Meet our
2021
Virtual Education Conference

Speakers  

Critical Thinking is our Singular Focus! 

We’re proud to have so many incredible speakers lined up for our inaugural
2021 Virtual Education Conference!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Dr. Natoshia Anderson

STEM Educator Author

“ABC Engineering”

Biography

Dr. Natoshia ("Dr. Toshia") Anderson, is a Mechanical Engineer-turned award-winning ​STEM educator and STEM advocate​, STEM leadership consultant, and dynamic and informative, ​in-demand​ STEM motivational speaker, podcast host, and author. Dr. Toshia offers intensive professional and leadership development coaching and training for STEM entities, educators, and school system staff, and mentorship for young minority women and girls in STEM.

Fun Fact

In her spare time, Dr. Anderson can be found reading a good romance novel or binge-watching Netflix shows.

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Dr. Gloria Thomas

Director Academic Engagement and Achievement, LSU

"How critical thinking can strengthen academic engagement and the impact of those engagements on academic achievement.”

Biography

Dr. Gloria Thomas received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Southern University and A&M College, where she held scholarships from the Timbuktu Academy, the Honors College, and the Packard Foundation. She held several internships and also worked in the chemical industry for a brief period before earning a doctorate in chemistry at LSU as a Louisiana Board of Regents Fellow and an American Association of University Women Fellow.

Fun Fact

I was both a Boy Scout and a Girl Scout!

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David Adams

CEO
of Urban Assembly Schools (UA)

"The impact of Social Emotional Learning on Critical Thinking"

Biography

An expert in Social-Emotional Learning, David Adams, CEO of Urban Assembly Schools (UA) in New York City, has spearheaded multiple initiatives to support the social-emotional development of more than 9,000 students. Starting as Director of SEL in 2014, David created the Resilient Scholars Program (RSP), a unique approach to integrating SEL into curriculum and classroom practices across the UA network. After taking on the role of Senior Director of Strategy, David led the expansion of the organization into a model provider of school support, with an emphasis on innovation and equity in public education. David is a Civil Affairs Officer in the Army Reserve and sits on the board of CASEL. 

Fun Fact

Mr. Adams was a camp counselor for 10 years

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Kevin Fite

Assistant Director of STEM Enrichment, Detroit Public Schools

“The advantages of after-school STEM/STEAM enrichment programs for students in K-12.”

Biography

Detroiter Kevin Fite has over 20 years of experience in the education field.  Currently, Mr. Fite is the Assistant Director of STEM Enrichment for the Detroit Public Schools Community District leading Robotics, Architect, Academic Games, Chess, The Detroit Children’s Museum, and many other STEM and STEAM-related initiatives.  One of Mr. Fite’s passion is teaching chess.

Fun Fact

I've been a coin collector since the age of 8 years old and a Western movie buff.

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Richard "Rick" Gallot

President of Grambling State University

Coming Soon!

Biography

He was born into a Gramblinite family.  He is the son of former Grambling Mayor Richard J. Gallot Sr. and Dr. Mildred Gallot, the retired head of the Grambling State University history department, both graduates of what is now Grambling State University. The new Tiger-in-Chief was inducted into the Grambling State University Alumni Hall of Fame and the Southern Law School Hall of Fame. He is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 

Fun Fact

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Dr. James Gray

Superintendent, Jefferson Parish Schools

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Biography

Dr. James Gray has served in public education for 25 years as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, and most recently as the Director of School Leadership for the Vermilion Parish School Board. Dr. Gray has served on numerous state committees including state principal forums. He was selected as a state-wide Compass evaluation trainer and was a co-developer of the Compass Leader Rubric designed to evaluate Louisiana’s school administrators.

Fun Fact

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Dustin Miller

State Representative for District 40 in St. Landry Parish and Co-owner of Acadiana Practitioners

Coming Soon!

Biography

Mr. Miller is the State Representative for District 40 in St. Landry Parish located in south Louisiana and Co-owner of Acadiana Practitioners in Opelousas, LA.  A graduate of Opelousas Catholic High School and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he has worked as an intensive care nurse at Opelousas General Hospital prior to completing his master's degree for nurse practitioner at the Southern University and A&M College.

Fun Fact

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Mike Ellison

Recording artist, Actor, Performer,

Fundraiser and Volunteer

"Critical Thinking in Educational Film Projects"

Biography

Ellison wrote and produced BROKEN MIRRORS: Bullies & Bystanders soon thereafter, to address bullying and teen suicide. He produced and performed with the “Fela Outreach Initiative” for middle and high schools. The live music and multi-media presentations taught students about the life and legacy of famed Nigerian musician and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti; while highlighting culture, history and progressive development throughout the African continent.

Fun Fact

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Pontus Carlsson

International Chess Grand Master

“How chess thinking can revitalize

your business.”

Biography

GM Pontus Carlsson is an experienced Colombian born chess Grandmaster and player of the Swedish National team. He is a 10 folded Swedish Champion and has won numerous international tournaments in for example Spain, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Carlsson is also a two folded Swedish Junior champion as well as a former Nordic Junior Champion.

Fun Fact

He is fluent in 7 languages (Swedish, Czech, German, Spanish, French, English, Mandarin) and played soccer on the professional level during high school.

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Dr. Sibrina Collins

Executive Director of the Marburger
STEM Center, Lawrence Technological University

"Superhero Science:

Addressing Equity in STEM.”

Biography

Dr. Sibrina N. Collins is an inorganic chemist and STEM administrator. Over the course of her career, Dr. Collins has mentored 17 undergraduate chemistry students and published peer-reviewed articles in high-impact journals such as Inorganic Chemistry, Acta Crystallographica, Journal of Chemical Education, the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, Nature Chemistry, and Nature. Dr. Collins is now the founding executive director of the Marburger STEM Center, at Lawrence Technological University. The Marburger STEM Center is the intellectual home of campus-wide STEM initiatives at LTU, which promotes inclusiveness, excellence, creativity, and innovation. She was recently recognized as an Honoree by the Southfield Area Rotary Club for Black History Month and was selected for the 2021 John G. Petty Sr. Community Champion Award.

Fun Fact

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Dr. Katherine Cox

Program Director for the Department of Anesthesiology Residency Training Program

“Outcomes of building a Critical Thinking process: My Education and Professional Journey.”

Biography

Dr. Katherine Cox is a Southeastern Louisiana native. She completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where she became involved with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professors Program while completing her pre-medical degree.  She earned her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, LA, where she also completed her residency training.  She is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology and Basic Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography.

Fun Fact

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Dr. Kimberly Gaiters-White

Dean of the Evelyn Reid Syphax School of Education at Virginia Union University

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Biography

Dr. Kimberly Gaiters-White is Dean of the Evelyn Reid Syphax School of Education at Virginia Union University. She has also served as Dean of the College of Education at Albany State University (Georgia), and Dean of Academic Affairs at Ferrum College. And also research evidence-based strategies to increase the licensure success rates of underrepresented populations, especially at Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs).

Fun Fact

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MaKenzi Barrow

MyGRIT
One on One Student

Coming Soon!

Biography

I’m 11 years old.
I live in Zachary, Louisiana.
I go to Copper Mill Elementary School.
My parents are Michelle and Kory Barrow.
I’m in Beta club.
I'm so grateful for what I’ve learned. Just being able to better develop and think about what I learn in school is amazing.
Being able to put the effort in at first gives you so many great outcomes.

Fun Fact

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Kimberly Hunter-Reed

Commissioner of Higher Education

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Biography

Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D. is Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education. She is the only female in the country currently serving as a state higher education lead who has led higher ed in more than one state.

Working with the Louisiana Board of Regents, Reed is leading the state’s efforts to increase educational attainment by developing its talent base resulting in a more prosperous Louisiana that seeds innovation, grows opportunity and secures a bright economic future. To reach the state’s goal of doubling the number of credentials by 2030, Reed focuses on collaborative efforts that increase access, equity and completion to meet Regents’ talent imperative.

She also served in President Barack Obama’s administration as deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education and led the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Fun Fact

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Kentrell Martin

Shelly's Adventure, President

Biography

Kentrell Martin is the President and creator of the Shelly's Adventures series.  He's also an author of many of the books in the series.  Growing up with a Deaf brother Kentrell saw how the world viewed Deaf people.  He created Shelly's Adventures so that he could introduce kids and parents to American Sign Language and Deaf culture.  Kentrell see's Shelly's Adventures as a company that will play a part in helping bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing world.  He envision Shelly's Adventures as a company that will be a household name.  

"When you think of companies and names like Disney, Scholastic, Dr. Suess, I want you to think of Shelly's Adventures.  A new age company that found a way to introduce millions to a language and culture in a fun and educational way." -- Kentrell Martin

Kentrell see's movies, live action plays, cartoons and theme parks in the future for Shelly's Adventures.

Fun Fact

I'm terrified of getting on elevators.  I'll walk up 8-10 flights of stairs first if I'm not in a hurry! 

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Chancellor John Pierre

Southern University Law Center, Chancellor

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Biography

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“John K. Pierre has devoted his career to molding lawyer leaders and being a champion of innovation. Since 1990, Pierre has served as a faculty member at the Southern University Law Center, where he taught courses, such as tax law, security devices, local government law and more. In 2006, he became the vice chancellor of institutional accountability and the evening division. Currently, he has been serving as the Law Center’s chancellor since 2016.”

-Courtesy of SULC.edu

Fun Fact

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Dr. Kelli Joseph

Superintendent of St. Helena Parish Schools

Biography

Coming soon!

Dr. Kelli Joseph is currently the Superintendent of Schools for St. Helena Parish School District where she is making strides to improve educational outcomes for students. Prior to her appointment, she served as Principal for Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School. In addition, she has over 24 years of experience working at various levels of public education. She has been a substitute teacher, secondary social studies teacher, program director, and school administrator.  

 

She was named Principal of the Year for St. John Parish while serving at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School. The St. Helena Advocacy for Parish Enrichment (SHAPE) named her Person of the Year and District Administration National Organization twice identified her as an Outstanding School District Leader. Her most recent honor was being named the 2020 Region II Superintendent of the Year, and the 2020 Louisiana State Superintendent of the Year. 

 

Dr. Joseph’s professional organizations include: AASA School Superintendent’s Association, Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, Louisiana Association of School Executives, Superintendent's Advisory Council, Louisiana Accountability Commission, Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest Governing Board, Racial Equity Leadership Network (RELN), and Rho Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.   

Fun Fact

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Kyla V. Martin

Graduate Assistant

Women’s Center

Leadership and Human Resource Development, PhD Student
Louisiana State University

Biography

Coming soon!

Kyla Martin has had the opportunity to live in NY, MI, CT, MN, NJ, MA, RI, and LA through her personal, professional, and academic journey. She is a graduate of Macalester College with a B.A. in Mathematics, earned a M.S. in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University, holds a graduate certificate in Restorative Practices from the International Institute for Restorative Practices, and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Leadership and Human Resource Development at Louisiana State University. 

 

Through assistantships, internships, as well as full and part time employment Kyla has worked at 15 different institutions of Higher Education in various functional areas. Her primary work experiences include identity-based leadership development, intercultural engagement, and violence prevention. She currently serves as the Graduate Assistant for the LSU Women’s Center and the Confidential Resource Advisor for Respondents at Northeastern University. 

Fun Fact

In her free time, she enjoys baking, playing golf, and spending time with her puppy. 

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Dr. Angela Davis-Robertson

Founder of A-TRUTH 180 Health Services (Transformation Realized-Unearthed Through Healing) of Louisiana

Biography

Coming soon!

Angela Davis Robertson, a Louisiana native, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is National Board Certified.  She’s had an extensive thirty-five (35) year career in Corporate America, Education, and Ministry. Leaving Corporate America for the world of Academics was a critical turning point in Angela’s life.  Initially employed as a Principal Secretary with Aurora Public Schools, Colorado she worked to advance her academic and education career, ultimately becoming a Licensed School Administrator and the founding Principal of the first Alternative high school in Denver Public Schools.  She uses her gift to support those she serves in her Private Practice (A-TRUTH 180 Health Services) Authentic Truth (Transformation Realized Uprooting Trauma through Healing). Angela is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and is a Silver Star. 

Fun Fact

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Dr. Tam Nguyen-Cao

Principal Biomedical Writer & Scientific Strategy Consultant

President of Claritas Scientific LLC

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Biography

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“Dr. Tam Nguyen-Cao is the current president of Claritsas Scientific LLC, and is a principal biomedical writer & scientific strategy consultant. Some of her professional highlights include scientific publications, medical communications, product launches, and medical affairs. Dr. Nguyen-Cao is formally trained in molecular pathophysiology, lipid metabolism, cardiovascular diseases, and renal physiology. She is also a member of various organizations, including the International Society of Medical Publication Professionals, American Medical Writers Association, and the Medical Affairs Professional Society.” - Information Courtesy of ClaritasScientific.com

Fun Fact

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Devin Wright

Instructional Specialist at Thrive Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Biography

Coming soon!

Devin Wright is an educator, pastor, and community advocate. He is a proud graduate of Florida State University where he majored in Sociology. His understanding of how people create, interact with, and are influenced by social systems allows him to have greater impact in the classroom and in ministry. A ten year veteran of education, Mr. Wright currently serves as an Instructional Specialist at Thrive Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before joining Thrive, he served students and colleagues in Tallahassee, Fl, and Donaldsonville, La, as a middle school mathematics instructor and mentor teacher. His work in education extends beyond school settings and includes being the immediate past president of South Louisiana Coalition for Education (SLCE), an equity-centered organization focused on improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all students. Mr. Wright is a native of Baton Rouge and has had the privilege of serving the community in which he grew up in the role of senior pastor at New Ark Baptist Church for nearly the last 5 years. He has a Master of Ministry degree and 19 years of ministry experience.

Fun Fact

I have a bowling average of 205

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Thomasina Washington-Joseph

Principal Biomedical Writer & Scientific Strategy Consultant

President of Claritas Scientific LLC

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Biography

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Thomasina W. Joseph is an active, passionate enthusiastic, and fervent advocate for education who supports scholars, educators, and the community with needful extended resources. She’s consistently empowering our youth and parents by partnering them with resources for a better quality of life. Mrs. Joseph has four adult children of whom she continues to nurture and assist with accessing educational advancements. As a registrar, at Scotlandville Magnet High School in Baton Rouge. She has guided hundreds of students along their journeys through preparations with class assignments, internships, and college acceptances. Her focus is to seek opportunities to collaborate and partner with additional educators, education professionals and industry partners to help expand her resource pool while working diligently towards closing the educational disparity gap by providing access to quality resources to all students.

 Mrs. Joseph’s daily desire is to be a beckon of light offering support to scholars, the community in which she lives and to those surrounding her. Mrs. Joseph volunteers with various organizations that provide support to scholars and the community in various manners. She is a member of Professional Who’s Who, Local & State EBRPAE delegate, HSEP (High School for Engineering Professional council member, Parent Liaison for LOSFA (Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance) and an Outside Referral Facilitator.

Fun Fact

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Robert Hill

Principal of Alice Harte

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Biography

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Mr. Hill began his career in education in 2005. After teaching Mathematics (Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus) at Edna Karr High School in New Orleans for 6 years, he served in the position of mathematics Content Specialist for Algiers Charter Schools. In 2011 he accepted the position of Assistant Principal at Alice Harte Elementary School, which is also located on the west bank of New Orleans. In 2014 he became Head of School at Inspire NOLA’s Alice Harte campus and served in that capacity until the spring of 2021. He now teaches Algebra II and Calculus at Haynes Accelerated Academy in Metairie, LA.

Fun Fact

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