Amtrak Pioneer Award

In celebration of Black History Month, the Amtrak Pioneer Award was created to honor African-Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the greater community. All recipients are pioneers in their own right, and their ongoing efforts to uplift their communities continue to enrich the city of Boston.

This year, for the first time, the Celtics will join Amtrak in recognizing the 2016 Pioneer Award winners during the February 29 game vs. the Utah Jazz. Amtrak will award the following recipients: Krystal Banfield, Adrian Mims, and Robert Lewis, Jr. They each are pioneers in their own community, utilizing their gifts to help Boston youths stay on the right path towards success. Whether through sports, music, or academics, each recipient has been instrumental in making a lasting impact in the lives of adolescents across the Boston area.

Please join us as we recognize these three recipients and celebrate Black History Month.


Krystal Banfield

Dean for Berklee City Music

Krystal Banfield is Dean of Berklee City Music®, which brings inner-city middle and high school students from Boston and other City Music affiliate organizations around North America to Berklee for a college-level experience. As Dean of Berklee City Music, she provides broad oversight for the organization’s operations, setting academic standards for the program and direction for Boston’s six academic components and the PULSE online curriculum, scholarships and national conference. Dr. Banfield also serves as part of the senior leadership for Berklee College of Music.

Throughout her career, Dr. Banfield has dedicated her time to community music and cultural awareness, education and accelerated learning models for urban youth, mentoring youth, working with teachers and educators to profoundly contribute to the development of young people. She has given papers and presentations to include the American Culture Association/Popular Culture Association and for the National Guild for Community Arts Education at Lincoln Center-New York. She was the director of education and community partnerships at VocalEssence, an internationally renown professional choral association, where she was responsible for the WITNESS teaching artist school program, curriculum development, assessment and evaluation, and intercultural community programming contributing to the establishment of ¡Cantaré! She was also director of education for the American Composers Forum, where she contributed to the development of celebrated music education tools BandQuest® (distributed by Hal Leonard), created the elementary school curriculum Composers Suitcase®, and directed the national interfaith community based music collaborative ACF-Faith Partners® program. Her academic career includes a post as an adjunct voice professor and music education lecturer at University of St. Thomas and the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. Dr. Banfield holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Howard University in Washington, DC; a Master of Music from Indiana University-Bloomington; and a Doctorate in Education with concentrations in curriculum development, critical pedagogy and educational leadership from University of St. Thomas-Minneapolis. Her published and recorded works include articles featured in Cambridge Scholars Press and the Teaching Artist Journal and recordings on the INNOVA label. Dr. Banfield is a native of Detroit, Michigan and a singer who has performed as a soloist and chorister in such houses as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and the Dubuque Symphony in Iowa. Dr. Banfield was presented with the distinguished Boston Celtics Hero’s Among Us community service award, Massachusetts State House and honored at the Boston Children’s Hospital 10th Annual MLK Legacy Series.

Board and Committee Appointments, past and present:

  • Boston Children’s Chorus
  • Orchard Gardens K-8 Boston Pilot School-Boston Public Schools
  • East Metro Music Academy Community School of Music
  • Learning Through Music Consulting Group
  • National Summit on Creative Youth Development Advisory Committee


Dr. Adrian Mims

National Calculus Project Director

Dr. Adrian B. Mims Sr. is the founder of The Calculus Project, a program that was derived from his dissertation, Improving African American Achievement in Geometry Honors. The goal of the project is to increase the number of Black, Hispanic and low income students enrolled in Calculus Honors, AP Calculus and AP Statistics so they can pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). He currently serves as the National Calculus Project Director at Cambridge Education and the Project Director of the Calculus Project and Leadership Academy at Boston University. His program pre-teaches core mathematical concepts and teaches leadership skills to Black, Latino, and low-income students in a college setting from the moment they enter the eighth grade until they become seniors in high school.

From 2013 to 2015 he was the National Calculus Project Director at Replications Inc., a nonprofit based in New York. There he successfully implemented the program in over twenty-five (25) schools located in Florida, New York and Massachusetts. His math program was inducted into the Minority Student Achievement Network’s Promising Practices Clearinghouse in 2011. In 2012, the College Board awarded Dr. Mims the Asa G. Hilliard Models of Success award for his commitment to closing the achievement gap for African Americans in mathematics and the Dr. Carlene Riccelli Assembly Leadership Award.

Dr. Mims is a former adjunct faculty member at Simmons College where he taught an Organizational Management course to graduate students who are aspiring educational leaders. He also taught mathematics at Brookline High School for 19 years while serving in several leadership positions such as: Summer School Director, Associate Dean and Dean of Students.

Dr. Mims is a former trustee of the College Board and former board member of The Brookline Teen Center. He currently serves on the board of Noonan Scholars, a nonprofit organization that helps high-achieving, under-resourced students from the Greater Boston area prepare for success in college.


Robert Lewis Jr.

Founder & President, The BASE

Robert Lewis Jr. is a highly sought-after public speaker and facilitator on the topic of urban issues, working with foundations and non-profits as well as government and civic leaders. Lewis is the founder and president of The BASE, which encourages student athletes to choose sports—specifically baseball—instead of making poor decisions. The BASE provides resources, mentors, and lessons that work on the field as well as in life.

Lewis has surpassed his civil service goals, connecting with young men and women through sports in the CHAMPS Boston initiative as well. Besides his work with The BASE, Lewis has been involved with other community initiatives, non-profits, and foundations including The Boston Centers for Youth and Families, The National Conference for Community & Justice (NCCJ), City Year, The Boston Housing Authority and The Boston Community Centers.

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