Keynote Speakers

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

National Book Award-winning Author & Professor

When Dr. Ibram X. Kendi won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016 for a book about the history of racist ideas in America, some people felt a disconnect. Emerging from eight years of leadership under an African-American president, a narrative was building in America about the emergence of a post-racial society, colorblind to race and valuing merit over skin color. Kendi challenges this notion in his New York Times-bestselling book Stamped from the Beginning, taking an expansive view on race and racist ideas that spans from 15th century Europe until modern day America.

Kendi embarked on the research for his book under the assumption that the major producers of racist ideas were hateful and ignorant. And that borne from racist ideas were racist policies like slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration. But as Kendi dug deeper and contextualized motives, he began to gain a new understanding of the cause and effect actually at play. He soon discovered that political, economic, and cultural self-interest are behind the creation of racist policies and these policies in turn create the racist ideas that rationalize the deep inequities in everything from wealth to health.

Ibram X. Kendi is Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is a frequent public speaker who speaks with great expertise and compassion about the findings of his book and how they can fit into the national conversation on racial and social justice.

Kendi has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the American Historical Association, Library of Congress, National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Brown University, Princeton University, Duke University, University of Chicago, and UCLA. Most recently, he was named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow for his work.

In addition to winning the National Book Award, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas was also named a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. The book was featured on many Best Books of 2016 lists, including in the Boston GlobeKirkusThe Washington PostThe RootChicago Review of Books, and Buzzfeed.

Kendi has published numerous academic essays as well as op-eds in publications such as The New York TimesThe Washington Post, Time, The Guardian, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972. In 2018, he was named a columnist for a new vertical of The Atlantic focusing on ideas, opinion, and political and cultural commentary. He next book, How to Be an Antiracist, will be published by One World/Random House in August 2019.

Lacey Robinson

President and CEO, UnboundEd

Lacey Robinson has more than 20 years in education as an educator, teacher, principal, and staff development specialist with a focus on literacy, equity and school leadership. As chief executive officer, Lacey sets the vision and oversees the design, delivery and quality of all of UnboundEd’s work, while also ensuring its overall health and sustainability. In her previous role as chief of program and engagement, Lacey was responsible for engaging with external partners to support standards-aligned, content-focused adult learning and professional development. She supported vital design and execution elements for primary external UnboundEd service offerings, the Standards Institute and the national programs. Her life’s work focuses on eradicating the student achievement gap, predictable by race, in addition to creating adult learning experiences that honor us as professionals in school system leadership, teaching, and learning.

Tim Wise

Anti-racist Writer & Educator

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He has spent the past 25 years speaking to audiences in all 50 states, on over 1000 college and high school campuses, at hundreds of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country. He is also the host of the new podcast, Speak Out with Tim Wise.

He has also lectured internationally, in Canada and Bermuda, and has trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military, and medical industry professionals on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions. Wise has provided anti-racism training to educators and administrators nationwide.

Wise is the author of seven books, including his latest, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America (City Lights Books). Other books include Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority (City Lights Books); his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son(recently updated and re-released by Soft Skull Press); Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male; Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama; and Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity.

Named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by Utne Reader, Wise has contributed chapters or essays to over 25 additional books and his writings are taught in colleges and universities across the nation. His essays have appeared on Alternet, Salon, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, The Root, Black Commentator, BK Nation and Z Magazine among other popular, professional and scholarly journals.

From 1999-2003, Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, in Nashville, and in the early ’90s he was Youth Coordinator and Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized for the purpose of defeating neo-Nazi political candidate, David Duke.

Wise has been featured in several documentaries, including the 2013 Media Education Foundation release, “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America.” The film, which he co-wrote and co-produced, has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change.

Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues and was featured in a 2007 segment on 20/20. He graduated from Tulane University in 1990 and received antiracism training from the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, in New Orleans.

Brandon White

Brandon White is a former middle school ELA teacher and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District. As a student, Brandon found that he could connect with the instruction through the language and culture of hip-hop; as an educator he in this work by providing cultural relevance and responsiveness through pedagogy and content. As an ELA Specialist, Brandon selects, adapts, and sequences open educational resources and supports the creation of professional development materials and resources. In addition to providing these elements via traditional school settings, he has worked for seven years as a Servant Leader Intern and Site Coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs located in Rochester. He has also advocated for these practices through his participation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory council and through providing professional development at BMGF-sponsored Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) Conferences.

Tanji Reed Marshall

Tanji Reed Marshall is a 20-year veteran currently pursuing her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where she works in the Office of Academic Programs (OAP) in the School of Education. In addition to her work at Virginia Tech, Ms. Marshall works as a program evaluator for CAEP and session evaluator for AERA. Ms. Marshall consults with schools throughout the country to improve teacher practice and student literacy achievement. She has presented at state and national conferences on topics related to literacy, critical literacy, and teacher development.

Ms. Marshall’s prior experience includes over a decade of classroom instruction in English/language arts at the elementary and secondary levels. She has also served as a Literacy Coach and Specialist for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina where she worked to develop curriculum and train teachers.


Deborah Loewenberg Ball

William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of Education

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and the director of TeachingWorks. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer. Ball served as president of the American Educational Research Association from 2017 to 2018, as a member of the National Science Board from 2013 to 2018, and as dean of the University of Michigan School of Education from 2005 to 2016.

Ball studies the practice of teaching as the active work of building relationships with children to support their learning and flourishing. Ball uses elementary mathematics as a critical context for investigating the challenges of helping children develop agency and understanding, and of leveraging the power of teaching to disrupt racism, marginalization, and inequity. She focuses on what it is involved in working across difference, especially the relational, communicative, and content-understanding entailments of that work. Ball is an expert on teacher education, and her current work centers on ways to improve the quality of beginning teaching, particularly for children of color and low-income children. 

Ball has authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and has lectured and made major presentations around the world. She has also developed distinctive collections of video records of practice that are broadly used to make practice visible and to study the work of teaching. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education, including the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. Ball has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Educational Research Association. 


Tracy Anderson

Dr. Tracy Anderson serves as a Director for New Leaders. Her past proven record of experience includes several years as a Principal and as an Assistant Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Anderson was named National Distinguished School Administrator and completed four years of sustained Exceptional Rankings, where student scores remained at greater than 95%, regardless of high-poverty and diversification barriers. Dr. Anderson has been awarded the US Department of Education’s Outstanding Educator Award for her gains in closing the achievement gap. 

Karen Azani

Karen Azani is the Math Achievement Director for grades K-4 at KIPP New Jersey, serving schools in Newark and Camden. Karen coaches assistant principals around math content and leadership. She also creates and facilitates math content professional development for teachers and leaders, and oversees math curriculum and assessments for the region. Previously, Karen taught in public and charter schools in New York City, serving grades 3-5. Karen graduated from Princeton University and received her Master’s in Special Education from Hunter College.

Elicia Bennett

Elicia  Bennett is an intuitive instructional leader with more than 15 years of experience serving diverse organizations. Former roles include teaching English and Humanities, RtI  Specialist, Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Consultant. Currently,  she serves the students, teachers, teacher leaders and administrators in the sixth largest district in the nation, Broward County Public Schools, as a Supervisor in the Department of Teacher Professional Learning and Growth.  Elicia is most passionate about leading professional development that supports student achievement at the intersection of equity, standards and shifts, and pedagogy within the district’s most critical needs schools.  

Kathy Black

Dr. Kathleen Black comes to this work with over 15 years of educational experience. She began her career as a youth counselor in Buffalo, New York. In that work, she recognized that her passion was grounded in providing quality opportunities for students. She’s served as a teacher and administrator within the District of Columbia Public Schools. She holds a Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Elementary Teaching from American University, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Trinity University and a Bachelors in Communications and Urban Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Diana Bowles

Diana Bowles provides support for the implementation of the Nevada Academic Content Standards, the Core Knowledge curriculum, creation of instructional resources, delivery of professional learning opportunities and support of the Read by Grade Three legislation for the Washoe County School District through the Curriculum and Instruction department. Previously Diana taught kindergarten for twelve years and pre-K for four years. Diana obtained her Masters in Literacy and Early Childhood Endorsement from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Justin Boyd

Justin Boyd is currently an Educator Trainer and Coach serving educators from pre-k through 12th grade in over 80 districts with Education Service Center – Region 20, in south-central Texas. Justin’s educational career spans 18 years, as both a teacher and administrator in both public and charter schools in San Antonio and Harlem. Justin received his B.A. in Middle-Level Education from Illinois State University and his M.A. in Literacy from Alfred University.

Sharone Brinkley-Parker

Dr. Sharone Brinkley-Parker is a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  She was educated in the Baltimore City Public School System and has earned degrees from Morgan State (BS-Health Education;  Ed.D- Urban Educational Leadership with a concentration in Social Policy) and Towson State (M.A.T) Universities. During her 19 years as an educator, she has served as teacher of middle school ELA, math and writing and high school algebra, grant writer, MESA coordinator, grade level chair, assistant principal, principal, and district level administrator with both Baltimore City and County Public Schools.  Presently, she serves as the Director for School Climate with Baltimore County Public Schools. For the past five years, she has facilitated equity sessions and presented at conferences through multiple forums, including Maryland Cultural Proficiency and Multicultural Coalition groups as well as the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity. She is one of six founding members of Greater Baltimore Health Improvement Initiative (GBHII), a community-based group seeking to empower communities within Baltimore City around health responsibility through education, advocacy, and action.  Additionally, she is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her first passion is being the mother of two beautiful daughters which drives her work for all students when educating adults around much-needed equity work and conversations. She believes that educators have the obligation of making the invisible, visible and being advocates for the voiceless.


Mitchell Brookins

Mitchell Brookins is National Board Certified in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Teacher Leadership, and is currently working on his PhD in Educational Administration at the University of New Orleans. Over the past thirteen years, he has fulfilled various roles in the Chicago Public School District and New Orleans as a literacy teacher, a RtI specialist, a literacy coordinator, and an assistant principal. His career endeavors have afforded him the opportunity to mentor teachers, participate in national panels about key educational topics, support the implementation of CCSS-aligned curriculum, and serve on the National Board Certification Council. Currently, Mr. Brookins serves as the Academy Principal of PK- 4 at Dwight Eisenhower School which is a part of InspireNOLA— one of the highest performing New Orleans based network of charter schools.


Miladys Cepero-Perez

Miladys Cepero-Perez is an educational consultant and a Staff Developer specialized in ELA working at

the Office of School Performance and Accountability, Teacher Professional Learning and Growth in

Broward County Public Schools, FL (the six largest school district in the nation), where she has taught,

coached and designed professional learning at the elementary school level. Miladys received her

Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Grand Canyon University and became National

Board Certified Teacher which springboard her career as an instructional coach and curriculum

specialist. Under her curriculum designed ELA framework, her school made significant learning gains for

five consecutive years ranking on the top 10% performance statewide. Most recently, Miladys has been

supporting the Uncommon schools Broward initiative by serving the lowest 25% performing schools

with a mission of bringing equity and social justice to scholars through professional learning that

supports the implementation of a standards-based curriculum and instruction. Currently, Miladys is

working towards her Ph.D. in Philosophy in Educational Leadership. Her area of research concentration

is on the influence that professional learning has on fostering a school culture that perceives coaching

and learning through an equity lance to impacts student achievement.


Brian Dean

Brian is a member of the Instruction Partners family where he works relentlessly to ensure each student learns mathematics at a high level. He is the former Senior Instructional Specialist for Pasco County Schools where he led the teaching and learning of 6-12 mathematics. He has taught at the middle and high school level and served as an instructional coach. You can find him on Twitter @FLMathNinja


Jason Epting

Jason Epting has been the principal/instructional leader of Harlem Village Academy West Middle School for the past 6 years. Over the course of his tenure, he has led many workshops in how to get students to love to read as well as how to create programs to support high gains in student reading comprehension. Mr. Epting prides himself on intentional and purposeful PD that his teachers can build on their already vast amount of expertise.

Veronica Ernandes

Veronica Ernandes is a Secondary Math Content Specialist at Aspire Public Schools.  She provides curriculum, instruction, and assessment support to Aspire secondary schools.  She also has experience as a high school mathematics teacher, instructional coach, and math methods course instructor. Veronica has served scholars and families in South LA, Huntington Park, and Lynwood during the last 10 years.  She has planned and facilitated professional learning at various conferences (CMC North and South, NCTM, and NCSM) and at the site and district level. Veronica received her BS in Mathematics and BA in Multicultural Studies from UC Irvine. She received her MS in Mathematics from CSULB.

Marc Etienne

Marc Etienne has over 20 years of experience working to ensure all children maximize their potential regardless of their circumstance or context, by developing the capacity of teachers and leaders to improve their students’ academic performance. He currently serves as an Instructional Leadership Executive Director (ILED) for Baltimore City Public Schools. He has served as a K-8 principal and a non-profit executive. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University at Buffalo, and a Master’s Degree from the City University New York (CUNY) Baruch College. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., and is happily married and with his wife Rachel raise three children in Howard County, Maryland.

Megan Fehr

Megan has served the students and families in Lawrence, MA during the last 15 years, most recently as a Master Teacher and Math Coach at the Guilmette Elementary School. She works with teachers to unpack ENY Math modules and lessons to ensure that their pedagogy highlights and attends to the appropriate aspect(s) of rigor as called for by the CCSS. Megan received her Bachelor’s from Union College and her Masters in Urban Education from Wheelock College.  Megan credits her two years of service with City Year Boston with inspiring her to enter the teaching profession.

Nubia Gerima-Rogers

Nubia Gerima-Rogers began her teaching career in South Korea as an ESL teacher.  Since then she has worked in charter and public schools in Washington, DC for the last 8 years.  She has held various titles in education ranging from an English Language Arts teacher to an Instructional Coach.  She currently writes exemplary lessons for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and is a member of the New Leaders program.  She is also an Instructional Coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Windsor and a M.Ed from George Mason University.  She looks forward to not only sharing how high expectations and rigorous, aligned instruction has increased student achievement, but also collaborating with and learning from others.

Eric Green

Eric’s love affair with math began in the second grade and followed him through his career as a middle school math teacher, principal, and regional math leader at Uncommon Schools. He is now a Math Achievement Director at the KIPP Foundation, where he provides professional development and support for teachers and leaders. He is a proud graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (H2P!), the loudest member of #SteelerNation, and could school anybody on Golden Girls, Mean Girls, or Britney trivia. Eric and his husband are enthusiastic bikers, unremarkable CrossFitters, and constantly put in their place by their husky, FrankieLynn. 

Marni Greenstein

Marni Greenstein is the K-2 Lead for Elementary Curriculum and Professional Learning at Illustrative Mathematics. Her work in education over the last 16 years has focused on K-8 mathematics curriculum and instruction.  She began her career as a 2nd grade teacher and has also taught middle school math, intervention and served as a K-8 coach. She led the transition to Common Core as the Math Director for a network of schools in Brooklyn, NY.  Most recently, she was a Senior Math Specialist for Professional Learning at Student Achievement Partners where she focused on high-quality, aligned instructional materials as a key lever for equity in schools. She is a graduate of Bank Street Graduate School’s Math Leadership Program.


Jody Guarino

Jody Guarino is a Mathematics Coordinator at Orange County Department of Education in Orange County, CA where she supports teacher and student learning of mathematics in elementary grades.  A former National Board Certified teacher, she has published several peer-reviewed papers on mathematics teaching and learning and designed and facilitated professional learning for educators across the country.  Jody is a Lecturer at University of California, Irvine. You can find her on twitter @jody_guarino.

Bri Gzik-Wright

Bri Gzik-Wright teaches Precalculus and Algebra 2 at Horace Mann School, Bronx NY and is an Adjunct Secondary Math Professor at Relay Graduate School of Education. Before her current teaching role, she was the Math Department Chair and Dean of Instruction and Support at Newark Collegiate Academy, KIPP NJ.  Bri is a TFA alumna who earned her BA in Mathematics from Bucknell University and her MA in Mathematics Education from Columbia University Teachers College.

Tiffany Hardrick

Dr. Tiffany Hardrick serves as Superintendent of the Forrest City School District in Forrest City, Arkansas. Prior to returning to her Alma mater, she worked as Assistant Superintendent at Newark Public Schools in New Jersey, launched an all boys charter school, taught high school mathematics, and served as Director of Distance Education at a community college. Tiffany’s formal education includes a BS in Mathematics, MBA, and PhD.

Okera Hawkins

Okera Hawkins is a native Washingtonian who has worked in charter, public and private schools in Washington, DC for the last 15 years. Okera has held various titles in education ranging from a math teacher to assistant principal. He is currently the Mathematics Instructional Coach at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. Okera holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Morehouse College and a M.S. in Management from the Catholic University of America.

Chris Hayes

Chris Hayes is a second grade teacher and Learning Strategist in Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. She has taught in K-3 for 22 years and has served as an Implementation Specialist for several schools. She has her Master’s Degree in Literacy and just recertified her National Boards this year. 

Zipporah Hightower

Dr. Zipporah Hightower is currently Executive Director of Principal Quality at Chicago Public Schools (CPS).  In this role, Zipporah is responsible for identifying, developing, supporting, and retaining principals and aspiring principals.  She is an experienced educator having served as a teacher, principal, mentor principal, and program development for aspiring principals.  She also serves as an adjunct professor at National Louis University in Chicago.

Michelle Hunsberger

Michelle Hunsberger is an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher at Gaithersburg MIddle School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She teaches students who have recently arrived in the United States with interrupted education to students at a nearly proficient level of the English language. She also has 12 years of experience in elementary schools teaching ESOL for four years as well as general education students for 8 years. She participated in a pilot program in Montgomery County Public Schools, introducing standards-based curriculum to ESOL students, producing increased achievement in multiple areas of measure.

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones is in her 9th year as a Literacy Academic Content Liaison in Baltimore City Public Schools. She has worked with at risk youth for over 20 years in various capacities. Kelly returned to Baltimore City Schools in August 2010 after 5 years in the non-profit sector, serving as a literacy coach, professional developer and mentor for new literacy coaches.  She received her Bachelor of Arts from Morgan State University and her Masters in Instructional Systems Management from UMBC. She has served as an adjunct professor of Reading and English at both BCCC and CCBC. As an educator and literacy coach, Kelly is constantly seeking creative ways to foster a dynamic learning environment and to promote high quality classroom instruction. She is excited to be serving as a facilitator and change agent for the UnboundEd Standards Institute.

Glynis Jordan

Glynis Jordan is the Program Executive Director at New Leaders, Inc. where she has served for nearly four years.  Throughout her journey, she has been an English teacher, curriculum writer, program coordinator, high school principal, and cluster principal.  As a New Leader (Cohort 7), some of Glynis’ transformational school leadership work is chronicled in the ASCD publication, The Sights and Sounds of Equitable Practices (2011) and the book, Breakthrough Principals (2016).  Additionally, Glynis is the CEO of EMI Consulting Network.  She also holds the International John Maxwell Certification as a Speaker, Coach, and Facilitator and is a licensed trainer for Restorative Practices.

Kar-Hwee Koh

Kar-Hwee Koh, Ed.M. has extensive experience as a math coach to new teachers, providing support for schools and districts through In 2014, Kar-Hwee started the Lexington Singapore School to teach math using an integrated Singapore math curriculum, leveraging her skills and experience from teaching the same curriculum in Singapore. Kar-Hwee is a graduate from Columbia University, Teachers College.

Jessica Martin

Jessica Martin has spent the last 12 years working to combat educational inequity.  She is currently a Director of School Support with the Achievement Network, where she empowers leaders to tear down systemic barriers and rethink approaches to instruction, in order to improve outcomes for all students.  Jessica previously worked as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction to support teachers in creating authentic learning experiences and she, herself, taught traditionally underserved populations for many years in the elementary school setting.

Karen McPherson

Karen McPherson is a high school math coach for Buncombe County Schools located in Asheville, NC. She provides professional development experiences aimed at increasing teacher content knowledge, supports teachers in implementing effective instructional practices, and identifies and develops quality resources. She is a member of the Math Leadership Team for NC Core Advocates and has facilitated numerous workshops and sessions on CCSS Math, the Instructional Shifts, and aligned instruction. Karen is a National Board Certified Teacher and is a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill and Western Carolina University.

Angie Miller

Angie Miller is a first grade teacher. She has 20 years teaching experience in public schools. Angie has a certificate in Teacher Leadership from the University of Washington and is a National Board Certified teacher. She has facilitated numerous courses and seminars for teachers in math CCSS shifts and aligned instruction. She is the state captain for Student Achievement Partners’ Washington Core Advocate Network and she works as a math content designer for Leading Educators in their partnership with the DCPS LEAP program.

Alex Moyer

Alex Moyer teaches Algebra 1, Special Education, and Yoga at Lower East Side Prep HS, a transfer high school for international students. He is also a Math for America Master Teacher and facilitates MfA's "Math and Equity" Book Club. Previously, he was a co-writer for EngageNY’s Algebra 1 modules and he has also collaborated with Student Achievement Partners on Common Core implementation. Alex is passionate about educational equity and believes deeply in helping all students to reach their fullest potential.


Brandy Nelson

Brandy Nelson holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mathematics from Salem College, a Masters in School Administration from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and a Doctorate of Education from North Carolina State University.  Dr. Nelson has devoted 18 years of service to education.  Dr. Nelson began career as a middle school and high school mathematics teacher in New York City and North Carolina.  She has served as a comprehensive public high school principal in Charlotte, NC for five years.  She is currently the founding principal of Harper Middle College High School, a dual-enrollment program where high school students can earn their high school diploma and an associate’s degree or two-years of college credit while still in high school.  Prior to this role, she served as a Managing Director of Program for Teach For America and New Leaders.  In these roles, she developed, managed, and executed coaching and support for over 160 teachers, 5 instructional coaches and almost 20 principals and assistant principals in Charlotte, NC.  Since 2015, Dr. Nelson has served as a Leadership Facilitator for UnboundEd.

Vanna O'Conner

Vanna O'Conner serves as a Director of School Support (DSS) for ANet with the CA Network in Los Angeles and previously served as a DSS for the TN Network in Memphis. Before joining Achievement Network, Vanna taught HS Mathematics in Memphis area schools for six years, served as a state assessment item reviewer, TN CCSS coach, and an instructional coach with Shelby County Schools. Vanna studied Mathematics and Secondary Education at Vanderbilt University. 

Norka Padilla

Norka Padilla is a Learning & Achievement Specialist with the Office of School Support and Improvement in Montgomery County, Maryland where she collaborates with school administrators ensuring equitable access to standards-aligned instruction and programming K-12.  Ms. Padilla has 30 years of experience as an instructional specialist and teacher, designing and facilitating professional development, and consulting for organizations on standards setting and policy across several states. Ms. Padilla is Nationally Board Certified as a specialist for English language learners K-12, has earned two master's degrees and administrative certification.


Joshua Parker

Joshua Parker is the 2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year. He serves the students and teachers of Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School (Washington, D.C. Public Schools) as an Instructional Coach. Mr. Parker is a career changer, having started off as a sports producer for Fox 45 of Baltimore before beginning his career in education. In the decade that followed, Mr. Parker has held various leadership positions from K-12 and higher education. Most recently, he was named a 2017 Lowell Milken Center Fellow. Mr. Parker is the first African-American male educator from Baltimore County to win the state award.

Patricia Pond

Patricia Pond is the Director of School Support for Achievement Network, where she supports school and district leadership teams in their understanding of CCSS and how to deliver data driven instruction alongside various curricula. She has worked in the field of education across 7 states—serving as a Literacy Specialist and Literacy Coach, Elementary and ELL Teacher, Special Education Teacher, and Adjunct Instructor. At the heart of all Patti’s work in education is a commitment to creating quality educational experiences that improve outcomes and opportunities for all students.

Jody Popple

Jody Popple is a Staff and Curriculum Development Mathematics Specialist at the Madison-Oneida BOCES in Verona, NY. She is a part of the Student Achievement Partners Core Advocate math leadership team for New York State, and has been invited to be a part of the final revision team for the NYS math standards. Prior to her current position, Jody taught for 15 years in the elementary buildings at the Canastota Central School District.  

Shanita Rapatalo

Shanita Rapatalo is an Instructional Borough Coach (Manhattan) for District 79’s Pathways to Graduation program in the NYC Dept of Education.  For the last 6 years she has facilitated borough and citywide professional learning sessions on research based instructional practices, CCSS shifts, Danielson Teaching Framework, Summer Literacy Intensive trainings, and SEL practices that best supports a transient, High School Equivalence population. Through her work, the district has experienced immediate changes such as an increase of .9 grade level in reading through 4 weeks of summer literacy instruction for ELL students, average age 20, reading below a 5th grade level to long term growth such as increased percentages of student movement between leveled groupings (i.e. up to 11% increase of students reading below 5.9 moving to pre-HSE (grades 6-8)  level). She received her BS in Biology from Trinity College, her MSE in Curriculum and Instruction and a graduate certificate for School District Administration at Fordham University.


Oksana Reznikova

Oksana Reznikova teaches Mathematics at Brooklyn Generation, a New York City Department of Education High School. She is a Math for America Early Career Fellow. Oksana graduated from State University in Ukraine with a Masters in Applied Mathematics and earned a Masters in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Lori Taliaferro Riddick

Lori Taliaferro Riddick is executive director of leadership development for Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In her role she coaches principal supervisors and assesses their effectiveness. Prior to her work with CMSD, Lori was executive director of policy and practice services at New Leaders and co-authored their first two books. Lori developed and supported the implementation of leadership standards and evaluation systems for several states and districts. She received her BA and MS from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Karin Ryan

Karin Ryan is a turnaround principal in a large urban elementary school in Pennsylvania. Previously, Karin has served as a Special Education teacher, English as a Second Language teacher, Kindergarten teacher, Instructional Coach, and Assistant Principal. She is a Common Core Advocate trained by Student Achievement Partners, and has facilitated sessions on Instructional Leadership, School Improvement, and Common Core Mathematics. 

Dionne Aminata Samb

Dionne Aminata Samb, MBA, MSEd is a Math Content Specialist for grades K-8 at Aspire Public Schools, providing curriculum, instruction and assessment support to principals across 11 schools in Los Angeles, CA. Proudly serving inner-city youth throughout her 13-year career, Dionne previously taught elementary and middle school in South Central LA and Brooklyn, NY. She also helped others develop successful classrooms in inner-cities as an instructional coach with both NYC Teaching Fellows and Aspire. Dionne studied Sociology and Business at UCLA, has her MBA from Babson College, and her Masters in Math Education from CUNY Brooklyn College.

Julianne Scherker

Julianne Scherker writes curriculum, coaches teachers, and leads professional development as a Dean of Curriculum and Instruction with Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn, New York.  With a passion for educational equity, Julianne began her career as a Teach for America Corps Member in the Bronx, and continued her work in Brownsville, Brooklyn as a Founding Grade 4 Lead Teacher.  She holds a BA and MA in elementary education with a specialization in literacy from the University of Florida.

Lysa Scott

Lysa L. Scott is a Director of School Support for Achievement Network where she works alongside school leadership teams to take them to the next level by supporting and developing academic leadership teams on how to lead data driven instruction and develop teachers in their mastery of Common Core standards. Prior to joining Achievement Network, Ms. Scott served as a Resident Principal and Associate Principal in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and is a former ELA teacher. She holds a B.S. and J.D. from Florida A&M University. Ms. Scott strongly believes that every child deserves a high quality equitable education that is provided to them by educators who have strong content knowledge and pedagogy. She is passionate about building capacity in teachers and leaders to ensure that children are presented with an educational experience that allows for them to excel both academically and socially to reach their highest potential.

Mariama Sesay-St. Paul

Mariama Sesay-St. Paul is a Vice-Principal of Curriculum & Instruction at Science Park HS in the Newark Public School district. She began her career as an educator in 2000 as a Teach For America corps member. Over the past 17 years, Mariama has assumed the roles of high school English teacher, Teacher Coach, Department Chairperson and Supervisor of Language Arts Literacy in the district Curriculum office. Originally from Park Forest, Il, Mariama now resides in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Florida A& M University, Rutgers University-Newark and William Paterson University.

Jalinda Soto

Jalinda Soto has over 12 years of experience as a public-school educator.  She is a former Elementary Education and Special Education Teacher.  She has served as an Elementary Principal of a school in transformation and currently serves as the Principal for Special Education programs for middle school students in Upstate New York.     

She received her Bachelor’s Degree in English and Dual Masters from the University at Albany, State University of New York.  She is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership Program at The Sage Colleges.


LeAndrea Taylor

LeAndrea Taylor currently serves as an iZone Instructional Facilitator in Shelby County Schools. The iZone is a nationally recognized school reform model celebrated for its approach to turning around the bottom 5% of schools in the metro Memphis area.  Prior to serving as an instructional coach, she taught elementary school. LeAndrea was at the forefront of the standards movement in the state of TN and worked as a trainer for the TN Department of Education to prepare teachers across the state to implement instruction aligned to CCRS standards.

Tammy Tuck

Tammy Tuck supports college and career-ready standards implementation with organizations like Student Achievement Partners, Learnzillion and SchoolKit. She has designed and delivered professional development for graduate schools of education, multi-district learning communities, and individual districts and schools. A National Board Certified Teacher, Tammy spent 14 years as an elementary teacher, instructional coach, and district leader in PK-12 urban schools and was a founding staff member at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Hannah Turner

Hannah Turner is the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and World Languages Content Specialist at Argyle Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she has taught English Language Learners for four years. Throughout the 2017-18 school year, she worked to align Montgomery County Public School ESOL curricula with the CCSS. This has lead to increased performance for students across multiple measures of achievement.

Sierah Tyson

Sierah Tyson is a former 10th grade English teacher at University Preparatory High School located in Detroit, Michigan. As an ELA Specialist, Sierah develops, reviews and revises content PD and curricular materials. After graduating from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She received her Master's in Education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and served with the Teach for America program. Sierah has worked with Detroit City Council-District 4, organizing community outreach events and sitting in on the Planning and Economic Development Committee. She is also on the board of TUF Cookies, a non-profit geared toward building the voices of young feminists.

Ebony Wallace

Ebony Wallace has served in education for the last fifteen years, currently as a Staff Developer for the Teacher Professional Learning & Growth Department of Broward County Public Schools. She is state certified in Mathematics, Business Education, Integrated Subjects and Education Leadership. Ms. Wallace received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and Master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University and is currently enrolled in Doctoral Studies at Lynn University.

As a mathematician and educator, this philosophy is at her core, all students can achieve success in mathematics given an equitable environment to prove themselves capable. Alongside the student are teachers and positive adults helping to guide and build the student’s confidence which allows them to take risks for new learning in mathematics. Once this confidence is established, the student replicates this effect and carries math into the “Real World” through problem-solving which is the embodiment of a true mathematician.

“I am excited to be a part of Standards Institute and this great work that addresses closing the opportunity gap through aligned materials, standards and equitable instructional practices.”

Anita Walls

Anita Walls is responsible for the direct coaching and development of LEAP (Learning Together to Advance our Practice) Leaders at multiple DC Public Schools as part of Leading Educators/DCPS LEAP Program. Prior to becoming a Leadership Coach, Anita spent 5 years as Principal and 10 years as a Reading Specialist, Testing Coordinator, Instructional Lead Teacher, and Teacher with Prince George’s County Public Schools. She is a product of Prince George’s County Schools and graduated from Hampton University where she received a BA in Psychology and an MA in Elementary Education. She received a second MS in Reading Education from Coppin State University and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Maryland College Park.

Anita is an advocate for all students and works tirelessly to ensure that students gain exponential academic growth and are productive members of society. She is excited to continue supporting leaders and teachers in the District of Columbia and believes through hard work all students can succeed!

Natara Warren

Tara Warren is a teacher in the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District in Southern California.  She received her BS in Biology and MA in Early Childhood Education. She has experience as a teacher, instructional coach, intervention specialist, Kagan district coach, as well as a district math PLC leader.  Currently, she is a classroom teacher, school-wide math coach, school professional development leader, and serves on the math curriculum team. Tara has been engaged in the work of the standards and how to raise student achievement for over 6 years. She has had the pleasure to work with students, teachers, principals, district leads, and state representatives. She is extremely excited to share what she has learned and how she implements the standards to raise achievement in her class, school, and district.

Melanie Watkins

Melanie Watkins is a Literacy Academic Content Liaison (ACL) with Baltimore City Public Schools where she also taught and served as an Instructional Support Teacher for the past 14 years. As a Literacy ACL, Melanie provides differentiated supports to schools in the areas of planning, standards aligned instruction, data analysis and research based instructional strategies. She also facilitates professional development for school leaders, literacy leads and instructional leadership teams. Melanie received her Bachelor’s Degree from Kent State University and her Master’s Degree from Towson University.

Amy Weber-Salgo

Dr. Amy Weber-Salgo currently consults with teachers and districts as they work to improve their mathematics instruction. She was the founding Director of Mathematics Reviews for Prior to that Amy was a regional PD provider and enjoyed 18 years as a K-8 classroom teacher. For her Educational Doctorate, her research focused on differentiating professional learning for teachers of mathematics in order to meet the needs of the teachers she serves.

Brandon White

Brandon White is a former middle school ELA teacher and Restorative Practices educator for the Rochester City School District. As a student, Brandon found that he could connect with the instruction through the language and culture of hip-hop; as an educator he in this work by providing cultural relevance and responsiveness through pedagogy and content. As an ELA Specialist, Brandon selects, adapts, and sequences open educational resources and supports the creation of professional development materials and resources. In addition to providing these elements via traditional school settings, he has worked for seven years as a Servant Leader Intern and Site Coordinator for Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Literacy Programs located in Rochester. He has also advocated for these practices through his participation in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Teacher Advisory council and through providing professional development at BMGF-sponsored Elevate and Celebrate Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) Conferences.

Marietta Williams

Marietta Williams is the Lead Teacher for the Teacher Leader Career Continuum Program at the Broward County School Board. She is a professional development facilitator for the District’s Standards Task Force; she was selected for this position because she demonstrated success in implementing standards-based lesson planning and standards-based instruction with rigor. Marietta is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s School Leaders Program in the Department of Educational Leadership. She is currently enrolled in Lynn University’s, Ross College of Education’s graduate degree program for the Scholarly Practitioner Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.).


Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams is a Leadership Coach with the Special Education Leader Fellowship Program in New Orleans, where she supports Special Education Leaders and Teachers throughout Orleans Parish.  Over the past eight years, Nicole has committed herself to developing and supporting leaders - teachers, teacher leaders, aspiring principals, sitting principals, and leadership coaches in the New Orleans metropolitan and across the United States.  Nicole received her Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola University of New Orleans and her Master’s Degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is an avid reader and self-proclaimed Ed Tech Diva!


Dani Willis-Frye

Dr. Dani Willis-Frye’s career combines 27 years of educational experiences and 19 years of brain-based research. Currently, she is the 6-12 Math Content Specialist for Lake County Public Schools, Florida, where she provides curriculum, instruction, and assessment support for 18 schools. She has been a teacher, adjunct professor, RtI Coordinator, ESE Advocate, Administrator, Regional Education Director, and Chief Academic Officer. She also assisted in the creation of a foundation for inner city at-promise youth, in Toledo, Ohio. This foundation’s accomplishments catapulted her in helping to create Ohio’s first K-12 year-round charter school. Nina is a national presenter and author who shares insights regarding brain research as well as learning strategies to close the achievement gap. She is passionate about assisting students with unfinished learning and educational equity.

Andrea Zayas

Andrea Zayas provides consulting to school systems through her firm Upstream Education on the toughest problems to solve: turnaround, academic systems implementation, change management, startup, building equitable spaces and executive coaching. Previously, Andrea founded La Cima, a successful K-5 charter school in Brooklyn, NY. She also worked as a turnaround superintendent in Camden, NJ and for the NYCDOE as a charter authorizer. Andrea earned her BA at Rutgers University, Ed.M. at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and is pursuing her Ed.D in Educational Leadership at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans where she resides.

Alexis Rosenblatt

Alexis Rosenblatt serves as a Senior Director of School Support with the Achievement Network (ANet) where she partners with school leaders and teachers focusing on effective backwards planning using Common Core standards, school-wide curriculum, and the instructional calendar to reach their goals.  She creates and leads professional development sessions for school leaders and teachers across Eastern New England. Prior to joining ANet 7 years ago, Alexis was a math teacher, math department lead and a grade level coach. She also worked as a University Supervisor in the Education Department of UMass Amherst. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University.

Laura Robell

Laura Robell is the Chief Schools Officer for Envision Schools, a charter management network in the Bay Area. where she oversees the schools, leaders and instructional program for the entire Envision network. With 20 years of teaching and leadership experience in education, Laura was the Principal at Envision Academy, the Managing Director of Programs for New Leaders in the Bay Area and a founding leader of Elmhurst Community Prep (ECP), a middle school in the Oakland Unified School District. Laura holds a Bachelor’s from Duke University and a Master’s in Education from Stanford.