Black History Education Conference

The 4th Annual Black History Education Conference: “I Am Somebody” will provide a venue where educators across the state and country will be able to share policies, practices, programs, and procedures that have proven effective in promoting high levels of achievement for those often being under served in our school systems and communities.

Interested in becoming a conference sponsor? Please refer this sponsor booklet for additional information about sponsorship opportunities. Inquires can be sent via email to

Please consider supporting the Black History Education Conference through a donation. Donations will be used to defray the cost of registration fees for those who may not otherwise be able to attend.

When: February 18-19, 2022

Where: Online

Program Fee: $50

Miss out on attending the conference live? Session recordings are now available! Use the Register Now button below to sign up for access.

 Register Now

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Our Journey

During this time in our history, many people have asked what they can do to take action toward ending systemic racism. Now, in our fourth year of offering the Black History Education Conference, we knew before this issue took center stage that culturally relevant professional development was one way to eliminate the attitude, opportunity, and achievement gaps that exist across the globe. Our answer is to bring forth solutions that will help us eliminate the stark gaps that exist in the state of Wisconsin and across our country.

The itinerary for our journey this year will be guided by what we call the B.R.E.A.T.H. Board. The B.R.E.A.T.H. Board outlines how we organize our action steps toward fulfilling our mission and goals for breathing new life into our instructional practices and children. The B.R.E.A.T.H. Board also serves to help answer the question, “What can we do to take action toward ending systemic racism?”

BBlack History Education Conference–The Black History Education Conference experience is intended to provide a venue where stakeholders across the state and country will be able to share policies, practices, programs, and procedures that have proven effective in promoting high levels of achievement for Black students. 

R–Relevant Texts–”Dreaming In Ethnic Melodies” by Andreal Davis is a book that allows the reader to take a trip through the heart and mind of a mother as she shares her hopes and dreams for her son as he navigates the journey from childhood to adulthood. The author draws from lessons learned from prominent African American historical and contemporary figures to impart wisdom and equip him with the necessary tools and information he needs to move through and to success as an African American male in modern day society.

E–Ethnic Melodies is a culturally relevant literacy curriculum that includes five responsive literacy categories and 21 culturally relevant lesson plans.

A–Affirmations and Academic Breath Bags–The “I Am Somebody” affirmation can be used to help students speak into existence what you want them to believe about themselves and what you as a teacher, family, or community member want them to know you believe about them, as well. The academic “Breath Bag” is a culturally relevant “school in a backpack” that includes age appropriate reading, science, social studies, math, and art or music activities. The activities are designed to promote positive identity development/self-esteem, enhance academic achievement, and bridge the digital divide.

TTestimonials in support of our work provide qualitative data around the impacts of our collective work and responsibility.

H–Health Disparities–With a focus on the newly created program called “The Afr I CAN cer Project,” Cultural Practices That Are Relevant will partner with community organizations and Black History Education Conference attendees to implement the Afr I CAN cer Project. The goals of the project include reducing inequities, creating awareness, implementing education activities, conducting outreach, and developing programs for underserved populations.


The Reverend Jesse Jackson will lead the opening/welcome on day 2, February 19, 2022 for the 4th Annual Black History Education Conference highlighting “I Am Somebody” – a message he created over 50 years ago and is still relevant today. Don’t Miss It!!!

Keynote Sessions

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Friday: Dr. Alfred Tatum

Dr. Alfred Tatum will be leading us through a literacy workshop – Teaching Black Boys To Read in the Elementary Grades: Advanced Disciplinary Reading and Writing To Secure Their Future.

This session will focus on reading, writing, and intellectual development as tools of protection to combat the eraser of Black males from the social and scientific disciplines. Dr. Tatum will highlight pathways, based on strong historical precedent, to move Black males to advanced levels of literacy development in a nation in which this focus is taboo in many preK-12 school districts.

Dr. Alfred W. Tatum, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Metropolitan State University of Denver, is a foremost expert on the literacy development of African American boys. He moved through the academic ranks becoming dean 10 years after earning his Ph.D. He has authored more than 75 publications on the topic. His works have appeared as chapters in edited books, monographs, and journals such as the Harvard Educational Review, Reading Research Quarterly, Urban Education, Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practices, Black History Bulletin, The Reading Teacher, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Journal of Education, and Educational Leadership.  He has authored policy reports and solution briefs for Jobs for the Future and the Council of Great City Schools. 

Dr. Tatum authored the award-winning book, Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males: Closing the Achievement Gap in 2005. His second book, Reading for Their Life: (Re) building the Textual Lineages of African American Males was published in 2009. His third book, Fearless Voices: Engaging a New Generation of African American Adolescent Male Writers, was published in 2013. A fourth book, Teaching Black Boys in the Elementary Grades: Advanced Disciplinary Reading and Writing to Secure Their Futures was released by Teachers College Press in December 2021.

A copy of Alfred W. Tatum’s new book: “Teaching Black Boys in the Elementary Grades: Advanced Disciplinary Reading and Writing to Secure Their Futures” is available for purchase at the time of registration.

Saturday: Dr. Chike Akua

Chike Akua, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership at Clark Atlanta University and an African-centered leadership strategist to colleges, universities, educational conferences, and urban schools internationally.

Dr. Akua’s presentation will walk us through the connections to early Black literacy to Egypt. He will talk about Hieroglyphics and other literacy information.

Dr. Akua develops African-centered curriculum resources. As the author of eleven books, he has written and published several books and parent/teacher guides designed for today’s students. Education for Transformation: The Keys to Releasing the Genius of African American Students is a book for teachers and leaders that is used in a number of urban school districts for professional development. It is also used in a number of colleges and universities for preparation of pre-service teachers and leaders.

Dr. Akua’s research has been published by academic presses in the following publications: African-Centered Education: Theory and Practice (2020)The Journal of Black Studies(2020), The SAGE Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America (2016).

Dr. Akua resides just outside Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife of 26 years and their two sons.  Learn more about Dr. Akua at

Featured Content

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Afro Flow Yoga

Founded by husband and wife team, Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones, Afro Flow Yoga® is an embodied practice that infuses dance movements of the African Diaspora with a meditative yoga sequence and live music.  Afro Flow Yoga® promotes a compassionate, non-judgmental, inclusive and safe environment. We cultivate community building and activism through the lens of embodied practices of the African Diaspora.

Sheona Little is an Afro Flow Yoga® Certified Teacher who was introduced to Afro Flow Yoga® through a friend who encouraged her to do the teacher training.  As soon as she connected with Leslie Salmon Jones and Jeff W Jones and learned more about the Afro Flow Yoga® program, she was immediately hooked!

Sheona is a native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and began her love of dance and community service as a child, while performing with the Harrisburg Dance Conservatory. She realized the impact of being a young Black dancer in a community where most children did not get to have that experience. It is here where she knew she wanted to share her gifts and talents to uplift  and inspire people, especially People of  Color.

For more info:

Afr I CAN cer Project

This strand will focus on pancreatic, breast, colon, and prostate cancer and address the recent unveilings of health disparities for African Americans connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henry "Box" Brown

ALL NEW!!! Terrance Carey will portray Henry “Box” Brown.


Douglas Ewart

Douglas Ewart is a composer, musician, educator, visual artist, craftsman, inventor, activist, and human. His latest sonic sculpture is the “George Floyd Bunt Staff.”

It is an idiophone comprising tin and casted-aluminum Bundt baking pans whose sonic potential and possibilities are incalculable. The construction of these Bunt Staffs is a salute to George Floyd, the Everyday Hero in the sense that he is from the neighborhood and was known, loved, and cherished by many in the areas he traversed. 

Ewart will open the conference with a 9 minute and 29 second (number of minutes the officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck) performance on the George Floyd Bunt Staff.

Click the following link f0r a preview of George Floyd Bunt Staffs being utilized:!ApaqD0aeg5Ttgld-eCuwKdey1765?e=mEswzT

For Colored Girls Museum

This presentation will include virtual tours of the exhibits One Room School house and Washer Woman.

We will also provide a virtual tour of the only permanent exhibit in the museum – a room devoted to washerwomen, a familiar figure in black culture in North and South America. 

“Sometimes there’s shame that our mothers or grandmothers did this work, but washerwomen kept their families going when the men couldn’t find work,” curator Monna Morton says.

The Soul Show Just Us Train Mix By DJ Baby Butch

ALL NEW!!! DJ Baby Butch will be playing off of the Social Justice Train Mix. Join us for the unveiling of the new line MANSA MUSA dance!

Freddie Taylor: I Am Somebody

Organization: Urban Intellectuals

Session Description: Closing Keynote

Presenter: Visionary, entrepreneur and philanthropist; just a few words that describe Freddie E. Taylor, founder and CEO of Urban Intellectuals(UI).

Spurred by the lack of Black history instruction that his sons received in grammar school, Freddie knew the onus was on him to create a new narrative of Black culture, and in 2009, UI was born.Initially, UI was an online hub of Black media that now boasts over one million Facebook fans, a mobile app and its own social media network. Today, the company has several products, including the renowned Black History Flashcards. UI has aggressively taken a lead role in engaging, educating and empowering people who are curious and passionate about the African diaspora.

To date, over 300,000 Black History Flash Cards have been sold and featured in: Essence, HuffPost, CBS Chicago, Good Morning Washington, Milwaukee PBS and Sister Circle on TV One. Additionally, UI enjoyed a 2019 Black History Month collaboration with JetBlue featuring the flashcards in the JFK (NY) and Newark (NJ) airports.

Breakout Sessions

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Mouna Algahaithi and Jami Hoekstra Collins: Finding Your Inner Hero: Empowering Early Learners with PBS KIDS

Organization: PBS Wisconsin Education

Session Description: When children see themselves represented in the media they love, it validates their identity. How can early childhood educators leverage intentional digital media use with character building and identity development? Please join Mouna Algahaithi and Jami Hoekstra Collins, Early Learning Engagement Specialists from PBS Wisconsin, for an in-depth look at utilizing incredible resources from the PBS-Ready to Learn® collection. Explore the interactive resources from Alma’s Way, Molly of Denali and Xavier Riddle where children determine that they are somebody through connected learning.  Through the experiences of these multicultural characters, early learners can open artistic, academic and cultural doors to develop their full potential. This session is intended for early childhood educators and providers, however, everyone is welcome to attend.


Mouna Algahaithi is an Early Learning Engagement Specialist with PBS Wisconsin and a certified Registry Trainer. Mouna is passionate about advocating for equity for all learners and dismantling barriers to high-quality, free, educational media. In her role, Mouna manages the “Ready To Learn” project, a national-to-local initiative that aspires to cultivate a love of learning and supports the development of critical school readiness skills amongst historically marginalized children and their families. In addition to designing and facilitating family engagement workshops, she also implements professional learning opportunities for early childhood educators around the state on topics including meaningful media integration, fostering home-school connections, and honoring culture in the classroom using PBS KIDS’ high-quality resources. Prior to her role with PBS Wisconsin, Mouna worked in early childhood centers in Wisconsin and in Senegal, West Africa.



Jami Hoekstra Collins is an Early Learning Engagement Specialist with PBS Wisconsin Education. Jami is committed to promoting developmentally appropriate play-based learning where every child and family experience wonder and joy while learning together. In her role, Jami facilitates professional learning opportunities for 4K-12 educators around the state of Wisconsin that are integrated with PBS learning media and resources. Prior to her role with PBS Wisconsin Education, Jami taught four-year-old Kindergarten for 27 years in Head Start/ Reach Dane as well as public schools in Marshall and Madison, Wisconsin.

Krystal Hardy Allen: Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: Moving from Buzzwords to Truly Transformative Action

Organization: K. Allen Consulting

Session Description: In a moment in which both adults and students face chronic stress, anxiety, and forms of trauma, this session will help participants: a) build clarity and shared language of important concepts with equity, trauma, and healing-centered pedagogy; b) identify and process the aspects of intrapersonal  work (inner work) necessary to engage in such work, and c) build a vision for what equity-centered, particularly culturally responsive practices, classrooms and schools look like in action.

Presenter: A native of Selma, Alabama, Krystal Allen is the Founder & CEO of K. Allen Consulting , an education advocate, and a real estate investor. A well-respected former school principal and teacher, Krystal began her career teaching elementary school, serving as an instructional coach, then asst. principal, and finally leading as a school principal. Most recently featured within Time Magazine, she is a 2019 Gambit 40 Under 40 recipient, a 2019 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar, the 2016 Urban League of Louisiana Activist Award recipient, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Kid Smart; Success at Thurgood Marshall; and the Selma Center for Nonviolence. A first-generation college graduate, Krystal earned her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, M.Ed. from NLU Chicago, and is currently completing her Ed.D in K-12 Urban Educational Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Krystal’s work and passion for DEI,
social justice, adult learning, and organizational development are the driving forces of her work and commitment to equity.

Tierica Berry: 7 Secrets of Social Emotional Learning

Organization: A Woman’s Standard

Session Description: What is the source of disruptive behavior among students? What are the emotional triggers that escalate a situation into disruptive, disrespectful or violent behavior? What are the skills and strategies teachers need to de-escalate a potentially volatile situation with students? How can teachers and leaders help students more effectively process emotions that lead to disruptive behavior? 

Through an understanding of Social Emotional Learning, this professional development series offers teachers and leaders practical steps, strategies, tips and tools to address these issues in their classroom management and school culture. It empowers them to transform potentially volatile situations into opportunities for character development, greater student growth, engagement and achievement. 

Presenter: Tierica Berry is an Award-Winning author, Trainer and Social-Emotional Learning Specialist whose work has transformed the lives of thousands of teachers, leaders and students. Her deeply transformative professional development seminars guide educators and leaders in emotional intelligence, reconnecting with the disconnected and engaging the disengaged. Her expertise in the arena of social emotional learning goes hand-in-hand with culturally relevant and responsive teaching and is the key to releasing and unleashing the true potential of students. 

Ms. Berry is the creator of “A Woman’s Standard,” a gender-based youth leadership development program designed to remove barriers for female student achievement. With heavy emphasis on literacy, emotional intelligence, and self-efficacy, Tierica has managed to motivate and redirect some of the most troubled youth with her engaging and relevant programs. Her Past clientele includes various types of youth organizations from public school districts, girls’ programs, charter schools and youth detention centers. 

Ms. Berry has received national recognition for her creative writing program, The Anthology Project, and her highly relevant program that help with transition, refinement, self-esteem, and critical thinking. She has authored multiple books for teen girls including Unpacking the Emotional Suitcase an activity guide for emotional success and Teach a Girl to Fish: Lessons of Responsibility and Accountability for Young Women. Her passion for empowering girls can be summed up in one statement, “If you want to uplift a community start with its women because it is through women that all communities are born.” 

Barbara Bielec and Karen Herrera: A Celebration of Life! Featuring STEM Professionals of Color in a Summer Science Program

Organization: BTC Institute

Session Description: For over 25 years the BTC Institute has partnered with the African American Ethnic Academy to offer A Celebration of Life!  a summer science program for upper elementary and middle school students.  A key objective of the program is to showcase Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Professionals of Color who have careers related to the different science theme each year. Increasing awareness of STEM careers and training for all students is key to creating the problem solvers of tomorrow needed to tackle our global challenges.  “When we introduce our students to female engineers, or black computer scientists, we begin to shift the status quo and transform popular image and belief of who ‘belongs’ in STEM, to include every type of person.” (National Alliance for Partners in Equity) If you’d like to hear more about this program and discuss related issues, please join us!

Presenters: Barbara Bielec is the K-12 Program Director at the BTC Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, where she has worked since 2002.  She has secondary teaching certification in Biology, Chemistry, and Math; and has taught science to students of all ages, in many different settings for over thirty years. She received her B.S. in Genetics from UW-Madison and her M.S. in Genetics from Texas A&M University.  Currently she coordinates and teaches a variety of K-12 programs at the BTC Institute including A Celebration of Life! a summer science program for children, the Biotechnology Youth Apprenticeship Program, the Biotechnology Field Trips program, and teacher graduate education courses and workshops.  She is a member of the National Science Teaching Association and the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers. In 2020 she received the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators Special Citation Award. 

Karen Herrera is a retired, English and Language Arts, in the Madison Metropolitan School District. In addition, she has taught the elementary and middle school STEM Program at the BTC Institute for the last four summers. She received her B.S. from Edgewood College in Elementary Education and a  Masters in Professional Development from UW-La Crosse.

Stacy Broach and Chrissy Thuli: Shifting Mindsets to Support Equity

Organization: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI)

Session Description: During this session, we invite participants to share challenges they have experienced in ensuring equity for all students, and provide space for discussing how to address these barriers to ensure all students’ assets are embraced and needs are met. Interrogating the ideas related to students’ assets and needs is critical for educators so that they can use this knowledge to promote high levels of achievement for those often under served in our school systems and communities.  

We will share a tool created by the Title I Team at the Department of Public Instruction, the Equity Mindset Cards, which have been created around the topic of change and improvement. We invite participants to consider how they can use the Mindset Cards to address the challenges shared, and to help create the change needed for a more inclusive, anti-racist educational system. This mindset work both informs and is informed by the work many of you are currently undertaking to promote equity and justice for all. 

Presenters: Stacy Broach has worked in the areas of student success and family engagement for over 10 years in different capacities. Through previous roles with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Edgewood College, the G.E.A.R. U.P. Program and most recently with Madison Metropolitan School District. Stacy received her undergraduate degree from UW-Madison in Social Work and Gender and Women’s Studies, as well as her Masters from UW-Madison in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, with a focus on K-12 and higher education administration. She is a Madison native and mother of three kids who has thoroughly enjoyed being home with during quarantine. She loves nature and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities. Within her current role at DPI she is an “Equity Education Consultant” where she aids her team and DPI staff in achieving more equitable outcomes for Wisconsin students

Chrissy Thuli is a Title I Education Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction with a focus on educational equity. Prior to this role, Chrissy worked as an English Language Learner (ELL) curriculum designer with EL Education’s national curriculum and as a K-12 ELL teacher and specialist in NYC public schools. Love and relationships drive Chrissy’s life and work in education, and she believes in building bridges and dismantling inequitable systems with bold, radical love.

Mizzier Campbell: There is always something G.R.E.A.T. happening!

Organization: Northside Elementary, Sun Prairie, WI

Session Description: In this session, you will learn exactly what it is to be G.R.E.A.T. and how to identify GREATNESS in any given situation. You will learn the importance of looking at negative situations through a positive lens creating better outcomes in a world that is negativity driven. We will navigate why developing and mastering these skills are matters of importance especially when working with our Black and Brown children. This skill plays a key role in our childrenś success in school academically and socially by using positive affirmations, creating inner wealth and positive downloads. As a mother, professional and Greatness Coach I will share with you my journey in developing the skills of recognizing, encouraging and igniting greatness in all situations and how it helped me to discover and recognize that There is always something G.R.E.A.T. happening in any situation no matter what!

Presenter: Mizzier Campbell is The Greatness Coach at Northside Elementary in Sun Prairie, WI. She is an Advanced Certified Trainer of the The Nurtured Heart Institute and Howard Glasser where she hosts and facilitates training for the Sun Prairie Area School District staff and families. Along with being The Greatness Coach she is also proud to serve on Northside’s Equity Team, PBIS Leadership Team, Read Your Heart Out Planning Committee, Black Student Union, Black Educators Coalition (Sun Prairie), Greatness Ambassadors, Restorative Justice (Madison), and Black Excellence Coalition (Madison). She is the proud mother of three amazingly talented young men Stevie 27, Barry Jr. 26, Terrance 17 and the grandmother of a 2 year old granddaughter Milani.

In her daily role as Greatness Coach she provides support to/for staff and students in finding Greatness in all situations by sharing and teaching positive recognitions, positive affirmations, self- reflection, accountability, restoration to create a safe and brave space for positive outcomes.

Her focus is equity until there is equality, building positive relationships with a belief that no matter what the situation or circumstance there is always something going right in every situation. She believes in celebrating positive energy, generating Inner Wealth, promoting individual and community Greatness and saying absolutely no to energizing negativity. She also shares with anyone who will listen “I AM SOMEBODY” a poem written by Andreal Davis because she believes that everybody is somebody. Mizzier believes that everything that is done with fidelity, love and respect will change mindsets, hearts and outcomes. Everything we do with the characteristics of a servant being open, dedicated and a willingness to serve all is the true definition of GREATNESS!

O’nae Chatman: Backboards Over Books: Why Black Boys Love Sports, But Hate School And What Educators, Parents, and Communities Can Do About It

Organization: Chatman Consulting Group

Session Description: The focus of this presentation is to show the correlation between academics and the athletic trap that many black boys fall victim to. We will examine the various ways that black boys are celebrated in the area of sports, but left behind in the area of academics. Including the enormous suspension rate, disciplinary effects, and academic and attitude gaps we see in schools nationwide concerning black boys.

This session will show the link between the power of validation, social emotional learning strategies, and culturally relevant teaching used to impact and empower black boys. These strategies include incorporating books, visuals, and other materials that reflect black history, lives, and points of view.

Scope of Presentation:

  • Discuss the importance and significance of affirming the value of black boys in all spaces of learning. Using the “history and me” strategy of celebrating the richness of African American history and the roles black people have played in bringing about social change in education and community.
  • Provide relevant and applicable strategies that educators and youth workers can use to begin creating empowerment curriculums that can be used in educational spaces. Discovering the value of primary sources and other affirmative materials.
  • Show the connection between culturally relevant material and closing the achievement gap, attitude gap, and drop out prevention.

Presenter: O’nae Chatman, an award winning speaker & best-selling author, is inspiring thousands across the nation. His writing, speaking, mentoring, and entrepreneur skills blend harmoniously to distinguish this visionary powerhouse in each arena.

O’nae has burst onto the literary scene with two best-selling books currently being used in school districts across the nation, “Mr. Chatman’s No-Nonsense Guide To Decision Making for Teens” and “The No-Bully Zone” for students. O’nae is the author of 21 books.  As a speaker and consultant he motivates thousands weekly through high-impact presentations and professional development trainings in schools, non-profit organizations, parental engagements seminars, community assemblies, and corporate level entities.

O’nae’s academic achievements include attending the University of Mississippi. He holds  a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix. He also holds the Master’s of Christian Education Degree from the Historic Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia. O’nae was a Deans List Scholar his entire three years at Morehouse. He holds several prestigious awards such as the Gardner C. Taylor Award for Outstanding Leadership and Ministry, also the Carson Best Academy Mentorship Award for Outstanding Community Service.

O’nae is the Founder and CEO of the Chatman Consulting Group, an educational consulting company specializing in educational training and professional development for K-12 schools and Colleges & Universities across the nation.

J.R. Fenwick: How to Be A Boss! Financial Literacy for Black Student Success

Session Description: This session demonstrates to teachers how to teach students financial literacy through learning how the stock market works. Teachers will learn about high-interest, culturally relevant and responsive strategies that increase math skills, critical thinking and analytical skills, problem-solving skills, student engagement, and student achievement.

Presenter: J. R. Fenwick

La Tasha Fields, Shavana Talbert, and Bianca Williams: It’s “Aks” not “Ask”: Exploring Black Language & White (Language) Supremacy

Organization: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Wisconsin RtI Center

Session Description: “…It is acceptable for Black Language to be used and capitalized on by non-native Black Language speakers for marketing and for play, but it is unacceptable for Black kids to use it as a linguistic resource in school” (Baker-Bell, 2020, p. 14).

In this session, participants will reflect on their personal language journey and the dehumanizing and anti-Black language practices that occur in the classroom. Additionally, participants will reconcile the harmful practices they have endured and those they unconsciously inflict on Black language speakers. This session is inspired by the Black Language Learning Series, a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the Wisconsin RtI Center, and Dr. Teaira McMurtry. 

Presenters: La Tasha Fields currently serves as a Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Wisconsin RtI Center.  Prior to this role, she served as an educator for over 21 years in Milwaukee Public Schools and is the Past President of the Milwaukee Area Reading Council and the Wisconsin State Reading Association. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in education from Marquette University and a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Additionally, La Tasha earned a Master’s degree in reading from Concordia University of Wisconsin. La Tasha is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and lives in Verona with her husband, Jason Fields.

Shavana Talbert currently serves as a Culturally Responsive Practices Technical Assistance Coordinator for the state of Wisconsin. She has worked for schools and districts, large and small, in both Wisconsin and Minnesota with the primary role of operationalizing equity. In addition, Shavana consults with non-profits, academic institutions, and corporate brands to promote transformational change through the co-creation of spaces grounded in equity, social justice, dignity, and healing. She is a lead trainer, consultant, and Intercultural Development Inventory ™ Qualified Administrator with Common Talks Consulting.

Ms. Bianca Williams-Griffin is currently the English Language Arts Consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Where she collaborates with colleagues across the state to ensure that every child, every day, has the opportunity for a first-class public education in the State of Wisconsin. She is a certified and trained professional educator and has worked in the field of Education for more than two decades. Bianca, spent nineteen years in the Milwaukee Public School system, as a middle school English language arts teacher and an instructional coach. Ms. Williams-Griffin is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, earning a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, she also received an MBA in Education Leadership from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Her educational philosophy is, “Representation matters. Black educators are the key that unlocks the full potential of Black students.” 

Nneka Gigi: Beyond Adornment: Exploring Multiliteracies Through Black Hair

Session Description: There is no secret that Black girls and women are innovators in fashion, music, natural hair culture, and so much more. Hairstyles like the Shuku worn by Beyoncé in Black is King or Rihanna’s Tanavoho crown for the 2020 cover of Vogue are not just commercial relics, they are connections to our ancestors, a vehicle to empowering our sense of self and a pathway to redefining literacy education. During this session, we will learn and discuss the histories of gravity defying African hairstyles and moguls in the natural hair care industry to redefine how literacy education is defined and taught. Echoing The Black Women’s Club Movement that emerged in the late 19th century, literacy will be positioned as a restorative act on behalf of equality and equity. To do so, we must ground Black girls literacy experiences in a language and culture they understand. Through natural hair culture, we will draw connections to empowering Black elementary aged girls multiliteracies in critical media, mental health and economic literacies. These are 21st century literacy skills that Black girls need and deserve to do more than just survive.

Presenter: Born on the east side of Buffalo, NY, Nneka Gigi relied on an array of books to help her emotionally escape the frustrations of growing up in a dangerous neighborhood that has claimed the lives and happiness of childhood schoolmates. Literacy provided the grounds for escaping into alternative realities while reconstructing the narratives of what Black girlhood is, is not and most importantly, what it could be. As a current Nigerian-American braid adornment artist, educator and doctoral student living in Los Angeles, Nneka now uses literacy as more than a means to escape. She uses it as a vehicle to reinforce, remind and rewrite the lived experiences of Black girls and women with lineages connected to the African diaspora. She is the founder of Beyond Adornment Club, a book club and Sis-STAR circle for Black elementary girls with a mission to reach 1 billion Black girls by 2031. The book club and Sis-STAR circle centers natural Black hair culture and ancestry to empower Black girls mental health, critical media and financial literacy.

Ana Gonzalez and Alejandra Villa: Pancreatic Cancer and its Impact on Black Communities

Organization: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN)

Session Description: In this session we will provide an overview of pancreatic cancer, symptoms, risk factors and discuss some of the statistics related to pancreatic cancer incidence, research on health disparities related to pancreatic cancer and factors that may contribute to higher incidence of pancreatic cancer among Black/African Americans.

Presenters: Ana Gonzalez is a Manager within Patient Services at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). She has been with PanCAN for over three years working directly with pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers providing resources and information. She currently supports the Patient Services team of Case Managers with supervision, case consultation, and assists with the training of new case managers. She has a special interest in patient advocacy for diverse communities.

Alejandra Villa is a Patient Services Manager. She began her time at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) five years ago, working directly with patients, families and caregivers impacted by pancreatic cancer. She loves to teach and is responsible for onboarding and training new Case Managers. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her expertise with others and contributing to a growing team who will help thousands of patients and loved ones. She is certified in Patient Advocacy and has a special interest in diverse populations. Her goal is to demonstrate care, compassion, kindness and determination in her practice daily. 

Michael Hartwell: Don’t Let History Forget You: William Still, The Underground Railroad, & The Importance of Individual Stories w/ PBS Learning Media

Organization: PBS Wisconsin Education

Session Description: When students see themselves represented in media and history, it validates their identity. When students study people from historically underrepresented or marginalized groups, it broadens their perspective of the world and builds empathy.  With such high stakes, how can middle and upper grade educators leverage intentional digital media to do double duty, teaching often-overlooked Black History and empowering students to appreciate their personal stories in the process?  Please join Michael Hartwell, 3rd-12th Grade Education Engagement Specialist from PBS Wisconsin, for an in-depth look at utilizing PBS Learning Media and PBS Wisconsin Education’s incredible multimedia resources to connect students to the incredible histories of William Still, Joshua Glover, and the Underground Railroad.  Explore the interactive resources where students can take a deep dive into the national and Wisconsin-based history of the Underground Railroad and, in turn, gain a deeper appreciation that they are somebody through connected learning.  Through the experiences of William Still, Joshua Glover, and others who risked everything to escape enslavement, students can open artistic, academic and cultural doors to develop their full potential. This session is intended for middle and upper grades educators and providers, however, everyone is welcome to attend.

Presenters: Michael Hartwell is a 3rd -12th  Grade Education Engagement Specialist with PBS Wisconsin Education. Michael is passionate about public education and advocacy that is practical and equitable.  In his role facilitating professional learning opportunities, he strives to support educators with equal parts engagement, inclusivity, and empowerment. Prior to his work with PBS Wisconsin Education, Michael taught middle school Humanities for ten years in Baltimore City Public Schools, was the Education Director of Baltimore Improv Group, facilitated as an Arts Integration Specialist with Maryland Arts for Learning, and was an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, teaching courses in applied improvisation, public speaking, and oral presentations.

Pam Hoadley: Celebrating Culture and Diversity in Children’s Literature

Organization: Hawthorne Elementary School, Madison WI

Session Description: In this session, we’ll examine some of the authors, illustrators and titles that have been added to the Hawthorne Elementary School library collection. Join me as we listen to authors and illustrators read their books to us while we examine some award-winning literature. While looking at the titles, we must remember that some books are “mirrors” that let us see characters who have experiences and lives like our own; some books are “windows” that let us see the lives of characters whose experiences are different from ours. This combination lets the reader feel understood and also allows them to develop an understanding of what is different. 

It is especially important that our children are able to see themselves reflected in the literature they find in their library. Looking at publishing data gives some hope, as there are more BIPOC authors and illustrators being published every year, but the percentage of titles is still woefully small in comparison to the total number of books published each year.

Presenter: Pamela Hoadley has been a children’s librarian for 25 years and brings a love for literature and a passion for building a culturally diverse collection.

Jerry Jordan: I Am An Artist

Session Description: My talk will center on my personal journey to art and how I became a professional painter. I will look at the road blocks and the struggle that many black artist experience, such as moving past the negative stereotypes about artists i.e.…the starving artist, or not finding recognition until after death. We will also dive into the challenges that many Black artists face in trying to find role models and mentors. And finally we will explore the need for self-drive, determination, studying, discipline, and continuous practice.

Presenter: Jerry Jordan,, is an artist and children’s book illustrator working in the style of contemporary realism. He counts such artist as Simmie Knox ,William M. Chase, and Joaquin Sorolla just to name a few, as his major artistic influences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with a BA in Art, as well as his MS in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Art Education. With a growing body of work ranging from murals and illustrations to portraiture he is quickly becoming a highly sought after artist. He can be reached at

Keighton Klos: Unleash the Power of Historic Sites To Teach Students History: A Milton House Museum Case Study

Organization: Milton House Museum, Milton, WI

Session Description: The Milton House Museum is the only certified Underground Railroad site in Wisconsin open to the public. Each year 1,000s of students tour the museum to learn about the history of the Underground Railroad both in America, and in Wisconsin. Join Milton House Museum Executive Director Keighton Klos to learn how historic sites can be used to give context to current events, and help students learn how to think critically about the world around them. 

Presenter: Keighton Klos is the Executive Director at the Milton House Museum in Milton Wisconsin. The Milton House Museum is the only certified Underground Railroad stop in Wisconsin that is open to the public. She has a degree in Public History from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and almost a decade of experience in the museum field. She is passionate about using history as a tool to drive change and encourage people to think critically about current events.

Milaney Leverson, Jennifer Rose & Kent Smith: How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go – Equity in Education

Organizations: Collaborative Organization Revitalization for Equity service at CESA 10, Loyola Community and Family Services

Session Description: Over the last few years in the United States the issue of equity in education has become more visible, more necessary, and unfortunately in many areas, more politicized and controversial. From beginning to address culturally responsive practices in education to breaking the school to prison pipeline and schools being willing to discuss matters of social justice, there were many good initial starts at school reform.  Now, however, those starts are facing systemic resistance including removing federal resources such as the Joint “Dear Colleague” material to passing laws prohibiting the discussion of equity which violate free speech laws.

In this session the presenters will share information on the history of equity in education and the role that systemic racism has played and currently plays in the delivery of public instruction; examine methods of engaging in this work within education systems; and discuss the inclusion of community stakeholders as a crucial factor in implementing effective and sustaining changes.

Presenters: Milaney Leverson‘s career has been grounded in the belief that every child has the right to equitable educational supports, and that social systems are responsible for ensuring that those supports are delivered with care and with sustainability in mind. Her efforts related to social justice and equity have been focused in the areas of discipline, policy, and embedding culturally responsive practices into universal systems. 

Milaney is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and licensed Director of Special Education and Pupil Services who has been working in and supporting schools for over fifteen years. Milaney is currently employed as an Educational Consultant for Systems Equity as part of the Collaborative Organization Revitalization for Equity service at CESA 10. Prior to this role, she was employed as a Technical Assistance Coordinator with the Wisconsin RtI Center / PBIS Network and supported Wisconsin schools in implementing PBIS and culturally responsive practices. Milaney has collaborated with other state PBIS teams to embed culturally responsive practices into their PBIS framework and has presented at state, national, and international conferences on the topic of creating culturally responsive PBIS systems. Additionally, Milaney is a founding member of the Equity Work Group with the National PBIS Center.

Kent Smith has worked primarily in public institutions for most of his career. Through these experiences he has learned how they operate and believes that schools, districts and other public institutions have been given a public trust to provide the best services to the community members that they serve. This public trust carries with it a public responsibility to engage in continuous improvement to ensure it is serving ALL stake holders and addressing any causes of inequality or injustice that may stem from their policies and practices.

Kent is a social worker by training and has been a school social worker in Wisconsin for the last 23 years. He began his career as a county child abuse investigator and in-home family therapist before switching his practice to working in schools. He currently is an Educational Consultant for the Collaborative Organization Revitalization for Equity service at CESA 10. Prior to beginning his current employment, Kent worked for the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center/PBIS Network, focusing on training and supporting culturally responsive practices and PBIS for schools in Wisconsin. He has presented content on PBIS, Response to Intervention and PBIS, as well as Culturally Responsive Practices and PBIS at state, national and international conferences and has collaborated with other state PBIS team to begin embedding culturally responsive practices in their frameworks. He has been an adjunct Social Work instructor for the University of Wisconsin (Madison and Eau Claire) at the undergraduate and graduate level and is a founding, and current, member of the Equity Work Group with the National PBIS Technical Assistance Center.

Dr. Jennifer Rose believes that the provision of academic equity for minority and low-income students is critical to the mission of social justice. Her efforts in this area are focused on advocacy work to support children impacted by exclusionary discipline policies as well as students with Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s).

As a nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP) and licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Rose has provided psychological services in diverse settings including traditional K-12 buildings, juvenile corrections, alternative schools, psychiatric hospitals, and community mental health. As a consultant with the former Illinois Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Network, Dr. Rose guided educators in addressing issues related to school climate and student social-emotional needs. Dr. Rose led the implementation of universal screening in schools across the state of Illinois to help identify students for social-emotional interventions. Dr. Rose is currently a psychologist with Loyola Community and Family Services, a mental health clinic providing services for children and families in the Chicagoland area.

Paul E. Moga: The Power of Youth Voice

Organization: Milwaukee Public Schools, Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement (BLMA)

Session Description: Too often, students, especially students of color see their educational ideas go unacknowledged by teachers, schools, and districts, eliminating opportunities for growth and positive change. Milwaukee Public Schools’ Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement (BLMA) has intentionally incorporated student voice in nearly every aspect of our daily work since 2017. This session will address why it is so important for educators to leverage student voice and suggest some practical ways for us to do so.

Presenter: Paul E. Moga is a teacher, administrator, coach, consultant, and innovator with over twenty-five years of experience in various urban educational settings.  As a middle school, high school, and post-secondary instructor, Paul has taught and mentored thousands of secondary students and preservice teachers. 

Paul received his BS in English Education from Delaware State University and an MS in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. Additionally, he is certified in Wisconsin as a K-12 Principal and Director of Instruction. Paul has always incorporated his own cultural understanding, affinity for African-American history, and love for the written word in his classrooms to build lasting, fulfilling educational experiences. Additionally, Paul served as Riverside University High School’s English Department Chair, Forensics and Poetry Coach, and Student Council advisor.  He has also served as Milwaukee Public Schools’ Culturally Responsive Teacher Leader from 2014-2017, researching best classroom and school culture practices, and providing professional learning to teachers, administrators, support staff, and community partners. 

Paul is also a founding Coordinator of Milwaukee Public Schools’ (MPS) Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement (BLMA).  In this role, Paul collaborates with school leaders to design and implement research-based, anti-racist professional learning and classroom curriculum for the BLMA Manhood Academy course and other district spaces.  In any situation, Paul’s desire is to inspire students and educators to look within themselves, augmenting personal strengths while confronting and overriding bias for the benefit of all learners.  Paul believes that by building authentic relationships and rapport with students and families in combination with a healthy respect for their cultural identities, educators can create transformational experiences in our schools. 

When he is not doting over his two daughters, Paul can be found reading, spending time outdoors, enjoying sports, listening to Hip-Hop, sharing quality time with his wife (and fellow educator), Neva, or writing poetry that rarely goes beyond the confines of its notebook. 

Wayne Muhammed: The Invisible Man: Black Male Absence from the School Principal Pipeline

Session Description: In this deep and thought-provoking session, Principal Muhammad examines how Black male principals are now an endangered species in America, and how their presence–or lack thereof–In American schools impacts the academic achievement rate of Black students and the presence of Black history curriculum and culturally relevant instructional practices in schools. Principal Muhammad also expounds upon the challenges that Black male principals face leading schools today and what can be done to help them overcome them.

Presenter: From the projects to the principal’s office, Wayne Muhammad’s life is a testament to grit, determination, hard work and the power of community in helping young black men achieve their goals and fulfill their potential. 

Born to an unwed, teenage mother and raised in the Whitfield Homes Projects in his hometown of Wilson with his grandmother, this North Carolina native worked for everything he has and fought through some tough situations–poverty, juvenile probation, arrests as a young adult, loss of a college scholarship–to wind up in the education field as both a successful teacher and school administrator. 

With nearly 30 years of experience in the field of education, Wayne Muhammad has served as an elementary school teacher, middle school teacher, assistant principal, principal, and HBCU Assistant Director of Admissions. Before becoming a school leader, Mr. Muhammad spent 10 years as an impactful and transformative Social Studies teacher, achieving the designation of “Master Level 5” teacher. In the state of Tennessee. Since 2012 he has served as an effective and impactful school leader for both KIPP Memphis Schools in Tennessee and National Heritage Academies in North Carolina. Wayne spent five successful years as Principal of Research Triangle Charter Academy in Durham, NC where he led the school to its highest enrollment in its 20-year history. Also, under his leadership, the school was issued its first 10-year charter renewal from the state—a rarity among North Carolina’s urban charter schools. Principal Muhammad also led and coached several leaders during his administrations who went on to be founding deans or principals.

Kathy Myles and Shavana Talbert: Equity-Minded Coaching for Systems Change

Session Description: What might it mean to go beyond using an “equity lens” and operate from a permanent position of equity-mindedness? This session will explore key organizational considerations to address inequities in teaching, coaching, and leading practices in order to create sustained systems change. Participants will leave with tools and actionable strategies to enact transformational change and create equitable conditions leading to high outcomes for all students. 

Presenters: Kathy Myles is a highly innovative, caring instructional leader demonstrating proficiency in building individual and collective capacity. She has served public educators, families and students as a classroom teacher, PreK-12 site and district level administrator, statewide professional development specialist and systems coach, and adjunct instructor for multiple colleges and universities.

Shavana Talbert currently serves as a Culturally Responsive Practices Technical Assistance Coordinator for the state of Wisconsin. She has worked for schools and districts, large and small, in both Wisconsin and Minnesota with the primary role of operationalizing equity. In addition, Shavana consults with non-profits, academic institutions, and corporate brands to promote transformational change through the co-creation of spaces grounded in equity, social justice, dignity, and healing. She is a lead trainer, consultant, and Intercultural Development Inventory ™ Qualified Administrator with Common Talks Consulting.

Kamewanukiw Paula Rabideaux: Black Indians – Connection, Convergence and Confluence

Organization: Network for Native American Student Achievement

Session Description: Black and Native populations experience the worst disproportional statistics across the nation and share equally tragic and abhorrent historical experiences in this country.  Black Indians as an intersectional aspect face double the challenges carrying these burdens of both populations as well as the unique burden of being both Black and Indian.  The need for and evidence of unifying voice has never been more relevant than in the state of our nation today. 

This workshop will explore the unique emergence of the intersectional racial population of Black Indians in our history.  It will share both written history as well as knowledge not written in books but passed down through oral tribal tradition. Participants will learn about some prominent Black Indians and their contributions that shaped history as well as crucial times of concurrence and unity between black and Indian communities throughout history.  Discussion will move to a contemporary context involving examining the complex reality of the internally oppressed perpetrated racial divide, the harm of this intersectional experience and the difficulties of interracial existence.  Finally, in light of current conditions discussion will ensue around the need for powerful racial connection, convergence and confluence of Blacks, Indians, and Black Indians to lift our voices and hold each other in solidarity in these turbulent times for the sake of the future of our children.

“I have a dream where one day my four children will live in a country where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” – Dr. Martin Luther King 

“Let us put our minds together and see what future we can make for our children” – Sitting Bull.

Presenter: Paula Fernandez – Kamewanukiw, works as the Project Coordinator for the Network for Native American Student Achievement.  As the Coordinator, Paula develops training and supports with a Native American focus to assist LEA’s in developing a culturally responsive educational environment. Paula holds a BS in American Indian Studies, a BS in Early childhood/Elementary Education, and a BBA in Marketing.  For 20 years Paula has worked in Education as a Culture and Language teacher, Culture Coordinator, and a Cultural Resource Specialist.  As an educator, Paula mentored staff and eventually directed the incorporation of Culturally Responsive classroom practices across the district. Throughout her career in education Paula has worked at the local, state, and national level as a presenter and consultant on Native American culture, education, and curriculum development.  Currently Paula works as The Culturally Responsive Practices Technical Assistance Coordinator with the WI RtI center where she works with schools statewide to assist them in developing a Culturally Responsive multi-level system of supports. Paula is a member of the Menominee Nation turtle clan, and her Menominee name Kamewanukiw – translates to “Rain Woman”.  As a wife and mother of 5 children she enjoys Native American crafts and participating in various cultural activities with her family and community.  As a lifelong teacher, Paula enjoys educating both youth and adults around aspects of Native American history and education, culture and language, crafts, and ethnobotany. Personally as an equity and diversity advocate Paula works to promote the sharing of knowledge to develop an understanding that will help build bridges between the Native community and dominant society. 

Ronnie Thomas: Increasing Student Achievement through Effective Culturally Relevant STEM Engagement

Session Description: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are concepts that students have to DO in order for the concepts to be impactful. In many schools students are not provided with positive interactions in STEM early enough to prevent the onset of negative self perceptions and attitudes regarding STEM. In addition, the lack of learning about ancestral contributions to the world puts students at risk of not seeing themselves as capable of pursuing STEM pathways. One example of the impact on students exposed to STEM effectively would be the Trilateral STEM Model I led at Parkside Elementary. We sought to investigate if students were exposed to STEM concepts in the general classroom, elective STEM lab and after school STEM club would it translate to increased student achievement. My efforts have been proven through CRCT data to impact student interest and achievement. Under my leadership in implementing STEAM concepts, achievement in science increased by 30 percentage points for students attending Parkside Elementary in grades 3-5 from 2009-2012.

Stakeholders are invited to take part in this OPPORTUNITY to interact with Fun Weird Science strategies as we model engaging hands-on learning experiences guaranteed to keep your scholars hooked. Participating educators will benefit from and engage in a variety of STEM-based activities designed for use as lesson hooks, driving focus and/or extensions. Session topics to include but not limited to chemical reactions, force and motion, heat energy, polymers, and aeronautics. Walk away with a small product made during the session, as well as an electronic toolkit for STEAM based activities that can be utilized immediately to support and strengthen your STEM engagement efforts! 

Presenter: Ronnie Thomas applies his 20 years of STEM teaching experience to ensure that all learners are challenged. He is an enthusiastic and passionate technology driven educator with a solid commitment to the social, academic and developmental growth of every student. Known for his engaging and versatile teaching methods, Thomas has the ability to inspire hands-on learning experiences that capture a student’s imagination. My involvements with STEAM include but are not limited to: teacher implementation training; establishing after school robotics and rocketry clubs; math and science nights; K-12 summer STEAM enrichment workshops; STEAM career day; Earth day and NASA research programs. Since 2000, the communities I served have allowed me to have tremendous success exposing stakeholders to STEAM concepts and opportunities. 

A native of Birmingham, he graduated from Alabama State University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (Beta Zeta). The Founder of Georgia Science & Robotics Academy, Inc 501c3 and Fun Weird Science, LLC, Ronnie resides in Atlanta with his wife and three children.

L. Kobie Wilkerson: Cultivating a Culture of Community in the Classroom: Creating an Environment for Reading, Writing and Math Achievement

Session Description: Culture dictates everything! Relationships are what determine if a school culture works. Relationships among  administration, staff and students often aren’t authentic, and this is the primary untouched issue of most failing  schools. This comprehensive school wide coaching model infuses self-development into the culture and puts into place structures that allow the entire school to keep the conversation of achievement alive and functioning. Accountability and achievement are discussed as the responsibility of not just administration, but all parties of the  community. Sustainable systems in regards to instruction and social emotional learning are setup so achievement becomes infused into the community as a way of being. 

Public schools continue to be the subjects of the endless scheme of high stakes assessment. Schools look to  invoke an endless variety of improvement efforts as a means to correct deficiencies and promote higher levels of  achievement in the multi-faceted school improvement puzzle. Many educators and researchers alike are now  discovering and willing to address the “missing link”, school culture. Culture while synonymous with climate is  different. Climate includes things like respect, happiness, getting along, orderliness, whereas culture is deeper and  a more pervasive characteristic. It is the amalgamation of the values and beliefs shared by those in the  organization. Culture according to Deal and Petterson (1990) is the underlying stream of norms, values, beliefs  and traditions that has built up over time. Petterson (2002) suggest that culture is built within a school over time  as teachers, school leaders, parents and students work together. It is the school culture that often influences the  staff development and professional growth that takes place within a school. To effectively implement the creation  of a healthy school culture it was imperative to be seen as part of the leadership team and not an outsider coming  in to “fix” things. The relationship between effective teaching and effective leadership is reinforced in the vital  role of school culture (Deal & Peterson, 1998). When a school exhibits characteristics of a positive school culture,  there are fewer suspensions, increased attendance rates, and increased achievement on standardized test scores  (Anson et. al. 1991, Becker & Hedges 1992). 

Innovative Program/Methodology: Da Wiz Way of Learning 

  • For this conference work with two elementary schools(one in South Carolina and one in Little Rock  Arkansas) will be shared. Quantitative and qualitative data will be presented. Instructional strategies will  be shared on how to move students and impact achievement. Also, processes and procedures will be  detailed on how a culture of achievement and community is developed and created in a school and  classroom. A few questions that will be answered: 
    • How does a child’s culture affect how he or she thinks and learns?
    • How can a teacher come to know students as learners in a truly global classroom? How does a teacher build robust learning relationships with children from a multitude of cultural  backgrounds and with many learning styles and intelligence preferences?

Presenter: L. Kobie Wilkerson

Joshua Wright and Dr. Grace Blitzer : Cancer Clear & Simple (CC&S)

Organization: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Session Description: Cancer is one of the many health conditions that is plaguing Black folks in the U.S. Let us come together to be reminded about the basics using a tool called Cancer Clear & Simple (CC&S). CC&S includes a curriculum, facilitator Guide and educational handouts. All CC&S materials incorporate health literacy principles and are designed to build knowledge and improve health-related decision-making. In addition to this message, we will share about some positive scientific advances in cancer care and what it means to beat cancer as a disease. 

Presenters: Joshua Wright supports education, outreach and research collaborations with African-American and underserved communities in Wisconsin in an effort to reduce cancer disparities. He engages organizations, groups, and individuals that are doing work in their communities through health awareness initiatives. He feels the importance of teaching about cancer basics, prevention and screening cannot be overlooked in health awareness conversations. He has worked to promote youth education and adult health awareness for over 15 years, and earned his bachelor’s degree in Afro-American Studies from UW-Madison.

Grace Blitzer, MD is a chief resident in radiation oncology at the University of Wisconsin. She is interested in community outreach and translational research. Her focus is in clinical trials investigating the use of cell therapy to improve patients’ quality of life. She has recently been awarded an ASCO Young Investigator Award to run a clinical trial on the use of stem cells to improve radiation-induced dry mouth for head and neck cancer survivors.


Who We Are

Andreal Davis is a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, friend, and the Statewide Culturally Responsive Practices Coordinator in Wisconsin. She is also CEO and Founder of Cultural Practices That Are Relevant Consulting Firm whose signature event is the annual Black History Education Conference. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1986 and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 1995 from UW–Madison. Davis also holds a certificate in educational administration from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin.

Convinced of the importance of family and community in a child’s education, Davis has been instrumental in forming family-school-community relationships ever since she began teaching in 1986. She has served in various capacities in the public education arena including but not limited to an elementary educator, Title I reading instructor, parent involvement coordinator, instructional resource teacher for cultural relevance, assistant director of equity and family involvement, and the nation’s first director of African American student achievement with the Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin. She was formerly co-director, along with her husband, Arlington, of the African American Ethnic Academy, an academic and cultural enrichment program that convened on Saturday mornings. As a product of the research she did while serving as co-director at the African American Ethnic Academy, she was propelled by her own three sons and countless other under-served children across the country and devoted her life’s work to researching best practices and models around Culturally Responsive Practices that speak to the unique identities and world views of children.

Reflecting on her own educational experiences as a child and those she has had as a classroom teacher and mother, she has held deeply in her heart the people, purposes, and passions that have shaped and profoundly impacted her in becoming the educational leader she is today. Many of these experiences remain in her institutional memory and call her to create and share this work through publishing books, developing curriculum, and consulting work across the nation. Included in this repertoire of tools and resources are a professional development model called “Cultural Practices That Are Relevant” (CPR) that supports and strengthens Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching.

Most recently, she has published her first culturally responsive children’s book called, “Dreaming In Ethnic Melodies” that shares the hopes and dreams she has held for her own three sons. She currently serves as Wisconsin’s Statewide Culturally Responsive Practices Coordinator at the Wisconsin Response to Intervention Center where she, along with a team of colleagues, trains practitioners across the state of Wisconsin and nationally from a model she co-created called the “Model to Inform Culturally Responsive Practices” that focuses on what it means to be culturally responsive starting with self and moving that work across an entire equitable multi-level system of support.

As a result of this work, Davis has received various awards. She was the recipient of the NBC 15 News Crystal Apple Award (2000), UW–Madison Lois Gadd Nemec Distinguished Elementary Education Alumni Award (2004), Order of the Eastern Star Mother Full of Grace (2004), Milken National Educator Award (2004), and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award (2013).

At Cultural Practices That Are Relevant (CPR) our work focuses on “Breathing New Life Into Our Instructional Practices and Children.”

In an effort to promote, honor and protect the wealth of Black educational practices and promote increased racial identity and achievement in Black children, Cultural Practices That Are Relevant is a national education consulting firm that provides culturally relevant conferences, coaching, workshops, curriculum development, and public speaking to early childhood, K-12, and higher education institutions across the United States.

We strive to draw from our highest order models and traditional ways of being and knowing to bring the best that we have to offer by mobilizing and sharing research based best practices and models that exist across the country. In doing so, the foundation of our work will be to learn from the past to create the future, Sankofa, and come together in a way that demonstrates the philosophy of Ubuntu—“I am because we are”—to make and take action toward closing achievement, attitude, and opportunity gaps that will allow our children to see and be the highest order model of their “possible selves.”

Our signature event is the annual Black History Education Conference, now in its fourth year, with an ever-increasing number of participants across Wisconsin and wider growing participation across the United States. Our 300-plus past attendees have included:

  • PK-16+ Educators: Early childhood representatives; K-12 school personnel; and higher education institutions including Edgewood College, UW–Madison, UW–Eau Claire, and UW–Whitewater
  • Church Members and Community Organizations: Urban League of Greater Madison, Overture Center for the Arts, Wisconsin State Historical Society, and more
  • State Officials: State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, UW–Madison Interim Chief Diversity Officer Cheryl Gittens, and representatives from the Wisconsin Education Council
  • Nationally-known Education Consultants: Dr. Gloria Ladson Billings and Dr. Mahalia Hines, mother of the Grammy award winning actor/performer Common

Another goal of Cultural Practices That Are Relevant is to bring people together to share what we know will change the data that places Wisconsin among the lowest on the Department of Education and NAEP lists in graduation rates, reading scores, standardized math scores, out of school suspensions, prison rates, experiencing poverty, health disparities, and other areas for Black students and families who call Wisconsin “home”.

2020 Black History Education Conference Clip

If you have a purpose for which you can believe, there’s no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.

Marian Anderson


If you have questions about the 4th Annual Black History Education Conference, please email PLACE Conference and Event Planning Services at