Speakers

We are bringing you the nations top leaders in education! Read more below about this years line up. 

 

JUSTINE GONZALEZ

FOUNDER & CEO @

EDUCATORAIDE 

After teaching and serving as a literacy coach in Indianapolis Public Schools, Justine was trained to be a principal through a leadership program that began at Harvard called New Leaders. She then served as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools' turnaround network, AUSL.

 

Following her time in Chicago, she became a founding Principal and Regional Director for a network of 10 high school campuses across Indiana. Currently co-authoring a book, pursuing her Ph.D., and selected as a speaker for ASCD Empower 2020, she also serves as a founding board member for the Midwest Center for Social Services.

Alonzo Nelson "MR. Do Math"

EDUCATOR

Alonzo Nelson is a legacy educator. He grew up in the household of math teachers. To this day his parents still work in education, his father in district administration and his mother as a middle school math teacher.

 

In 2012 Alonzo began his professional teaching career at his old high school, East St Louis Sr High (99% Black), and made an immediate impact in the classroom and community. After his second year he helped charter the math honor society and joined the track and field coaching staff. 

 

In 2017 he moved to a new district becoming the only Black male teacher in a student population of 2100 (45% Black, 55% white). Also is the assistant track coach, sponsor of a Multicultural club, and charter sponsor of a Next Generation, a support club for the uplift and growth of Black Honors students.

 

Outside of his school district, Alonzo is the Education chair of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St Louis, and a Registered Yoga Teacher and co-owner of a Black yoga studio, The Collective STL. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he started a Facebook group, 618 Adopt a Senior that has over 5000 members. He has connected over 1000 students in the Metro East to people willing to support students as they move into the next chapter of their lives.“Teaching is a ministry and those who do so are guiding the future of our nation.” His passion is for the well being of the Black Community and changing the way we as adults and students view education and the profession of teaching.

 

The cherry on top, Alonzo is a father of a beautiful 1 year old girl, Harper, and the husband of 2-time Olympic gold and silver medalist, Dawn Harper Nelson.

 

MARIO JAVON SHAW

Chief Program Officer @

PROFOUND GENTLEMEN

Mario serves as Chief Program Officer for Profound Gentlemen. He received his M.S.Ed from Johns Hopkins University School of Education in 2015 and a B.A from University of Cincinnati in 2012. Mario began his journey as an 7th-grade teacher in Charlotte- Mecklenburg Schools through Teach For America. During his time in the classroom, Mario created the BrotherHood, a program to address the needs of young black males in his classroom.

 

Mario is a 2015 recipient of the Echoing Green fellowship. He has been recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 as one of the world’s brightest social innovators who seek to bring about change and equal opportunity for boys and male educators of color. 

Patrick Walker Reese 

Chief Dream Builder @

ASPIRE LLC.

Patrick Walker-Reese, MPA is an established and celebrated speaker and educator. Patrick Walker-Reese, or Mr. Reese, as his students commonly refer to him as has dedicated his work to serve his own community. He has motivated and encouraged youth and adults alike to dare to dream and to strive for greatness every day.

In 2012 he formed ASPIRE LLC, an Educational Consulting Firm. Aspire specializes in highly interactive motivational presentations, workshops, curriculum, and literature. ASPIRE has worked with varied reputable organizations and companies such as Girl Scouts of America, Caterpillar Financial, Metro Nashville Public Schools, YMCA, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, Clemson University, University of DC. The list of who ASPIRE has worked with has continued to grow. Now including, 100 Black Men “100 Kings” program, Oasis Center, The Educate ME HBCU College Tour, Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, Boys And Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, and Coty Sensabaugh of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, and a host of professional athletes.

 

BRIAN DINKINS

CEO @

CENTER FOR EMPOWERING EDUCATION, INC.  

Brian Dinkins,  is a rising professional development trainer, keynote, and motivational speaker for the Center for Empowering Education where he serves as CEO. He also teaches future principals in the educational leadership program at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN.

 

Raised by a single mother in the inner city of Indianapolis, he achieved poorly graduating with a 1.9 gpa but with support of teachers, coaches, and mentors, earned a B.A. from Purdue University, two master’s degrees, Ed.S, and currently finishing his doctorate in educational leadership. Brian has served as turnaround principal in four high poverty schools, including traditional, charter, and private schools and has committed his work to serving children and families in need. 

PATRICK HAWKINS

EDUCATOR

Patrick Hawkins is a Special Education Teacher. He has been teaching since 2009 in various educational sectors. Mr. Hawkins graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Drama Education from Piedmont College. He also attended Kennesaw State University with a Master’s in Teacher Leadership. While working over the past 10 years he has been certified in Drama Education, Teacher Leadership, and Special Education.

 

Mr. Hawkins is an advocate for students and parents especially families that have students with Special Needs. He has committed himself to his work in the education field. He is a teacher member of the organization GeorgiaCan and has been featured in the Huffington Post. Currently Mr. Hawkins is working on his first book. Patrick Hawkins resides in Atlanta, GA.

 

DIAMOND ROBINSON

FOUNDER @

YBE THE ASSOCIATION

Diamond Robinson is a 3rd-year 6th grade English teacher based out of Washington, DC. Outside of the classroom, she is a graduate student at Howard University where she is pursuing her master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Diamond is also the founder of a new non-profit organization, The Young Black Educators Association Inc. with a mission of improving the experiences of young black educators across the nation. In her free time, Diamond educates millennials on financial literacy and investing in the foreign exchange market. 

 

Diamond received her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in 2017 where she majored in Sociology. She is a lover of the arts and is an advocate for arts education in public schools. Diamond’s personal mission for education is to ensure that students of color are provided with access to an equitable education that is reflective of their personal and cultural experiences.

 

Khadeejah Smith

School Leader

Khadeejah is also known as 'EdGapCloser' because she is committed to closing the 'achievement gap' that exist between African-American, Latinos, White, and Asian students due to the lack of equitable resources and opportunities presented to the two groups. Through her commitment to STEM education Khadeejah has spent the last 11 years focused on project-based learning. She understood early in her career the importance of students making real-world connections to make math relevant.

 

Being a mom, teacher and instructional leader she has learned how to recognize, develop and act to equip students with tools that will enable them as global citizens ready to solve 21st Century challenges in their community and the world.

Khadeejah Smith is a five time recipient of  the Sontag Prize in Urban Education where outstanding teachers in Math and English Language Arts are recognized for their instructional efforts. For one week she returns to Massachusetts in the city of Lawrence to teach their "Math Acceleration Academy" to support struggling learners.

Currently, Khadeejah uses EdGapClosers L.L.C. as a vehicle for public speaking, educator training and community outreach as pathways to create equity in education for African-American and Latino children.

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