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The Center for Education Equity @ MAEC partnered with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights in Philadelphia to host an Equity Breakfast Institute to help schools prevent and respond to racial harassment and bullying. The event, held July 18, 2019 in Philadelphia, PA, featured Dr. Richard Milner, IV, author of Rac(e)ing to Class: Confronting Poverty and Race in Schools and Classrooms.


One of the most engaging conferences I've attended.
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Conference Recap

The Speakers

Posed photo of Dr. Richard Milner

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Dr. Richard Milner | Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Urban Education

H. Richard Milner IV is Helen Faison Endowed Chair of Urban Education, Professor of Education, Professor of Social Work (by courtesy), Professor of Sociology (by courtesy) and Professor of Africana Studies (by courtesy) as well as Director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, he is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association. His research, teaching and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education. In particular, Professor Milner’s research examines practices and policies that support teacher success in urban schools. Professor Milner’s work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published five books. His book, published in 2010 by Harvard Education Press, is: Start where you are but don’t stay there, which represents years of research and development effort. He is also author of Rac(e)ing to Class (Harvard Education Press, 2015). Currently, he is Editor-in-chief of Urban Education and co-editor of the Handbook of Urban Education published with Routledge Press in 2014. He is coauthor of the forthcoming book, “These kids Are out of control:” Why we must reimagine classroom management for equity (Corwin, 2019).

Protecting English Learners and Immigrant Students from Radical Harrassment

Natasha Quiroga | PREP Director & Senior Counsel Educational Opportunities Project Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Natasha Quiroga is senior counsel for the Educational Opportunities Project, where she directs the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program. PREP empowers underserved families to address educational challenges and advocate for positive change by training them how to advocate for their child’s education and school accountability. After graduating from law school, Natasha served as the first executive director for Educación Para Nuestro Futuro (formerly Escuela Bolivia) in Arlington, Virginia, an organization which seeks to empower Latino children, youth and families through education and leadership. Natasha later joined a boutique education firm in Washington, D.C., as an associate where she advised state and local education agencies on compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Opportunities Act, and the Workforce Investment Act. Also prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, she coordinated the Asian American Pacific Islanders 2010 Voter Protection efforts in Texas for the Democratic National Committee. Natasha founded the Emerging Leaders Program, a leadership and college prep mentoring program for immigrant high school youth, while still in law school. Additionally, Natasha interned at the ABA Center on Children and the Law; Defense for Children International in Bolivia; the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights; and was a summer associate in the IP and Business Transactions sections at the Dallas office of Haynes & Boone LLP. Prior to law school, Natasha worked with NetOrganix, an information and communication technology start-up in Bolivia, where she worked with children’s orphanages through the Alianza Hogar project. Upon graduation from college, she joined AVANCE-Dallas, a family literacy program serving immigrant families, where she created the grassroots organization’s development office. Natasha received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law and her Master’s in International Politics from American University School of International Service. She received her B.B.A. in Marketing and B.A. In Plan II Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Natasha is fluent in Spanish and is licensed to practice in New York and the District of Columbia. Natasha is a 2017 Presidential Leadership Scholar.

Photo of Michelle Nutter

Beyond Bullying

Michelle Gwinn Nutter | Safe and Supportive Schools Manager Center for Safe Schools, PA Equity Specialist Center for Education Equity

Michelle has over 25 years of experience as a teacher, Civil Rights Investigator, and trainer specializing in the reduction of hate crimes, school-based harassment, bullying, racial tension, prejudice, and gangs. As MAEC’s Pennsylvania State Equity Coordinator and the Center’s Safe Schools Manager, Michelle is responsible for multiple statewide initiatives aimed at improving school safety and reducing youth violence. She is a certified trainer for: Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, Partners Against Hate, Lifelines, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. She has a B.A. in English Education from Messiah College and an M.S. in Education Law from Nova Southeastern University. Michelle is a graduate of the National Institute Against Hate Crimes and Terrorism, the Anti-Defamation League’s Advanced Training School course on Extremist and Terrorist Threats, and the FBI’s Citizen Academy.

Photo of Pamela Higgins Harris

Preventing Racial Harassment Through Culturally Responsive Leadership

Pamela Higgins Harris | Senior Consultant Education Equity, MAEC

Pamela has over 43 years of experience in public education as an education equity leader. The core values reflected in her practice center on the academic, emotional, and socio-cultural interests of diverse learners and marginalized populations, K-adult. Her commitment is demonstrated most in her capacity building work with educators who work in service to these populations. Her years of service include leadership roles held in school improvement and professional development; mediation/conflict analysis and resolution; facilitation of district-wide transformation and change; oversight of district-wide equity assurance compliance and programs; graduate level instruction on topics related to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. In her current role as CEE’s Senior Consultant, program work focuses on differentiated approaches to advancing culturally responsive and sustaining, systemic leadership through the lens of educational equity. Pamela holds a B.A. in French and an M.Ed. in Special Education from the American University; and an Advanced Graduate Specialist Certification (A.G.S.) in Professional Development & Urban Education from University of Maryland, College Park.

Photo of Cathy Taschner, Ed. D.

Superintendent Workshop

Cathy Taschner, Ed.D. | Superintendent Coatesville Area School District

Superintendent Cathy Taschner brought with her 20 years of experience in education when she joined the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) in June of 2014. She has spent the majority of her educational career in Chester County and has previously served as a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal and as an assistant superintendent. Her ascent from teacher to superintendent was motivated by the continued desire to positively impact as many students as possible.

Photo of Khalid Mumin, Ed. D.

Superintendent Workshop

Khalid Mumin, Ed.D. | Superintendent of Reading School District, PA

For the last 20 years, Dr. Khalid N. Mumin has served in various capacities as a teacher, dean of students, principal and central administrator. The strength in his leadership revolves around being a student-centered educator, who has a vision of success for all students and a belief that building positive relationships through cultural competencies is paramount in promoting student success.

Photo of William Hite

Superintendent Workshop

William Hite, Jr., Ed.D. | Superintendent of School District of Philadelphia, PA

Since joining the School District in June 2012, Dr. Hite has worked to create a system of great schools in every neighborhood. Under his leadership, the School District has opened new innovative high schools, expanded successful school models, launched in-district turnarounds and redesigned schools in partnership with communities. His overall focus remains on strengthening all elementary and secondary school offerings.

Photo of Kathleen Evison

Superintendent Workshop

Kathleen Evison | Southern Lehigh School District, PA

Kathleen Evison has served as the Superintendent of the Southern Lehigh School District since 2016. She brings extensive administrative experience to her role as Superintendent, having served as a central office and building administrator, IU administrator, and a teacher of general and special education. She came to Southern Lehigh from Reading School District where she served as Chief Student Services Officer. Prior to that she was an administrator with the Berks County Intermediate Unit for eight years, leading programs providing services to more than 5,000 students and families.

Photo of Susan Shaffer

Opening Speakers

Susan Shaffer | Executive Director Center for Education Equity @ MAEC / President at MAEC

Susan has been a nationally recognized expert for more than four decades. Her transformational work in public schools has centered on the development of comprehensive technical assistance for system wide change, training on educational equity and culturally responsive pedagogy and practice, school climate and culture, family, school, and community engagement, and multicultural gender-related issues. Currently, Ms. Shaffer is representing MAEC as a partner with the Chief State School Officers to create a State Consortium on Family Engagement, developing a CoP among seven state teams to develop a Birth to Grade 12 Family Engagement Framework. Ms. Shaffer has published extensively on gender equity, family engagement, civil rights, multicultural education, and disability. Her publications include a co-edited journal, Equity-Centered Capacity Building: Essential Approaches for Excellence & Sustainable School System Transformation, and co-authored book, How to Connect with your iTeen: A Parenting Road Map. Ms. Shaffer serves on several boards, including the National Association of Family, School and Community Engagement (co-founder), School of Education, Bowie State University, MD, the MD Women’s Heritage Center, and Harmony through Education, an international NGO serving the needs of children with disabilities. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her service, leadership, and significant contribution to curricular materials on women. She holds a B.A. in History and M.A. in education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Wendella Fox | Philadelphia Office, U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

Photo of Nyla Bell

Nyla Bell | Senior Education Equity Specialist Center for Education Equity @ MAEC

As MAEC’s Senior Education Equity Specialist, Nyla provides technical assistance and professional development to school districts seeking to advance racial, gender, cultural, and socioeconomic equity in their schools. Before joining MAEC, Nyla spent 10 years working in education, beginning with her first job in high school as a grassroots youth organizer at the Philadelphia Student Union (PSU) and continuing into adulthood as an English teacher. She also worked as a teacher consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project, graduate school instructor on race and critical pedagogy at the University of Pennsylvania, and technical assistance trainer at The Metro Center at NYU. Nyla holds a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Philosophy degree with honors and an interdisciplinary focus on social inequality from Pennsylvania State University.