Our Story

Since 2005, the Sources of Urban Educational Excellence Conference has shaped discourse on the factors that define the social and academic experiences of children in urban communities and schools. The genesis of this conference was steeped in the affirmation of urban students and the teachers and their work to positively transform their own lives. From its inception, Sources has set out to share the reminder that brilliance in urban education is not unique and that the College of Education & Human Development produces teachers and leaders who are experts in the cultivation of urban educational excellence.

Dr. Asa Hilliard III (Nana Baffour Amankwatia II)

Dr. Asa Hilliard III (Nana Baffour Amankwatia II) (1933-2007), former Georgia State University Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education, is the visionary behind the Sources Conference. It was always Dr. Hilliard’s desire to have public space to share ideas about the Afro-diasporic experience, the conditions of urban communities and best practices in serving urban children. In the winter of 2004, Dr. Hilliard expressed to Dr. Susan Crim-McClendon, the Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence’s associate director at the time, his interest in creating opportunities for students in the College of Education to present such work. Dr. Crim-McClendon supported that idea and immediately began reaching out across the Georgia State campus and the Atlanta community to develop a conference that would highlight urban education practitioners’ work while also highlighting effective models of urban teaching and community building. In 2005, Dr. Susan Crim-McClendon gave life to Dr. Hilliard’s vision and the Sources Conference was born.

Dr. Susan Crim-McClendon


The Sources of Urban Educational Excellence Conference connects all community members to the issue of quality education as a human right. What once started as a small conference highlighting the work of students in two College of Education & Human Development master’s degree programs has now developed into the premier urban education conference in the Southeast. It has become a place for students, teachers, religious leaders, non-profits, lawmakers and other community members to present their work and learn best practices for enhancing education in urban schools and communities.

Our Name

The name of the Sources Conference was derived from the journal used by students in the College of Education & Human Development’s Urban Teacher Leadership program, where Dr. Hilliard served as a professor and mentor. The first Sources Conference was held in the Georgia State University Student Center at the end of Spring 2005. On that day, Dr. Hilliard served as the first Sources keynote speaker. The initial participants were students in the college’s Urban Teacher Leadership master’s program and the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education’s Urban Accelerated Certification and Master’s program. These students were already responsible for presenting “problem-solution” projects as an academic requirement. The Sources Conference provided them with a platform to present their ideas at a conference. Professors and other students also attended the conference, providing support for presenters and establishing a safe space to discuss the challenges and successes in urban education.

sources logo

Planning for the 12th Annual Sources of Educational Excellence Conference is underway! Click here to learn more