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Conference Agenda

May 19, 2023

Breakfast & Registration
8:15 AM - 8:45 AM

Keynote
Dr. Dena Simmons
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Break
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Opening Remarks
Natalie McCabe Zwerger
9:45 AM - 10:00 AM

Keynote
Cornelius Minor-Keynote
10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

Break
10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Workshop Block 1
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Lunch Break
12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Workshop Block 2
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Closing Plenary
3:15 PM - 3:45 PM

Keynote Speakers
May 19, 2023

Dr. Dena Simmons
Dr. Dena Simmons

Dr. Dena Simmons is an activist, educator, and student of life from the Bronx, New York. She writes and speaks nationally about social justice and culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy as well as creating emotionally intelligent and safe classrooms within the context of equity and liberation. 

Dr. Dena Simmons is the founder of LiberatED, a liberatory approach to social and emotional learning (SEL) that centers radical love, healing, and justice. She is also a visiting professor at the Institute for Racial Justice at Loyola University of Chicago. Before LiberatED, she co-led a university center, where she supported schools to use the power of emotions to create a more compassionate and just society. Prior to her work there, Dr. Simmons served as an educator, teacher educator, diversity facilitator, and curriculum developer. She has been a leading voice on teacher education and has written and spoken across the country about social and racial justice pedagogy, diversity, emotional intelligence, and bullying in K-12 school settings. Dr. Simmons’ research interests include teacher preparedness to address bullying in the K-12 school setting, culturally responsive pedagogy, and the intersection of equity and SEL—all in an effort to ensure and foster justice, belonging, and safe spaces for all. She is the author of the forthcoming book, White Rules for Black People (St. Martin’s Press). 

Cornelius Minor
Cornelius Minor

Cornelius Minor is a Brooklyn-based educator and part-time Pokemon trainer. He works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support equitable literacy reform in cities (and sometimes villages) across the globe. His latest book, We Got This, explores how the work of creating more equitable school spaces is embedded in our everyday choices — specifically in the choice to really listen to kids.

Cornelius has been featured in Education Week, Brooklyn Magazine, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He has partnered with The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, The New York City Department of Education, The International Literacy Association, Scholastic, and Lesley University’s Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative. Out of Print, a documentary featuring Cornelius, made its way around the film festival circuit, and he has been a featured speaker at conferences all over the world. He is a dedicated Hip hop fan, and on some evenings, you can find him online saving the universe with his PlayStation or on paper saving the realm in Dungeons & Dragons.

Most recently, along with his partner and wife, Kass Minor, he has established The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools. Whether working with educators and kids in Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York City, Cornelius uses his love for technology, literature, and social media to bring communities together. As a teacher, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with young people.

These days, Cornelius is learning how to bake from his two young children, searching for an elusive pair of Jordan IVs, and is ritually re-reading all of the 1990’s era comic books that he can find.

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