My major Inspiration is to serve.  As MLK stated, “…not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great through service.” It is not my wish to be wealthy or famous, but I wish to be remembered-- if only by God-- for my service.  Although sometimes I fail and lose, I am passionate and not afraid of doing what’s right to touch other's lives through ‘openness’ in my writings and abilities.


~~Dr. TAJ SHOTWELL is an educator, novelist, screenwriter, playwright, lyricist, poet, and fitness instructor.  

EARLY YEARS: Shotwell was born as Theresa Ann James, ’TAJ’, in Fort Eustis, Virginia, the sixth child of eleven children, and raised by a mobile military career sergeant and a homemaker.  She graduated in 1968 from Melrose High School in Orange Mound, a historic neighborhood located in southeast Memphis, Tennessee. 

EDUCATION AND HONORS: Shotwell earned a Doctor of Education degree in Organization & Leadership at the University of San Francisco in 1987. Shotwell also received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a master’s degree in International Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. 

Shotwell holds a California Life Community College Teaching Credential. For her tireless community services, she earned an Honorary Degree of Juris Doctor from the University of Northern California-Lorenzo Patino School of Law and received a California Senate Rules Committee Resolution by President Pro Tempore - Senator David Roberti in 1992 for her service on the Small Business Committee. 

 WORK EXPERIENCES: As an accountant/auditor Shotwell worked a few years for corporations in the Bay Area, California.  She worked with Morris, Davis & Co, a CPA firm for over five years, and later managed her firm for about eight years while teaching part-time in accounting and software application at various Bay Area colleges and universities.

In 1989, Shotwell began her full-time teaching career in business. She accepted a position with Florida A&M University (FAMU) in 1993. She first taught accounting and fundamental concepts and participated in the professional development program at the School of Business and Industry for five years. In 1998, she transferred to the College of Education where she taught and chaired in the undergrad, masters and doctoral programs including departments of secondary education; business and technology education; and educational leadership.  Shotwell published several scholarly research articles in the business and education fields.

Shotwell developed a three-credit course and related textbook materials for undergraduate students at the FAMU College of Education called “EDG3302-Professional Development for Pre-Service Teachers”. The over-enrolled courses included students from many majors. Shotwell later modified the curriculum to benefit all the majors.

Shotwell researched and re-wrote the textbook, “Professional Development for Pre-professionals”. The book was accepted by a major publishing company. Instead, to minimize students’ cost, the textbook was printed and distributed by FAMU, and Shotwell did not receive proceeds.  Years later, the textbook was updated and published-- intended that many students of all majors would benefit from Shotwell’s knowledge and experiences. The book became a #1 Best Seller on Amazon in June 2017. It ranked 44 out 87 of the Best Sellers in the world in the professional development field. Shotwell retired from FAMU in late 2011 as a fully honored Professor. 


In 2019 Shotwell received the "Memphis Living Legends Award". She received many honors at FAMU including Teacher of the Year Award; University Honors Convocation Marshall; and Faculty Research Scholar-Teacher for New Era.                    As faculty, Shotwell performed with the FAMU Orchesis Contemporary Dance Company for three years.

OTHER COMMUNITY SERVICES: Shotwell served many years on committees and boards for the university, K-12 schools, the Tallahassee Regional Airport Advisory Board, BISI- Brandt Information Services Inc-Advisory Board, and Martin Luther King Foundation, Inc. board.

OTHER PUBLISHED BOOKS:  The latest published non-fiction book of poetry/short stories, “Family and Faith”, is a memoir of eight generations who lived in  Shotwell’s hometown, Memphis and many international travels.

Shotwell has published fictional novels and short stories including the “Middle Child” series (3 parts) based on her life in Memphis through current times, and “Maggie: Never Bitter”. As a playwright and screenwriter, in 2016, she received an award for the Best Musical Screenplay, “Maggie: Never Bitter.” The related play was read at Florida A&M University Essential Theatre in 2006 and received great reviews.

OTHER PENDING PROJECTS: As a songwriter, Shotwell's soundtrack including 16 songs for Maggie NeverBitter will be published soon.

Shotwell is the founder and board president of The Business of Arts Academy International, Inc. (BAAI), an upcoming boarding and day school. A Non-Profit 501(C)3 upcoming college preparatory school for grades 7-12th.  Shotwell also wrote the school's anthem "Dear BAAI".

HOBBIES AND PERSONAL:  Shotwell enjoys a healthy lifestyle as a certified Aerobics and Fitness Instructor. Since 2004, she has taught dance fitness classes throughout the US and abroad for all ages.  She enjoys international travel.

Shotwell has one child and two grandchildren.

Taj Shotwell


  Educator, Best Selling Author, Songwriter, Screenwriter, Playwright, Poet

Personal Profile

Copyrights 2013. Theresa A James Shotwell. All rights reserved.

         Taj Shotwell

  • 31 years in Higher Education
  • Researched in Business and Educational Leadership
  • 15 years in Public Accounting
  • Playwright and Songwriter  since 1980
  • Screenwriter  since 2000
  • Published six books in 2014-18
  • Founder and President, The Business of Arts Academy International, Inc (BAAI)-501c3
  • Certified Group Aerobic and Fitness Instructor, since 2004
  • Executive Producer  2021 the play  Maggie: Never Bitter 

Area of Expertise