2018 Sources Presenter Biographies

Precious Brown

Precious Brown is an undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Elementary Education. She has served as a dance instructor, job coach, and peer mentor. She would like to further her education in the areas of Child Development and Speech Pathology. She is a founding member of Black Teachers Matter and she served on the executive board as the Co-President. Upon graduating Precious desires to become an Elementary School Teacher.

Deshawn Chapman

As an advocate for access and equity in education for underserved students, Dr. DeShawn Chapman has positioned her work at the intersection of educational theory and practice. Beginning as a secondary classroom teacher, DeShawn honed her core skills in curriculum and instruction by working in general and special education at both suburban and urban schools. Currently, she is an instructor of classroom management and teaching methods courses in Valencia College’s Educator Preparation Institute, as well as, the Director of First Star Central Florida Academy – a college and career preparation program for high school youth in foster care, housed in the College of Community Innovation and Education at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Chapman uses her research and experience in traditional and non-traditional educational spaces to encourage the development of learning environments that result in equitable educational outcomes for underserved students, particularly students of color impacted by poverty and trauma.

Thais Council

Thais Council is a PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University. She serves as the graduate research assistant for the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership and was the 2016-2017 Chair of the Urban Education Think Tank at the Alonzo A. Crim Center. In 2016, Thais earned the Georgia Educational Research Association Outstanding Student Researcher Award for a paper titled, “That was Then, This is Now: A Critical Policy Analysis Juxtaposing Brown vs. Board of Education and the Opportunity School District.” Thais is a Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral State Scholar, and an alumna of the CU Engage Community-Based Research Graduate Fellowship at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Community Engaged Research Institute at University of California, Santa Cruz. Her scholarship focuses on multiple forms of school pushout, participatory action research with teachers and education policy.

Jeffrey Coleman

Jeffrey Coleman is the Director of the Multicultural Center at Georgia State University. He is originally from Bloomfield, Connecticut and has over 14 years of experience working in multicultural affairs. Dr. Coleman earned his bachelor of arts in public policy studies from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He received his master of science in counseling with a concentration in student development in higher education from Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. He has also earned his doctorate of philosophy in educational studies with a concentration in cultural studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Prior to Georgia State University, Dr. Coleman worked in multicultural affairs at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Trinity College. His experience includes managing multicultural centers; implementing minority male learning communities; creating mentoring programs for first year, first generation and minority male students; developing support services for students, particularly those from traditionally under-served and underrepresented communities; and advising multicultural student organizations. Dr. Coleman’s vision for the Georgia State University Multicultural Center is to offer programming to help students recognize and understand how their individual cultural identities and the identities of others impact their purpose and vision for life, and how that understanding influences their personal, academic and career aspirations.

Cierra Cooper

Cierra Cooper is an undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Elementary Education and minoring in Psychology. She is active in KSU Active Minds, National Council of Negro Women, and #BlackTeachersMatter. Her interests include dance and mentoring young children. Cierra is a founding member of #BTM and serves on the executive board as the Public Relations Chair and Event Co-chair. Upon graduating, Cierra wants to begin her teaching career as an elementary school teacher and work her way up to becoming a high school math teacher. Cierra desires to be a teacher first, and maybe later become an educational therapist.

Illya Davis

Illya Davis is a lecturer in Philosophy and Religion at Morehouse College since 2009. Professor Davis is a 1990 graduate of orehouse College where he majored in philosophy He also studied African American studies at Clark Atlanta University, Religion and Culture at Harvard Divinity School, and he pursued his doctoral studies at the University of Chicago in philosophy and Religion. He researchers and teaches philosophy of religion, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the philosophy of language, epistemology, African American Religious Experiences, and African American philosophies. Professor Davis has published on the social and political thought of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays as well as the nature of Black religious thoughts and practices. He received the UNCF/Andrew Mellon Faculty Fellowship 2011- 2012, he is am member of the Golden Key International Honors Society and has served as advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates/Millennium Scholars at Morehouse College. He is from Atlanta, GA, and is the father of two young women Ilan and Anya. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. Illya Davis’ LinkedIn

Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell

Dr. Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, currently serves as Assistant Professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) and the Program Site Director of Horizons Atlanta Clark Atlanta University – since its inception in 2013! Horizons Atlanta Clark Atlanta University’s Program served 83 rising first grade through rising sixth grade neighborhood Young Scholars on the campus of CAU during the summer of 2018 with the clear and determined focused “to reduce the summer learning loss of participating students.”

Dashiell-Mitchell has served as elementary school principal for fourteen years, middle school curriculum specialist, instructional specialist, middle school and elementary school teacher in Atlanta City Schools facilitating culturally and linguistically diverse P-8 children within varied learning environments for over thirty years. Her formal TSOL and ATE travels and her informal travels through numerous Caribbean Islands and the country-sides of Canada, Mexico and the United States validate her research about effective schools, effective teaching and the benefits of School-Community Business Partnerships. As a P-5 Practitioner, Dr. Dashiell-Mitchell has closely worked with approximately fifty-five school/community/business partnerships to support the academic and socio-emotional needs of students. Some of her initiatives include: “The Outdoor Classroom and Wellness Walk”, “School Banking”, “Hands-On-Science Laboratory”, Year-Round School Adoption, “Global Classroom Connections through Skype” and “Process Writing to Digital Storytelling”.

Dr. Dashiell-Mitchell merges her observations, educational leadership preparation and knowledge of best teaching and learning practices to facilitate and craft innovative curricula and learning environments for 21st century children. With academic rigor and deepened relevance, she believes that sustained student learning occurs through hands-on project-based, “concept-based” units of study. Dr. Dashiell-Mitchell enthusiastically reminds all who will listen… “We are all standing on the shoulder of giants.” (I. Newton) “Our P-5 children are standing on our shoulders, peering into the 21st century, wondering which path to travel. One day, soon, our children must have the global intellect and shoulders strong enough to support others!” (2007)

Shae Earls

Shae Earls is an elementary school educator and researcher from Southwest Atlanta. As a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School in the Atlanta Public School System, she is passionate about serving in the community that gave so much to her. In 2014, Shae graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. She also earned her Master’s in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Valdosta State University. Shae plans to eventually pursue a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership or Educational Policy. In addition to pursuing her Educational Leadership certification from the University of West Georgia, Shae is currently conducting research about gentrification and its impact on the schools and families she serves.

Shakale George

Shakale George is an educator with more than 12 years’ experience in public schools in and around metropolitan Atlanta. She currently holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and studied African-American Studies at Temple University. Recently, Shakale regularly convenes a teacher book club to address social and cultural issues not covered in in-school professional development. She has plans to relocate to South Atlanta in order to be a closer part of her school community. Shakale has a passion for all things education and currently serves as the Math and Science teacher at Slater Elementary School—a Purpose Built School—where she advocates for equity and academic rigor for students and families.

Charity Gordon

Dr. Charity Gordon is a part-time instructor in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her research and scholarship focuses on dialogic teaching, critical pedagogy, English education, and urban education. Her work explores how teachers use critical and dialogic pedagogies in urban, public schools. Through her scholarship, she aims to construct knowledge about teaching and learning that promotes educational equity, social justice, and praxis.

Rebecca Graham

Rebecca Graham is the Reading Specialist and K-1 English Language Arts Assistant Principal with the Atlanta Public Schools turnaround partnership at Kindezi at Gideons Elementary. She earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia and her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Valdosta State University. Currently, she is pursuing her Educational Leadership Tier 1 certification with the University of West Georgia. As a former 4th and 5th grade teacher, Rebecca was recognized as Teacher of the Year during the 2017-2018 school year. She grew up in a neighborhood outside of Atlanta that experienced white flight, and has seen the effects of displacement on families and communities. Rebecca conducts research with a team of educators about gentrification in southwest Atlanta and empowering students and parents within the community. Rebecca and the team presented at the 2017 South East Regional Vision for Education Conference about Creating Communities of Collaboration for Teachers. She plans to pursue her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, and become a turnaround principal with the ultimate goal of becoming a professor of multicultural studies to preservice teachers.

George R. Greenidge

George R. Greenidge, Jr. is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University with the concentration in Race and Urban Studies. He received his Masters from Harvard Graduate School of Education and his BA from Morehouse College in Political Science and International Affairs. He has served in a number of capacities throughout his career in the fields of non-profit, government, philanthropy, and education. Most recently, he was President of the Boston Empowerment Zone, a federally funded HUD initiative aimed at economic investment in U.S. urban neighborhoods and the Founder and Executive Director of the National Black College Alliance, Inc., a nonprofit focused on providing alumni mentors to college and high school students. His work as a convener has also been recognized locally and nationally by a number of organizations including the Aspen Institute, National Urban League, and the Independent Sector.His current research focuses on the economic development of urban cities and affordable housing and the impact of displacement/gentrification on its residents. He also studies post-secondary education and career success of minority students with a concentration on Black and Latino males. At Georgia State University, George has worked as an Economic Fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and an Urban Fellow with GSU Law School’s Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth. Currently, George is an Innovation Fellow with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s Student Innovation Fellowship Program. He is President of the Greatest MINDS Society, and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.

Dorian Harrison

Dr. Harrison’s research interests focus on equity issues in literacy education, paying particular attention to how race, class, and language affect teaching and learning. By analyzing teaching/learning communities within traditional education settings, community centers, and longitudinal studies of practicing teachers, Dr. Harrison’s work seeks to challenge deficit views of Black and Latinx students. Her current research projects focus on developing knowledge about generational experiences within EL/ELL programs and understanding co-operating teachers’ mentoring practices in the wake of edTPA culture.
Dr. Harrison holds over 7 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. She also taught undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 2014-2017. She was the founder and President of the Curriculum and Instruction Graduate Student Organization within the College of Education at the University of Illinois from 2015-2017. In fall of 2017, Dr. Harrison developed an online networking space aptly named Women of Color in Education.

Sonia Howard

Sonia Howard is an Ed.D. student majoring in Curriculum and Instruction concentrating in Science Education. She is also currently teaching high school chemistry in Gwinnett County. Her past work includes teaching middle school science at an all-girls charter school and engaging in policy advocacy. Sonia’s research interests include exploring how identities inform how teachers do their work; cultivating and using narrative knowledge from teachers of color on how they successfully work in communities of color; and incorporating social justice into science education. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation research project focused on the positional identities of Black high school science teachers.

Cheryl Jamison

Dr. Cheryl Jamison serves as the chair of the Department of Special Education at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy and an adjunct professor in the Tift College of Education at Mercer University in Atlanta. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University, a Master of Education in Special Education from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spelman College. Her research interests include secondary girls’ education, culturally responsive teaching, and theories of resistance and possible selves construction in adolescent youth.

Dr. Jamison is a member of several organizations, including Council on Exceptional Children, Georgia Educational Researchers Association, and the Georgia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. Additionally, she sits on the editorial board of the Georgia Educational Researcher journal. She is a frequent speaker and presenter at conferences all over the United States.

Her teaching philosophy is embedded in her belief in continuous reflection upon her practice. She believes that one of the keys to improving education for all students lies in listening to and acting upon the voices and personal stories of the students and educators that are living the experiences.

Ryan Kilgore

Ryan Kilgore, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, has been fervently playing the impassioned sounds of the saxophone since age 10. A fourth-generation sax player, Ryan’s musical career has afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and spread his sound as he transformed into an international saxophonist and philanthropist.

Ryan attended Clark Atlanta University in which he was the first freshman to become drum major, as well as proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Inc.
Ryan has played on soundtracks and/or cameoed for movies by Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Tyler Perry Studios. He then continued to work with legendary producers and writers as well as toured with the legendary Stevie Wonder for almost a decade.

In 2015, Ryan established the Kilgore Music Foundation (KMF) whose mission is to mentor, teach and inspire. KMF aspires to bring about awareness of the value of music and music literacy in the lives of children. In honor of Ryan’s work in the community, in 2015, Ryan was honored with the Proclamation of Ryan Kilgore Day in DeKalb County, Georgia April 26th.
Overall, Ryan is an exceptional saxophone player who strives to instill the importance of music’s role in the enrichment of the human spirit.

Bailey Kirk

Bailey Kirk is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Georgia State University. Currently she is co-teaching high school mathematics in DeKalb county schools. While her background is in mathematics, she co-taught a culture class for three years while in college and spent time volunteering national and internationally to gain new perspectives on diversity. Her hope is to provide and gain fresh, new ideas to the education system.

Whitney Lott

Whitney Lott is an undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Birth-Kindergarten Education and minoring in Entrepreneurship. She is active in #BlackTeachersMatter, Ladies of distinction, Odyssey Peer Mentoring, and KSU Edge. Her interests are reading, tutoring, and babysitting. Whitney is a founding member of #BTM and serves on the executive board of #BTM as Co-President. Upon graduating, Whitney wants to open her own childcare facility in the metro Atlanta area. Whitney Desires to be a teacher because she loves children and wants to be apart of making a positive impact on their lives.


Beth Marks

Beth Marks received a M.Ed. in Middle Grades Education from Kennesaw State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Teaching and Teacher Education from Georgia State University. Beth is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Secondary and Middle Grades Department at Kennesaw State University. Beth collaborated with faculty and school personnel with the KSU TQP Grant to create partnerships and opportunities in foundation courses.

Ewa McGrail

Ewa McGrail, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Georgia State University.
In her research, Dr. McGrail examines digital writing and new media composition; copyright and media literacy; technology in teaching and learning, and multimodal assessment. She is also an ardent supporter of students and educators from outgroups or who are otherwise not in the mainstream.

Dr. McGrail is the winner (with Anne Davis) of the Journal of Research in Childhood Education Distinguished Education Research Article Award, the GATE Distinguished Research Award (with J. P. McGrail) and the recipient of the National Leadership Fellowship Award Program from the Conference on English Education (CEE), National Council of Teachers of English, and the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). Her recent publication (with Anne Davis) is a book on online digital dialogic writing with an authentic audience and how it can transform the elementary classroom. She is a co-founder of a multi-disciplinary international multimodal online journal, Ubiquity: The Journal of Literature, Literacy and the Arts that publishes thought-provoking research, analyses of practice and creative work from urban, rural and international perspectives and contexts.

Jasmin Moffett

Jasmin Moffett is a junior undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Early Childhood Education. She is active in the African-American Student Alliance, Education Generation (Edge) and #Black Teachers Matter at Kennesaw State University and is a founding member of #BTM. Upon graduating in May of 2020 Jasmin desires to be an elementary school teacher and pursue a master’s degree in the education field.

Latricia Oliver

Latricia Oliver, doctoral student at Georgia State University, has worked in education for almost a decade. In working with school districts throughout south Florida and currently in Atlanta, Georgia, she has served as a professional development chair, school advisory committee chair, graduation and promotion chair, and middle and high school English teacher. Today, while studying to obtain a PhD in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Teaching and Teacher Education, her research focuses on recruitment and retention and critical pedagogy.

Joseph Peterson

Joseph Peterson is a 2017 graduate of Georgia State University (GSU), and received his BA degree in Communications from the College of Arts and Sciences. He is current taking post- bacallaureate courses in pre-law courses, and preparing for the LSAT. At GSU, Joseph was a star football player athlete and served as co-captain of the GSU team. He was selected as the Linebacker of the Year by Division I Sunbelt All Conference and holds the record for GSU’s leading tackler for the football team. He recently worked at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and is currently working at Delta Airlines, and completing his law school applications for Fall 2019. He also serves as a motivational speaker for at-risk youth in the City of Atlanta. Joseph Peter’s LinkedIn

Deirdre Royster

Deirdre A. Royster is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She earned her B.S. in Sociology and Psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1987) and her M.A. and Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University (1991, 1996). Previously, she taught at UMass-Amherst (1996-2001), where she was an award-winning teacher, and most recently at the College of William and Mary, where she chaired the Department of Sociology (2003-06) and directed the Center for the Study of Inequality (2004-08) and the Black Studies Program (2007-08). Dr. Royster’s first book, Race and the Invisible Hand: How White Networks Exclude Black Men from Blue Collar Jobs (University of California Press, 2003) received the 2004 Oliver Cromwell Cox Best Book Award. Her research interests cross-cut sociological areas including Racism and Racial Stratification, Economic Sociology/Urban Political Economy, Public Policy, Race/Class/Gender Studies, and Work/Labor/Labor Markets. Deirdre Royster’s LinkedIN

Shalander Samuels

Dr. Shalander Samuels earned her Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees all from the University of Central Florida. Her research interests include; Reading intervention programs especially in majority minority communities as well as, accommodating ESOL achievement and advancement; further she is an advocate for the application of appropriate student literacy strategies in secondary education. Dr. Samuels is keen on developing ways to successfully make connections with higher education and grades k-12. Her secondary experiences have led her to begin her teaching years in secondary learning spaces in an attempt to seek solutions for deficiencies that deter students from
being academically successful. This interest is a driving force that fuels her interest to increase improvement in the performance and achievement of underrepresented as well as majority minority student populations. Professionally, Dr. Samuels has presented at national conferences as well as contributed to multiple articles, this year she is the current co-chair of the American Reading Forum where she focuses on literacy as a change agent.

Jackie Slaton

Jackie Slaton, MPA received both a K-12 French Teaching Certification and Master’s in Public Education at Georgia State University. Over her 20 year career as an educator, Jackie taught French language and culture in the K-12 school system, advocated for language programs as well as for international curriculum that better prepare students to succeed in today’s fast-changing, globalized workforce. As the Learning Resource Development Specialist at CETL at Georgia State University, she enjoys creating programming and initiatives that provide students opportunities to use technology to serve others while positively impacting communities.

Charmaine Smith-Campbell

Charmaine Smith-Campbell is currently a PhD. Curriculum and Instruction candidate at Mercer University, Atlanta. She is expected to graduate in the Fall of 2018. She earned her Master’s in History (1989) from Queens College, City University of New York, and a Master’s in Applied Psychology (2007) from New York University. She completed her undergraduate studies in history at the University of the West Indies (Mona), Jamaica.

Charmaine was a New York City Public School educator for over 30 years and taught Advanced Placement courses including World, European, and American History; as well as collaborative interdisciplinary courses in the humanities, including economics, politics and government, history, philosophy, and world religions.
Her current interests involve theory-to-practice classroom applications including Freire’s concept of Pedagogical Love in P-12 settings. Her goal is to seek ways of applying social justice, humanizing, and transformative oriented theories to practical classroom instruction in a ways that enhance success among students represented in educational gaps and in schools-to-prison pipeline discussions. She plans to spend three months in Cuba to learn the language and observe education first hand, in a nation where children’s rights to education is written into its constitution.

Said Sewell

Said Sewell is Senior Vice President for Student Development at Morehouse College in Atlanta GA. Prior to this position, he was Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lincoln University in Missouri.Prior to his arrival at Lincoln, Sewell served as the Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Kent State University (Kent, OH). Sewell was the Executive Director of the Academic Success Center and Associate Professor of Political Science at the Fort Valley State University. He has had faculty appointments in the Social Science or Political Science Departments at Fort Valley State, the University of West Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Nebraska, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Albany State University. Sewell was the founding Executive Director of the Center for African-American Males: Research, Success, and Leadership-a research and modeling center for the advancement of African-American males. Sewell, a native of Houston, Texas, entered Morehouse College in 1988 as an early admission scholar and graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in political science. His formal training also includes a Master of Public Administration in Public Policy from Texas Southern University and a Ph.D. from Clark Atlanta University (CAU) in Political Science. Said Sewell’s Linked IN

Bria Taylor

Bria Taylor is an undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Mathematics and Social Studies. She is a founding member of Black Teachers Matter (#BTM). I serve on the executive board of #BTM as a Co-Event Chair Coordinator. Bria desires to become a teacher because she wants to make a lasting impact within children’s lives regarding education.

Gertrude Tinker-Sachs

Gertrude Tinker Sachs, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor of ESOL, Language and Literacy and chair of the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development. Her research interests are in the areas of literacies in English as a first or second language, transformative international teacher professional development and critical culturally responsive pedagogies. She is the author/co-editor of five books, including Critical Mass in the Teacher Education Academy: Symbiosis and Diversity with Geeta Verma (2014),EFL/ESL Cases: Contexts for Teacher Professional Development with Belinda Ho (2007) and Action Research in English Language Teaching (2003). Dr. Tinker Sachs is the founding editor of the forthcoming international interdisciplinary peer-refereed journal Tradewinds, senior editor of the state journal GATESOL in Action and editor of the Ubiquity – PRAXIS, Journal of Literature, Literacy and the Arts.

Clarice Thomas

Clarice Thomas, Ph.D. is a research consultant for the CREATE teacher residency program at Georgia State University. Her research interests include narrative research of experiences within the school-to-prison nexus, equitable education for African American students, pre-service teacher preparation in urban education, and qualitative research methodology. Clarice is a former alternative education instructor and secondary history teacher.

Natasha Thornton

Natasha Thornton is an Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at Kennesaw State University, where she teaches literacy methods courses and is currently serving as the Professional Liaison for Diversity for the Bagwell College of Education. She received her Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education at Georgia State University. Her research interests include culturally relevant literacy instruction, teacher development, and formative experiment methodology. She is member of the Early Childhood Assembly’s Professional Dyads for Culturally Relevant Teaching current cohort and is passionate about supporting in-services teachers with developing understandings and implementing practices aligned with culturally relevant teaching and critical literacy. Her research also focuses on contextual factors that are enhancing or constraining regarding teachers’ implementation of asset-based pedagogies. Natasha is a co-advisor of the #BlackTeachersMatter at Kennesaw State University.

Marlyn Tillman

Marlyn Tillman is a parent, community activist, and co-founder of Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett SToPP), a parent-led community-centered group focused on reversing the School to Prison Pipeline (STPP) trend. She currently serves on the advisory committee of the Child Trends Healthy School Environments Initiative, Gwinnett County Public Schools GEMS Committee (which reviews the curriculum), and is an alumnae of the Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Institute. She is a past recipient of the ACLU of Georgia’s Georgia Civil Liberties Award for community activism. Marlyn has also served on the Gwinnett County Human Relations Commission and the steering committee of the national Dignity in Schools Campaign. Marlyn advocates at the local, state and national level to impact education policies as it pertains to the School to Prison Pipeline (STPP).

Tamera Tillman

Tamera Tillman is an undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Elementary Education. She is currently active in #Black Teachers Matter as the Treasure and as founding member. She is interested in becoming a teacher to help serve and support students academically and ensure their success in their future. Upon graduating, she plans to become an intermediate grade level teacher, teaching 3rd through 5th grade students.

Whitney Watkins

Dr. Whitney Watkins received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University, her Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, and her Doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Central Florida. She has taught for over three years in the field of leadership studies at the collegiate level. Her teaching philosophy centers on student participatory learning, prioritizing student engagement in the classroom. Dr. Watkins’ research interests include the success of Black female and similar student groups in college. In addition, she has experience working with a federally funded TRIO program, and has worked
extensively in student affairs with student leadership development initiatives. A professional in her field, she has published and contributed to multiple articles and national newsletters in the area of education. She has also presented at national conferences discussing several areas of education. She was the National President of the Holmes Scholars Program for historically underrepresented doctoral students, and she is an aspiring motivational speaker. Dr. Watkins is passionate about supporting opportunities in college student development and is excited for the chance to present.

Amanda Wilkerson

Dr. Amanda Wilkerson is the director of the Urban Teaching Initiatives Project at the University of Central Florida in the College of Community Innovation and Education. Additionally, she has written educational materials and coordinated forums on significant social, pedagogical, and educational equity matters. Prolific social justice advocate and scholar, Dr. Wilkerson serves as guest editor for the Urban Education Research and Policy Annuals Journal-Hillard Sizemore Special Edition, and Co-Editor of From Student to Scholar: How Colleges of Education Mentor Underserved Doctoral Students; A project of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Wilkerson seeks to build a better world through cooperation, collaboration, and
community action. As a part of her passion for higher education, Amanda is enhancing how students seize the promise of a post-secondary education through access. Specifically, she creates and manages collaborative partnerships that provide important services for underserved student populations. As a passionate supporter of civic engagement, Amanda continues to work across the state of Florida on community development projects, charitable missions, and advocacy initiatives for nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

Olivia Wheat

Olivia Wheat is a graduate student in the Special Education Department at Georgia State University. Miss Wheat holds degrees in Elementary education and Spanish and has a minor in psychology. She currently serves as a teacher for student with Autism. Miss Wheat is passionate about the special needs community, fostering inclusive learning environments, and building student-teacher relationships.

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is a recent graduate from Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Masters’ Program where he studied risk and resilience and student development. Prior to enrolling back into school, Michael served as a Partnership Specialist for the United States Census Bureau, Legislative Aide in the Massachusetts House of Representatives office of Small Business and Community Development and most recently served as a Case Manager at Youth Options Unlimited Boston. During his career, Michael has served on numerous boards and has received awards and recognition for community work. Michael received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia in the spring of 2009. Michael is a former board member of Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy, and a Founding Trustee for the Grove Hall Trust Neighborhood Foundation. Throughout the fall, winter and spring, Michael coaches Youth Basketball on Saturday Mornings with the No Books No Ball Basketball Program. Michael Williams’ LinkedIN

James C. Young

Dr. Young holds the rank of Professor of Early Childhood Education. His career has been divided between Georgia State University and Clark Atlanta University. He is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, Indiana State University and the University of Massachusetts. Dimensions: The Journal of Early Childhood Education, named Dr. Young as one of the top early childhood educators in the 20th century. He has authored more than forty journal articles and several books. His most recent books are Asa – Honoring His Life and His Work; and If Teachers’ Hands Were Not Tied.

Marquita S. Blades

Dr. Marquita S. Blades is an award-winning Educator, international speaker, Best-selling author, and education consultant with 16 years of experience as a high school science teacher and manager of national STEM programs for high-achieving high school students. Dr. Blades is the owner of Dr. Blades Consulting, which offers prescriptive solutions to learning institutions and individuals through professional development programs, curriculum & assessment writing, conference planning & programming, and individual teacher/education consultant coaching services.

Dr. Blades is also the founder of The Mediocre Teacher Project© which helps teachers avoid and battle through burnout by incorporating their unique gifts and talents into their daily practice. In 2017, Dr. Blades launched The Dr. Marquita Blades Show-Candid Conversations that Create Change, a radio show dedicated to discussing current trends and issues in education. Dr. Blades is a contributing author for The Whole Truth Anthology, the lead author for The Mediocre Teacher Project  and Chronicles of the Chronically Ill –both anthologies, POWARRful Teaching Strategies for Increasing Engagement & Collaboration While Maintaining Rigor in Science Courses.

Dr. Blades holds a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Broad Field Science from Georgia State University, a Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University, and a Doctor of Education in Instructional Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.  When she is not working, Dr. Blades enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling with her husband. Click here to learn more about Dr. Blades.