Leadership Team

Meet the Founders

DREAM ACADEMY is a not a for profit 501(c)(3) organization and the brainchild of Fikile and Kathy Khali, who have a passion for making a difference in people’s lives.

Kathy comes from a Nashville, Tennessee military family. She is a kind-hearted humanitarian with a vision of doing worldwide missionary work. She first discovered her passion and humanitarian spirit as an 11-year-old during the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s.

Fikile is a Tonota, Botswana native who grew up in the United Kingdom. There he found his passion playing soccer in the professional youth academies. Although injuries cut short his playing career. In 2004, Fikile moved to the United States to develop young players, giving them an opportunity to experience and learn the same passion and life lessons that soccer taught him.

Kathy and Fikile met in 2005 and quickly discovered their shared dream of helping others. They have pioneered a unique model to help young student-athletes discover a new joy and experience a greater depth of life’s beauty. Their model emphasizes education first but utilizes soccer and a forward way of thinking to young players who aspire to be elite-level athletes in Botswana.

Board of Directors

Kathy Khali

President and Co-Founder

A native of Nashville, Tennessee has always had the spirit of giving back and helping others. As a child her mother was very involved in the community and also worked with local group homes bringing Kathy along for most of her charity events. Kathy has donated her time and volunteered at the second harvest food Bank, local church fundraisers for others in the communities and overseas, multiple sclerosis walk, Katrina relief. With her mother she participated in many fund-raising activities including assisting in walks drives, Christmas shopping sprees with local lower income children, and donating her time to local nursing homes. In true fashion Kathy chose a career she loves that also gave her an opportunity to give back to others, helping relieve pain, reduce stress and anxiety she became a Massage Therapist. She donated her time at different charity walks doing chair massages. It is Kathy’s passion to always help and support others in any way possible.

Dr. John C. Sorochan, Ph.D.

A native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Dr. John C. Sorochan is internationally recognized as a leader in the design, installation, and maintenance of safe, sustainable, and attractive playing surfaces for major sporting venues.
Dr. Sorochan began working on the grounds crew at Earl Grey Golf and Country Club in 1988. This experience led him to Michigan State University where he earned his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science in 2002. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (UT), where he also serves as the Co-Director for the UT Center for Athletic Field Safety.
Dr. Sorochan’s research program coordinates investigations on the following:

Dr. Onalenna Selolwane

Dr. Onalenna Selolwane is a graduate of the universities of Botswana and Swaziland [BA +CCE, 1978], Sussex, [MPhil Development Studies, 1984] and East Anglia [PhD, Development Studies, 1992]. She taught for three years at Moeng College before joining the University of Botswana as a faculty member: retiring from university teaching in 2013. She has run a number of training and consultative workshops for various government departments, trade unions, women politicians, youth, as well as national and international agencies. Onalenna has also provided consultancy services in research and policy review for a number of government departments and United Nations agencies mainly in development policy for agriculture, women, youth, poverty reduction, economic opportunities, crime prevention, democratic governance. Between 2013 and 2015 she served as a social development expert in a consultancy that drafted Botswana’s National Framework for Sustainable Development. She has published several book chapters and journal articles in the areas of development policy for which she has provided consultancy services: including editing a book on Poverty and Policy Regimes in Botswana which was published in 2012.

Tamara Franklin

Vice President and Chief Digital Officer – North America

A native of New Jersey, Tamara Franklin currently serves as IBM’s Vice President and Chief Digital Officer for North America. Prior to that she was Executive Vice President of Digital at Scripps Networks Interactive (HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel) where she oversaw the company’s digital business units to coordinate overall strategy and activity, focusing on an integrated company-wide approach to digital video production and distribution. Franklin has also contributed to the success of Turner Broadcasting Systems, Motorola, Bain & Company and Knight-Ridder Newspapers.

Franklin has been recognized as one of Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women,” one of Cynopsis Media’s “Most Intriguing People”, one of Savoy Magazine’s “Most Influential Women in Corporate America”, and one of Black Enterprise’s “Most Powerful Women in Corporate America”.

Franklin earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Dr. Paula Pendergrass

A native of Tennessee, Dr. Pendergrass has been teaching for the past twenty years. She has taught preschool, first, second, third, and fourth grade students. She is currently an educator in the Gifted and Talented Program for the public school system and a facilitator for Bethel University. She teaches several classes like Advanced Educational Psychology, Effective Classroom Assessment for Diverse Learners, Methodology for Teaching Elementary Math and Science, and Methodology for Teaching Elementary Language and Social Studies in Bethel’s Master of Education Program. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (Bachelor of Science in Math and Religious Studies), the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Master of Science in Teaching and Learning), and Tennessee State University (Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction).


Fikile Khali

CEO and Co-Founder of Dream Academy

Fikile is a Tonota, Botswana Native, who grew up in the United Kingdom at a very young age learning the tools of his trade, playing soccer in the youth leagues and professional academies in England, and later semi-professional while completing his education, before injuries curtailed his playing career. Not willing to let go of his life-long dream of soccer, he moved on into coaching. In 2004 he moved to the United States to pursue a passion developing and coaching young players. Giving back to the next generation and passing on the experience and life lessons the beautiful game taught him.
In his role as CEO and Co-Founder of Dream Academy, he brings a wealth of experience in player development, and an enthusiasm of academic, skill development of Botswana’s under privileged youth in underserved communities.
Fikile serves as the public face of Dream Academy, leading the organization to its next level of growth with skills in hands-on operational management, partnership building and fundraising.