2015 Conference Speakers

Derek Black is a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law. His areas of expertise include education law and policy, constitutional law, civil rights, evidence, and torts. The focus of his current scholarship is the intersection of constitutional law and public education, particularly as it pertains to educational equality and fairness for disadvantaged students. His earlier work focused more heavily on intentional discrimination standards. His articles have been published in the California Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Boston University Law Review, William & Mary Law Review, Boston College Law Review, and North Carolina Law Review, among various others. His work has also been cited in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and by several briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Prior to teaching, he litigated issues relating to school desegregation, diversity, school finance equity, student discipline, and special education at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He left the Lawyers’ Committee to begin a career in teaching at Howard University School of Law, where he also founded and directed the Education Rights Center. The Center studies the causes and extent of educational inequalities in public schools, provides advocacy resources to parents, and attempts to shape national and local education policy.  He attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a member of the Law Review for two years, was awarded the Dan Pollitt ACLU fellowship in his third year, and graduated with High Honors.


Dr. Yvonne Brandon served Richmond Public Schools for 36 years in various capacities, moving through the ranks from substitute teacher, teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, principal, director of instruction, deputy superintendent and associate superintendent to superintendent. During her tenure 100 percent of the schools in Richmond Public Schools received full state accreditation as measured by student performance on the VA Standards of Learning Assessments.  She also launched regional pre-school centers that intentionally included diverse three and four year old learners. She also marshalled a building campaign to build four schools; including the first new high school to be built in 40 years.  Dr. Yvonne W. Brandon has returned to Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) after a long career in K-12 public education.   In 1990, she was a project coordinator at VCU for a peer- and teacher-led intervention program. Recently she has served on the inaugural collaborative planning committee comprised of representatives from VCU School of Education, VCU Wilder School of Public Policy, Housing Virginia and other volunteers to develop and facilitate groundbreaking symposia focused on housing & schools for educators, housing experts and public officials.  The topics for these conferences focused on student success, housing and changing community demographics. She has also served as a mentor/coach to first-year superintendents and other district administrators.  Dr. Brandon has made presentations to numerous local, state and national audiences. Most notably, she provided insight to the Joint House Staff Committee on the Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind; provided testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension; and has made several presentations at Harvard University. Dr. Brandon received her Doctor of Education in Supervision and Administration degree from Nova Southeastern University, her Master of Education in Guidance Counseling degree from Virginia State University and her Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from Randolph-Macon College. She also is a graduate of the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy.


John Brittain joined the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, in 2009, as a tenured professor of law. He had previously served as Dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of law at Texas Southern University in Houston, as a tenured law professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law for twenty-two years, and as Chief Counsel and Senior Deputy Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, D.C., a public interest law organization founded by President John F. Kennedy to enlist private lawyers in taking pro bono cases in civil rights.  Professor Brittain writes and litigates on issues in civil and human rights, especially in education law. In 2015, the Mississippi Center for Justice honored him as a “pioneering civil rights leader and esteemed law professor who has inspired a generation of young attorneys.” In 2013, he was named to the Charles Hamilton Houston Chair at North Carolina Central University School of Law, established to bring prominent civil rights law professors and litigators to the law school to teach constitutional and civil rights law for a year. Professor Brittain was one of the original counsel team in Sheff v. O’Neill, the landmark school desegregation case decided by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1996, chronicled in Susan Eaton’s book, The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial, in which he is frequently mentioned. He is presently a part of a legal team representing private plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the State of Maryland for denying Maryland’s historically black institutions of higher learning – Morgan, Coppin, Bowie and Maryland Eastern Shore Universities – comparable and competitive opportunities with traditional white universities.


Michael Brosnan is the long-time editor of Independent School, an award-winning quarterly magazine on precollegiate education that has included dozens of diversity-related articles and themes over the years. He is also the author of three monographs on diversity in independent schools. including From Assimilation to Inclusion; How White Educators and Educators of Color Can Make Diversity Work and Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color. He is also the author of Against the Current, a book about inner-city kids at risk of dropping out.


Sarah Camiscoli is the founder and director of IntegrateNYC4me and a public high school teacher at the Bronx Academy of Letters.  IntegrateNYC4me is a NYC-based grassroots organization that seeks to transform NYC public schools into more equitable, sound, integrated learning communities by engaging students, parents, teachers, and administrators with political leaders, academics, advocates, and artists to advocate for integration efforts that best serve their school communities.


Rebecca Copeland is a lifelong native of Halifax County, NC. She is deeply rooted in her small rural community known as Medoc. She has been a community advocate for almost twenty years. Ms. Copeland is a founding member of the Coalition for Education and Economic Security in Halifax (C.E.E.S.) and has served as the Chair for the past four years. She is a mother, grandmother and the founder of “Call to Rise Ministries” of Enfield, NC.


Martha Deeds is the Manager of Special Projects at Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) in Connecticut. In this role she manages CREC’s participation in the Connecticut Coalition for Magnet Schools, organizing the CREC community to advocate on behalf of magnet schools in large-scale legislative campaigns. She has extensive nonprofit experience in managing community partnerships in support of vulnerable populations, as well as an expertise in legislative affairs, government and policy.  Martha’s previous experience includes serving as Special Assistant to the Commissioner of Education, coordinating the Pathways to Independence Program for chronically homeless adults at Columbus House, Inc. and managing residential programs for adolescents at the North American Family Institute. Martha holds a Bachelor in Social Work Degree from Southern Connecticut State University.


John B. Diamond is the Hoefs-Bascom Associate Professor of Education in the department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and a faculty affiliate in the departments of Afro-American Studies and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. A sociologist of education, he studies the relationship between social inequality and educational opportunity examining how educational leadership, policies, and practices shape students’ educational opportunities and outcomes. Throughout his career, Diamond has consistently worked to build collaborative relationships across educational levels and to reduce the divide between research, policy, and practice around issues of educational inequality. He served as the first Research Director for the Minority Students Achievement Network (a national consortium of school districts working to address the racial disparities in students’ outcomes), working with district leaders to study patterns of racial inequality in their schools and enact practices to reduce such inequalities.


Mark Dorosin is the Managing Attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights. In that role, he oversees and coordinates the Center’s litigation and advocacy agenda in its core program areas, Educational Advancement and Fair Opportunities andCommunity Inclusion. The Center’s work in these areas focuses on the most prominent impacts of racial exclusion, including inadequate or substandard housing; lack of basic infrastructure and beneficial economic development; targeting of environmental hazards or socially disfavored land uses; restrictions on civic engagement and political participation; and discriminatory school district boundaries, and school siting, attendance zones and student assignment decisions.  Dorosin joined the UNC Center for Civil Rights in 2008, and became Managing Attorney in 2009. He teaches Political and Civil Rights at the law school and is the faculty advisor to the Julius Chambers Civil Rights Moot Court team. In 2010, Dorosin was chosen as the Pro Bono Faculty Member of the Year.  He also serves on the Orange County Board of Commissioners.  Dorosin is a graduate of Duke University and received a master’s degree from UNC-Greensboro and a law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1994. Prior to joining the Center for Civil Rights, Dorosin worked for the Duke University School of Law as the supervising attorney in the Community Enterprise Clinic. Dorosin has also worked as an attorney and loan servicing officer at Self-Help, a leading North Carolina community development corporation. He was an assistant clinical professor of law and the interim director of the UNC Law School Community Development Law Clinic during the 2003-04 academic year. Prior to that, he was a partner at Chapel Hill law firm concentrating on civil rights, constitutional law and employment discrimination.


Susan Eaton is Professor of Practice at Heller and Director of the Sillerman Center at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management.  Previously, Susan was Research Director at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. Her scholarly and research interests center around the causes and cures for unequal opportunities for racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities in the United States. She is particularly concerned about the challenges of schooling and child rearing in high-poverty, urban neighborhoods. She has lectured, studied and written about related subjects for two decades as a journalist, scholar and activist across the United States, in South Africa and in Japan.Susan is author, most recently, of The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial (Algonquin, 2007), a narrative book that interweaves the stories of a landmark contemporary civil rights case and an urban classroom in Hartford, Connecticut. She is also author of The Other Boston Busing Story: What’s Won and Lost Across the Boundary Line (Yale, 2001), which explores the adult lives of African-Americans who’d participated in a voluntary, urban to suburban school desegregation program as children. She is also co-author, with Gary Orfield, of Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown v. Board of Education (New Press, 1996), an overview of recent and tragically overlooked jurisprudence on school desegregation.


William “Bill” Ferguson was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 2010, then becoming the youngest ever-elected State Senator in Maryland’s history. Bill is currently serving as State Senator for Maryland’s 46th Legislative District. The 46th Legislative District is located entirely within Baltimore City, including neighborhoods in south Baltimore, downtown near and around the Inner Harbor, and southeast Baltimore.  A lifelong Maryland resident, Bill made Baltimore City his home when he joined Teach for America after graduating from Davidson College with a double major in political science and economics. From 2005 to 2007, Bill taught U.S. history and U.S. government to ninth and tenth graders in a breakout academy of one of Baltimore’s most challenged high schools.  The inequities of the public education system in Baltimore City led Bill to engage more deeply within the community outside of the schoolhouse. After teaching, Bill worked as a Community Liaison for the Baltimore City Council President’s Office; earned a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law; and served as the Special Assistant to Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools. Through these pursuits, Ferguson continually drew from his classroom experiences to find ways to bring new resources and greater attention to the city’s educational achievement gap.


Aderson Francois is a Professor of Law and the Supervising Attorney of the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Federal Civil Rights, and Supreme Court Jurisprudence. In 2008, the Transition Team of President Barack Obama appointed Professor Francois Lead Agency Reviewer for the United States Commission on Civil Rights.  He has testified before Congress on civil rights issues and drafted numerous briefs to the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of California, the Supreme Court of Iowa, and Maryland’s highest court on such civil rights matters as equal protection in education, employment discrimination, voting rights, marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the right to a fair criminal trial.  He received his J.D. from New York University School, clerked for the late Honorable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, became an associate in the litigation department in the New York Offices of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, provided pro bono death penalty representation to inmates before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and served as a Special Assistant in with the United States Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C. Before joining Howard’s faculty, Professor François was the Assistant Director of the Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law.


Dr. Lourenço Garcia is an award winning educator with more than twenty years of teaching, research, administrative, and consultancy experience. He has completed his studies in Russia, Cape Verde, and the United States, having received his Doctorate in Leadership in Urban Schools and Special Education and Disability Policy from UMass Boston. Dr. Garcia has worked as an Adjunct Professor at UMass Boston, teaching “The Culture of Urban Schools” in the Graduate School of Education and as an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern University in Boston, teaching “The Socio-cultural Context of Teaching and Learning.” As a principal, he has restructured the school by designing and implementing innovative, student-centered, and results-driven structures and programs rooted in the 21st century learning model.  Dr. Garcia is a polyglot with a burning interest in learning other languages and cultures — he is fluent in six languages, including Cape Verdean, Portuguese, English, Spanish, Russian, and French, and proficient in Romanian and Italian. He is a firm believer in the constructionist learning theory, as a paradigm for teaching and learning, and an admirer of Paulo Freire — one of the central architects of critical pedagogy worldwide. His areas of expertise include urban educational leadership, school redesign, student-centered and flipped learning models, curriculum, instruction and assessment, second-language acquisition, cross-cultural and inter-cultural communication, politics and education, and special education and disability policy.  Dr. Garcia has extensively written and presented on these themes.


Kelly Gardner is a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, where she represents the United States in school discrimination cases filed pursuant to various federal statutes, including Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974.  Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Gardner was an associate in the Washington office of Jenner & Block LLP and the New York office of Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.  She also served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Reena Raggi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  Ms. Gardner received her B.A. from Washington University – St. Louis and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.


Janel George is Senior Education Policy Counsel at LDF, where she uses legislative and policy advocacy to promote racial justice and equal opportunity. She works with a broad coalition of stakeholders within coalitions and campaigns to eliminate racial disparities and promote equitable school policies and practices.  Ms. George also works closely with the Dignity in Schools campaign to promote positive and inclusive school discipline policies and curb the use of exclusionary and overly-punitive disciplinary practices that fuel the school-to-prison pipeline and limit educational opportunities for all students. Prior to joining LDF, Ms. George served for half a decade as Legislative Counsel and Legislative Assistant to a senior Senator and junior Member of the House of Representatives. In her roles, Ms. George managed education, health care, judiciary, and other domestic policy issues, and participated in the crafting and implementation of comprehensive health care reform and other key legislation. She also advised on a wide range of civil rights issues – including fair pay for women, the reauthorization of Title IV-E waivers in the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, theDREAM Act, higher education affordability legislation, and anti-bullying legislation.  Ms. George received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she served as a Managing Editor of the Wisconsin Law Review, was awarded for highest achievement in family law, represented incarcerated clients in the Family Law Project, and was honored by the Wisconsin Association of African American Lawyers, Foley and Lardner, and the Children’s Justice Project. She graduated cum laude from Spelman College. She has authored papers on reproductive justice and civil rights, and frequently speaks on those issues.


Andrew Grant-Thomas is a consultant on race and social justice issues and Co-Founder, with his wife, Melissa, of EmbraceRace, an online community that supports adults to nurture racially inclusive and literate children. Andrew was previously a researcher at the Civil Rights Project at Harvard, Deputy Director at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, and Director of Programs at the Proteus Fund. He earned his PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.


Elizabeth Haddix joined the UNC Center for Civil Rights in 2010. After earning her B.A. from Duke University in 1992, Elizabeth Haddix taught Spanish at Southwest Edgecombe High School near Pine Tops, NC. She earned her J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1998, and was awarded a fellowship from the National Association for Public Interest Law, which she used to represent low-income workers as a staff attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center. Haddix then entered private practice with the employment and civil rights firm of Edelstein & Payne in Raleigh, NC, and continued to represent workers as support attorney to UE Local 150, the NC Public Service Workers Union, whose principal challenge continues to be winning public employee collective bargaining rights for North Carolina workers. Since 2005, Haddix has had a solo law practice serving low-income workers across the state, many of whom speak only Spanish, Haddix’s second language. Haddix specialized in employment discrimination claims under both state and federal law.


Nikole Hannah-Jones is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine covering racial injustice. Prior to joining The Times, Hannah-Jones spent the last few years at the non-profit investigative reporting organization, ProPublica, where she investigated the way segregation in housing and schools is created and maintained through official action. Her 2014 investigation into school resegregation  won two Online News Association awards, the Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service, the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting and was a National Magazine Award finalist.


Leticia Smith-Evans Haynes is Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity at Williams College.  She is a leading civil rights advocate and a strong proponent of utilizing multi-stakeholder approaches to close educational opportunity gaps.  Prior to assuming her current role, Leticia directed the work of the educational practice at the NAACP LDF, was an associate at O’Melveny & Meyers, a judicial law clerk to the late Honorable Dickinson R Debevoise of the United STates District Court for the District of New Jersey, a policy advisor to former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and a public school teacher.  She has served as adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Education.  Leticia received a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and B.A. from Williams College.


David G. Hinojosa, J.D., is IDRA’s National Director of Policy. In this role, he supports integration and coordination of national policy reform efforts impacting the education of all students, with special emphasis on minority, low-income, ELL and recent immigrant populations. Mr. Hinojosa received his bachelor’s degree with honors certificate from New Mexico State University and earned his J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law in 2000. Previously, Mr. Hinojosa served as a staff attorney, senior litigator, and, for three years, as Southwest Regional Counsel, directing the office’s litigation and policy work for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s premier Latino civil rights law firm. While with MALDEF, he became a leading litigator and advocate in the area of civil rights, with a focus on educational civil rights impact litigation and policy. Among the most recent cases, Mr. Hinojosa served as MALDEF’s lead counsel in Edgewood ISD vs. Williams, where he represented low-income and English language learner (ELL) students and property-poor school districts in a challenge to the inequity and inadequacy of the Texas public school finance system. He successfully tried the case over three months and the case is now on appeal.  


Christie Huck is Executive Director of City Garden Montessori Charter School. With a background in community organizing and social activism, Christie entered the education reform movement as a parent and community member concerned about education equity and integration in schools. She worked with City Garden’s founder and parents to develop the first Montessori and neighborhood charter school in Missouri. City Garden, which opened as a charter school in 2008, provides children with a rigorous, individualized education with a focus on social justice. Christie lives in St. Louis’s Shaw neighborhood with her three children. 


Mali Jimenez was born in Peru and her family immigrated to the US when she was four years old. Having been raised in the Washington, DC area, Mali considers this city home and is very familiar with the many sides of Washington, DC. She worked for several years in housing and she recently completed her Masters in Social Work and is now a social worker at the DC Veteran’s hospital and currently works in the homeless program. She is also the proud mother of Zenni Vitarello, Jubilee JumpStart alum!


Rucker Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His graduate and postdoctoral training is in labor and health economics. He received his Ph.D. in economics in 2002 from the University of Michigan and was the recipient of three national dissertation awards. Johnson was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy from 2002 to 2004. His work considers the role of poverty and inequality in affecting life chances. He has focused on such topics as low-wage labor markets, spatial mismatch, the societal consequences of incarceration, the socioeconomic determinants of health disparities over the life course, and the effects of growing up poor and poor infant health on childhood cognition, child health, educational attainment, and later-life health and socioeconomic success.


John B. King, Jr. (@JohnKingatED) is the Senior Advisor Delegated Duties of Deputy Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), a position he assumed in January 2015. In this role, Dr. King oversees a broad range of management, policy, and program functions including Elementary and Secondary Education, Early Learning, English Language Acquisition, Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Innovation and Improvement, and Department operations.King joined ED after serving at the helm of the New York State Education Department (NYSED) from 2011 to 2015. In 2011, he was named the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner. As Commissioner, King served as chief executive officer of NYSED and president of the University of the State of New York (USNY), with responsibility for overseeing the state’s elementary and secondary schools (serving 3.1 million students), public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities, libraries, museum, and numerous other educational institutions. Before arriving at NYSED in 2009 as Senior Deputy Commissioner, King was a Managing Director with Uncommon Schools, the nonprofit organization managing some of the highest performing urban public schools in New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. He also co-founded and led the nationally recognized Roxbury Preparatory Charter School (Roxbury Prep) in Boston. Under his leadership, Roxbury Prep’s predominantly low-income students earned the highest state exam scores of any urban, public middle school in Massachusetts, closed the achievement gap, and outperformed students in the Boston city schools, as well as schools in the nearby affluent suburbs. King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston. He holds a B.A from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an M.A. and Ed.D. from Teachers College at Columbia University. King currently resides in Takoma Park, Maryland with his wife, Melissa, and their two daughters.


Brad Lander is a New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 39th District, and a leader on issues of affordable housing, livable communities, the environment, and public education. Named one of “Today’s Social Justice Heroes” by The Nation magazine, Lander is co-founder of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and was one of the first councilmembers to bring “participatory budgeting” to his district, giving residents the power to decide which projects to support with their tax dollars. Prior to serving in the City Council, Brad directed the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Fifth Avenue Committee, a nationally-recognized community development organization.


For over 20 years, Dr. Tammy Mann has worked in the nonprofit sector in agencies devoted to improving outcomes for young children and their families. Prior to joining The Campagna Center, Dr. Mann held senior executive positions at the Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at UNCF and ZERO TO THREE.  Dr. Mann has played an active role in shaping the field of early childhood development through numerous service and professional endeavors.  In 2012, she was appointed Commissioner of the Children, Youth, and Families Collaborative Commission in Alexandria.  She was also elected as an at-large member to serve on the Governing Board of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and has an Affiliate Associate Professor appointment at George Mason University in the College of Education and Human Development.  In addition, she has worked as an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses in human development, at Howard University.


Timothy Martinez a lead student organizer for IntegrateNYC4me and a public high school student at the Bronx Academy of Letters.  IntegrateNYC4me is a NYC-based grassroots organization that seeks to transform NYC public schools into more equitable, sound, integrated learning communities by engaging students, parents, teachers, and administrators with political leaders, academics, advocates, and artists to advocate for integration efforts that best serve their school communities.  Timothy took a lead role in the 2014-2015 school year in advocating for higher quality free lunch and kitchen equipment for students attending minority segregated public schools in the NYC DOE.


For more than a decade, Sarah McLean has held a number of executive roles within the public and nonprofit sector. Prior to the program, Sarah served as the Chief of Staff for Teach for America’s Regional Operations team charged with the support and management of their 50+ regions.  Four years preceding that, Sarah was an executive in the Baltimore City Public Schools’ district office, including Special Assistant to the superintendent, Dr. Andrés Alonso.  In this role, she led and managed special projects related to the CEO’s reform agenda, including the development of the executive senior leadership team, the reorganization of the district office and the development of a school leadership pipeline.  This work was deeply rooted in her experience as a classroom teacher of middle school students for 6 years, in Baltimore and abroad in Guatemala City.   During her time in the classroom, she also co-founded an entrepreneurial teacher-to-teacher professional development (PD) program that ultimately was adopted by the system as its primary teacher PD delivery mechanism. Additionally, in 2008 Sarah co-founded a charter middle school focused on the the physical, emotional and academic health of under-served middle school students in Baltimore. Sarah just finished her first year in the education leadership development (Ed.L.D.) doctoral program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and has spent considerable time this year serving as a research and policy consultant for school integration efforts in her home state of MD.


Roslyn Arlin Mickelson is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, Women and Gender Studies, and Information Technology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She taught high school social studies in southern California for nine years prior to enrolling in her doctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. After she received her Ph.D. Mickelson spent a postdoctoral fellowship year at the University of Michigan’s Bush Program in Child Development and Social Policy. Mickelson is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and the National Educational Policy Center.  Mickelson’s research focuses upon the political economy of schooling and school reform, particularly the relationships among race, ethnicity, gender, class, and educational organization, processes, and outcomes. Since the late 1990s she has investigated school desegregation and resegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina and more recently, across the nation. She developed a searchable database, the Spivack Archive, which holds almost 600 detailed summaries of empirical research about the relationship between school racial and socioeconomic composition and school outcomes (http://spivack.org).


Jeff Miller is vice president of communications for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (The Leadership Conference), the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. In that role, he guides the development of strategic communications across multiple platforms to educate and move target audiences to support advancements in social justice. Prior to joining The Leadership Conference in 2009, Mr. Miller worked as a communications director for The Justice Project, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to fighting injustice and creating a more humane and just world, and for Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California. For more than two decades, Mr. Miller was a newspaper reporter and editor. Mr. Miller is a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. in journalism.


Melissa Moskowitz has worked for over 15 years in the NYC public school system. She has held the leadership roles of teacher, coach, and facilitator.  She started out her career at a progressive integrated/inclusive secondary 6-12 school in NYC. As a coach, Melissa supported, shaped and highlighted what elements make for a strong school.  Melissa has a Masters’ in Education from New York University (1998) and a Master’s in Educational Leadership for Educational Change from Bank Street College (2014).While there,she wrote about her experience facilitating inclusive schools and classrooms that depend on interdependence among teachers and students. Melissa achieved National Board Certification for Students with Exceptional Needs in 2012.  Melissa works on several committees: theD15 Diversity Committee as both a parent and an educator drawing upon her experience helping create a diverse student body at Park Slope Collegiate. Parents for Middle School Equity Group(D15).  She collaborates with IntergrateNYC4Me to help students, parents and educators to build meaningful integrated experiences.


Amy Hawn Nelson is the Director of Social Research for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the Director of the Institute for Social Capital, Inc., an integrated data system charged with supporting university research and enhancing data-based decision-making in the Charlotte region. She is a co-editor of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: School Desegregation and Resegregation in Charlotte (Feb. 2015, Harvard Education Press). She is a Charlotte native and proud graduate of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Prior to joining the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2012, Hawn Nelson served as a teacher and school leader for 11 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction and Masters’ degrees in Teaching and in School Administration. Her research interests include long-term schooling outcomes, data-informed decision making, and integrated data systems. She is an active member of the community, serving several civic-based organizations in Charlotte.


Professor Myron Orfield is the Director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity. He has written three books and dozens of articles and book chapters on local government law, spatial inequality, fair housing, school desegregation, charter schools, state and local taxation and finance, and land use law. The syndicated columnist Neal Peirce called him “the most influential demographer in America’s burgeoning regional movement.” Orfield’s research has led to legislative and judicial reforms at the federal level and state level reform in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and Maryland.  Professor Orfield has been a litigator in a large law firm, a civil rights lawyer, and an assistant attorney general of Minnesota, representing Minnesota in appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He has been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and led both a national non-profit organization and a private research firm with clients all over the United States. Orfield was elected to both the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate, where he was the architect of a series of important legislative changes in land use, fair housing, and school and local government aid programs. Recently, Orfield served on the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, as an academic advisor to the Congressional Black Caucus, an advisor to President Obama’s transition team for urban policy, to the White House Office of Urban Affairs, and as special consultant to the HUD’s Office for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Professor Orfield graduated, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota, was a graduate student at Princeton University, and has a J.D. from the University of Chicago, where received the Patino Fellowship, served on the University of Chicago Law Review and was a finalist in the Hinton Moot Court competition.


Christine Ortiz is a social entrepreneur with expertise in the fields of education, curriculum design, school model generation, design thinking, youth empowerment, marketing and branding. An MIT grad with two masters’ degrees, Ortiz spent her high school years working on the national teen anti-smoking Truth Campaign and advising corporate executives on engaging youths for social change. At the age of 18 she founded her first company — Allen Ortiz Consulting — through which she developed youth empowerment curricula, designed marketing and branding strategies for social change initiatives, launched state and country-wide change campaigns, and spoke in front of hundreds of thousands of youth and adults. She opened a tutoring and test prep center, a stepping-stone to her most recent ventures, The Ampersand School, a K-12 micro-school, with mixed-age classrooms, an integrated and thematic curriculum design, and a constant focus on individuality and [ ] Schools, a radically different approach to new school model development. With a passion for user-centered design, Christine has led workshops and seminars for schools in the US and internationally, designed the only accelerator which supports school designers alongside other entrepreneurs, and taught a graduate level course on redesigning schools at the Stanford d.School, where d.thinking was born.  Currently, Christine is a student in the Doctor of Education Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Halley Potter is a fellow at The Century Foundation, a nonprofit progressive think tank based in New York City. Her work focuses on school integration, school choice, and college admissions. She is coauthor, with Richard D. Kahlenberg, of A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education (Teachers College Press, 2014). Halley’s writing has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, and US News, and she has appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show and All in with Chris Hayes, as well as on public radio. Halley is an advisor to the National Coalition of Diverse Charter Schools. Before joining The Century Foundation, Halley taught at Two Rivers Public Charter School in northeast Washington, D.C., a K-8 school that uses the Expeditionary Learning model to guide students in semester-long, in-depth investigations of science and social studies topics. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University.


Jason Reece is the senior associate director for the Kirwan Institute, an engaged research Institute based at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works in Ohio and nationally to support inclusion and expand access to opportunity for marginalized communities. Jason acts as an advisor and capacity builder to foundations, non-profits, community organizations and government agencies on community development, educational equity, social equity in planning, civic engagement, GIS, and health equity. He has worked with partner organizations in 32 states since 2003. Jason was formerly the director of research and director of the Opportunity Communities Program at the Kirwan Institute and worked with john a. powell to develop the opportunity mapping methodology, a methodology which has been adopted or utilized by non-profit, public sector and philanthropic partners across the nation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has managed and developed $10 million in grant and contract research since 2007. Jason is a faculty lecturer teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, focused on equity in the City & Regional Planning Program, at the Knowlton School of Architecture.


Andrea Richardson has over 10 years of working experience with young adults within the Hartford, Connecticut community. In addition to her professional experience, she is an active member of the Parent  Advisory Committee for the Connecticut Coalition for Magnet Schools and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Family Advisory Board and. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Buffalo State College. Andrea resides in Hartford, Connecticut and is a loving wife and a proud mother of 3 beautiful children.


Sharif Robinson is a native of Buffalo, NY. Mr. Robinson received a B.A. in Computer Science from Hampton University in Hampton, VA, and obtained a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from McDaniel College. Mr. Robinson taught computer programming and website development for 11 years at Bethesda Chevy Chase HS in Bethesda, MD. Served as the department head for 6 out of those 11 years, and has served as the assistant principal at Bethesda Chevy HS for the past two years. Mr. Robinson is also a county coordinator for the Minority Scholars Program (MSP). As county coordinator, he assisted with the planning of a county wide “March to Close the Gap” that included over 500 participants and developed the “I Too Am BCC” video that addressed various stereotypes that minority students experience at Bethesda Chevy HS The “I Too Am BCC” video was detailed in the Washington Post and earned nationwide attention.


Bradley Scott, Ph.D., an IDRA senior education associate, brings more than 40 years of experience to the field of education. At IDRA, he serves as director of the IDRA equity assistance center, the South Central Collaborative for Equity. The center works with school districts in Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas, in the implementation of educational equity plans that increase equitable educational opportunity and greater access to high quality instruction for all students regardless of their race, gender or national origin; the preparation and adaptation of desegregation and unitary status plans and settlement agreements to decrease and eliminate racial isolation in public schools; community, parent and student involvement in the diverse school setting; establishment of nondiscriminatory policies; elimination of racially bias curricular materials, establishment of safe/non-hostile school environments, and the reduction of bullying, harassment and school violence for all students; and the creation of alternative materials development of human relations activities to promote racial harmony and an appreciation for diversity in public schools.  Dr. Scott earned his doctor of philosophy with a concentration in educational administration from the University of Texas at Austin. His received a bachelor’s degree in French and education from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in early childhood and elementary education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Scott is proficient in both English and French.


Carolyn Seugling is a senior attorney in the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR), U.S. Department of Education, headquarters office in Washington, D.C. Carolyn’s work focuses on legal and policy issues arising under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance.  Carolyn’s portfolio includes issues English learners and the administration of student discipline.  Prior to OCR, Carolyn was an Equal Justice Works Fellow with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants  and clerked for the Honorable Frank Montalvo, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.  Carolyn is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University Law School and Georgetown University.


Dr. Genevieve Siegel-Hawley‘s research focuses on race, education and inequality, with a particular emphasis on examining segregation and resegregation in U.S. metropolitan areas. Her work also deals with strategies for promoting inclusive school communities and policy options for a truly integrated society.  She received her PhD in Urban Schooling from UCLA and is an affiliate with the UCLA Civil Rights Project. Prior to earning her doctorate, Dr. Siegel-Hawley taught high school history in Baltimore City Public Schools and Richmond City Public Schools.


Maree Sneed, J.D., Ed.D., is a senior partner at the Washington, DC law firm Hogan Lovells and director of the firm’s nationally prominent education practice. She is on the Board of Directors for Magnet Schools of America. She has served on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as a board member and secretary of the National School Boards Foundation. She advises school districts, educational associations, and private companies in the education sector on state and federal legal issues. Previously she worked as a teacher and administrator in the Montgomery County Public Schools.


Theodore M. Shaw is the Julius L. Chambers Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law at Chapel Hill. Professor Shaw teaches Civil Procedure and Advanced Constitutional Law/Fourteenth Amendment. Before joining the faculty of UNC Law School, from 2008-2014 Professor Shaw taught at Columbia University Law School, where he was Professor of Professional Practice. During that time he was also “Of Counsel” to the law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright (formerly Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP). His practice involved civil litigation and representation of institutional clients on matters concerning diversity and civil rights. Professor Shaw was the fifth Director-Counsel and President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., for which he worked in various capacities over the span of twenty-six years. He has litigated education, employment, voting rights, housing, police misconduct, capital punishment and other civil rights cases in trial and appellate courts, and in the United States Supreme Court. From 1982 until 1987, he litigated education, housing, and capital punishment cases and directed LDF’s education litigation docket. In 1987, under the direction of LDF’s third Director-Counsel, Julius Chambers, Mr. Shaw relocated to Los Angeles to establish LDF’s Western Regional Office. In 1990, Mr. Shaw left LDF to join the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School, where he taught Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure and Civil Rights. While at Michigan, he played a key role in initiating a review of the law school’s admissions practices and policies, and served on the faculty committee that promulgated the admissions program that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger. In 1993, Mr. Shaw returned to LDF as Associate Director-Counsel, and in 2004, he became LDF’s fifth Director-Counsel. Mr. Shaw’s legal career began as a Trial Attorney in the Honors Program of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., where he worked from 1979 until 1982. Mr. Shaw has testified on numerous occasions before Congress and before state and local legislatures. His human rights work has taken him to Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. In addition to teaching at Columbia and at Michigan Law School, Professor Shaw held the 1997-1998 Haywood Burns Chair at CUNY School of Law at Queens College and the 2003 Phyllis Beck Chair at Temple Law School. He was a visiting scholar at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2008-2009. He is a member of the faculty of the Practicing Law Institute (PLI). Mr. Shaw served on the Obama Transition Team after the 2008 presidential election, as team leader for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.


Brenda Shum is director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she oversees litigation designed to guarantee that all students receive a quality education in public schools and institutions of higher learning, and to eliminate discriminatory practices in school discipline, school funding and special education.  She graduated with honors from Lewis and Clark College and received her JD from the University of Washington School of Law.  Before joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Brenda was a Lecturer and Clinical Instructor at the Youth and Educational Law Project at Stanford Law School, which works with disadvantaged youth and their communities to ensure access to equal and excellent educational opportunities.  She supervised law students on special education and school discipline cases, as well as a myriad of policy research and advocacy efforts related to school funding, equal access to educational resources, access to mental health services and commercialism in the schools.  Prior to teaching at Stanford, Brenda was a project director at the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law where she provided training and technical assistance to judges, lawyers and social workers on child welfare issues.  She worked to introduce best practices to juvenile court systems to reduce the amount of time that children spend in foster care.   She began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Juvenile Rights Project, the only law firm in Oregon dedicated exclusively to the representation of children.  As a children’s attorney, she represented abused and neglected children in juvenile dependency cases, defended youth charged with law violations in juvenile and adult court and provided educational advocacy for students with disabilities.


Karen Taylor is a member of the Sheff Movement Coalition and a recently added plaintiff in the landmark civil rights case. For over 25 years, the Sheff v. O’Neill case has worked to eradicate the racial and economic isolation of Hartford area students. Through her work and studies, Karen advocates for quality integrated education for families in the region of Greater Hartford, Connecticut. She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Consortium on High Achievement and Success (CHAS) which works to support high academic and personal achievement among students of color on over 30 liberal arts college campuses. Her areas of focus and interest are race, class, policy, and educational outcomes. She earned her B.A. from Trinity College in Educational Studies with honors. She is most proud of her role as mother and resident chef to elementary school aged twins, Miles and Gabrielle.


Philip Tegeler is the Executive Director of Poverty & Race Research Action Council, a civil rights policy organization based in Washington, DC. PRRAC’s mission is to promote research-based advocacy on structural inequality issues, with a focus on the causes and consequences of housing and school segregation.  Mr. Tegeler has written extensively on the application of civil rights law to federal housing and education policy, including, most recently, “The ‘Compelling Government Interest’ in School Diversity: Rebuilding the Case for an Affirmative Government Role,” University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform (August 2014) and “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing at HUD: A First Term Report Card,” Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (May 2013). Before coming to PRRAC, Phil worked as a staff attorney and legal director with the Connecticut ACLU, where he worked with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on the landmark Sheff v. O’Neill regional school desegregation case, and also prosecuted a number of systemic fair housing cases. Phil has also taught on the clinical faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Law, and was Legal Projects Director at the Metropolitan Action Institute in New York, a public interest urban planning organization. He is a graduate of the Columbia Law School.


Linda Tropp is Professor of Social Psychology and Director of the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received the 2012 Distinguished Academic Outreach Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst for excellence in the application of scientific knowledge to advance the public good. Tropp also received the 2013 Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award and the 2003 Allport Intergroup Relations Prize from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, as well as the Erikson Early Career Award from the International Society of Political Psychology, and the McKeachie Early Career Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Tropp is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. She has been a visiting scholar at the National Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (New Zealand), the Kurt Lewin Institute (Netherlands), the Marburg Center for Conflict Studies (Germany), the Center for the Study of Conflict and Social Cohesion (Chile), and the International Graduate College on Conflict and Cooperation (Germany, UK, Belgium), where she has delivered lectures and taught workshops on prejudice reduction and intervention. She has worked with national organizations to present social science evidence in U.S. Supreme Court cases on racial integration, on state and national initiatives to improve interracial relations in schools, and with non-governmental and international organizations to evaluate applied programs designed to reduce racial and ethnic conflict. She is co-author of “When Groups Meet: The Dynamics of Intergroup Contact” (March 2011, Psychology Press), editor of the “Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict” (June 2012, Oxford University Press), and co-editor of “Moving Beyond Prejudice Reduction: Pathways to Positive Intergroup Relations” (February 2011, American Psychological Association Books) and “Improving Intergroup Relations” (August 2008, Wiley-Blackwell).


Dr. Karolyn Tyson is a sociologist whose primary research interests are at the intersection of education and inequality.  She is the author of Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White After Brown, and numerous articles examining schooling practices and processes and their consequences for black students.  Dr. Tyson is currently working on a study examining the schooling experiences of African American families in an affluent Northeastern suburban school district.  The project centers on the history of the black experience in the district as a way to understand the changing nature of race relations and segregation in American public schools.  Similar to most public secondary schools around the country, schools in the district exhibit stark black-white differences in student placement that produce racially segregated classrooms.  Dr. Tyson’s work seeks to understand the history of this racialized tracking and how black families in the district understand and respond to the experience.


Marianna Vinson serves as Deputy Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA).  Marianna leads OELA’s work with the White House Task Force on New Americans, the EL Tool Kit and other efforts to elevate and integrate English Learners across all Department programs. Prior to joining ED, Marianna served as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the San Jacinto Unified School District in Southern California.  As assistant superintendent, led teacher and principal leadership development, expanded digital learning opportunities and experienced success in improving educational outcomes for all students. Marianna received her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and her teaching credential from San Diego State University.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration.


Amy Stuart Wells is a Professor of Sociology and Education, and the Coordinator of Policy Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Wells’s research and writing has focused broadly on issues of race and education and more specifically on educational policies, such as school desegregation, school choice, charter schools, and tracking, and how they shape and constrain opportunities for students of color. She is the recipient of several honors and awards, including a 2001-02 Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation’s Scholars Program; the 2000 Julius & Rosa Sachs Lecturer, Teachers College-Columbia University; and the 2000 AERA Early Career Award for Programmatic Research. Dr. Wells has focused her research on educational policy, race and education, charter schools, school desegregation, and school choice.  She has expertise in education policy, the privatization of education, race and ethnicity, school segregation, sociology, and urban schools and populations.


Terrenda White is a former elementary school teacher and is currently an Assistant Professor of Education Foundations, Policy, and Practice, University of Colorado Boulder School of Education.  Her areas of expertise include: Sociology of Education, Race and Education, Social Class and Education, Urban Education, Cultural Sociology and Pedagogy, Alternative Teacher Education Programs, Market-Based Education Reforms, and School Choice.  Terrenda received her Ph.D. of Philosophy, Sociology and Education from Teachers College at Columbia University, her M.S. in Elementary Education at Loyola Marymount, and her B.S. in Human Development and Psych. Services with a Minor in African American Studies from Northwestern University.


Sara Wicht is the senior manager of teaching and learning for Teaching Tolerance. She has 20 years’ experience as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, curriculum writer and teacher trainer in the United States and Brazil. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a secondary education endorsement and master’s of education degree in language and literacy.


Julia Winer serves as the Assistant Director of Communications and Coordinator of Legislative Affairs for CREC. In this role, Julia is responsible for implementing the overall communications and legislative strategy for the agency and for CREC Magnet Schools. Julia has extensive experience in project management and in designing and delivering teacher training and professional development.  She previously served as a consultant and the coordinator of Connecticut’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports initiative at the State Education Resource Center of Connecticut.  Julia is certified as an elementary and special education teacher. She received her undergraduate degree in education and psychology from the University of Hartford and a Master of Science in Comparative and International Education from Oxford University. She is winner of the prestigious John G. Martin Scholarship for study at Oxford, awarded for exceptional academic success and community involvement. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at the University of Connecticut.


Janee Woods, Social Justice Advocate, Blogger & Host.  Janee is a former attorney who left the law to join a nonprofit focused on supporting community engagement, strengthening democracy and fostering racial equity. She has coached communities across the country on how to organize for equitable change around issues like poverty, early childhood education and food security. She also writes and moderates events about social justice issues and whatever else strikes her fancy. Her writing has appeared on TheRootAlterNetQuartz and Guernica. She also writes biweekly for Scenarios USA. Follow her on Twitter @janeepwoods and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whatmatterswithjaneewoods.


Dee Dee Parker Wright has served Jubilee JumpStart as Executive Director since January, 2011.  Her work includes leadership and oversight of operations and programming in service to 50 children between birth and 5 years of age and their parents in the Adams Morgan community of Washington, DC. Previously, she worked for 12 years in Head Start leading family partnerships and center operations for programs serving up to 2,000 children. Dee Dee is graduate of the American Express Leadership Academy, a member of the Fair Chance Alumni Network, and an alumnus of The Leadership Sanctuary. She is also a member of the DC Early Learning Collaborative and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Dee Dee received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Oklahoma State University.


Liliana Zaragoza joined LDF as the inaugural John Payton Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy Fellow in 2015. Her work spans LDF’s education, voting rights, and economic justice practices. Prior to joining LDF, Liliana was a Skadden Fellow and Staff Attorney at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she represented low-wage domestic workers in federal and state employment claims. Liliana also previously worked as a Law Clerk at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, where she worked on employment and civil rights litigation. Liliana received her J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Law Review. She graduated with honors and distinction from the University of Chicago with an A.B. in International Studies and Human Rights.