News Release

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

November 6, 2023

Thomas Boxley

Thomas Boxley has been named the first Executive Director of the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation, Hilton Head Island Town Manager Marc Orlando announced today. 

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Boxley brings a wealth of experience spanning over 20 years in community development and outreach, business expansion, fundraising, program creation, marketing, and human resources across the education, healthcare, private and non-profit sectors. 

"I am humbled and honored to have been selected to lead this new organization. I appreciate the Board of Directors and the Town Manager at the Town of Hilton Head Island for their unwavering dedication to a thorough selection process," Boxley said. "I am excited to work with the Gullah Geechee descendants, residents, and the Town in the preservation and sustainable development of the historic neighborhoods that make up the broader Gullah Geechee community. I look forward to what we will accomplish together." 

"We are enthusiastic about Thomas joining our team and spearheading the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation. He will be instrumental in realizing our mission to rejuvenate Hilton Head Island's historic communities," said Shirley Peterson, Board Chair. "We eagerly anticipate the initiatives he will institute that will bring substantial changes and enrich the lives of community residents, preserve the neighborhoods, and nurture entrepreneurship."

In his capacity, Boxley will work within the neighborhoods to:

Established by the Town Council in September 2022, the corporation’s goals are to conserve culture and drive progress within Hilton Head Island's historically and culturally significant neighborhoods. These neighborhoods encompass a cluster of north-end Island communities that once thrived with African American-owned enterprises, community engagements, and multigenerational families. The communities are Bay Gall, Big Hill, Chaplin, Gardner, Grassland, Jarvis, Jonesville, Marshland, Mitchelville, Old House Creek, Spanish Wells, Squire Pope, Little Stoney, and Big Stoney.

The Town initiated an executive director search for the corporation in February. Mr. Boxley visited Hilton Head Island in August, toured the Gullah Geechee communities, and met with community residents to share his vision for the community development corporation's work.

Most recently, Boxley served as Director of School Operations at KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School, where he played a pivotal role in developing this pioneering public charter high school program within the KIPP network. He managed various aspects, including finance, operations, transportation, human resources, facilities, technology, data, compliance, student recruitment, attendance, and parental engagement. He also served as a Founding Member and Executive Director of The Institute for Developing Communities, underscoring his commitment to addressing Oklahoma's education, nutrition security, and other needs.

Boxley's experience also includes serving as Inclusion Officer, Clinic Manager, and Outreach Liaison for the University of Oklahoma-Physicians, where his job responsibilities included educating the community and potential subcontractors while advocating for diversity in the development of a $20 million community medical facility. During his tenure, he spearheaded recruitment and development efforts for small African American and women-owned businesses.

Boxley past board positions include trustee at the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity, commissioner and vice chairperson of the Tulsa Development Authority, commissioner/founding chair at the Greater Tulsa Area African American Affair Commission, and advisory board member of the Black Wall Street Chamber of Commerce.

For more information regarding the Gullah Geechee Historic Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation, please visit Boxley can be reached via email at

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Andrew Davis, Director of Marketing and Communications