Featured Speaker Sessions

Karin Chenoweth
Educator, Author, The Education Trust
Co-Presenter:
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
Co-Presenters:
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.