Nearly 1,000 Educators Expected at Sold-Out Fifth Annual Excellence Through Equity Conference

Wide range of speakers set to present at fifth annual conference to engage largest audience yet in efforts to eliminate the gaps in achievement, expectations, and opportunity for students from diverse ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Highlights of the 2017 Excellence Through Equity Conference

RIVERSIDE – What began with nearly 300 concerned educators in 2013, has reached 2,500 educators interested in better serving all students in public schools over the last five years. For 2018, 975 school, district, county, and state level teachers and administrators will attend the sold-out fifth annual Excellence Through Equity Conference hosted by the Riverside County Office of Education’s Leadership Institute of Riverside County on September 20-21, 2018, at the Renaissance Indian Wells (44400 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells, CA 92210).

NEW FOR 2018

  • Conference focus will be on the impact that teachers have in ensuring all students are educated in schools that provide them with equitable learning environments.
  • Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White, will facilitate a breakout session entitled: “How Rejection Oils the Pipeline from School to Prison.”
  • Sessions focused on supporting Pacific/Islander and LGBTQ student groups will be offered for the first time.
  • The conference will end with a “Call to Action” aimed at activating the conference themes in the classrooms and on the campuses of schools in order to ensure equitable learning environments for all students.


Keynote speakers for the 2018 conference include:

  • Michael Bonner (@MichaelBonner_) – Author and second grade teacher at Greenville Elementary School in North Carolina who was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
  • Alberto M. Carvalho (@miamisup) – Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools
  • Steve Perry (@DrStevePerry) – Author, education contributor for CNN and MSNBC, and founder/principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut
  • DJ Batiste and Donna Porter (@donnasealporter) – Former gang member whose life was changed by his teacher
  • Daniel Walker – Historian, filmmaker, professor, philanthropist, social entrepreneur, and author.

Additional featured speakers include:

  • Karin Chenoweth (@karinchenoweth) –The Education Trust
  • Edwin Javius (@edequity)– ED Equity, Inc.
  • Kizzy Lopez (@kizzyjoneslopez)– Fresno Pacific University
  • Kenneth B. Morriss, Jr. (@kmorrisjr) – Douglass Family Initiatives
  • Rachel Ruffalo (@rachelruffalo) – The Education Trust-West
  • Rashad Anderson (@thecallmemister) – South Carolina State University
  • Abdul-Malik Muhammad (@akobenllc) – Akoben LLD and Transforming Lives, Inc.
  • Meshach Soli (@ta2preecha) – Motivational speaker and youth advocate

Previous keynote speakers have included: Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Pedro Noguera, Tavis Smiley, Alan Blankenstein, Shaun Harper, Bernard Kinsey, Kati Haycock, Christopher Emdin, Ron Clark, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, and Talithia Williams.


Educators from across the United States and the California Department of Education (CDE) will also be joined by representatives from:

  • 30 school districts in California
  • 8 county offices of education in California
  • 9 states
  • 3 universities

A significant increase in pre-registered attendees is due, in part, to the conference’s continued focus on state priority-aligned best practices that establish equitable school environments for all learners.


“With nearly 1,000 educators standing up to commit to equitable practices in their schools at the 5th Annual Excellence Through Equity Conference, that translates to hundreds of thousands of opportunities for students to benefit from increased opportunities to pursue excellence,” said Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Judy D. White. “For educators that are committed to converting talk about equity into practice, this is a must-attend conference that will help drive necessary change in classrooms, district offices, board rooms, families, and communities.”

“This year’s Excellence Through Equity will call us all to action as we move from conversation and reflection into action and address the disparity in educational outcomes that have persisted for decades,” said Leadership Institute of Riverside County Executive Director, Dr. Hilma Griffin-Watson. “My friend and colleague in this work, Nicole Anderson, states, ‘We cannot close the educational gaps that we see in our schools if we don’t close the one in our minds first.’ The Excellence Through Equity Conference will help provide educators with the knowledge and the skill to not only close, but eliminate the educational gap.”

“As a result of our school district’s participation throughout the years in RCOE’s Equity Through Excellence Conference, ‘Disrupting Inequity’ is now a non-negotiable core value of San Jacinto Unified School District,” said San Jacinto USD Superintendent, Diane Perez. “This premier conference is a powerful, relevant and cutting-edge learning opportunity that allows our San Jacinto team members, certificated, classified and management, to return to SJUSD each year with a plan to support our movement from courageous conversations to courageous action.” 

“Corona-Norco USD (CNUSD) hosted its first Annual Equity conference on August 2 and 3, 2018, and all employees of the school district were represented—including many parents and students. CNUSD will always give credit to the Excellence Through Equity conference,” said CNUSD Special Education Director, Yvonne McFadzean. “The impetus and energy to progress through this challenging journey comes from this conference. We will continue to attend because of the positive impact it has on our equity journey.”


Conference sponsors for this event are: The College Board, McGraw-Hill Education, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Riverside City College, University of Redlands, La Sierra University, California Baptist University, California State University, San Bernardino, Grand Canyon University, Technology in Education, Inc.

The conference will be held at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort, 44400 Indian Wells Lane in Indian Wells, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration is now closed. For more information, visit or contact the Leadership Institute of Riverside County at (951) 826-6120.