A renowned local leader, educator, and speaker whose prowess and impact have been felt for more than four decades, Michael-Angelo James has served as the honorable mayor of the city of Waycross in Georgia since 2020. Attributing his success to determination, discipline, and putting his heart and hard work into his goals, he has found great pride in being able to help others grow, overcome obstacles, and become the best they can be. In addition to this post, he extends these skills as a professor of sociology and job acquisition skills at Coastal Pines Technical College, where he’s been since 2018, a pastor of two churches since 2010, a chancellor at Emmanuel’s Bible College since 2009, and a bishop at Emmanuel’s International Cathedral since 1990. He has also been active as an assistant principal and social studies and history teacher at Ware County High and Waycross High School since 1988. A devoted man of faith, he was president of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia 11th District Youth Convention from 1982 to 1992 and vice president of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia State from 1989 to 1992.
Outside of his primary endeavors, Dr. James has found success as a charter president, mentor, and member of the President’s Distinguished Swamp Talk Toastmasters from 2019 to 2020; the coach of the Jonesboro Toastmasters Club from 2020 to 2021; and a program quality trainer of Toastmaster International District 14 from 2020 to 2021. He was most recently appointed to serve within the Executive Committee of the Georgia Municipal Association, as well as the Legislative Policy Council, from 2022 to 2023. He has been active within his community for numerous years, most notably serving on the region board of directors for the Department of Public Health as chairman, the board of directors for the Georgia Municipal Association as well as the Georgia Municipal Association’s Equity and Inclusion Commission, the advisory board for Equity and Inclusion. In addition, he was invited to serve on the Georgia Municipal Association’s Children and Youth Advisory Council in August 2022. As mayor, a position for which he ran because of public encouragement, he aspires to move forward in community efforts that would help people. His work and research as a sociologist has been utilized in the development of a pilot program for job acquisition skills, teaching young people how to prepare themselves for the workforce, how to not only thrive and survive on a job but be promoted and elevated within those posts. It has come full circle for Dr. James as he has been able to see former students of his, whom he helped shape, rise to positions of leadership in the community as well. With a reach that extends beyond a lecture, speech, or sermon, he is also the prolific author of such books as “Trusting God to Supply Your Needs: Perspectives on Exercising Your Faith,” “Leader, Can You Stand the Test,” and “Just Because God Said It: A Journal of Prophetic Predictions and Pronouncements.”
In recognition of these accomplishments on the civic level, Dr. James was honored with the Jack Williams Community Service Award, a top award given out through the Waycross-Ware County Chamber of Commerce. He has also been recognized with a Distinguished Toastmaster Award and both a Distinguished Kiwanian Award and Ted Harris Human and Spiritual Values Award from the Kiwanis Club of Waycross. Additionally, he was named Georgia Man of the Year by the Partnership Courage Collaboration and Leadership Achievement Award Committee. In the midst of his early career, he bolstered his expertise by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in education from Troy University in 1988, then a Master of Education in secondary education and teaching from Valdosta State University in 1993, and ultimately a Doctor of Christian Education from Truth Bible College in 1999.
Upon reflection of everything he has been able to do with his life and career, Dr. James believes it all began with his parents, Juanita and Sylvester, who often told him he could do anything he wanted to do, supporting him in every opportunity he had growing up. His mother, an English teacher for many years, instilled in him a passion for education and words. He also found great inspiration in his pastor, the Reverend Dr. Eugene James Menefee, as he was navigating work in the religious sector. “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me,” he says.