Co-Managing Partner, Partnership for Democracy and Education, Cambridge, MA Author, When We Fight, We Win!
Co-Managing Partner, Partnership for Democracy and Education, Cambridge, MA
Professor of Human Services, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Boston, MA
Executive Director/Co-Founder, Community Asset Development Re-defining Education (CADRE), Los Angeles, CA
Leavey Presidential Chair of Ethics and Moral Leadership, Loyola Marymount University, CA
President, Wheelock College, Boston, MA
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
Executive Director/CEO, National Black Justice Coalition, Washington, DC
Greg Jobin-Leeds is Co-founder and Co-Chair of the Board of The Schott Foundation for Public Education. In 1993—under Mr. Jobin-Leeds’ leadership—Schott began funding the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) and later helped found the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE). Schott recruited the leadership and provided the start-up funding for the Early Education for All (EEA) campaign in Massachusetts, and regularly publishes state report cards on “Public Education and Black Male Students.” In partnership with Teacher’s College and Columbia University, Mr. Jobin-Leeds helped launch The National Academy for Excellent Teaching to improve teaching in urban schools. Mr. Jobin-Leeds is the Founding Chair of Progressive Majority’s Leadership Circle, which is highly successful at electing bold state candidates committed to racial and economic justice, public education and health care. He is a founding Executive Board Member of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s One Voice PAC, which is successful in electing progressive federal candidates who have strong platforms on public education, racial and economic justice. Early in his career, he worked as a high school English teacher, then he trained adult literacy teachers and more recently he has worked to increase political access for disenfranchised populations. Mr. Jobin-Leeds has a master’s degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and more than twenty-five years of education, public policy, media, community organizing and leadership experience.
Maisie Chin is Co-Founder and current Director of CADRE – Community Asset Development Re-defining Education, an independent, grassroots parent membership organization in South Los Angeles comprised of low-income African American and Latino parents/caregivers. After working in a K-16 institutional and foundation collaboration around education reform for over six years, Ms. Chin and a South LA parent launched CADRE in 2001. CADRE’s mission is to solidify and advance parent leadership to ensure that all children are rightfully educated regardless of where they live. Through human rights-based community organizing and policy advocacy, CADRE parent leaders are fighting to end the pushout of low-income families of color from public schools and the school-to-prison pipeline. Under Ms. Chin’s leadership CADRE has successfully influenced policy at the local school district level and is moving towards addressing state and national policies using the human rights framework.
Recently in February 2007, CADRE’s parent-led Right to Education Campaign achieved a major victory when its human rights documentation, people’s hearing, advocacy, and media work significantly helped ensure the Los Angeles Unified School District’s passage of a new district-wide school discipline policy based on Positive Behavior Support. This success has positioned CADRE’s grassroots parent leaders to exert leadership in broader human rights/social justice movement building in multiple policy arenas.
Ms. Chin is a native Californian and child of Chinese immigrants. She has been part of the educational and social justice movement for 16 years, dedicated to fighting institutional racism by protecting and transforming public education in low-income neighborhoods of color. She also has 18 years of experience in facilitation, training, and organizational development. Ms. Chin holds both a Bachelors of Arts in History and a Masters of Arts in Urban Planning – Community Development from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to directing CADRE, Ms. Chin is also an independent consultant and serves on the Board of Directors of Justice Matters, a national racial justice policy and research organization based in San Francisco, California.
Dr. Antonia Darder is an internationally recognized critical scholar. She holds the Leavey Presidential 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. Her scholarship focuses on issues of racism, political economy, education, social justice, and society.
Antonia is the author of Culture and Power in the Classroom and Reinventing Paulo Freire: A Pedagogy of Love, named outstanding book in curriculum for 2001-2002 by the American Educational Research Association. She is also co-author of After Race: Racism After Multiculturalism. She is the editor of Culture and Difference and co-editor of Latinos and Education; The Latino Studies Reader: Culture, Economy and Society, and The Critical Pedagogy Reader, considered a premier text for its use in foundations courses. This year, the 20th anniversary edition of Culture and Power in the Classroom was released, as well as A Dissident Voice: Essay on Culture, Pedagogy, and Power, a twenty-year retrospective of her writings, which includes her poetry.
Beyond her scholarly efforts, Antonia is an activist and visual artist, who has participated in a variety of grassroots efforts tied to educational rights, worker’s rights, bilingual education, women’s issues, environmental justice, and immigrant rights. In the 1990s, she convened educators from across the state to establish the California Consortium of Critical Educators (CCCE), a member supported radical teachers’ organization committed to an educational vision of schooling intimately linked to social justice, human rights, and economic democracy. In 2005, she established a radio collective with students and community members who produced Liberacion!, a public affairs radio program on WEFT. As a member of the Champaign Urbana Independent Media Center, she was active as a community journalist with the Public I. In 2007, she worked with graduate students on an award winning documentary, Breaking Silence: The Pervasiveness of Oppression that examined the persistence of inequality at the university.
Antonia was born in Puerto Rico and raised in East Los Angeles. As a young single mother of three children and living on welfare, she completed her studies in nursing at Pasadena City College. She attended California State University Los Angeles and then Pacific Oaks College where she studied human development with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy. She earned her doctoral degree in Philosophy of Education from Claremont Graduate University. Antonia’s scholarship has been deeply influenced by her acquaintance with renowned Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, whose ideas on schooling and society profoundly shaped the direction of her early work. Today, Antonia is motivated to persist in the struggle for universal human rights by her four granddaughters and the other children of our time, who will be forced to contend with world we will leave behind.
On July 1, 2004, Jackie Jenkins-Scott became the 13th President of Wheelock College, a private college with a mission to improve the lives of children and families. Ms. 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.
In 2003, Ms. Jenkins-Scott received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Education from Wheelock College when she served as the Commencement speaker. In addition to Wheelock, she holds Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Suffolk University, Northeastern University, Bentley College and Mount Ida College.
From 1983 until 2004, Ms. Jenkins-Scott served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Prior to joining Dimock, she held several positions with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Departments of Public and Mental Health. As a community leader, public health advocate and innovative administrator, she has been a nationally known figure for nearly thirty years.
Ms. Jenkins-Scott has served on many professional, civic and community boards and committees. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Boston Foundation, the Kennedy Library Foundation and Museum, the Boston Plan for Excellence and WGBH. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Century Bank and Trust Company and the Tufts Health Plan. In April 2007, Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino selected Ms. Jenkins-Scott to Co-Chair his School Readiness Action Planning Team, charged with developing specific strategies to prevent the achievement gap among the next generation of students. Ms. Jenkins-Scott was asked by Governor Deval L. Patrick to Co-Chair the ‘Readiness Project,’ the group responsible for developing a 10-year strategic plan to implement the vision for education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as outlined by Governor Patrick in a June 2007 speech.
Ms. Jenkins-Scott has received numerous awards and citations including the 2005 Associated Industries of Massachusetts Legacy of Leadership award, 2004 Pinnacle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University.
As co-founder and managing partner of the Jobin-Leeds Partnership for Democracy and Education, LLC, Maria with her spouse Greg plans and directs the firm’s research, investments, programs, client services, grants management, strategic alliances, communications and operations. She is leading the Partnership’s formation of a pipeline for progressive women candidates in Massachusetts.
For more than a decade, Maria has marshaled resources for candidates and ballot questions that motivate the electorate and speak to issues that are important to low income communities, African Americans, Latinos, immigrants and women. Maria’s career in philanthropy and civic engagement began at an early age from watching and helping her parents in their efforts on civil rights and feminism and global citizenship. She was born and lived in Puerto Rico as a child, and she spent time in the Sudan as a college student, where her education about the privileges of class, race and gender began. Maria started her education career as a health and biology teacher in a parochial, inner-city high school. She spent the first ten years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic providing counseling to people testing positive for HIV and training AIDS educators. She came to understand that only by addressing a root cause of the epidemic – the lack of political power on the part of people affected – would there be any chance for success in curbing the problem.
In 1999, Maria founded the Access Strategies Fund. As Chair, with the board and staff, they address the political root causes of social and economic disparities. Access Strategies funds and assists community based organizations in underrepresented, low-income, communities of color and women’s communities to make their voices heard in the creation of sound public policies in Massachusetts. This collaborative, movement building work has produced large increases in voter turnout in urban African American, Latino and immigrant communities in the Commonwealth. Maria relishes and encourages the now frequent winning candidates resulting from community organizing and increased voter turnout supported by Access and she looks forward to the resulting shifts in policy and budget priorities. Maria’s strategy is to build organizational capacity for progressives and to help create opportunity for these personnel to become leaders and their organizations and issues to become mainstream and provide for the common good.
Maria helped found the Schott Foundation for Public Education in 1991, shaping mission, strategy, board, senior staff and outcomes, most recently as chair of the Strategy Committee. Schott supports the movement for high quality education by elevating the leadership of women and supporting the grassroots, bringing national attention to systemic discrimination against black boys, and leading funding efforts to better nurture all children.
Maria was a grants advisor to Tides Foundation Voter Action fund and is on the board of Campaign for America’s Future/IAF. The former Commonwealth Coalition of Massachusetts board also solicited her membership. She has advised donors and foundations focused on electoral engagement, and led workshops at foundation conferences showcasing the work of grantee partners in civic engagement. Her financial investment acumen marries socially-responsible investing with above-average returns. She is recognized by the Critical Impact Award from the Council on Foundations to Schott, the Monsignor Romero Award from the Foundation for Self Sufficiency in Central America (FSSCA), and the Morgenthau Award for Human Rights from the Cambridge City Democratic Committee. She was a 2008 recipient of the Center for Community Change Champion award honoring her efforts in immigrant and poor people’s civic advancement. Maria helped to established Young Sisters for Justice at the Boston Women’s Fund, getting girls to direct philanthropy to girls. Maria earned a Masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Bachelor’s degree from Colby College.
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.
In October 2009, Mrs. Lettman-Hicks became 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.
Prior to NBJC Sharon spent 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.
Miren Uriarte is a sociologist whose teaching and research focuses on different aspects of the intersection of race/ethnicity and social policy. She is a Professor of Human Services in the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts Boston, a founding core faculty member of the programs in Transnational, Cultural and Community Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and the founding director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy, a research center focused on the experience of Latinos in Massachusetts. She was a Visiting Professor at the University of Havana in 1984-1987, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2004, and was Presidential Visiting Scholar at Wheelock College in 2012.
Miren’s research has documented the history, growth, development and experience of Latino groups in the region focusing on issues such as immigration, the diversification of the Latino population, their economic participation, their interaction with human service systems and the impact of social and educational policy on their lives. In recent years, Dr. Uriarte has focused on the gaps in achievement and opportunity, documenting the effects of educational policy on the outcomes of Latino students and English language learners, starting with the effect of high-stakes testing in Massachusetts on the graduation and drop-out rates among Latino students and, most recently, the effects of the implementation of restrictive language policies on the placement and educational outcomes of English language learners in the state.
Miren has a long history of activism, collaborating often with community-based organizations and educational institutions in Boston. She has served on the Board of Directors of La Alianza Hispana, the Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation, the Massachusetts Advocacy Committee, and the Boston Plan for Excellence. Starting with work in the aftermath of the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools when she served as a Court-Appointed Alternate to a Citizen District Advisory Council (1977-79), she has been advocate for public education in the city of Boston. She has served as a Trustee of Boston’s Fenway High School (1999-2003), a member of the Search Committee for the Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools (2007), and a member of the district’s External Advisory Committee on School Choice (2012-13). She currently serves on the Boston School Committee.