Black History Education Conference graphic with red, yellow and green text and photos of the four women keynote speakers.

Black History Education Conference

The 5th Annual Black History Education Conference: “Ubuntu- I Am, Because We Are!” 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 17-18, 2023
Friday, Feb. 17: 4:00p-4:45p and 6:00p-8:00p
Saturday, Feb. 18: 9:00a-4:45p

Where: Online

Program Fee: $150

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Who We Are

Cultural Practices That Are Relevant

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 fifth 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.

Featured Sessions

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Assata Moore : Pamoja Tutashinda! (In Kiswahili, that means "Together, we will win!")

Assata Moore started teaching at the age of eighteen! After volunteering at a charter school, the principal hired her full time to teach mathematics. She did not just teach these elementary school children math, she taught them college level math, physics, HTML coding, how to build computers, how to start a business – which they did, and much more. A large percentage of her students are now in STEM fields as doctors, engineers, computer scientists, nurses, etc. During her time as a principal she started an AP Computer Science course that was mandatory for all students. Based on the number of students enrolled, if her school were a state, it would have been ranked #7 for the percentage of African American students taking an AP Comp Sci course.

She has a mathematics degree from Michigan State University where she also served as the Pre-college Engineering Program Coordinator. In 2009, she was voted one of the top mathematics teachers in the state of Illinois and a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching (PAEMST). In 2015, she was invited to the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama to highlight the importance of college readiness.

In February of 2017, at the age of forty-one, she retired from her district level position at the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute. Prior to that position, Assata spent five years as a high school principal where she brought a school from red to green in terms of education, staff morale, and budget. As a teacher and principal, she traveled the world teaching other teachers how to teach mathematics, physics, and engineering in a fun and engaging way; effective leadership; and systems and strategies for running a successful school.

Fatima Zelada-Arenas: Pancreatic Cancer and Its Impact on Black Communities

Fatima Zelada-Arenas is the Patient Services Director, Research and Education at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). She has been with PanCAN for over ten years working directly with pancreatic cancer patients and caregivers providing resources and information. She oversees the research and education for the Patient Services program at PanCAN and has a special interest in patient advocacy, research, and mental health.

Gabrielle Wilson: Miss Black America

Reigning Miss Black America is Gabrielle Wilson, Master Queen of Service and of Many Trades!

Formerly the student assistant for the Office of the President at Loyola Marymount University and an intern for Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti, Gabrielle has utilized her experience in her university and municipal office’s to provide opportunities for her community.

Gabrielle is a Clinton Global Initiative University Fellow, Student Trustee for the West Valley- Mission College School District, African American Alumni Association Bursary Awardee, Hilton School of Business “Fred Keisner Social Student Entrepreneur of the Year,” Mission College Board of Trustee Scholar, Loyola Marymount University Office of the President Awardee, Lloyd Grief Student Entrepreneur Awardee, Pi Beta Phi – Cal Nu, Byte Club Founding President, ASG Student Leader Award, Year Up Honors Student, Code for Impact Winner for Clinton Foundation, UN Women Delegate, Beacon International Fellow, Make-A-Wish Foundation Hackathon Winner, and Youth Church Vacation Bible School Teacher.

She is the founder of “Code With Gab,” an educational platform that aims to help students learn the technical and professional skills to work in tech. Gabrielle’s initiatives have gained international recognition in tech as she was awarded the Clinton Foundation’s Code For Impact Winner.

Gabrielle is currently studying Data Analytics with an emphasis in Computer Science at Mission College. Gabrielle pursued her undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University where she studied Political Science and Business Economics. During her undergraduate career, Gabrielle won the Keisner School of Entrepreneurship’s Start-up Weekend, chaired the Associated Students of Loyola Marymount University Judiciary Committee, was awarded the William F. Fitzgerald Scholarship, Greek Life Philanthropy Chair, and founded PeekooBox, an educational subscription club for feminine hygiene.

Joshua Wright and Dr. Ryan Spencer: Afr I Can Cer Project - Cancer: Common vs. Rare Types

This session will focus on knowing which cancers are most common and which are rare, the importance of early detection and which populations are experiencing which specific types of cancer.

Joshua Wright is a Community Project Coordinator for the Cancer Health Disparities Initiative in the Carbone Cancer Center. He works with organizations and community members to support health awareness through cancer prevention activities, education and programs. These efforts promote CHDI’s mission to reduce disparate outcomes for populations that experience heavier cancer burdens.

Dr. Spencer is an assistant professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health where he is also the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program Director and the associate director of the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship-training program. He has won a number of teaching awards from both medical students and for the surgical teaching of resident physicians. Dr. Spencer has given talks in the Wisconsin region and nationally regarding the use of minimally invasive sentinel lymph node biopsies for gynecologic cancers, optimizing care for patients with gynecologic cancer syndromes and incorporating techniques to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. In addition, Dr. Spencer earned an MS in Clinical Investigation.


Kacie Butcher and Taylor Bailey: Sifting & Reckoning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Kacie Lucchini Butcher is an award-winning public historian whose work is dedicated to building empathy and advancing social justice. She is currently the Director of the UW-Madison Public History Project, a multi-year effort to uncover and give voice to the histories of discrimination, exclusion, and resistance on campus. The project culminated in the Sifting & Reckoning physical and digital exhibitions, public lectures, curricular materials and more, that give space for the Madison community to reckon with this history. She is active in the public history community and is the co-chair of the Membership Committee for the National Council on Public History.

Taylor L. Bailey is a public historian and literary scholar in how marginalized people navigate life, seek liberation, and establish kinship. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of the UW-Madison Public History Project, a multi-year effort to uncover and give voice to the histories of discrimination, exclusion, and resistance on campus. Taylor’s work on the Public History Project has allowed her the opportunity to unite the aspects of storytelling present in literary scholarship with public history, research lesser told and known histories, and impart the knowledge of historical findings to the public in intellectual yet creative ways.

Keewa Nurullah: From Princess to Queen - Stepping Past Fear to Start a New Life Chapter

Keewa Nurullah is a performing artist, community organizer, and the owner of Kido, an award-winning children’s shop located in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. As an artist, she has toured domestically and internationally performing for legends such as Quincy Jones, Julie Andrews, Usher, and Justin Timberlake. As a shop owner, Keewa focuses on inclusivity and representation in her curated collection of apparel, books, and sustainable toys. Named Black Entrepreneur of the Year in 2021 by Official Black Wall Street, Clover, and Snapchat, she has been featured in The New York Times, CBS Mornings, The Tamron Hall Show, CNN, Forbes, and other media outlets. A Black Wall Street descendant and 4th generation entrepreneur, Keewa is dedicated to Black entrepreneurship and community building in Chicago. She is a devoted wife and mother, and she enjoys creating memories with her husband, Doug, and their two little ones.

Keewa will be leading a session under our Boss Princess strand where we will be showcasing African American female entrepreneurs.

Krystal Hardy Allen: What Goes Unspoken: How School Leaders Address DEI Beyond Race

A native of historic Selma, Alabama, Krystal Hardy Allen is the Founder & CEO of K. Allen Consulting™, an award-winning former teacher and principal, a respected organizational leadership and DEI thought leader, and author of “What Goes Unspoken: How School Leaders Address DEI Beyond Race”, which has been named a #1 New Release both by Amazon and Barnes & Noble within the first week of current preorder sales alone. Krystal began her career teaching elementary school, then moving into instructional leadership as an administrator, and in 2017, became an entrepreneur founding what has become a highly sought after global education & management consulting firm serving over 8 countries; major corporate brands, such as Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft; school systems, nonprofits, and government agencies. Most recently featured within Time Magazine for her thought leadership on racial bias with K-12 classrooms, 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; was named one of the 2022 Most Influential Women in Business in Louisiana by the BRM Regional Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the Board of Directors for several national and state nonprofit organizations that advance educational equity. A first-generation college graduate, Krystal holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, M.Ed. from NLU(Chicago), and doctoral studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Krystal’s work – be it customized professional development workshops, strategic planning, leadership coaching, philanthropy, or thought leadership – all centers DEI, social justice, adult learning, and organizational development.

Work with Schools

Within the education space in particular, her work has spanned support of early childhood centers, public & private K-12 school systems, colleges and universities, as well as education companies and nonprofits. Her firm provides custom trainings in everything from board governance to instructional leadership to family engagement to HR and staff culture/climate. Their work within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion space in particular helps schools and education organizations shift from theory to real action in policy and practice change that results in more intentionally diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces and outcomes. Her education clients span from Amazon and Microsoft to Columbia University to Chicago Public Schools and more.

Tahira Gilyard: Queens Let’s Get in Formation: Heads Up! Crowns On!

Tahira Gilyard is a 23 year old scholar and 3rd year law student at the Fordham University School of Law. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, the diversity & equity advocate was recently crowned Miss Black USA on August 9th, aired live on Fox Soul.

Growing up, Tahira was pretty shy, so her mother placed her in dance classes when she was seven. Ironically salsa, a style that requires a lot of personality, broke her out of her shell and she went on to become a competitive salsa dancer, competing and performing throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. As the first African-American salsa dance teacher in a predominately Latino Dance academy, Tahira learned first-hand that you do not have to be of a culture to appreciate it. Thus, Tahira’s platform “There is Dignity in Diveristy” was born.

Tahira once contemplated entering a career field that lacks diversity because she knows how much diversity has to offer. The recent broadcasts of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement are clear indications of why it matters to have representation in fields such as law. She firmly believes that it is vital to saturate fields that we have the talent and skills to prevail in despite being the minority, which lead to Tahira attending Fordham University’s School of Law and pursuing a career as a criminal attorney.

Concurrent Sessions

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Andrea L. Andrews: The Hidden Cost of Integration

In 1954, the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education ended segregated schooling in the United States. Unfortunately, it also ended the careers of over 38,000 highly qualified and credentialed Black educators in southern and border states. While the Brown ruling was a significant step in creating equitable educational opportunities for Black children, the unforeseen consequences for Black teachers and students remain neglected. How will we correct the course of U.S. education for our children?

Andrea L. Andrews is an enthusiastic educational leader with more than 10 years of experience. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Jackson State University and her Master of Education in Instructional Leadership from Union University. Andrea began her career as an award-winning upper elementary literacy teacher in Mississippi and Tennessee. She went on to develop teachers through instructional coaching, with a focus on effective literacy instruction and providing support to diverse students.
Currently, Andrea is an Associate Partner at the Opportunity Trust, concentrating on instructional excellence and equity in her hometown of St. Louis, MO. She also instructs novice elementary teachers as an adjunct professor at Washington University, St. Louis. In 2019, she was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society of Education. Andrea, aka “Professor Dreezy“, fulfills her passion for culture and community by teaching children across the country as an online Black history instructor with Sankofa Kids Club. She has a pet tortoise named Mortisha, and she loves to sing joyfully and dance freely.

Dr. Aresa Allen-Rochester: Transformational Culturally Relevant Pedagogy: Deconstructing Dehumanizing Beliefs with Culturally Relevant Pedagogy from a Social Justice Lens

This workshop series will provide the historical context and a theoretical framework for deconstructing systems and polices that have aided in the dehumanization of Black people. Focus on dismantling myths and beginning the work to change educational institutions with the understanding that it must be reshaped and educators must do the work to have courageous conversations, courageous leadership, and authentic pedagogical shifts in which students and their culture are affirmed, acknowledged and validated! Welcome to the Social Justice Educational Reform! 

With twenty-seven years of experience, Dr. Aresa Allen-Rochester (Dr. Roc.) has served as an University professor, District level administrator, educational consultant and principal for the past thirteen years in the second largest school district in the United States. Dr. Roc’s expertise has defined her as a leading practitioner in transformational leadership and a national speaker, strategist, trainer, reformer and transformer as the CEO of Solution Based Consulting. Focused on research-based instructional practices, Dr. Roc’s core mission is to ensure that the curricula, pedagogy and assessments authentically meets the needs of students of color and supports staff in doing so from a social justice lens. The leader of two low-performing schools, Dr. Roc transformed both into highly recognized and achieving schools. Noted as having the highest growth rate for Black children in ELA and mathematics in the district and in 2022 received state-wide recognition as a California Pivotal Practice Award Winner! Her work has been acknowledged and documented in Edsource which highlights how she moved a school from a lawsuit to excellence. 


Corri Bischer: Howard Garner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences

We all learn many different ways even as adults — Project based learning provides a multitude of input methods for us to process the information provided –to reach 100% of your audience, in a classroom or boardroom, present your info with all learning styles in mind so each audience member can resonate with your topic. 

I am Corri Bischer. I am an educator, author, speaker, mom, and recently graduated to Grandma Coco. I have been in the field of education from infancy to college. As I began to learn about different theories, Gardner’s Theory hit me so close to home because it put a name to everything that I believed in. I believe we all need a variety of methods in which to understand information. This is why I believe in project-based learning and that the classroom methods, which have not been updated since inception 100+ years ago, are outdated and irrelevant. I believe true history needs to be taught in order to move forward. 

Gwendolyn W. Ebron: Tell the Children Who They Are and Watch Them Become Who You Hope They Would Be

Attendees in this session will learn about techniques in teaching African and African American History including, role play, games and reenactments. 

Gwendolyn W. Ebron, M. Ed has been a Counselor for 36 years and has taught African and African American history for 27 years. Gwendolyn has given lectures and has directed and acted in immersive, interactive presentations with actors, portraying historical Africans and African Americans. Gwendolyn has a deep passion for everyone learning about the history and legacy of the people of African descent.

Jalateefa Joe-Meyers: Grandmas Produce Boss Ladies

My late Grandmother Ruby Nell Joe created greatness from adversity by intentionally creating a counter narrative from the narrative I would hear and experience in the world . She created an environment that mentally and physically supported my growth and development, but most importantly my Identity through doll making . 

When I reflect on my own childhood, dolls and toys were a large part of my play. The play I engaged in usually included playing with my friends or sister, where dramatic scenarios would emerge and evolve. Some characters recurred while other characters were invented anew. These narratives largely focused on social dynamics that included dating, having children, getting married, participating in beauty contests, getting into good colleges, going to dance parties, among others. When playing as a child, the toys were a means of expression that was witnessed by my friends, family, and peers. The stories created were based on movies and TV plots, however, they were also invented from the existing knowledge of social dynamics. The engagement with others and the use of dolls as an intermediary object for emotion and expression provided the opportunity for a unique kind of learning. Because of these interactions during my development, I recognized the possibility that dolls enhance therapeutic intervention and the identity of self for many young girls . My grandmother created all my dolls in my image . This is what led me to create my own doll as a form of art- based research.

The use of dolls support a plethora of important skills that help women in later life:
-Facilitating opportunity for communication with others
-Reduction in episodes of distress/anxiety
-Fulfillment of attachment, comfort identity, inclusion, and occupational needs
-Improvement in daily activities such as communication, eating and sleeping. 

The dolls my grandmother made me served as an object of love and was often represented as I played with friends and through the doll I made connections with my own identity, my own story.

The use of dolls in play largely utilizes narrative and storytelling. The importance of play in learning is highlighted by the authors: “Through stories, fables, and nursery rhymes, children construct realities, including ideas about right and wrong, cause-and-effect relationships, and the human condition” The types of toys children have access to affects their behavior , sense of safety and many more things that you will have to attend the session to find out . 


Jami Hoekstra Collins and Mouna Algahaithi: Room to Grow: PBS KIDS Resources for Racial Literacy

Participants will learn how to help children navigate racial literacy while challenging themselves to promote racial justice. Free, bilingual PBS resources will be shared to support the development of an egalitarian classroom community while learning about civil rights activists and leaders. 

Participants will:
  1. Build resilient, racially literate communities with young learners and their families.
  2. Integrate standards-aligned PBS digital and printable resources that equip children and families to celebrate who they are while developing respect and appreciation for the differences of others.
  3. Teach togetherness by modeling kindness strategies where students learn about non-violent civil rights activists and leaders who serve as mentors and models in the development of empathetic classroom communities.

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 twenty seven years in Head Start/ Reach Dane as well as public schools in Marshall and Madison, Wisconsin. 

Mouna Algahaithi is an Early Learning Engagement Specialist with PBS Wisconsin and a certified Tier 2 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 West Africa. 

Jazmynn Appleton: Breaking Barriers in Black Entrepreneurship

Key takeaways from this session include:
-Creating support systems for the underserved entrepreneurs and providing them with resources to succeed in a way that provides Black women room to grow and become self-sufficient.
-Changing the history of Black women having to feel stuck in the corporate world and being able to branch out as their own boss.
-Providing community for Black women to connect, network and express themselves without society’s limits being placed on them while being friendships and collaborating with other like-minded entrepreneurs.
-Black women being able to show up in spaces that centers their needs and aspirations. 

Jazmynn Appleton is a full-time mother, entrepreneur, and career woman. Born in Chicago and raised in Madison, I enjoy reading, writing, making candles, doing crafts, and traveling, and my favorite thing to do currently is make cooking reels. I truly enjoy cooking for others. I have a background in financial institutions and spent most of my early adulthood working in credit unions and being a certified financial counselor. During the pandemic, I, unfortunately, lost my job due to having to be at home with my son when schools closed down, so I connected with Sabrina Madison. I originally reached out to inquire about an admin position, but Sabrina was aware of me being an entrepreneur and thought that I would fit best in a position where I supported other entrepreneurs; so from there, I was hired on as a part-time Creator of Entrepreneurial Opportunities for the Progress Center for Black Women. 6 months later, I was promoted to the Manager of Entrepreneurial Opportunities and built out our FOCUS entrepreneurial training accelerator alongside Sabrina. I found a true passion for uplifting entrepreneurs and providing them with the resources and guidance to succeed. 

Jerry Jordan: Becoming an Artist, Believing in Yourself and Putting in the Work

Jerry Jordan is a painter working in the style of contemporary realism. He counts the unsung artist of the Harlem Renaissance as his artistic role models. He has also been heavily influenced by such artist as John S. Sargent, William M. Chase, and Joaquin Sorolla just to name a few. 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, he is quickly becoming a highly sought-after artist. 

Kamewanukiw Paula Rabideaux: Black Indians

This session will focus on understanding the connections and intersectionality of Indigenous and Black peoples to better understand our tied history together and the need to connect for our future.

Kamewanukiw Paula Rabideaux works as the Native American Culturally Responsive Practices Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Wisconsin RtI Center. As a Coordinator, Kamewanukiw develops and provides training and supports to districts and schools to assist them in developing Culturally Responsive Systems. Kamewanukiw holds a degree in Native American Studies, Early Childhood/Elementary Education and currently in the First Nations Education Doctorate at University Wisconsin Green Bay. For 25 years Kamewanukiw has worked in Education as a classroom teacher and Cultural Resource Specialist supporting educators in implementing culturally responsive practices for Native American populations. She has worked at the local, state, and national level as a presenter and consultant on Native American culture, education, curriculum development, and best practices. Kamewanukiw is a member of the Menominee Nation, a proud mother of five children, and her Menominee name translates to “Rain Woman.”

Michael Hartwell and Nick Ostrem: When All U.S. History Is Taught From One Book: Exploring PBS’s Free, Multimedia U.S. History Collection

Maya Angelou once said, “Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just U.S. history.” With this notion in mind, PBS is excited to introduce a newly curated, intentionally integrated U.S. history collection for educators. Although not represented in the classic book form Ms. Angelou described, this free, multimedia collection prioritizes an inclusive history of the U.S. understood through the honest complexity of multiple perspectives and underrepresented stories. Not only is the collection authentically representative, it is also incredibly engaging for students and will act as a natural catalyst for stronger critical thinking. Join us for a deep dive tour of this collection where we will showcase its wide range of resources and other helpful tools available for free to educators.

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.

Nick Ostrem is a 3rd – 12th grade Education Engagement Specialist with PBS Wisconsin Education. With a background in public history, he strives to empower learners to see themselves in the past, present, and future. In his role he supports educators and students by facilitating youth media creation and media literacy initiatives. Prior to his work with PBS Wisconsin Education, Nick worked as the Museum Educator and National History Day Coordinator for the Wisconsin Historical Society.


Milaney Leverson, Brian Misfeldt and Kent Smith: Centering Equity & Trauma Supportive Care at the Universal & Classroom Level

Key Takeaways from this session will include:
-Recognizing the role of identity and implicit bias in classroom systems, especially discipline
-Identifying discipline practices that are frequently inequitable
-Learning methods to increase cultural responsiveness and trauma sensitive practices in classrooms by increasing student and family agency

Milaney Leverson’s (Collaborative Organization Revitalization for Equity) 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. 

Brian Misfeldt is the Superintendent of the School District of Bloomer, a rural school district of approximately 1200 students in western Wisconsin.  Previously, Brian served the Superintendent in the Unified School District of Antigo, was a middle school principal, high school dean of students and started his career as a high school social studies teacher.  As a district leader Brian strives to improve school connectedness and student engagement through development of equitable and inclusive practices.

Kent Smith 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.


Mizzier Campbell: There is Always Something G.R.E.A.T. happening!

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 children’s 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!

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: Putting The Neighbor Back In The Hood: Mentoring and Empowering Black Male Student Achievement Through Hands On Social-Emotional Learning Strategies

Each participant will gain a new level of respect for the core tenets of mentoring black boys. We will discuss the value and importance of going beyond the old strategies we’ve used in our communities for years. The core objective will be teaching each participant how to step up and fill the gaps in the critical areas using tried and tested SEL techniques.

O’nae Chatman is an award-winning speaker & author. He is the founder of the Young Kings Gentlemen School for Boys, a life skills academy located in Tupelo, Mississippi. He is the author of over 24 books and travels the country extensively teaching and inspiring young black males to greatness.

Regina Armour & Victor Montañez: Student Leadership Academies: The Implementation of the Freedom School Through a Cultural Leadership Model Key Takeaways

Key takeaways from this session include:
1.) The historical, cultural, and empowerment intersections of Black and Brown people are an impactful contemporary influence today and is deeply rooted
2.) The transatlantic slave trade into Mexico and Latin America influences Black presence in cultural exchange that pre-dates slavery; The “me as the other you” and Ubuntu laid the groundwork for liberation and independence through an Indigenous and Black alliance
3.)Through art used as a teaching tool, we can side-step academic, political race and class obstacles by giving voice to our individual and our connected cultural identities We employ a cultural leadership model for student leadership development that we implement in schools.(We will also share the Student Leadership Development Model that is implemented in schools) 

Regina Armour is currently the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Concept Schools. Dr. Armour’s primary focus is equity, cultural responsiveness, and leadership/organizational development primarily in education using a multi-faceted, systems approach. She has provided professional development for teachers and leadership development for principals and districts. She has extensive experience providing numerous workshops on social justice; instructional school cultures; cultural proficiency in schools and organizational literacy for educators. 

Victor Montañez is a lifelong artist. He has been involved in the Chicago cultural scene since the mid-1980s and, before that, in East LA’s Boyle Heights artist community. Montañez is the originator of “Empowerment Art,” an art form known for its distinct feature of allowing viewers to display the same artwork in multiple arrangements, each arrangement depicting various protagonists. “Know Art,” the term coined to describe it, embodies options and changes. Victor M. Montañez is a nationally recognized expert on educational policy, practice, and urban democratic school reform. He has been a featured presenter on education leadership, parental involvement, and pedagogy issues at national and international conferences sponsored by the World Bank, The Ford Foundation, The Hazen Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. 

Dr. Valerie Bennett

In this session participants will ;earn about several STEM-related inventions/innovations from Ancient Africa, the disparities in STEM majors and why this has occurred historically and strategies we can implement NOW to increase our output of African-American STEM majors & completers.

Dr. Valerie Bennett, “The STEM Doctor”, is an international speaker and STEM coach who is a highly sought-after leader and consultant for STEM and Educational Programs who provides structure to community organizations and educational entities. She has worked for 20 years as a coach and mentor in technology-based student organizations and competitions. She received a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and received her Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Most recently, she earned her second Doctorate in Higher Educational Leadership at Clark Atlanta University.  In addition to her groundbreaking work in the area of gateway STEM courses for underserved students at HBCUs, she was recognized by the Global Forum for Education and Learning for Fostering Intelligence and Transforming Education as one of the TOP 100 Visionaries in Education. Most recently, she was an invited STEM Curriculum Integration consultant to the Vision School in Malaysia where she conducted Professional Development sessions to Elementary and High School students and teachers. She is also CEO and founder of STEM Compass, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to navigate, educate, and motivate young people in STEM-focused careers and entrepreneurship. STEM Compass where they impact nearly 1000 students each year. She was recognized by the White House Initiative as an HBCU Scholar and has led the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at Morehouse College which is the leading producer of black male STEM PhDs. Her current positions are an Assistant Professor at Clark Atlanta University where she is the Coordinator for the MAT Program in STEM and is the Director of Educational Technology and Innovation in the School of Education. As The STEM Doctor, she is dedicated to “Prescribing Pathways to STEM Excellence for Students of Color.”

Zaki Siraj: Cancer and its Epidemiology in African Americans

This session will focus on a basic understanding of cancer and the leading causes of cancer death in African Americans.

Zaki Siraj is a senior at Middleton High school who works at the Carbone Cancer Center. Zaki does research in the Kosoff Lab on Prostate cancer and the Tumor Microenviornment. 

Featured Content

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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.

Boss Princess

The Boss Princess strand will showcase African American female entrepreneurs.

We will bridge Ms. Nrullah’s keynote with a video clip about child business owner Maikaila Ulmer from Me and The Bees Lemonade that demonstrates “Ubuntu! I Am, Because We Are,” while emphasizing entrepreneurship and Black Beauty.

Other offerings under this strand include giving away African American dolls called, Jalateefa Boss Lady Dolls, showcasing African American Entrepreneur Arilynn Harris from Arilynn’s Treats, and awarding prizes for a literacy program we offer called “Breath Bags.” The prize package includes Nickelodeon’s  “That Girl Lay Lay” items highlighting an African American female “Boss Princess.”

DJ Baby Butch

By popular demand DJ Baby Butch is back but this time he will be doing a versus with the young’uns (old school versus new school).

Conference Overview

Day 1 of the conference will include:

  • A beautiful rendition of the song “Wake Up Everybody!”
  • A 2023 BHEC opening dance showcase
  • Keynote session from Kido Bookstore owner and retired Disney Princess Tiana, Keewa Nurullah
  • Sifting and Reckoning Exhibition
  • Original Rap songs created exclusively for the 2023 BHEC highlighting Pancreatic, Colon, Breast and Prostate Cancer will be performed by Ari Davis
  • By popular demand DJ Baby Butch is back but this time he will be doing a VERSUS with the young’uns (old school versus new school)

Day 2 of the conference will include:

  • Keynote session from Tahira Gilyard, Miss Black USA
  • 15+ breakout sessions

And don’t think we forgot about…

  • Our 2023 choice of “Lift Every Voice and Sing!” is off the chain!
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. movie created by Akhai Davis

Our Story

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 5th Annual Black History Education Conference, please email PLACE Conference and Event Planning Services at