Featured Speakers

Dr. Christopher Emdin

Dr. Christopher Emdin, Professor of Science Education

Christopher Emdin is a social critic, public intellectual, and science advocate whose commentary on issues of race, culture, inequality, and education have appeared in dozens of influential periodicals, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, and Atlanta Journal Constitution.

He is an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he also serves as director of Secondary School Initiatives at the Urban Science Education Center.

Dr. Emdin is an expert on improving urban education, the intersection of hip-hop and education, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, politics, race, class, diversity, and youth empowerment. He is also an advisor to numerous international organizations, school districts, and schools where he delivers speeches and holds workshops/professional development sessions for students, teachers, policy makers, and other education stakeholders within the public and private sector.

Dr. Emdin writes the provocative “Emdin 5” series on a number of contemporary social issues for The Huffington Post and draws on his extensive experience as a former physics and chemistry teacher, school administrator, and urban education researcher to write about topics that range from school bullying and student protests to parental involvement and the political landscape of urban America. He is the author of the recently released, award-winning book Urban Science Education for the Hip-Hop Generation.

Christopher Emdin holds a PhD in urban education with a concentration in mathematics, science, and technology; master’s degrees in both natural sciences and education administration; and bachelor’s degrees in physical anthropology, biology, and chemistry.

Rethinking Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

Dr. Christopher Emdin explores participation and engagement in STEM fields and the ways that the education culture tracks students out of success in these disciplines. He uncovers reasons for youth disinterest in school and the STEM disciplines and how we can look for new educational approaches that foster participation and engagement in STEM without sacrificing rigor and content. This speech discusses what it takes to be a scientist; how educators, parents, and the general public can hone those skills in youth; and why we have no choice but to re-focus on creating a new STEM generation

Teaching & Learning from the Student’s Standpoint
In an age where terms like “multiculturalism” and “cultural relevance” have been littered across the educational landscape, teachers and administrators still have a challenging time implementing instructional approaches/tools that meet the needs of a diverse student population. Education speaker Christopher Emdin explores the current educational buzz words, bridges the divides between theory and practice, and provides tangible tools for educators on improving their practice.

Ako Kambon

Ako Kambon, Visionary Leaders Institute President

Ako Kambon, president of Visionary Leaders Institute, is a dynamic, versatile motivational speaker and trainer. Mr. Kambon is nationally recognized as a leader in the fields of educational consulting and designing and conducting leadership seminars for public and private educational institutions.

Appointed by an Ohio gubernatorial commission, Mr. Kambon served as executive administrator of The Ohio Commission on African American Males. Mr. Kambon created a school for African American males who were at-risk of entering the Ohio penal system. The school received tremendous recognition for its creative approach to reaching and teaching young men who were at-risk of falling through the crack.

Philosophically, Mr. Kambon is a great believer in the efficacy of public-private partnerships. “I am a profound believer in self-help,” he says. When it comes to community issues, “government should be a catalyst and supporter of local initiatives, but must not attempt to apply generic solutions to specific problems and situations.”

Similarly, Mr. Kambon is a strong advocate for the establishment of policies, programs, and procedures that engage parents in the education of their children. “Parents must be hands-on participants in the educational process – active partners with teachers and administrators,” he says. “Getting parents involved often requires special effort and carefully devised programmatic approaches. This is especially true in multi-cultural environments where there may be race, class, and communications issues to overcome.”

Mr. Kambon and his wife, Hanifah – a recently retired teacher in the Columbus Public Schools – are the parents of three daughters.

FEATURED SESSION: Understanding, Reaching and Teaching the 21st Century Student
American’s educational landscape is changing; especially in urban America! Not only is the classroom more diverse, but also the learning styles, values and norms of students (and parents) have dramatically changed. Many educators have not yet accepted that this change requires a different style of classroom instruction. Whether we like it or not, accept it or not, the teaching strategies of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s do not work for today’s students. This workshop will explain what is happening, how to adjust, and still reach our goal of academic excellence! Most importantly, however, this workshop will suggest practical, everyday classroom solutions to the problems faced by teachers and administrators who are working with the 21st Century learner.

Randall B. Lindsey

Randall B. Lindsey, author of Cultural Proficiency

Randall B. Lindsey is emeritus professor at California State University, Los Angeles and has a practice centered on educational consulting and issues related to equity and access. Prior to higher education faculty roles, he served as a junior and senior high school history teacher, a district office administrator for school desegregation, and executive director of a non-profit corporation. All of his experiences have been in working with diverse populations and his area of study is the behavior of white people in multicultural settings. It is his belief and experience that too often white people are observers of multicultural issues rather than personally involved with them. He works with colleagues to design and implement programs for and with schools, law enforcement agencies, and community-based organizations to provide access and achievement. He and his wife and frequent co-author, Delores, are enjoying this phase of life as grandparents, as educators, and in support of just causes that extend the promises of democracy throughout society in authentic ways.

FEATURED SESSION: Culturally Proficient Education: An Asset-Based Response to Conditions of Poverty
This session is for educators to learn how to identify and develop the strengths of students from low-income backgrounds. Reflection and dialogue are held as effective learning community resources to address issues such as:

  • What are “assets” that students bring to school?
  • In what ways do we operate from an “assets-based” perspective?
  • What are my and my school’s expectations about students from low-income and impoverished backgrounds?
  • In what ways do I foster challenging conversations with colleagues?
  • In what ways do I extend my own learning?

Monica and Marla Marsh

(left to right) Monica M. Marsh, M.Ed. and Marla M. Marsh, M.Ed, co-authors “Woven Traditions”, a Cultural Competency Curriculum

Monica M. Marsh, M.Ed., has accumulated more than 29 years experience in public education. Most recently she serves as Supervisor of Special Services for Butler Technology Career Development Schools, in Hamilton, Ohio.

Marla M. Marsh, M.Ed., has accrued more than 29 years experience in public education. Most recently she serves as the Middle School Principal for Highview Sixth Grade Center for the Middletown City Schools District, in Middletown, Ohio.

Educationally, both Marla Marsh and Monica Marsh earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Education from The Ohio State University and Master of Science degrees in Curriculum and Supervision for Wright State University. Both Monica and Marla have extensive experience designing and conducting workshops, seminars and training for educators at the local, state and national level. Marla has conducted workshops at state conferences for the Ohio School Board Association and Middletown City Schools. Monica has conducted workshops for High Schools That Work, Career Technical Equity in Education Council and National Alliance Partnership in Equity. Both Marla and Monica have presented at a regional conference for Accelerated School, three times at the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association Annual conference in Lexington, Kentucky. In addition, they have co-authored “Woven Traditions” – a Cultural Competency Curriculum (including the 21st Century Skills Cultural Competency Career Portfolio & Character Education Curriculum) which has been featured in Racing Toward Diversity Magazine (January, 2011).

Marla and Monica share their expertise in Cultural Competency Training by serving as co-authors of a 30-Cultural Competency Curriculum (now one of the four courses which fill a “general education requirement” for all students – at The Ohio state University) and Consultants for Did You Know Publishing, Inc. – Cincinnati, Ohio.

FEATURED SESSION: Cultural Competence: It’s What’s For Dinner!
The Woven Traditions curriculum is most unique in that it does not utilize classroom teachers to teach cultural competence in isolation as most facilitators of learning are overwhelmed with academics and can’t add one more thing “to their plate.”  Instead, Woven Traditions facilitators show how what is currently being served on their plate has to change.  The ‘Educational Plate’ has become full with Common Core State Standards, 21st Century Learning skills, College and Career readiness, Character Education and Bullying Prevention.  The authors of the Common Core State Standards clearly view global awareness as an essential feature of college and career readiness.  The standards explicitly call for learners to learn about global histories and cultures through literature and informational texts from across genres, eras, and world regions.  However, despite this endorsement of global learning, many Common Core resources lack an international dimension.To overlook the global aspect of the Common Core would constitute not only a failure in implementing the standards, but also in preparing learners for successful college, career, and life experiences.  To thrive in today’s global society, learners need to exercise key 21st century skills; being able to communicate and collaborate across cultures and regions.

Lloyd D. Martin, Ph.D.

Lloyd D. Martin, Ph.D., Universal School Solutions President and CEO

Lloyd D. Martin is focused, committed and fully engaged in providing educator-training services, executive coaching, human capital management, as well as supporting the academic and employment-related services needed by school districts.

His primary mission is on improving student achievement through the effective development of administrators, teachers, and school boards. Dr. Martin is a well respected veteran educator with an abundance of experience within small and large urban school and districts. He has served as a teacher, school administrator, principal, district level administrator and superintendent of schools. He has led school reform work with an exceptional record of success over years.

Dr. Martin earned a B.S. in Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Dayton located in Dayton, Ohio. He earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership also from the University of Dayton. Dr. Martin has served as an adjunct professor and continues to provide (for school districts and at Regional and National Conferences throughout the United States) presentations on how educators can effectively use scientifically based research to navigate the effects of culture, poverty and race to improve student performance. He truly believes that all students can reach their maximum learning potential whenever educators reach and fulfill their maximum teaching potential; it is his mission as an educator to assist in this process.

FEATURED SESSION: Navigating Culture, Poverty, and Race in America’s Schools
This interactive session will provide educators the knowledge needed to transition from a theoretical understanding of the Common Core to its practical application, introducing the ‘Cultural Competency Character Development Career Portfolio’. This portfolio is an imperative, practical tool which emphasizes global learning and awareness.

Tish Norman

Tish Norman, M.Ed, founder of Transforming Leaders Now

Tish Norman, M.Ed is the founder of Transforming Leaders Now, Inc., a consulting company that provides educational programs in leadership and personal development. She has been educating students and addressing large crowds for more than a decade and is an influential voice on topics like African-American culture, women, leadership, and education.

This former educator, is the author of the forthcoming Calling All Greeks to the Floor, Powerful Lessons in Fraternity/Sorority Leadership, co-author of the empowerment book From Mediocre to Magnificent, and was profiled as one of the “New Leaders in 2010” in Campus Activities Magazine. She is the host of her self-titled Internet radio show, and has had feature articles published in Connections Magazine and The Future Business Leader Educational Journal.

Tish was previously in show business, having spotlighted in motion pictures like Phone Booth, Two Can Play That Game, and A View from the Top. She’s also appeared on television’s Boston Public, The Practice and The Jamie Foxx Show. She is a former beauty queen, having held the titles of Miss Black Cincinnati, Miss San Diego All-American, and 1st runner up to Miss Black California. Her greatest passion, however, is using humor, energy, and stylish motivation to deliver her highly regarded programs that teach audiences practical approaches to valuable success strategies.

This award-winning speaker has addressed audiences in 39 states, nationwide, as well as Ireland, Scotland, Australia, The UK, and The British Virgin Islands. Tish volunteers in our community by speaking at Black College Expos, and through memberships in service organizations, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The Links, Inc. Tish is a cum laude graduate of Kentucky State University and earned a Masters in Education from Pepperdine University.

Javier Sanchez

Author, Performer, Filmmaker, Youth Advocate

Javier Sanchez is a product of effective, cutting edge, youth leadership programming and now wants every young person he comes in contact with to have the same opportunity to experience life to the fullest that he has had. Since 1992, Javier has been an advocate for youth and has been encouraging teens to realize that once they catch a vision and a sense of purpose for their life, there are NO LIMITS to their potential. He believes that positive change comes when people get beyond wanting, wishing, or hoping it happens, but actually take the steps to make it happen.

He practices what he preaches as well. After being effectively mentored in the Youth to Youth International program, Javier made a major move, packing his bags and heading to the Cayman Islands. There he worked for a Government sponsored Youth Development Program. This work kept him in front of young audiences as a motivational speaker, teacher, and performer. Javier continues to have the opportunity to deliver life building messages to youth and adults all over the planet while keeping them entertained through comedy, spoken word poetry, and powerful stories from his own life.

In 2008 he wrote his first book entitled “Look In My Mirror.” It’s a very special book for Fathers and Daughters that has taken the world by storm. His next release will be a book for Fathers and Sons as well a very exciting project for youth and adults that is all about adding process to your passion.

Javier writes, produces, and performs his material at schools, conferences, and community/faith-based events across the United States and around the globe, but the best part of the work he does is coming home to his two beautiful children.

FEATURED SESSION: Who C.A.R.E.S. – Moving the 21st Century Student from Inspiration to Action
Young people gravitate towards who they feel truly care about them. Before the learning and personal growth process can begin it is vital that we establish a culture of care. Participants will walk away with a new or renewed passion for student engagement as well as practical tools and resources that are immediately applicable, engaging, relevant, and fun.

Paramjit Singh

Paramjit Singh, Leadership Cleveland

Paramjit Singh, a member of Leadership Cleveland, is the longest Sikh resident of Ohio. He is the Principal of Productive Group, Inc., a Professional Engineer and has a MBA from Case Western Reserve University. Since January 2013 he has embarked on a mission to ensure that Ohio Education System incorporates multicultural education to meet the future needs of a global Ohio. Today, people come from a wide array of cultures including Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa; whereas, earlier generations of immigrants came from mostly western and northern Europe. Schools play an important role preparing students for the responsibilities of an ever-changing diverse and global society.

Dylan Wiliam

Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London

Dylan Wiliam is Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London.

After a first degree in mathematics and physics, and one year teaching in a private school, he taught in inner-city schools for seven years, during which time he earned further degrees in mathematics and mathematics education.

In 1984 he joined Chelsea College, University of London, which later became part of King’s College London. During this time he worked on developing innovative assessment schemes in mathematics before taking over the leadership of the mathematics teacher education program at King’s.

Between 1989 and 1991 he was the Academic Coordinator of the Consortium for Assessment and Testing in Schools, which developed a variety of statutory and non-statutory assessments for the national curriculum of England and Wales.

After his return to King’s, he completed his PhD, addressing some of the technical issues thrown up by the adoption of a system of age-independent criterion-referenced levels of attainment in the national curriculum of England and Wales.

From 1996 to 2001 he was the Dean and Head of the School of Education at King’s College London, and from 2001 to 2003, he served as Assistant Principal of the College. In 2003 he moved to the USA, as Senior Research Director at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. In 2006 he returned to the UK as Deputy Director of the Institute of Education, University of London. In 2010 he stood down as Deputy Director to spend more time on research and teaching.

His recent work has focused on the use of assessment to support learning (sometimes called formative assessment). He was the co-author, with Paul Black of a major review of the research evidence on formative assessment published in 1998 and has subsequently worked with many groups of teachers, in both the UK and the USA, on developing formative assessment practices.

FEATURED SESSION: Classroom Formative Assessment: What it is and What it isn’t
Formative assessment has a significant impact on student achievement, but there is less agreement on what formative assessment is. In this session, Dylan Wiliam will describe why it is essential to see formative assessment as a part of regular teaching, rather than an additional process conducted at the end of teaching, and participants will learn a number of practical techniques they can use to develop their own practice of formative assessment.



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