Captain A. J. TolbertCaptain A. J. Tolbert

Captain Tolbert has headed the Department of Aviation and Safety at Florida Memorial University since August 2008. He was born and raised in the small town of Williston, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with honors and a degree in geography in 1975; earned a master’s degree in safety from the University of Central Missouri in 1978; and earned a doctorate in safety engineering from Warren National University in 2007. He received his flight training in the United States Air Force where he flew the KC 135 and was an instructor pilot in the T-37.

He was hired by American Airlines in 1987 and earned the rank of captain in 2000. He retired from American Airlines on September 2008 after 21 years of service and having earned type ratings on the Boeing 727, the Boeing 737, the MD-80, the MD-11, and the Airbus 300. His log book contains over 15,000 hours of flight time. He is the 2005 recipient of the Lt General Harold L. George Civilian Airmanship Award from the Order of Daedalians for heroic acts and outstanding airmanship during an engine fire after takeoff on July 30, 2005. This award is presented annually to the pilot, copilot and/or crew of a United States certified commercial airline selected by a Federal Aviation committee to have demonstrated ability, judgment and/or heroism above and beyond normal operational requirements. In addition, Captain Tolbert was awarded the 2007 Order of the Eagles Trophy which is the highest honor bestowed upon a crewmember by the American Airlines flight department.

Captain Tolbert currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI), the Board of Directors for the Greater Miami Aviation Association (GMAA) and recently completed two terms as a Board members for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP).

He teaches Flight Safety, Aviation Weather, Crew Resource Management, Multi Engine Aircraft Systems, Aviation Labor Relations, Flight Physiology and Senior Project in Aviation.


Athina HolmesMrs. Vena Symonette-Johnson

Vena Symonette-Johnson obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science (Concentration in Flight Education) from Florida Memorial University, and graduated with honors. She pursued further studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and obtained a double masters degree in Aerospace/Aeronautical Science with specialties in Safety and Operations. Mrs. Symonette-Johnson has a vast amount of experience in the aviation field spanning back to 1989. She worked her way up through the ranks from customer service representative to management and currently holds a CFI rating.

Her passions in life include flying, teaching, traveling, and water sports. Most important in her life is God, family, and good friends. She is an active member of many organizations including OBAP, The 99’s, Tuskegee Airmen and The Bessie Coleman Foundation.

In addition, she serves as coordinator of the Women of the Word Bible Study group at her local church. She teaches all ground school courses, Aviation History, Introduction to Aeronautics, Crew Resource Management, Aircraft Engines and Flight Safety and Flight Physiology.

Mr. Franklin CoronadoMr. Franklin Coronado

Mr. Franklin Coronado holds a Masters of Aeronautical Science with a specialization in Aviation Safety and Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He earned his undergraduate B. S. from the same institution in Management of Technical Operation in Aviation with a minor in Aviation Safety.

His work experience includes cargo department and service at several airlines and freight forwarders (DHL, Arrow Air, Lineas Aereas Del Caribe, Aero Transcolombian of Cargo).

In addition, he worked for several years with the Transportation Security Administration at Miami International Airport.
Courses Taught: Aviation History, Aviation Legislation, Air Transportation, Aviation Labor Relations, Airport Management, Seminars in Aviation and all Safety and Homeland Security courses.