Excellence Through Equity Conference 2018

Conference Description

The Excellence Through Equity Conference is designed to provide educators with the information and resources needed to eliminate the gaps in achievement, expectations, and opportunity for students from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. The conference content focused on state priority aligned best practices that should be implemented to create equitable school environments for all learners.

Target Audience

School, district, and county level administrators and teachers.
District and school teams are encouraged.

Dates & Time

September 20-21, 2018 • 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Focus Statement

The 2018 Excellence through Equity Conference will focus on empowering and equipping Riverside County teachers and administrators with the skills and dispositions necessary to achieve equity in achievement and opportunity for all students.

Expected Outcomes


Participants will:

  • Expand and deepen their understanding of the equity issues facing Riverside County, the state of California, and the nation.
  • Learn how to address issues of equity in everyday practice, especially as it relates to eliminating the achievement gap in language arts and mathematics and creating more equitable school cultures and climates.
  • Learn from school districts who are successfully implementing systematic approaches to achieving equity in their schools.
  • Continue to renew the passion for ensuring that every student in Riverside County will graduate from high school well prepared for college and the work force.


2018 Keynote Speakers

Michael Bonner

Teacher, South Greenville ElementaryMichael Bonner


Mr. Bonner is an inspiring second grade teacher at North Carolina’s South Greenville Elementary, where the majority of students have strenuous familial dynamics and many are homeless. The school is 100% FRL (free and reduced lunch) and is located in an impoverished neighborhood in Eastern North Carolina. In early 2017, Bonner was honored by Ellen DeGeneres in recognition of his positive and innovative educational approaches for children coping with the challenges of poverty. “I wish I could go back to second grade, so Mr. Bonner could be my teacher,” Ellen DeGeneres released on her social media accounts in January 2017.

Alberto M. Carvalho

Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public SchoolsAlberto M. Carvalho


Alberto M. Carvalho is the superintendent of the award-winning Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest school district in the United States, with over 346,000 students and 52,000 employees. Carvalho was born in Portugal to a father who worked as a custodian and mother who worked as a seamstress. He was one of six children and the only one to graduate high school. He described growing up in “pretty dramatic poverty,” living “in a one-room apartment with no running water and no electricity.” He came to the United States after high school in the early 1980s. As an undocumented immigrant, he worked mostly in construction and restaurants (as a dishwasher) and was homeless for a time before beginning his career in education.

Steve Perry

Contributor for CNN and MSNBC
Steve Perry


Dr. Steve Perry’s heart pumps passion and produces positive change, and is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today. He is the founder and principal of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in the country, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006. When Perry speaks, he reaches the heart of his audience to motivate change in themselves and their community. His secrets to success and calls to action are revealed in his new book, “Push Has Come To Shove: Getting Our Kids The Education They Deserve – Even If It Means Picking A Fight.” In addition to being the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Dr. Perry, MSW is an Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an Essence Magazine columnist, best-selling author, and host of the #1 docudrama for TVONE “Save My Son.”

Donna Porter & DJ Batiste

Teacher and Student
Inspirational Speakers
Donna Porter & DJ Batiste

Donna Porter has dedicated her life to the field of education and has gained a breadth of wisdom. She is a certified instructor in the Conscious Discipline method of classroom management and has been profiled with DJ Batiste on the CBS Evening News and in the book American Teacher. DJ Batiste began his educational journey being kicked out of Head Start. Some years later, he was in Juvenile Detention and leading a large violent gang in Mississippi. High school came around and after constant suspensions and trouble with the law, he was introduced to Conscious Discipline in a single moment by his beloved teacher, Donna Porter.

Passionate! Dynamic! Motivational! Donna Porter and DJ Batiste have a story that is sure to inspire this year’s conference attendees.

Daniel Walker

Historian, Film MakerDaniel Walker

Professor of History at El Camino College and President/CEO of Perfect Works, Daniel Walker is a historian who knows how to teach history that is reflective of some of the darkest periods in world history (i.e., slavery, holocaust, etc.) and its impact on our shared history. As the resident historian on the Footsteps to Freedom Tour, he recounts very sensitive historical topics including racism in a purely historical and unbiased way. Dr. Walker empowers attendees to engage in these conversations.


Featured Speakers

Karin Chenoweth
Educator, Author, The Education Trust
Sergio Garcia, Principal, Artesia High School – ABC Unified District (Los Angeles County)
Karin speaks to the high leverage strategies leaders of successful high-poverty and high-minority schools have undertaken to promote and sustain student achievement. Her book, Getting It Done, turns to the crucial issue of school leadership, exploring how school leaders have promoted unprecedented levels of school and student achievement. Joining Dr. Chenoweth will be Sergio Garcia, principal from Artesia High School, Lakewood, California, whose leadership and school was featured in the article “Yes, There are High Poverty Public Schools That Operate at a High Level”.
Edwin Javius
Founder, President, Ceo, Edequity Inc.
Equity is not a Strategy! It is a Mind-set! Dissatisfied by the un-changing narrowing of the racial achievement gap has been the driving force for Edwin Lou Javius. Advocating for students and school equity are two of the many talents of Edwin Lou Javius, who has established a reputation of inspiring educators to tackle the difficult issues of Educational Equity. From working in the system, to working on the system, he has supported districts and school sites to design, implement, and sustain promising practices to close the achievement gap. The work of Mr. Javius has prompted educators to change the dialogue from achievement gap to closing the “Opportunity Gap.”
Kizzy Lopez
Fresno Pacific University
Kizzy Lopez, former director of the Renaissance Scholars Program at Fresno State University, is now a faculty member at Fresno Pacific University. Kizzy serves to guide foster youth students through their rough years in college. Students may not know that Kizzy has had her own struggles through her educational career, as she herself is a product of the foster system and spent the first month of her freshman year in college as a homeless student. Kizzy will share strategies that have proven to be successful in engaging foster and homeless youth as they navigate the elementary, high school, and college educational systems.
Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.
Founder and President, Douglass Family Initiatives
Take a living history journey with a direct descendant of two of America’s greatest heroes. Kenneth B. Morris, Jr. is the great great-great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great grandson of Booker T. Washington. Ken will give a dynamic presentation about the history of his famous family, the pressure he felt growing up in the shadow of his esteemed ancestors, and his work today fighting against modern slavery as President of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). His career and life path are driven by a clear focus on FDFI’s mission “To Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action.” Current FDFI projects include PROTECT, a partnership with two California-based nonprofit organizations, 3Strands Global and Love Never Fails, to provide grade-level appropriate, state standard-compliant human trafficking prevention education to thousands of California school children from grade school to high school.
Rachel Ruffalo
Senior Practice Associate, Education Trust-West
Steven Weiss, Understanding Language, Stanford Graduate School of Education
Silvia Rivas, Rowland Unified School District
Dr. Ruffalo helps inform, focus, and coordinate Education Trust-West’s work on closing achievement and opportunity gaps as she works with schools and districts throughout California. She contributes to overall research, data collection, and product production of the Practice Team. Key areas of work include student access to rigorous content (e.g., California State Standards, English Development Standards, and college and career preparatory curriculum), effective teaching, and education for equity. Dr. Ruffalo will engage in conversation around principles found in her latest publication: “Unlocking Learning II: Math as a Lever for English Learner Equity.”
Dr. Rashad Anderson
Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
Dr. Rashad Anderson serves as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Campus Director of the Call Me MiSTER Program, and a teaching appointment in the Honors College at SC State University. Dr. Anderson’s research focuses on critical approaches and dialogue of social justice and equity issues in education including racial, gender, religious, sexual, and class oppression. Central to his work is engaging students, scholars, practitioners, and community members to find and implement effective means to better propel Black male youth through K-12 and higher education settings. Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Inquiry at the University of South Carolina.
Abdul-Malik Muhammad, Ed.D.
Educator, President and Founding Team Leader, Akoben LLC.
CEO and Founder, Transforming Lives Inc.
Dr. Abdul-Malik Muhammad has over 20 years serving both youth and adults as a teacher, Principal, Campus President, Executive and State Director, and Vice President. Always working with the underserved in urban and rural areas, he has focused on the development of Black boys to men, establishing a progressive pedagogy for oppressed youth, and building progressive organizations. He is currently President and CEO of several educational, mental health, and human services operations. Through this work, he is continuing to diligently work towards “transforming lives, one community at a time.”
Meshach Soli
Pastor and Motivational Speaker
Meshach Soli will join our conference to share the challenges Pacific Islander/Polynesian students face navigating our educational system. Soli, an engaging speaker of Samoan descent, will share his experience matriculating through the educational systems and how he has made those experiences, good and bad, foundational to his work with all youth.



Breaking the “Drop Out of School to Prison Pipeline”
DDA Amir Alavi
Riverside District Attorney’s Office

Access and Equity in the Google Age
Dr. Dennis Large
Director of Educational Technology – Riverside County Office of Education

Touch the Heart to Teach the Mind
Dr. Pamela Mshana

Operationalizing Equity through the Lens of Master Planning for Innovation
Dr. Jacqueline Perez
Riverside USD

Equity and Early Literacy: A District’s Approach to Reading by 3rd Grade
Aimee Garcia
Val Verde USD

We Just Need to Fix It!
Dr. Charles Brown
San Bernardino City USD

Redlands USD’s Academic Case Carrier and Elementary Counselor Programs
Dr. Peter Lock
Redlands USD

The Power of a Picture: Positive LGBTQ+ Visibility and Why It Matters
Meg E’amato
We Are LGBTQ+ Educator Network

Inequities Facing Students Who Are Blind, Deaf, or Have Physical Limitations
Dr. Barbara Sorter
Riverside County Office of Education

Leveling the Playing Field through Social-Emotional Learning
Tiffany Stephens
Corona-Norco USD

STEAM Essentials for 21st Century Success: A School-Wide Approach to Equity
Troy Martin
Val Verde USD

College Kick-Off-It’s Not a Game: Developing a TK-12 College Going Culture
Rae Dunn
Val Verde USD

Relationships Matter: Restorative Practices in the Classroom
LaTanya Greer
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Correcting the Imbalance through Program Creation
Nikki DiRanna
San Marcos USD

It Takes a Village to Change a School
Dr. Antoinette Gutierrez
San Bernardino City USD

Embracing the Layers of our Dreamers/Immigrant Students
Enedilia Medina
Alvord USD

How “Rejection” Oils the Pipeline from School to Prison
Dr. Judy D. White
County Superintendent of Schools – RCOE

Preparing for Jobs That Won’t Exist: The Growing Inequality of Technology
David Culberhouse
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

Bolstering the Self-Efficacy of Underserved Students in AP for the First Time
Dr. Courtney Good
San Marcos USD

Replicating English Learner Success
Lilia F. Villa
Moreno Valley USD

A New Approach for Academic Equity: Closing the Language Divide
Dr. Linda Navarette
University of California, Riverside

Cultural Competency Framework
Brandon Moeller
Clark County School District (Las Vegas)

The LCAP AAPAC Connection
Ellen Larson
Parent Engagement Leadership Initiative

LGBTQIA 101: How to Increase Success and Connectedness for K-12 Students
Tori St. Johns
Desert Sands USD

Push In for Success: Supporting Students with IEPs in the General Education Classroom
Wendy Humes
Lake Elsinore USD

Trauma’s Impact on Learning and Achievement
April Jones
Hemet USD

STEAM-MVUSD Roadmap for Access and Equity
Dr. Amna Ahmad
Moreno Valley USD

Ensuring Elementary Students are On-Track for College Readiness
Dr. Gail Shenkman
AVID Center

Ensuring Equity in Discipline
Kristina Lyman
Menifee Union SD

Empowering Students to Create a Positive Change in the Community
Shawna Guerriero
Riverside County Office of Education

Turning Your School into a Community Hub
Edwin Clement
Corona-Norco USD

Are Microagressions Really Small?
Ioana Robles
Palm Springs USD