The 2024 Education Conference

Presented by Indiana University

June 27th, 2024 at the Indiana Convention Center

Join us for one of the largest, most comprehensive educational summits in the country. Don't miss conference news and details; register now.

Registration for our 2024 Indiana University Education Conference is now closed.


Equity in Education: Elevating Teaching to the Next Level Through Collective Impact

In today’s educational landscape, fostering equity is not just a moral imperative but a fundamental necessity for societal progress. The 2024 Indiana Black Expo Education Conference aims to delve deep into the theme of equity while propelling teaching practices to the next level and emphasizing collective impact. This conference provides a platform for educators to explore innovative strategies and learn best practices that create a more equitable and impactful educational system.

Key Focus Areas:

Equity in Education: Understanding and addressing the systemic barriers to equity in education, including disparities in resources, access, and opportunities. Sessions will explore strategies for creating inclusive learning environments where all students have the support and resources they need to thrive.

Next-Level Teaching Practices: Exploring K-post secondary teaching methodologies, technologies, and pedagogical approaches that empower educators to meet the diverse needs of their students effectively. From personalized learning to project-based instruction, sessions will showcase practices that push teaching to new heights.

Collective Impact: Recognizing that achieving equity in education requires a collaborative effort, sessions will highlight the importance of collective impact. Educators will learn how to build partnerships with stakeholders across sectors, including parents, youth, community organizations, and policymakers, to drive meaningful change at scale.

Cultivating Empathy and Cultural Competence: Emphasizing the importance of empathy and cultural competence in promoting equity, sessions will provide educators with tools and strategies for building strong relationships with students from diverse backgrounds and creating culturally responsive learning environments.

Policy and Advocacy: Engaging educators in conversations about the role of policy and advocacy in advancing equity in education. The conference will explore how educators can advocate for policy changes at the local, state, and national levels to dismantle inequitable systems and ensure that all students have access to a high-quality education.

Through dynamic keynote presentations, interactive workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities, the conference aims to inspire and empower educators to champion equity in their schools and communities and take their teaching practices to the next level for sustainable collective impact.

Keynote Speaker

Soledad O’Brien

Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist, and founder of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues. She anchors and produces Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, a Hearst political magazine program seen in 95% of the country. She is a correspondent for HBO Real Sports. was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of fame in May 2023.

Soledad has a national impact through her op-eds, social media, speeches and books, including her critically acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story and her 1.3 million Twitter followers. In 2011 she founded the PowHerful foundation, which has helped dozens of young women get to and through college and connects with thousands of others through regional mentoring conferences.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Kymyona Burk, Ed.D.

Dr. Kymyona Burk is the Senior Policy Fellow for Early Literacy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd). In this role, Dr. Burk supports states pursuing a comprehensive approach to K-3 reading policy by assisting state leaders in building new or improving existing K-3 reading policies, with a heavy focus on supporting successful policy implementation.

Dr. Burk currently serves as a member of the National Advisory Group for the Path Forward for Teacher Preparation and Licensure, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Expert Advisory Panel, the Alabama Literacy Taskforce, and the Mississippi Reading Panel. She is featured in The Right to Read film and continues to lend her voice to broader national conversations, appearing in ABC’s coverage of America’s Reading Crisis and Amanpour and Company’s segment entitled Lessons Learned: Mississippi’s Success in Public Education.

Our Full Conference Schedule

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Click Each to Expand

Panelists: Daniella Jordán Gonzales, Chair, Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs; Jordan Teske-Harrison, Director, Indiana Commission for Women; Virgil Giles, Director, Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males; Nicole Owens, Director, Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission

Location: 500 Ballroom

Moderator: Daniella Jordan Gonzales, Chairwoman, The Indiana Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs

About This Session

The panel will discuss cultural empathy and competence from a community perspective. Representatives from Indiana’s Cultural Commissions, which represent diverse segments of Indiana’s population, will address the unique challenges faced by each commission’s constituency group. These challenges include issues such as literacy, transportation, negative racial imagery, language barriers, and microaggressions, and the panel will explore how these barriers are being overcome. Additionally, the commissions will share their legislative recommendations aimed at improving the lives of their constituents and promoting greater understanding and empathy across communities.

Speaker: Jody Pope, Education Associate, Lilly Endowment Inc.

Location: 500 Ballroom

About This Session

The TCFP supports K-12 educators throughout Indiana by providing resources for them to take time for meaningful renewal. The Lilly Endowment believes that through new experiences, exploration and reflection educators can generate renewed energy in their careers, innovative approaches to teaching and educational leadership, and thoughtful ways to encourage students’ creative thinking. The application deadline is September 9, 2024 and approximately 125 grants, each totaling up to $15,000, will be awarded in 2025.


Speaker: Dr. Kymyona Burk, Senior Policy Fellow for Early Literacy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd)

Location: 500 Ballroom

Description: Over the last decade, at least thirty states have passed laws focused on education reform, changing the landscape of teaching and learning from early childhood to higher education. Passing a law is the first step, but implementation is key. This keynote will focus on how school, district, and state leaders can lead the transformation from policy to practice with collective impact serving as the catalyst for change.

Presenter: Commissioner Chris Lowery, Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Location: 500 Ballroom

About This Session

The state of higher education in Indiana in 2024 is characterized by significant legislative changes, ongoing initiatives to increase educational attainment, and a focus on adapting to workforce needs. Please join us as we hear from Commissioner Lowery with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education as he discusses how Indiana is actively working to enhance its higher education system through legislative reforms, financial aid, and strategic educational programs aimed at meeting the evolving needs of its workforce and student population.

10:50 AM and 1:30 PM Concurrent Workshops

Presenter: Velshonna Luckey, Executive Director of Self-Healing Communities of Michiana

Location: 231

Moderator: Dilynn Phelps

About This Workshop

Everyone’s talking about being Trauma-Informed, but what does your everyday life have to do with that? Why is it important for you to be aware of how various levels of stress

impact your personal life when considering what it means to be Trauma-Informed? We will dive into these questions and more. This workshop is for everyone interested in the journey to become Trauma-Informed.

We will discuss:

  • What is Self-Healing Communities and how can it be beneficial to becoming and maintaining a Trauma-Informed organization?
  • Incorporating neurobiological supports for navigating vicarious trauma, day-to-day stress, toxic stress, and building resilience in yourself and others.

Presenter: Dr. Jamyce Curtis-Banks, Founder & CEO, Whatever it Takes Consulting

Location: 239

Moderator: Dr. Shenia Suggs, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, MSD of Wayne Township

About This Workshop

This session will provide the opportunity to create a professional learning community of educators that participate in the workshop session. The lesson will have a maximum participation of 25. During the session, participants will have the opportunity to discuss best practice strategies in the areas of academic performance (literacy and math), attendance, and areas of culturally responsive practice, including student engagement, classroom management, and curriculum. Participants will identify an area to pursue in the 2024-2025 school year. During the school year, in collaboration, Whatever It Takes Consulting, Inc. Indiana Black Expo, Teach Indy, Butler University College of Education, and National Drifters Incorporated-Indianapolis Chapter will provide participants with support in developing a goal and plan to address their identified area as well as an opportunity to connect with other participants to support achieving their identified goal. Participants will have two follow up sessions to support their goal implementation. A membership in the Teach Indy Community will provide opportunities for additional professional development, including attending the Teach Indy Conference by teachers for teachers. Participants may also have the opportunity to share their goals and impact at a session during the 2025 IBE Education Conference.

The objectives of the workshop are that participants will:

  • Identify best practice strategies in the areas of academic performance (literacy and math), attendance, and areas of culturally responsive practice, including student engagement, classroom management, and curriculum.
  • Identify a goal(s) and a plan to address school needs.
  • Develop a school community to support implementation of plans and accomplishment of identified goal(s)

The objectives will be addressed using a variety of presentation strategies including lecture, video, individual and group discussion, and engagement activities. The content, objectives and presentation strategies are aligned with the conference theme, Equity in Education: Elevating Teaching to the Next Level Through Collective Impact.

Collaborating Partners: Whatever It Takes Consulting, Inc., Indiana Black Expo, Teach Indy, Butler University College of Education, and the National Drifters Incorporated-Indianapolis Chapter.

Presenter: Cassandra Williams, Owner of Education Innovation 360

Location: 232

Moderator: Shawn Bush, Director of Student Services, MSD of Lawrence Township

About This Workshop

Feeling the pinch of a shrinking talent pool? Want to create a school environment that reflects the beautiful diversity of your student body? This workshop equips K12 principals with actionable strategies to attract and retain top-notch educators of color, building a dynamic teaching pipeline that fuels student success for years to come. Attendees will leave this workshop with a roadmap to a more diverse and dynamic teaching staff, ultimately propelling your students towards a brighter future. Learn how to expand your recruitment reach and connect with talented, diverse educators, invest in your teachers’ growth with targeted professional development opportunities, and create a pipeline of future educators by partnering with your community.

Panelists: Jameson Harney, freshman at Park Tudor High School; Lakyah Berry, Ambassador for TRU Colors Indy; Sean Rivera, sophomore at Purdue Polytechnic High School; Akiah Riddick, freshman honors student at Lawrence Central High School; and Xaviour (King) Akpan, junior at Purdue Polytechnic High School

Location: 233

Facilitator: Brandon Randal, Founder of Tru Colors Indy

Moderator: Peggy Surbey

About This Workshop

This session will feature five young leaders from the Indianapolis community who have a proven track record of social and civic engagement. These young leaders will participate in a facilitated panel discussion around the following topics: Equity in Education (including funding and identifying priorities), Youth-Centered Collective Impact (discussing the importance of utilizing youth as critical stakeholders), Cultivating Empathy and Cultural Competence (understanding the power of building audacious connections and fostering hope), and Policy/Advocacy (collaborating with young people to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline). The panel will run for 45 minutes and there will be about 10-15 minutes left at the end for a short Q&A.

Presenters: Dr. Tina O’Neal, Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Education, Clinical Assistant Professor; Ebonye MJ Crowe, Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Education, Graduate Assistant/Doctoral Student; Jeffery Franklin, Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Education, Doctoral Research Assistant/Doctoral Student; Kristina Johnson-Yates, , MSW, LSW., Indiana University-Indianapolis School of Education, Doctoral Research Assistant/Doctoral Student

Location: 234

Moderator: Dr. Gwen Kelley, Chair, NAACP Education Committee

About This Workshop

The Indiana University Equity in Action team is poised to present a comprehensive session entitled “Equity in Special Education: Advancing Inclusion for Underrepresented Students with Disabilities” at the esteemed Indiana Black Expo Education Conference. This presentation harmonizes with the overarching theme of “Equity in Education” by delving into the multifaceted challenges and opportunities within the realm of special education in Indiana.

Against the backdrop of Indiana’s educational landscape, this session will unpack systemic barriers that impede the realization of inclusive education for students with disabilities. Drawing upon empirical research and localized data, attendees will gain valuable insights into the current state of special education in Indiana. This presentation will center the conversation on systemic barriers to inclusive education, provide research-based data and information on Indiana’s special education landscape, and offer research-based solutions for advocacy and professional development initiatives.

Presenters: Erica Buchanan-Rivera, Ph.D., Educational Consultant, DEI Project Specialist and Adjunct Professor for the College of Education at Butler University; and Sara Marshall, Executive Director of Teach Indy

Location: 235

Moderator: Evelyn Hicks, President, National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc., – Tau Chapter

About This Workshop

School environments have the potential to be spaces of wonder and joy yet can also be a source of trauma and harm when the potentialities, identities, histories, and lived experiences of students are not considered in educational systems. This session will call for educators to think about how they show up into justice-centered work. Importantly, educators will consider the collective work that is needed within organizations to advance affirming spaces that generate a sense of belonging and connection for youth as well as their caregivers and engage in a panel discussion with educators who are doing this work.

Presenter: Kelin Mark Sr., Director, Park Tudor Middle School

Location: 236

Moderator: Annette Johnson, Pike Township Trustee

About This Workshop

As school leaders it is important to acknowledge the challenges black students face on our campuses at every level. We have to be intentional in supporting and engaging black students within our community. Black students on PWI campuses face even more challenges to connect with the school community and in the classroom.

This workshop will need interaction from participants. There will be informational segments and multiple opportunities for active, hands-on engagement among participants throughout the workshop. The ultimate goal is for the participants to gain knowledge and understanding that can be applied to their school, district, classroom, and institution of higher learning.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will:

  • Identify barriers to hearing and acknowledging student voice
  • Have a rough draft plan for engaging black students for the upcoming school year
  • Develop strategies to engage black families
  • Learn and share new ideas how PWI’s can connect with the surrounding community to build a strong network
  • Have a better understanding of the needs of black students from the classroom to the campus community

Presenter: Dr. Patrick Jones II, Senior Vice President of Leadership and Equity

Location: 239

Moderator: Lauren Peterson, Vice President of Community Engagement

About This Workshop

This workshop will explore the tangible ways in which Black supervisors can better engage, provide support, coaching, and leadership to Black principals in the K-12 education landscape. Using his research, Dr. Patrick Jones II will walk professionals through the ways in which Black principals’ approach and tackle difficult challenges in schools and how their supervisors specifically navigate coaching principals through those difficulties. This study more specifically looked into how Black supervisors help Black principals get better at their jobs in public schools for students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Dr. Jones focused on understanding the beliefs and methods of 11 experienced Black supervisors who guide Black principals through the challenges of the U.S. public school system to help their schools and everyone in them succeed.

Presenters: Mark Canada, Ph.D. Chancellor, Indiana University Kokomo and Dennis Rome, Ph.D. Chancellor, Indiana University East

Location: 238

Moderator: Ramir Williams, M.S.K., Doctoral Student, Indiana University

In a variety of ways, post-secondary institutions throughout Indiana demonstrate their commitment to elevating teaching and learning within K-12 school districts. From offering experiential programs for learners across grade levels, to working collaboratively to place student teachers in classrooms so they can gain valuable instructional experience, to providing access to affordable online and in-person academic and professional development programming for all K-12 educators, Indiana’s colleges and universities are primed resources vital for pushing education to greater heights in our state. This moderated conversation features two university chancellors and focuses on the value, benefits, and impact of Indiana colleges and universities for local school districts, educators, students, their families, and the state of Indiana.


Speaker: Soledad O’Brien

Location: 500 Ballroom

Description: Award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien will discuss the impact of racial biases and stereotypes. By sharing voices and perspectives that often go unheard, Soledad brings the challenges of equality and justice into full view where they can be confronted and addressed. She adds powerful, real-world insights by exploring systematic racism in selected US cities where efforts are underway to reform policing, incarceration, education, land ownership and more. Audiences will leave with a new understanding of how each of us can better understand and assist in dismantling systemic racism.

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