Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster, Retired
Dr. Damaris Rau
Dr. Damaris Rau has served in public education for over forty years. Dr. Rau spent several years in foster care and was inspired by the nuns in the agency to give back. She started her career as a teacher and Assistant Principal in the South Bronx. She served as a Principal in Greenwich, Connecticut, a Director of Schools in New Haven Connecticut, and most recently, as Superintendent of Schools for the School District of Lancaster. Dr. Rau has always been an equity warrior with goals of reducing racial disparities in education and increasing student achievement for all. As a principal, in Greenwich, her school was first in the state for elementary Hispanic student achievement across all subjects, and ranked third statewide for the most improved elementary school in 2006-2007.
Dr. Rau served as Superintendent of Schools in Lancaster from 2015-2022. During her tenure, Dr. Rau led the District Equity Steering Committee in developing a board-approved Equity Policy and an Equity Report Card. This report card was critical in developing the District’s Theory of Action to close achievement gaps. A trauma informed educator, Dr. Rau reduced out-of-school suspension rates by 50%, implemented restorative practices in every school, hired twenty social workers to meet students’ social emotional needs, and increased student access to high-level courses, including expanding the Dual Enrollment program from 20 students to 275 students. Dr. Rau received a Bachelor’s Degree from St. John’s University, her Master’s Degree from Hunter College, and earned a Doctorate in Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Founding Teacher at Science Leadership Academy
Mr. Matthew Kay
Matthew R. Kay is a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools and a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy. He believes that any teacher who is willing to put in the hard work of reflection can, through the practice of discrete skills, lead meaningful race conversations. Driven by this conviction, he is passionate about designing professional development that teachers find valuable. Matthew lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Cait, and his beautiful daughters, Adia Sherrill and Bennu Jane.
Assistant Professor of Professional and Secondary Education at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania / Co-Director of the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium
Dr. Donna-Marie Cole-Malott
Dr. Donna-Marie Cole-Malott is an Assistant Professor of Professional and Secondary Education at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Cole-Malott also serves as Co-Director of the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium (PEDC)—an organization dedicated to educator diversity, equity, and culturally relevant education and systems, serving the needs of BIPOC learners throughout the Commonwealth. Dr. Cole-Malott’s research and work focus and intersect in three areas; the lived experiences and literate lives of Black girls and their social and academic identity development; race, equity, and the factors that support equal access for underrepresented students in schools; educator diversity, equity, and culturally relevant education for all educators. Her work centers on the ecosystem of public education and strategies for dismantling system racism that can improve outcomes for all students.
Assistant Dean of College Access and Persistence for Temple University’s College of Education and Human Development
Dr. Juliet Curci
Dr. Juliet Curci serves as Assistant Dean of College Access and Persistence for Temple University’s College of Education and Human Development. As Assistant Dean, Juliet's efforts focus on expanding college access and success initiatives so that more young people from Philadelphia complete college degrees and more people from diverse backgrounds prepare to be teachers. She supervises the Temple Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math & Science TRIO college access programs and leads efforts focused on supporting the success of first-generation college students at Temple University. Juliet also oversees the College of Education and Human Development’s dual enrollment offerings including the Temple Education Scholars dual enrollment pathway program for aspiring teachers that she developed in 2018. Additionally, she collaborates with colleagues across the Commonwealth to increase the recruitment and retention of teachers of color and culturally relevant and sustaining educators in her role as Co-Director of the Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium. Juliet earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master's degree in Elementary and Special Education from St. Joseph's University, and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from Temple University. During and following the completion of her degrees, Juliet had the opportunity to teach in the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades in Philadelphia district and charter schools. She has also been an instructor in the undergraduate and graduate teacher education and educational leadership programs at Temple University, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, and Delaware Valley University.
Professor and Department Chair, Educational Foundations at Millersville University
Dr. Tiffany Wright, Ed.D.
Dr. Tiffany Wright is a Professor of Educational Leadership at Millersville. She is the Co-Coordinator of the M. Ed. Program for Leadership for Teaching and Learning, and the Interim Chair of the Educational Foundations Department. She earned her B. A. in English and Secondary Education from Gettysburg College, her M. Ed. Degree from Millersville’s Program for Leadership in Teaching and Learning, and her Doctor of Education degree from Johns Hopkins in Teacher Development and Leadership with a specialization in Equity and Diversity Issues in Education. Her research interests include LGBT issues in education, climate for LGBT educators, teacher effectiveness, culturally-relevant pedagogy, principal preparation program evaluation, and principals’ best practices in evaluating teacher effectiveness. She has written numerous papers on these topics and given many presentations as well.
Associate Professor, Educational Foundations department at Millersville University
Dr. Nakeiha Primus
Dr. Nakeiha Primus is an Associate Professor in the Educational Foundations department at Millersville University (PA). Dr. P spent nearly a decade teaching English in secondary schools prior to her current role. Her current work focuses on educators of color, teacher & student identity, social justice, and new literacies. She is committed to practices that liberate students, educators, and families from stifling norms and empower their collective expertise.
Professor Emerita, Secondary Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University
Dr. Barbara Stengel
Dr. Barbara S. Stengel (Pitt PhD 1984, MA Philosophy 1984, MEd Sports Psychology 1980) is a not-really-retired philosopher of education and educator of educators who spent her career at Millersville University and Vanderbilt University in those roles bridging theory and practice in education. Her efforts resulted in the development of several “signature pedagogies” in teacher education: paid residencies for post-baccalaureate teacher candidates in team settings; live-actor, video-recorded simulations focused on issues of diversity and inclusion; and pedagogy seminars anchored in arts and sciences courses. She is also credited with three books: Just Education: The Right to Education in Context and Conversation, Moral Matters: Five Ways to Develop the Moral Life of Schools (with Alan Tom) and Toward Anti-Oppressive Teaching: Designing and Using Simulated Encounters (with Elizabeth Self). She has served as Executive Director and as President of the Philosophy of Education Society and has just begun a term as President-Elect of the John Dewey Society.
Dr. Stengel is currently at work on a podcast entitled “Chasing Bailey” that unpacks the turnaround story of a middle school in Nashville. That story is a bittersweet tale of a school that moved from worst (by every measure) to respectable in three years by prioritizing and designing for the care of teachers who could then care for students -- only to be closed by the district in a decision that deserves scrutiny for the racism it embodies. She is also awaiting publication of her book, Responsibility, this year by Bloomsbury Press (Philosophy of Education in Practice Series). That work employs the Bailey experience as an object lesson for understanding responsibility as the ultimate educational goal for students, the most useful and ethical guide to practice for educators, and the truest burden for policy makers.
Associate Professor, Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education Department at Millersville University
Dr. Jennifer Burke
Jennie Burke is an associate professor at Millersville University in the department of Early, Middle, and Exceptional Education. Twelve years of teaching in a diverse public elementary school in central New Jersey fostered her profound interest in the possibility for social justice through education. Her current teaching and research focuses on social studies education and its potential for creating caring citizens. She was Millersville University's 2021-2022 Educator of the Year.
Professor of Social Work, School of Social Work at Millersville University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Karen Rice
Dr. Karen Rice joined the School of Social Work at Millersville University of Pennsylvania (MU) in 2006. She is an alumna of Millersville University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in psychology. She later earned her MSW from Temple University and PhD in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Rice is recognized for her expertise in DEI, global education, human rights, sustainable development goals, child welfare, and behavioral healthcare.
Professor, Educational Foundations at Millersville University
Dr. Sandra Deemer
Sandra Deemer has been involved with efforts to communicate information, and provoke discussion and action, related to social justice initiatives for the past decade. Dr. Deemer collaborates with colleagues from the Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change (CPSSC) and the Learning Institute at Millersville to broaden the circle of influence and to build, with others, a community of understanding and belongingness in all environments. Dr. Deemer currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at Millersville University that focus on how to utilize the research base in educational psychology to create optimal learning environments for all students. Her research interests focus on how we can use motivational theories to understand and design learning environments that focus both teachers and students on learning and mastery goals. In addition, Dr. Deemer has investigated how we can translate these ideas into the design and strategies used in online classrooms. Dr. Deemer is currently in her 23rd year at Millersville where she is a Professor in the Educational Foundations Department. Dr. Deemer received her MA and Ph.D in educational psychology from the University of Delaware and her BA In Psychology from Millersville University.
Assistant Director, School Climate for the School District of Lancaster
Ms. Jassinya Alvarado Padilla
Jassinya Alvarado is the Assistant Director of School Climate for the School District of Lancaster. In this role, she oversees multiple student-centered climate and culture initiatives for the School District of Lancaster, including PBIS, Restorative Practices, and Social-Emotional Learning. Jassinya received a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Millersville University, a Master’s in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University, and in a current doctoral student at Millersville University. She is the proud mother of Mason and advocate for all students.
Social Studies Teacher, School District of Haverford Township
Mr. Leon Smith
Leon Smith is an educator with over twenty years of experience. He is a life-long learner and passionate about the profession of teaching.
Leon was driven to pursue a career in education early in his life, when he saw the power a mentor/positive adult figure can have in the life of a young person. More importantly, the impact an educator of color can have for all students.
He graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education. He earned his master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in Instructional Systems. Leon has led district wide professional development initiatives and currently co-chairs the strategic planning committee on diversity and inclusion.
He is extremely passionate about diversifying the educator workforce and learning about the important legacy of black educator activism. Currently, he is a Teach Plus PA Policy fellow, where he advocates for the expansion and diversification of the educator pipeline to legislators. He also serves as a mentor with Project IMPACT, a program at Rowan University designed to increase the representation of males from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds in teaching and respond to persistent opportunity gaps faced by young men from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, he is a member of Pennsylvania Educator Diversity Consortium whose goal is to increase the number of teachers of color as well as culturally-responsive and sustaining educators in Pennsylvania.
Professor, Kutztown University
Dr. Carol Haney-Watson
Dr. Carol Haney-Watson has been a classroom teacher for 23 years and an education professor for 19 years. She has taught a wide variety of grade levels, content areas, and diverse student populations in many locations across PA, NH, WV, VA, and Malawi, Africa. She is currently a professor at Kutztown University teaching literacy, diversity, social studies, and supervising student teachers in middle and elementary schools.
Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations, Millersville University
Dr. Abdulsalami Ibrahim
Dr. Abdulsalami Ibrahim is an Assistant Professor of Education, in the Department of Educational Foundations, Millersville University. Dr. Ibrahim's diverse teaching assignments spans over a decade-long career and have given him the ability to work closely with a diverse group of students, families, and administrators. His background in teacher education stirred his research in science education, technology integration, multicultural instructional methods, culturally relevant and sustainable strategies, and mixed method research.