With a background in community and business development work that spans over 20 years in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Boxley is well-qualified to lead this historic effort.

Established by the Town Council last September, the corporation is committed to preserving culture and fostering progress within Hilton Head Island's historically and culturally rich neighborhoods. They include an enclave of north-end Island communities that once thrived with African American-owned businesses, community activities, and generations of families that lived there. The neighborhoods include Bay Gall, Big Hill, Chaplin, Gardner, Grassland, Jarvis, Jonesville, Marshland, Mitchelville, Spanish Wells, Squire Pope, and Stoney.

"We have spent the last six months searching for a dynamic and seasoned executive director who can take the reins of the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation and propel its mission to invigorate and sustain these neighborhoods," said Town Manager Marc Orlando. "Filling that role is currently the most important function for the corporation's board of directors. They have spent significant time reviewing applications and conducting interviews to identify the best leader for this new position, someone who will help the corporation succeed."

The ideal candidate would be a committed and enterprising leader who can usher meaningful change to enhance the lives of community residents, preserve neighborhood character, cultivate entrepreneurship, bolster economic vitality, identify financial opportunities to fuel progress, pursue affordable housing avenues to maintain inclusivity and offer expert guidance in land planning and sustainable development.

The Town embarked on an executive director search in February and has received 121 applications to date. Boxley is the initial finalist, but additional candidates will be considered. All finalists will be invited to visit the Island and meet board members, esteemed community leaders from the Gullah Geechee neighborhoods, and dedicated town staff. Boxley is scheduled to visit Hilton Head Island from August 23-24.

Boxley's background encompasses a wealth of experience in community development and outreach, business growth, fundraising, program development, marketing, and human resources in the realm of education, health care, and private and non-profit sectors. Presently, he is Director of School Operations at KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School, where he has contributed to the development of this pioneering public charter high school program within the KIPP network and managed finance, operations, transportation, human resources, facilities, technology, data, compliance, student recruitment, attendance, and parental engagement. He serves as a Founding Member and Executive Director of The Institute for Developing Communities, underscoring his dedication to addressing Oklahoma's education, nutrition security, and other needs.

Before his current position, Boxley served as Inclusion Officer, Clinic Manager, and Outreach Liaison for the University of Oklahoma-Physicians, where he was responsible for educating the community and potential subcontractors while promoting diversity as part of the development of a $20 million community medical facility. In those roles, he also led recruitment and development efforts of small African American and woman-owned businesses.

Boxley holds several board roles, including trustee at the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity, commissioner and current vice chairman of the Tulsa Development Authority, commissioner/founding chairman at the Greater Tulsa Area African American Affair Commission, and advisory board member of the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation, visit

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Andrew Davis, Director of Marketing and Communications