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"Fertile ground is my way of honoring God by giving back to the community some of what He has so graciously given to me.

              - Cassandra C. Matthews, Ph.D

Our Founder -

Photo credit:

JolyeToi Photography 


Dr. Cassandra “Sandy” Matthews founded Fertile Ground as a committed effort to help young girls face and survive the rite of passage into womanhood by cultivating positive self-images and inspiring them to strive for excellence.


As a stand out athlete growing up in inner city Baltimore, Matthews was inspired by her Western High School basketball coach, Breezy Bishop, who encouraged her to set goals and excel both academically and athletically. Coach Bishop served as a sounding board for her dreams and aspirations. Traveling with Western High School’s nationally ranked team provided exposure to experiences and cultures outside of Matthews’ inner city Baltimore neighborhood.


Her broadened view of the world helped her to understand that exposure and opportunity are vital for positive youth development. As an adult, Matthews has been purposed to share with other young women like herself, that regardless of their family structure, their current situation or even the community in which they live, they can still dream BIG and become successful.


Matthews has served in the field of education for more than 20 years as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and instructional coach. In May 2015, she completed her doctoral studies at Georgia State University and currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer at the Georgia Department of Education/Division of State Schools. Through Fertile Ground, Matthews is committed to honoring the torch that has been passed to her by her mother Brenda, Coach Bishop, and other women who have played critical roles in her development.

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