Academic Coaches

We offer individual success coaching to all first-year students and upper-class students by request. Every first-year student is assigned a coach and will engage in meetings throughout their first year. Student Success & Retention coaches reflects the core values of Tougaloo College's mission, preparing students to be lifelong learners who are committed to leadership and service in a global society.


Our mission is to support and assist students as they define, work towards and attain personal and academic goals. Our specially trained coaches guide students as they learn to navigate life within the Tougaloo College community and connect students with the needed services, programs and resources that promote success from enrollment to graduation. We empower students using a holistic approach to moving from thought to action, learning the skills necessary to be lifelong learners.

Guiding Principles:

Student Success & Retention Coaches are guided in their practice through:

  • Appreciative advising
  • Embracing a holistic approach
  • Promoting engagement
  • Supporting and promoting a proactive mindset
  • Striving for meaningful, authentic relationships

Providing Resources to Students

  • Academic Coaching
  • Career Coaching
  • Life Coaching

Meet Our Staff

Alfredlene T. Armstrong, M Ed, RS, CD
Coordinator: First-Year S.O.A.R.S
Tutorial Services/Lead Coach
 601-977-6182 Tutorial Centers
 601-977-7942 Academic Success Center

Success Coaches

D’ante R. Benford
Student Success Coach
Assistant Baseball Coach/Recruiting Coordinator

Education: Tougaloo College, Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication University of Southern Mississippi, Master of Science in Public Relations Jackson State University, Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (In progress)
Hometown: Jackson, MS
Words that describe Tougaloo: “There’s no place like home”
Advice to college students: Network, join campus clubs and organizations, aspire for leadership roles, document everything, ENJOY COLLEGE, be a creator—cultivate your skills
Favorite random fact about Tougaloo: Tupac once performed in Brown Lee Hall and it’s said that the gym floor caved in.
When I’m not at Tougaloo, you can find me: “In St. Louis rolling on dubs.”
Favorite place to visit: Denver, CO
What brought me to Tougaloo: The opportunity to directly impact and learn from the next generation of free-thinking, innovative, and inspired scholars.

Lashanda M. Jones-Lewis
Student Success Coach

Education: Hinds Community College: Associate in Applied Science in Early Childhood Development, Tougaloo College: Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Angelo State University: Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling, and currently pursuing Doctor of Philosophy in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior.
Hometown: Jackson, MS
Words that describe Tougaloo: One of a kind, a home away from home and Prestigious
Advice to college students: Always put God first, never forget where you come from, and always strive to do your best.
Favorite random fact about Tougaloo: Tougaloo College has 2 Mascots. The eagle which represents Academics and The Bulldog which represents Athletics.
When I’m not at Tougaloo, you can find me: At home which is called my happy place
Favorite place to visit: New Orleans, Louisiana
What brought me to Tougaloo: Employment brought me to Tougaloo in 2013. I started as the Administrative Assistant for the First-Year Experience Program.

Kendall A. Laster, M.S.
Student Success Coach

Education: Master of Science in Psychology and Counseling, University of West Alabama, 2018; Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2015 and Associate of Arts, Pearl River Community College, 2013
Hometown: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Words that describe Tougaloo: Vibrant and peculiar
Advice to college students: This world owes you nothing; therefore, do not anticipate each day to be a glorious occasion. Take this opportunity to develop the purpose that is uniquely designed for you. 
When I’m not at Tougaloo, you can find me.: “somewhere enjoying the company of my family and friends.”
Favorite places to visit: New Orleans, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.
What brought me to Tougaloo: Tougaloo alum and former Student Success Coach, Melvin Smith presented me with an opportunity to fulfill my mission of helping people to explore and expand their horizons. It has been a challenging experience that I’m grateful for.

Academic Retention Coaches

Precious Vines
Academic Retention Coach
Adjunct History Instructor

Education: Jackson State University, History B.A. and M.A.
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
Words to describe Tougaloo College: Historical, tradition
Advice to college students: Do not waste time and money.
When I’m not at Tougaloo College, you can find me: Reading, hanging with family and friends
Favorite place to visit: New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama
What brought me to Tougaloo College: Professional Development