Summer Institute on Education, Equity, and Justice Uplifting Women & Girls of Color Through Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice, & Policy

Virtual Conference • June 22-24, 2020


The Summer Institute is an annual event sponsored by the SOE. The institute's sessions, conducted by experts in the field, focus on educational, legal, and health disparities based on race, gender, ability, sexual orientation and other social identities. The sessions are “centered” on justice for those who are most vulnerable in schools. Sessions are designed to change both educational mindsets and practices (i.e. alternatives to suspension/punishment; strategies to instill a culture of engagement). The overall goal of SIEEJ is to build a community of practice singularly focused on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in the lives of marginalized youth and the communities in which they live.

The 2020 theme was Uplifting Women and Girls of Color Through Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice, and Policies.

The institute's workshops, conducted by experts in the field, focus on educational, legal, and health implications for young people of color. Sessions are designed to change both mindsets and practices (i.e. alternatives to suspension/punishment; strategies to instill a culture of engagement). The overall goal of SIEEJ is to build a community of practice singularly focused on the strengths, challenges, and opportunities in the lives of young people of color and the communities in which they live.

Participants will be eligible to receive a certificate for up to 9 hours of Professional Learning Units (PLUs) upon request.

SOE established the Summer Institute on Education Equity and Justice (SIEEJ, pronounced "seej") in 2018 to provide professional development opportunities for community members, particularly educators, who want to learn promising practices that lead to equitable educational outcomes for underserved students, families, and communities.

For questions, email

Watch Webinar Recordings

The 2020 SIEEJ Virtual Conference was held June 22-24, with three webinar sessions held each day.

Please learn about our sessions and watch the recordings below. 

Opening Session
SOE Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy will welcome all attendees and introduce our speaker, Dean Camille Nelson from the American University Washington College of Law. 
Antiracist Pedagogy, Practice and Policies Personal Growth Goals Worksheet

Criminalization of Young Girls of Color
This session will focus on the Criminalization of Young Girls of Color: Practices and Policies. Dr. Bev-Freda Jackson sits down with Christine Platt, J.D., Dr. Deborah Tillman, Ashley Sawyer, J.D., and Carlton Miller, J.D. to discuss. Bring your lunch and join us!

Student Panel Discussion: The Lived Experiences of Women and Girls of Color
Cheryl Hewitt sits down with Lorraine Johnson, Ashley Sanchez-Viafara, Prachi Jhawar, and Veronica Pacheco to discuss young women and girls of color in the education pipeline.

Women & Mental Health in COVID-19
Drs. Day-Vines and Singh will discuss Mental Health of Women-of-Color during COVID: Through the Lens of Equity.

Learning in Digital Age
Dr. Joshua Schuschke will discuss “Expectations, Opportunities, and Futures: Culturally Responsive Learning Environments for Black Girls in the Digital Age” Bring your lunch and join us!

Social Justice in Higher Education
Dr. Brian McGowan sits down with Dr. Connie Jones, Dr. Katrina Overby, Dr. J.T. Snipes, and Dr. LaWanda Ward to discuss Social Justice in Higher Education.

Mindfulness Break – The Stretch Room 
Stretching is a great way to increase flexibility, improve range of motion, care for your muscles, release stress, and calm your mind. Simone L. Pollard will help us stretch together during this session and teach us how stretching can be a part of how You take care of You!

You can use a towel, a mat, or whatever you have as well as a stretch band, belt, or scarf to aid in getting you loose. 

Music Credit: Original music by James A. Pollard, Jr.

Teaching Young Women of Color: Antiracist Practices and Strategies
This session focuses on antiracist and culturally responsive strategies that the audience can utilize in learning environments. Presenters: Dr. Jenice View (George Mason University) and Dr. Meredith Anderson (United Negro College Fund). Facilitated by Dr. Samantha Cohen, Director of AU EdD Program.

Book Discussion
Join us for our closing session, a Book Discussion with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi on “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning.”

SIEEJ Speakers

Learn more about SIEEJ's speakers below:

Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Dean, American University School of Education

Dr. Holcomb-McCoyDr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy joined AU in 2016 as Professor and Dean of the School of Education. Previous to this role, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy served as the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs and Chair in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. She has held appointments as Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Maryland, College Park and Assistant Professor and Director of the School Counseling Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Learn more about Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy.

Camille Nelson, Dean, American University Washington College of Law

Camille NelsonProfessor Camille Nelson has long been an outstanding member of the legal community. Prior to her appointment as Dean of American University Washington College of Law, she was the first woman and person of color to serve as Dean of Suffolk University School of Law in Boston. She was also a Professor of Law at Hofstra Law School, a Dean’s Scholar in Residence and Visiting Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, and a Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law. Dean Nelson holds a B.A. with high distinction from University of Toronto, a magna cum laude law degree from Un iversity of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and an LL.M. from Columbia University. Learn more about Dr. Nelson.

Dr. Jason Ottley, SIEEJ Director

Dr. Jason OttleyDr. Jason Ottley joined the Summer Institute on Education, Equity and Justice (SIEEJ) in 2019. Ottley has extensive research in developing programs and culturally relevant pedagogy. Recently, Ottley designed two new courses at American University: Black Masculinities: From Barack Obama to J-Cole and Teaching Race: Pedagogical and Antiracist Practices. Prior to arriving at American University, Ottley designed retention initiatives for African American students at several different Universities. Dr. Ottley holds a Ph.D. from West Virginia University. Learn more about Dr. Jason Ottley.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director, Antiracist Research and Policy Center, American University

Ibram X. KendiIbram X. Kendi is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and the Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is an Ideas Columnist at The Atlantic, and a correspondent with CBS News. He is the author of four books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won National Book Award for Nonfiction, and the New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist and STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds. His next book, Antiracist Baby, will be published in June. Learn more about Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.

Dr. Norma L. Day-Vines, Professor, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education

Dr. Norma L. Day-VinesDr. Norma L. Day-Vines is Professor of Counseling and Associate Dean for Faculty Development at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Education. She served on the faculty at The College of William and Mary and later at Virginia Tech. She has published widely on counseling strategies for working more effectively with culturally and linguistically diverse children and adolescents, with a special emphasis on African American youngsters. She developed the Continuum of Broaching Behavior, a conceptual framework for examining how counselors explore the contextual dimensions of race, ethnicity, and culture. More recently, she operationalized the Continuum of Broaching Behaviors using the Broaching Attitudes and Behavior Survey (BABS).

Dr. Anneliese Singh, Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development, Tulane University

Dr. Anneliese A. SinghAnneliese Singh (she/they) currently serves as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Mary Frances Early College of Education. In July, Anneliese will serve as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Provost of Faculty Development of Tulane University.

Racial-Healing-Handbook-and-Queer-and-Transgender-Resilience-Workbook-coversAnneliese has authored several pieces including The Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing and The Queer and Transgender Resilience Workbook: Skills for Navigating Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression.

Dr. Joshua Schuschke, Postdoctoral Fellow in Antiracist Education, American University School of Education

Dr. Joshua SchuschkeDr. Joshua Schuschke will join SOE as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Antiracist Education on June 1, 2020. His one-year fellowship is funded through a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant with the Antiracist Research and Policy Center (ARPC). Josh is a scholar of Black identity development within various media contexts. He earned his PhD at the University of Southern California, in the Rossier School of Education's Urban Education Policy program. Josh’s concentration is in Educational Psychology with a special focus on intersectional educational experiences. Before his doctoral studies, Josh earned his BS and MA in Pan-African Studies at his hometown school, the University of Louisville. 

Dr. Bev-Freda Jackson, Adjunct Professorial Lecturer, American University

Dr. Bev-Freda JacksonDr. Bev-Freda is an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology at American University. Her areas of expertise include an examination of racial disparities, racial isolation and segregation in the public education system and outcomes for children of color, disproportionality and disparate treatment of children of color across systems. Bev-Freda holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English with a minor in African American studies from Gettysburg College, a Masters in Political Science from American University and a Doctorate in Political Science from Howard University.

Christine Platt, Literacy Advocate & Activist

Christine PlattChristine Platt is a literacy advocate and passionate activist for social justice and policy reform. A believer in the power of storytelling as a tool for social change, Christine’s literature centers on teaching race, equity, diversity and inclusion to people of all ages. Christine is the former Managing Director for American University’s Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida, M.A. in African and African American Studies from The Ohio State University, and J.D. from Stetson University College of Law.

Cheryline Hewitt, Educator & Assistant Principal

Dr. Cheryl HewittCheryl Hewitt has been a Teacher or an Assistant Principal nearly 30 years. She is the Coordinator of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) – focusing on social justice, responsive teaching, marginalized communities, trauma informed approaches and SEL. She serves as lead school liaison with the Central Office organizing Restorative Practices Training. Cheryl holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bucknell University, a M.A. in Elementary Teaching from Rutgers University and a M.A. in Administration/Supervision from St. Peters University.

Dr. Deborah Tillman, Educator & CEO, Happy Home Child Learning Centers, Inc.

Dr. Bev-Freda JacksonDr. Deborah Tillman is a Child Development and Parent Educator, Speaker, Author, Founder & CEO of Happy Home Child Learning Centers, Inc. and “America’s Supernanny” on Lifetime Television. Labeled “A Force for Good” by The Washington Post, Deborah has a deep passion for children. After studying Jurisprudence at Oxford University, Deborah graduated with a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Education from George Washington University and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Pedagogy from the Richmond Virginia Seminary. Tillman is the author of Stepping out On Faith - How to Open a Quality Childcare Center (2005) and Parenting on Purpose (2014): A Menu for Raising Children in Today’s Society. She is a highly sought-after speaker and her commitment, persistence, tenacity and love for children and their families keep her living in her calling.

Dr. Brian McGowan, Associate Professor & Associate Director of Pedagogy and Higher Education Research in the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning, American University

Dr. Brian McGowanDr. McGowan is an Associate Professor of Education and Associate Director of Pedagogy and Higher Education Research in the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning at American University. Dr. McGowan’s research focuses on Black male college student and faculty experiences in postsecondary educational contexts. Dr. McGowan earned his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Indiana University, M.A. in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University, and B.M. in music education from Old Dominion University. Learn more about Dr. Brian McGowan.

Simone Pollard, Founder, The Stretch Room

Simone Pollard Ms. Pollard is a classically trained dancer who has studied many forms of dance from ballet to West African dance. She started dancing at age 3, when ballet slippers were placed on her feet, and then went on to wear tap, jazz, and pointe shoes, and sometimes no shoes! Simone created The Stretch Room to bring the stretching practice she developed during her dancing tenure to others. Right brained and left brained, Simone is keenly focused on wellness and self-care and combines those perspectives to enrich her life, and the lives of others. Simone earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business where she served as the Director of Choreography for a major, annual school production.

Dr. Samantha Cohen, Executive Director of EdD Program and Senior Professorial Lecturer, American University

Simone PollardDr. Samantha Cohen leads American University doctoral studies and she is responsible for launching the inaugural, practitioner based program in education leadership and policy. Samantha worked as an instructional coach, district administrator, charter staff member, foundation leader, and served in adjunct roles in higher education at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Samantha earned her BA in Political Science from UPenn and doctorate in Educational Leadership from Harvard University. Learn more about Dr. Samantha Cohen.

Dr. Jenice View, Associate Professor, George Mason University

Dr. Jenice ViewDr. Jenice L. View is Associate Professor of Transformative Teaching at George Mason University. Her research focuses on critical pedagogy in teacher professional development, the impact of history teaching on youth voice and civic engagement, and the uses of arts integration.

Antiracist PD book coverShe has published widely in peer-reviewed and popular outlets. She is the lead author of the new book Antiracist professional development for in-service teachers (2020). Other books include Teaching the New Deal, 1932 to 1941 (2020), Putting the movement back into civil rights teaching: A resource guide for classrooms and communities (2004/2020), and Why public schools? Voices from the United States and Canada (2013).

Dr. Meredith Anderson, Senior Research Associate, UNCF

Meredith AndersonDr. Meredith Anderson is a Senior Research Associate in the K-12 Advocacy Department and Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute at UNCF, where she leads and designs empirical research related to K-12 education reform for African American students. Meredith’s publications have focused on race, educational inequities, African American community voice in education, and the influence of representation on grouping and tracking outcomes for African American male students. Dr. Anderson’s most recent publications for UNCF are: A Seat at the Table: African American Youth's Perceptions of K-12 Education; Lift Every Voice and Lead: African American Leaders Perspectives of K-12 Education Reform; The Lift Every Voice and Lead Toolkit: A Community Leader's Advocacy Resource for K-12 Education; Building Better Narratives in Black Education; and The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2015: African American Students. Dr. Anderson earned both her B.A. and doctorate in Political Science from Texas A&M University.

Carlton J. Miller, Esq, Founder, Miller Law Firm

Carlton J. MillerCarlton J. Miller, Esq. is a graduate of Louisiana State University and A&M College and Southern University Law Center. Carlton began his legal career by establishing the Miller Law Firm, defending the rights of adults and juveniles in criminal cases, and later staffing the Transportation Committee in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Most notably, in 2017, Carlton played an influential role in the passage of historic criminal justice reform legislation deemed by the New York Times as "one of the most ambitious criminal justice reform packages in the country" -- removing Louisiana’s label as “prison capital of the world.” Carlton worked closely with a team of advocates and policymakers to secure the enactment of policies designed to steer low level offenders away from prison, strengthen alternatives to imprisonment, remove barriers to successfully reintegrate returning individuals, which has improved the lives of children, families, and communities across Louisiana. As a result of his success in Louisiana, Carlton and his wife relocated to Washington, D.C. where he joined, a leading national advocacy organization focused on reforming America's broken immigration and criminal justice systems.

Dr. Connie Jones, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Education

Connie JonesDr. Connie T. Jones is an Assistant Professor of Counseling and Educational Development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). She is the Immediate-President of the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors. Dr. Jones’s primary focus of scholarship includes social justice, broaching, and intercultural concerns in clinical mental health and addictions counseling. Dr. Jones earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Virginia Tech, M.S.W. in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Katrina Overby, Postdoctoral Researcher, Rochester Institute of Technology School of Communication

Katrina OverbyDr. Katrina M. Overby (she/her/hers) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Communication at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is an activist scholar who is interested broadly in media, race, sexuality, and gender. Specifically, her research interests include: social media, race and culture, race and identity in popular culture, and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). She is a native of Indianapolis, IN and received her doctorate from The Media School at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN in August 2019. Her dissertation was titled: Doin' it for the Culture: Defining Blackness, Culture, and Identity on Black Twitter. Katrina received a M.S. in Mass Communications with a specialization in News Media Management from Oklahoma State University in 2011 and her B.A. in Mass Communications with a minor in Broadcast Journalism from an HBCU, Rust College, in Holly Springs, MS in 2009.

Dr. J.T. Snipes, Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Education

J.T. SnipesDr. J.T. Snipes is Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Prior to his faculty appointment he worked for over 12 years in higher education administration. Currently, his research interest focuses on religion and spirituality in higher education, African American collegiate students, and critical race theory in education. He recently completed his award-winning dissertation entitled, “Ain’t I Black too: Counterstories of Black Atheist in College.” It explores the narratives of secular African American students in college. His latest edited volume Remixed and Reimagined: Innovations in Religion, Spirituality, and (Inter)Faith in Higher Education invites readers to rethink religious scholarship and practice in higher education and student affairs. Dr. Snipes earned a Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University, a M.Ed. in higher education and student affairs and a B.A. in Biology from Baylor University.

Dr. LaWanda Ward, Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University College of Education

LaWanda WardDr. LaWanda Ward is an Assistant Professor of Education and Research Associate in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Pennsylvania State University. Her commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion in higher education is influenced by her family of educators. Her research agenda centers on critically analyzing legal issues in higher education including race-conscious admissions, free speech, and academic freedom. For over 20 years prior to joining the professoriate, Dr. Ward served as a student affairs educator in various roles. She earned a PhD in Higher Education and Student Affairs with an Interdisciplinary Minor in Socio-Legal Perspectives on Race & Gender in Higher Education from Indiana University, J.D. from Indiana University McKinney School of Law, M.S. in Educational Administration from Old Dominion University, M.A. in Political Science from Illinois State University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Murray State University.

Ashley Sawyer, Esq., Director, Policy at Girls for Gender Equity

Ashley SawyerAshley Sawyer, Esq., is the Director of Policy at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE). Ashley is committed to divestment from prisons and investing in freedom, opportunity, and joy for youth of color. Ashley was previously an attorney at Youth Represent, representing youth who were incarcerated with reentry related legal needs. Prior to that, Ashley was a Stoneleigh Emerging Leader at the Education Law Center in Philadelphia, doing special education litigation, and she led a policy effort to reduce the suspensions of Black girls. Ashley’s an alumna of the NJJN-Youth Justice Leadership Institute, and she earned a J.D. from the Howard University School of Law.

2020 SIEEJ Planning Committee

The SIEEJ Planning Committees's key purpose is to coordinate the success of the SIEEJ Virtual Conference.

  • Bonnie Berry – Conference Partnerships
  • Steven Crudele – Conference Registration
  • SOE Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy – Conference Oversight
  • Leslie A. Jones – Conference Speakers
  • Jacob Ortiz – DC Public Schools Liaison 
  • Jason Ottley – Conference Director
  • Tess Saffar – Conference Logistics
  • Michelle Swiger – Conference Speakers
  • Benjamin Zenker – Social Media & Digital Design

Webinar Resources

Please find below resources referenced during our sessions: 

Opening Session resources from SOE Dean Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy

Sourcing/References from Dr. Joshua Schuschke's lunch session on Expectations, Opportunities, and Futures: Culturally Responsive Learning Environments for Black Girls in the Digital Age

Recommended books from Dr. Katrina M. Overby:

  • Black Feminism in Qualitative Inquiry: A Mosaic for Writing Our Daughter's Body by Dr. Venus E. Evans-Winters |
  • Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall |
  • Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks |

Recommended books from Dr. Joshua Schuschke's lunch session on Expectations, Opportunities, and Futures: Culturally Responsive Learning Environments for Black Girls in the Digital Age:

Resources from Day 2 morning session:

Resources from Ashley C. Sawyer, Esq.:


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