~~Dr. TAJ SHOTWELL is an educator, novelist, screenwriter, playwright, songwriter, and poet. She was born as Theresa Ann James, ’TAJ’, in Fort Eustis, Virginia, the sixth and middle child of eleven children, and raised by a mobile military career sergeant and a homemaker. She attended Melrose High School in Orange Mound, a historical neighborhood located in southeast Memphis, Tennessee.
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 worked in the Bay Area, California with a CPA firm over five years and later managed her own firm for about eight years. She also taught part-time in accounting and software application at various Bay Area colleges and universities.
Shotwell holds a California Life Community College Teaching Credential and an Honorary Degree of Juris Doctor from the University of Northern California-Lorenzo Patino School of Law. For her tireless community services, in 1992, Shotwell received a California Senate Rules Committee Resolution by President Pro Tempore - Senator David Roberti.
In 1989, Shotwell began her full-time teaching career in business. She later accepted a position with Florida A&M University in 1993. She taught accounting and fundamental concepts. She participated in the professional development program at the School of Business and Industry for five years. She transferred to the College of Education where she taught and chaired in the undergrad, masters and doctoral programs including: 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. Thus, Shotwell modified the curriculum to benefit all the majors.
Shotwell researched and 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. 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.
Shotwell received many honors at FAMU including: Teacher of the Year Award; University Honors Convocation Marshall; and Faculty Research Scholar-Teacher for New Era.
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.
Shotwell has published fictional drama novels and short stories including the “Middle Child” series and “Maggie: Never Bitter”. As a playwright and screenwriter, 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. As faculty, Shotwell performed with the FAMU Orchesis Contemporary Dance Company for three years. Shotwell retired from FAMU in late 2011 as a fully honored Professor.
Shotwell is the founder and board president of The Business of Arts Academy, Inc., an upcoming boarding and day school. 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. Shotwell has one child and two grandchildren.
Educator, Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright, Lyricist
Copyrights 2013. Theresa A James Shotwell. All rights reserved.