Empowering Advocates for Educational Transformation

This was originally posted by Nellie Mae Education Foundation on Medium on April 4, 2017 .

Introducing the 2017 Nellie Mae Education Foundation Speakers Bureau

All too often, those most directly involved in and affected by our education system are ignored or silenced. At the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, we believe that these voices are powerful and deserve a platform from which to be heard

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That’s why we created the Nellie Mae Speakers Bureau on Innovation in Education — a group of educators, students, parents, community organizers, and others who are in a unique position to discuss the innovative work happening in classrooms and communities across New England and advocate for a shift towards student-centered learning models in our region’s public schools.

Since we launched the Speakers Bureau in 2015, our members have spoken at regional and national conferences, community events and professional development workshops, and shared their stories through blogs and online conversations.

We are thrilled to announce fifteen new speakers as members of the Nellie Mae Speakers Bureau on Innovation in Education, who will continue to carry on this work in 2017. Our speakers have unique and inspiring stories to tell. Taiwo Demola, a student involved in Providence Student Union, helped campaign for Providence Public Schools to include ethnic studies in their curriculum. Sunny Pai, director of ELL Programs and Diploma Plus at Charlestown High School, is helping students who have not been served by the traditional system get back on track to complete high school and succeed in college and beyond. Micky Bondo, a parent organizer in Portland, Maine, is helping immigrant parents there advocate on behalf of their children in the district’s decision-making.

The 2017 Nellie Mae Speakers Bureau Members

LISSETTE AGYEMAN-CASTILLO | Teacher, Fenway High School (Boston, MA)

Areas of Expertise: youth organizing, equity, project-based learning

GAYLE ALLEN-GREENE | Principal, Bulkeley High School (Hartford, CT)

Areas of Expertise: school culture and climate; Positive Behavior Intervention Support; adult learning; blended learning; student and teacher engagement

ABUSANA ‘MICKY’ BONDO | Coalition Parent Leader Organizer, Portland Empowered (Portland, ME)

Areas of Expertise: community organizing, parent engagement, student and parent voice

DANIEL CORSETTI | Assistant Principal, Washington Middle School (Meriden, CT)

Areas of Expertise: student-centered learning, youth engagement, professional development and student-centered learning coaching

TAIWO DEMOLA | Student, Classical High School (Providence, RI)

Areas of Expertise: youth leadership, student activism, civic engagement, theater for social change

LAURA ITEKA | Student, Deering High School (Portland, ME)

Areas of Expertise: youth engagement, community organizing, student voice

ZACK MEZERA | Executive Director, Providence Student Union (Providence, RI)

Areas of Expertise: community organizing, youth voice and engagement, electoral organizing

MOLLY MESSENGER | Director, Pittsfield Listens (Pittsfield, NH)

Areas of Expertise: rural organizing, youth organizing, parent engagement, student voice

RICHARD MUTTS | Program Coordinator, Meriden Children First Initiative (Meriden, CT)

Areas of Expertise: parent engagement, equity, youth mentorship

SUNNY PAI | Director of ELL Programs and Diploma Plus, Charlestown High School (Charlestown, MA)

Areas of Expertise: competency-based education, restorative justice, equity

FRANCIS PINA | Teacher, Codman Academy Charter School (Boston, MA)

Areas of Expertise: youth engagement, improvement science, Algebra 1, secondary mathematics, growth mindset

AMY REX | Co-Principal, Harwood Union Regional High School (Moretown, VT)

Areas of Expertise: student voice, shared leadership, proficiency-based learning, personalized learning

BRIAN STACK | Principal, Sanborn Regional High School (Kingston, NH)

Areas of Expertise: personalized learning, competency-based learning, administration and high school redesign

EMILY THIELMANN | Policy Associate, University of Southern Maine (Portland, ME)

Areas of Expertise: youth organizing, parent engagement, student voice

CHARLES WILLIS | Teacher, Revere High School (Revere, MA)

Areas of Expertise: student-centered learning, student engagement, competency-based learning, teacher leadership


Are you interested in hosting the speakers at an upcoming conference, workshop, or training? Feel free to explore www.nelliemaespeakers.org to learn more or to book a Speakers Bureau member.

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