Rashad L. Burnley graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1997. As a member of the Minority Achievement Committee (MAC) Scholars Program, Rashad shared his remarkable gifts of scholarship and leadership with younger African American males to help them find success in school. His dynamic efforts were highly visible to all students and sent a clear message that education, learning, and achievement were values he cherished.

The Rashad L. Burnley Minority Achievement Memorial Fund was established in 2000 to honor his legacy by furthering the work of the MAC Scholars. The Memorial Fund sustains the seriousness and strength of Rashad’s personal resolve to raise the expectations and the hopes of African American students by urging them to achieve their potential. Each year, the Rashad L. Burnley Minority Achievement Memorial Fund has provided commencement awards to Shaker’s MAC Scholars who have been committed to the program and who have shown academic progress.


August 2, 2024 is the 25th anniversary of Rashad’s passing. The family would like to commemorate this time by encouraging support of the Memorial Fund in his memory.

We are grateful that Rashad’s legacy continues in Shaker and know that the annual awards in his name are truly appreciated. And yet, we know more is possible! Together we can make a greater difference for these Shaker students. With more support, we can increase the number and value of the annual commencement awards given. As the fund grows, we hope it might support additional activities including:

  • Guest speakers to inspire the Scholars
  • Travel opportunities to broaden their knowledge, including support for an immersion trip to South Africa
  • Service opportunities to strengthen their experience
  • Mentorships to provide a positive role model for younger students 


Please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Rashad L. Burnley Minority Achievement Memorial Fund to ensure that his high ideals will continue to influence Shaker’s students.


I had the honor of being named a recipient of the Rashad Burnley Memorial Fund in 2011. This award assisted me in furthering my own scholarship, and learning more about Rashad has greatly influenced my commitment to, and concern for, the education of others. Higher education is a worthy, yet expensive undertaking, and it is truly a blessing to be rewarded for performance in school by receiving assistance to ease that burden. I now can say I graduated from Miami University of Ohio, and I have had the pleasure of sharing my experiences and knowledge with other participants of the scholars’ program so that they may follow a similar path. I aim to lead and give back to my community, and I’m thrilled to see this award continue to grow because it has held me accountable to its legacy and has instilled in me a great sense of purpose and pride.

Wesley Smith, Class of 2011

Business Owner, Hendricks Travel LLC

As a young African-American man in this world, it is imperative to receive an education at the highest level. With the aid of the Rashad Burnley Memorial Fund, it makes exactly that possible. It is no secret that colleges and universities that operate on the most elite level are very expensive to attend. I am blessed to have received this award after a lifetime of being the most high-achieving and high-performing student, friend, and community leader as possible. I am appreciative and truly thankful to the Burnley Family for making it possible to honor the legacy of Rashad Burnley and all that he stood for. I am excited to embody the legacy and excellence of Rashad Burnley at Harvard University for the next four years!


Ayande Joseph, Class of 2022

Rashad L. Burnley Minority Achievement Memorial Award Recipient, Freshman at Harvard University in Fall 2022

As I look back to the amazing times of MAC Scholars at Shaker, Rashad Burnley rises as a strong young leader determined to make a difference. And he did. He was a leader among leaders. His mission, from the very beginning, was to build in the younger Scholars the confidence and belief that they too could become leaders…and that they could make a difference.

Rashad was a powerful leader and he left all who knew him a legacy that we will carry with us forever. Rashad will live in our hearts.        

MaryLynne McGovern

Retired Co-Founding Academic Advisor for MAC Scholars, Shaker Heights City Schools

Rashad Burnley was committed to the mission of helping younger black males to become achievers, and to be proud of their success in school, and hopefully, one day become MAC Scholars themselves. He recognized the importance of “walking the walk” if you were considered to be a MAC Scholar leader. He inspired not only the young Potential Scholars, but he also would hold high expectations for his MAC Scholar peers.

Rashad was a nurturing leader. He would encourage and listen. As a result, the younger students would respond in a positive way to his persuasive approach.  

The Rashad Memorial Award is a tribute to one who is dedicated to the MAC Scholars Program and “walks the walk “as Rashad did.

Hubert McIntyre

Retired Co-Founding Academic Advisor for MAC Scholars, Shaker Heights City Schools

Being a recipient of the Rashad L. Burnley Award, really makes you sit back and reflect. It makes you consider the promise and potential you have, and you’re reminded to live life to the fullest.

Ifeolu A.C. Claytor, Class of 2013

Rashad L. Burnley Minority Achievement Memorial Award Recipient, Shaker Heights City Councilman

Learn More:
  • To donate to Rashad’s memorial fund online, visit here
  • Read more about the MAC Scholars program here
  • For more information about the Shaker Schools Foundation, visit our website
  • Read more about Shaker’s commitment to equity and inclusion at shaker.org/Equity.aspx