Former President, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
Executive Director/Co-Founder, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE), Los Angeles, CA
Susan Taylor Batten
President & CEO, Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE)
Leavey Presidential Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership, Loyola Marymount University, CA
Co-Managing Partner, Partnership for Democracy and Education, Cambridge, MA, Author, When We Fight, We Win!
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
Former Executive Director/CEO, National Black Justice Coalition, Washington, DC
Director of Administration & Finance, Hyams Foundation
Eileen de los Reyes
Former Deputy Superintendent for Academics, Boston Public Schools
Carlos Rojas Álvarez
Director of Special Projects, Youth on Board
Former Executive Director, State Voices
Jackie Jenkins-Scott is a nationally recognized leader with more than three decades of experience in senior and executive leadership positions in both the public and non-profit sectors. She is President Emeritus of Wheelock College, Boston, Massachusetts, where she served as President from 2004-2016. Under her leadership, Wheelock increased undergraduate enrollment, added new areas of study, internationalized the campus experience for students, improved campus facilities, and successfully concluded the largest fund raising effort in the history of the College.
In 1983, Jenkins-Scott became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Ma, one of Boston’s first and now, one of the largest community-based health and human service organizations serving diverse, vulnerable populations. Under Jackie’s leadership, Dimock emerged from the verge of bankruptcy to become a highly successful and sustainable benchmark institution that successfully integrated comprehensive health and human services including new programming in workforce development, primary and behavioral healthcare, child and family-centered services, transitional housing, and a community-based research program to develop innovative strategies for meeting the priority needs of inner-city residents.
Her personal commitment to improve society extends to active community and civic engagement. She is currently a member of the Boards of Directors of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Center for Community Change, John F. Kennedy Foundation, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, and the Century Bank and Trust Company. Jackie raises public awareness about education and other public sector issues on a national and global scale by speaking and writing in a variety of media.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Jenkins-Scott received her B.S. degree from Eastern Michigan University, a Masters of Social Work from Boston University School of Social Work, and completed a Post Graduate Research Fellowship at Radcliffe College. She received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Wheelock College in 2003 when she served as the Commencement Speaker. In addition to Wheelock she holds Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Suffolk University, Northeastern University, Bentley University, Mount Ida College, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has received numerous awards and citations including Boston University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
She and her husband, Jim Scott, reside in Belmont, Massachusetts and have two adult children.
Maisie Chin is Executive Director and Co-Founder of CADRE – Community Asset Development Re-defining Education, an independent grassroots 300-member parent organization in South Los Angeles led by African American and Latino parents/caregivers of public school children. CADRE’s mission is to solidify and advance parent leadership to ensure that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. A native Californian and child of Chinese immigrants, Maisie has been in the social justice movement for more than two decades, dedicated to fighting structural racism. For the past 15 years, CADRE parent leaders have been fighting to end the pushout of low-income families of color from public schools and into the school-to-prison pipeline, using human rights-based community organizing and policy advocacy. CADRE has changed school discipline policy both in the nation’s second largest school district and in California, and is also a committed movement builder as a founding member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition actively shifting the political landscape to end school pushout federally and in over 20 states. Laser focused on supporting criminalized parents to be the leaders in systemically dismantling the practices that in turn criminalize their children, CADRE envisions a South LA with humanizing schools and transformative responses to poverty and trauma that redefine education and our society. CADRE is evolving into a long-term parent leadership development center towards this end. Maisie is a board member of Justice Matters Press, a social and racial justice press by and for people of color, and of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. Maisie holds both a Bachelors of Arts in History and a Masters of Arts in Urban Planning from UCLA.
Susan Taylor Batten has over 25 years of experience directing, evaluating and advising public and philanthropic efforts to improve outcomes for children and families. She joined the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE) as President and CEO in January 2009. In this role, she leads the organization’ s philanthropic advising and programming on responsive philanthropy in Black communities for foundation leaders, donors and aligned partners. Prior to joining ABFE, Ms. Batten was a Senior Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation where she served as staff in the Community Change Initiatives Unit and coordinated a portfolio on equity, diversity and inclusion. In the public sector, Ms. Batten worked as a Senior Analyst for the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she directed research and evaluation on food assistance programs. In 2008, she was named Change Agent of the Year by The Schott Foundation for Public Education. She is a co-founder of the Race and Equity in Philanthropy Group and also serves on the Board of the United Philanthropy Forum.
Dr. Antonia Darder is a distinguished international Freirean scholar. She is a public intellectual, educator, writer, activist, and artist. She holds the Leavey Presidential Endowed Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles and is Professor Emerita of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She also holds a Distinguished Visiting faculty post at the University of Johannesburg, in South Africa. Antonia is an American Educational Research Association Fellow and is the recipient of the Paulo Freire Social Justice Award. She has worked tirelessly for more than three decades to fiercely counter social and material inequalities at work in schools and communities.
Antonia’s scholarship has consistently focused on issues of racism, political economy, social justice, and education. Her work critically engages the contributions of Paulo Freire to our understanding of inequalities in schools and society. Darder’s critical theory of biculturalism links questions of culture, power, and pedagogy to social justice concerns in education. Through her scholarship on ethics and moral issues, she articulates a critical theory of leadership for social justice, with a particular focus on the empowerment of subaltern communities.
Antonia is the author of numerous books and articles in the field, including Culture and Power in the Classroom (20th Anniversary edition), Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, A Dissident Voice: Essays on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power and Freire and Education. She is also co-author of After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism and co-editor of The Critical Pedagogy Reader, Latinos and Education: A Critical Reader, and the International Critical Pedagogy Reader, which was awarded the 2016 Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award.
Through the passion of her written and spoken word and the simple beauty of her art, her work has traveled around the world, consistently calling for economic justice, human rights, and cultural democracy for all people. In 2015, Antonia was nominated for the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education.
Carolina Espinal is a seasoned strategist with expertise in public affairs, issues management, and inclusion & diversity. Mostly recently, she served as a senior advisor with Brunswick Group, a global strategic communications firm supporting Fortune 500 companies in a range of sectors including education. As a lead architect of an inclusion & diversity specialist offer, she supported the launch of CEO Action on Diversity & Inclusion™ - the largest CEO-driven initiative focused on D&I in the workplace. In the public sector, she has worked closely with leading nonprofit organizations in the U.S. including the NAACP, Unidos US, the Children’s Defense Fund and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.
Greg Jobin-Leeds is author of When We Fight, We Win! (New Press, January 2016). The book weaves together art, stories and interviews with leading activists and artists of 21st Century social change movements. He is founder of the award-winning Schott Foundation for Public Education, whose mission is to develop and strengthen a broad-based, representative movement to achieve fully resourced, quality PreK-12 public education. He was the Foundation’s first president. He is a writer, high school and adult literacy teacher, teacher trainer, activist and socially responsible investor. A son of refugees who fled war, Jobin-Leeds has been engaged in struggles for racial, gender and economic transformation in Boston, New York, Spain, Puerto Rico, Central and South America. He has launched and nurtured high-impact social justice organizations that have won milestone victories for underserved children and families.
Throughout her career, Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks has brought vision, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, political savvy, and strategic thinking to every endeavor she has attempted. She has the ability to bring talented people together to form cohesive leadership teams within organizations and build collaborative advocacy coalitions among very diverse stakeholders. A nationally recognized leader, Sharon thrives on challenges and seeks to develop and foster leadership in others. In January 2014, President Barack Obama named her to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.
Most recently, Mrs. Lettman-Hicks was the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Founded in 2003, NBJC has provided leadership at the intersection of national civil rights groups and LGBT organizations, advocating for the unique challenges and needs of the African-American LGBT community that are often relegated to the sidelines. NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully-empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, gender identity or sexual orientation. In concert with NBJC’s mission to eradicate racism and homophobia, her personal goals are to make the Black family the focal point of NBJC; to tell compelling stories about the Black LGBT community; and to see Black LGBT people understood, embraced and respected for their valuable contributions to society.
Sharon came to NBJC after eight years at the People For the American Way (PFAW) Foundation, where her responsibilities included leading the “Homophobia in the Black Church” program through their African American Religious Affairs division. As an Executive Vice President at the PFAW Foundation, Sharon's responsibilities included overseeing the institution's dynamic leadership programs and the organization's engagement with supporters and investors, key constituency groups, and coalition allies. She was one of the chief architects of the leadership programs, and provided invaluable vision and innovative implementation models that led to the programs’ tremendous growth. Sharon has been successful in orchestrating strategic partnerships, ranging from building grassroots activism to catalyzing the engagement and investment of key influencers and funders.
Sharon is renowned for her political acumen and an ability to bring together unlikely allies as stakeholders in joint collaborations that strengthen the progressive movement and give power to new ideas and policies. Her efforts to bridge divides across race, religion and sexual orientation were featured in the Gill Foundation's 2007 annual report, which identified her as a key ally for the LGBT equality movement. Sharon has been a powerful spokesperson for religious liberty, and the separation of church and state; her leadership in this arena has gained the confidence of individual and foundation investors. The Rockwood Leadership Institute selected Sharon as one of 24 progressive executive management leaders for the 2008-09 Leading from the Inside OutFellowship Program, designed to strengthen senior leadership in the non-profit sector.
She has appeared on broadcast and in print media nationally, including CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, Black Enterprise magazine, the "Tom Joyner Morning Show" and The Root.com. She currently serves as a member of the National Business Inclusion Consortium for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC); Project Advisory Committee Member of the LGBT Safe Schools Initiative for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN); the Advisory Council of Creative Coalition’s Be A STAR: Show Tolerance And Respect, a national anti-bullying initiative; and the Executive Committee of the National Black Leadership Forum. In addition, Sharon has served on the Board of Directors for the National Stonewall Democrats and the Advisory Council of Progressive Majority’s Racial Justice Campaign; and she has been a national trainer for Wellstone Action, Democracia USA and the Front Line Leaders Academy. Sharon believes activism includes the need to financially support your interests—she is a Justice Society member of NBJC, and a fully-paid life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., FAMU National Alumni Association, and the NAACP. Mrs. Lettman-Hicks is the proud wife of a retired Iraqi War veteran who served in the United State Air Force, and they reside in Southern Maryland, near Washington, DC.
Mark Paley joined the Hyams Foundation in 2001. Before coming to Hyams, he was the CFO at YouthBuild USA where he helped to build the national youth servicing non-profit to a nationally recognized network of groups working with out of school youth. His first position in Boston was with Boston Neighborhood Housing, which financed affordable housing rehab projects in three Boston neighborhoods. Mark was part of the initial steering committee of the Non-Profit Financial Managers Group, which continues to meet monthly. Mark earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters of Management at the University of California, Davis.
Wendy D. Puriefoy served as the Director for Education at The Barr Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Puriefoy also served as the founding President and CEO of Public Education Network (PEN) from 1991 to 2012, the nation’s largest network of community‐based public school reform organizations. Under her leadership, PEN’s members successfully implemented reform initiatives in middle and high schools, teaching and teacher quality, school finance and governance, curriculum and assessment, educational leadership, parent involvement, college access, school libraries and school health. Ms. Puriefoy served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at The Boston Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), Public Agenda, and MDC in North Carolina.
Eileen de los Reyes is the former Deputy Superintendent for Academics for the Boston Public Schools; she retired summer 2017. Previously she served as the Assistant Superintendent for English Language Learners (ELLs). She also worked as a Research Associate at the Mauricio Gaston Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston and from 1996 – 2002 was an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ms. de los Reyes was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the US in 1972. She is the co-author of Pockets of Hope: How Students and Teachers Change the World (Bergin & Garvey), which focuses on the creation of democratic classrooms where students are educated in the practice of social and political change.
Carlos Rojas Álvarez is the Director of Special Projects for Youth on Board where he is spearheading the ListeningWorks project to address the nation’s current political climate of hate and division. Prior to that, he served as the interim Director for the Boston Education Justice Alliance (BEJA), which he helped to establish while in high school. As a student, Carlos became a leader of the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) and Youth on Board’s Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) program, where he led major advocacy campaigns and sat on the Boston School Committee as the student representative in 2011-2012. When his status barred him from enrolling in college, he became an Education Policy Associate at Youth on Board and the New England representative to the National Coordinating Committee of the United We Dream (UWD) Network. He served as SIM’s Campaign Coordinator from 2013-2016 before becoming the Student Field Director for the successful Save our Public Schools campaign.
Roger C. Vann is the former executive director of State Voices. He previously served as COO and chief of staff for the National NAACP where he planned and directed the organization’s successful 2012 civic engagement campaign, which secured over 430,000 voter registrations nationwide. As a young NAACP leader in New Haven, Connecticut, Roger helped win critical victories on a range of issues including living wage, public sector employment diversity and police misconduct. In 1999, as president of the Connecticut NAACP, he led a statewide grassroots effort to win passage of one of the nation’s first laws addressing racial profiling. A lifelong champion of civil liberties, workers’ rights and reproductive freedom, he has also served as executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, director of the African American Hiring Initiative for UNITE HERE and director of a pioneering manhood mentoring program for Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. Roger’s long journey in the social justice movement began at age 5 when he was the first black student to integrate his elementary school.