Building the Black Male Educators Pipeline

The final session of a national conference on Building the Black Male Educators Pipeline will be held Monday, November 8, 2021 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET and hosted by Lincoln University in collaboration with other HBCUs that support the initiative. They include Claflin University, Grambling State University, Oakwood University, North Carolina Central University and South Carolina State University. The session will be inspiring, informative, and impactful and will focus on expanding opportunities to move forward and rise above barriers to building the Pipeline.

National Center for Education Statistics show that as of 2015 more than half of the nation’s K-12 public school students are children of color, with federal projections of over 50.7 million public school students by fall 2022. Federal projections for next year estimate 3.2 million full-time public school teachers. Currently, Black males account for 2%, or less, of public school teachers, and the nation must establish policies to change this dynamic. The federal statistics and projections signal that the time has come to act decisively and intentionally to build a Black Male Educators Pipeline to ensure the high-quality educational outcomes that Black male students, in particular, deserve.

Presenters will highlight the need for partnership and collaboration at federal, state and local levels between K-12 and higher education systems and the need for resources to create a diverse educator workforce. Presenters will point out the lasting benefits of having same-race educators in the classroom and the impact on Black students, especially during the early years of their education. This Black Male Educators Pipeline education reform effort will produce positive educational outcomes for all students when partnerships and collaborations are created at all levels of society.

ETS hosted the first and second very successful sessions in January and May 2021. The conveners included ETS, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, The National Urban League, Pittsburgh Urban League and the Western PA Consortium of Educators with the Black Male Teachers Initiative. The sessions focused on recruitment of Black males to teach in school districts and schools and on the development and retention of Black male educators. They laid a solid foundation for the final session to be held Monday, November 8, 2021 focusing on expanding opportunities to move forward and rise above barriers to building the Pipeline.

Judge Doris Smith-Ribner (Ret.)
Lincoln University Board of Trustees
Organizer/Coordinator

Judge Doris Smith-Ribner 

Event Organizer/Coordinator

Judge Doris Smith-Ribner

Judge Doris Smith-Ribner (Ret.) served for over two decades on the PA Commonwealth Court during which time she decided numerous cases dealing with local and state government operations and functions. Numerous cases dealt with issues over labor, education and government regulation and also included the long-standing desegregation case involving the state’s largest school district’s failure to provide equal educational opportunities for schoolchildren of color. During her tenure on the appeals court, she also chaired the PA Judicial Auditing Agency and developed a nationally- recognized court mediation program. She established a national judicial externship/clerkship program 20 years ago to place law students and graduates of color into federal and state court positions to promote diversity in the legal profession; and she served as a Supreme Court Designee to the PA Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness created to address inequities in the court system and to promote fairness and equal justice.

Smith-Ribner also served as a Juvenile Court Judge in Allegheny County, PA, and received a Presidential appointment to the, now former, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans Advisory Commission. She also received gubernatorial appointment to the PA Justice Reinvestment Work Group, a DOJ Initiative to review corrections spending in PA. She has served for over two decades on the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law Board of Visitors and is a member of the Lincoln University Board of Trustees. She holds a B.A. Degree in Economics from the University of Pittsburgh, a JD Law Degree from the University’s School of Law and an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Widener University.

Dr. Lillian M. Lowery - Moderator

Vice President of Student and Teacher Assessments at ETS.

Dr. Lillian M. Lowery

Dr. Lillian M. Lowery is Vice President of Student and Teacher Assessments at ETS. She is a former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and Delaware Secretary of Education and came to ETS in 2018 from The Education Trust in Washington, D.C., where she served as a content expert on issues related to Pre-K - 12 education. She also is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. As Vice President of the Student and Teacher Assessments strategic business unit, Dr. Lowery leads a division comprising Student Assessment and ETS Professional Educator programs. These include, among others, business development in state K–12 student assessment programs, among them the Winsight® Assessment System; the Praxis® tests; the ETS® NOTE™ (National Observational Teaching Exam) program; and ETS’ work on contracts for or with Questar® Assessments.

Dr. Lowery earned her doctorate of education in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, a master’s degree in education in curriculum and instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a bachelor’s degree in English education from North Carolina Central University. Her classroom experience includes teaching English in the Fairfax County, Va. school district, where she also was the department chair; in the Alexandria, Va. school district; and in the Gaston County, N.C. school district. She has held appointments to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans and the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

 

Presenter Biographies

 

Dr. Brenda A. Allen

14th president of her alma mater, Lincoln University

Dr. Brenda A. Allen

Dr. Brenda A. Allen was named the 14th president of her alma mater, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania on May 11, 2017. She began her tenure on July 1, 2017.

From July 2009 through June 2017, she served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Winston Salem State University (WSSU). Dr. Allen was also a tenured faculty member holding the title of Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. She was responsible for the overall coordination and effective implementation of the University’s academic programs and had lead responsibility for developing the annual budget and long-term financial plans.

Her many accomplishments at WSSU included leading revision of the curriculum, overseeing the establishment of WSSU’s first two doctoral programs, expanding undergraduate research funding, restructuring academic support to strengthen advising, creating an Office of Faculty Affairs, strengthening standards for tenure and promotion, and helping raise more than $ 10 million for capital projects, scholarships and other student support.

Dr. Allen served as Associate Provost and Director of Institutional Diversity at Brown University before moving to WSSU. She led efforts that culminated in 36% and 45% increases in the number of women and minority faculty members, respectively. Prior to joining Brown University, she held academic and administrative positions at Smith College. Prior to her tenure there, she spent three years at Yale University where she served as Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Psychology and Lecturer in the Departments of Psychology and African American Studies.

Dr. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lincoln University, a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology and a doctorate in Developmental Psychology, both from Howard University in Washington, DC.

Dr. Tony Allen

Twelfth president of Delaware State University.

Dr. Tony Allen

Dr. Tony Allen is the Chief Executive Officer of the nation’s most diverse, contemporary Historically Black College & University (HBCU). Delaware State University is a comprehensive research institution with a $140 million budget and a $27 million research portfolio. The 1890 Land-Grant institution is home to four academic colleges and a burgeoning graduate school and recently completed the acquisition of nearby Wesley College. It serves over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students and adult learners in Delaware, online, and internationally in 23 countries.

Prior to his time at the University, Tony developed and led the corporate reputation group at Bank of America and was responsible for ongoing reputation analysis and related research. He also led communications for the bank’s largest divisions. He began his financial services career as an Executive Vice President at MBNA America.

Tony is the Founding President of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, Co-founder of Public Allies Delaware and Chair Emeritus of the National Urban Fellows, viewed as the most prestigious fellowship for professionals of color in the public sector. He has received many honors, including the National Urban League Whitney M. Young Award for Advancing Racial Equality; the Excellence in Education Award from the Delaware Barristers Association; and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Urban Fellows and Public Allies.

Tony holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Ph.D. in Urban Affairs & Public Policy from the University of Delaware and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College (CUNY). He is the proud father of four fantastic children and life partner to his high school sweetheart, Ms. Tara Anderson.

Dr. Rashad Anderson

Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Campus Director of the Call Me MISTER Program at South Carolina State University.

Dr. Rashad Anderson

Dr. Rashad Anderson serves as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Campus Director of the Call Me MISTER Program at South Carolina State University. Central to his work is engaging students, scholars, practitioners, and community members to both find and implement effective means to better propel Black male youth through K-12 and higher education settings. As a former public-school music educator for several years, Dr. Anderson also brings to his research a deep experiential understanding and passion for the arts. He received his B.S. in Music Education from South Carolina State University and a Master’s in Music Education from the University of South Carolina, where he also received his Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Inquiry with his research interests focused on the exploration of social justice & equity issues in education, including racial, gender, religious, sexual, and class oppression.

In 2019, Dr. Anderson published his first book “Wassup with all the Black Boys Sitting in the Principal’s Office” along with a follow-up publication of “Doing Something About It! A Guide to Building a School-Based Mentoring Program” in 2020. For his work, Dr. Anderson has received many accolades such as the Call Me MISTER Trailblazer award, the 2019 South Carolina Fatherhood & Black Male Achievement Man of the Year award and the 2017 and 2021 Department of Education Professor of the Year award for South Carolina State University.

Dr. Darryl T. Canady

Founder of the LIFE Male Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math Academy.

Dr. Darryl T. Canady

Dr. Darryl T. Canady received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Banking & Finance from Morehouse College, his Masters of Divinity Degree from Emory University Candler School of Theology, and his Doctor of Ministry Degree from School of Theology Virginia Union University.

Dr. Canady serves as the Senior Pastor of Rodman Street Missionary Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he offers a fresh perspective for revitalization inside the church and outside in the local and global community.

Dr. Canady, along with his wife, Rev. Taleeta Canady, is the founder of the LIFE Male Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math Academy, the only K-12 male academy with a STEAM focused course of study in the region. The mission of LIFE Male STEAM Academy is to prepare all male scholars for college success and career readiness. We will also serve as a catalyst to increase the presence of African American males in the STEM pipeline.

Dr. Canady is a very gifted preacher and teacher of the Gospel. He completed the three-year Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention Pastoral Excellence Program and has ministered in several cities across the United States and internationally in Capetown and Polokwane, South Africa, Guyana, South America and Jamaica, West Indies. He enjoys facilitating workshops on leadership development, male empowerment, marriage and family enrichment, and youth enhancement. His life mission comes from Luke 12:48, “for unto whom much is given, much is required.”

Jason Carter

Executive Director of Professional Educator Programs at ETS.

Jason Carter

Jason Carter is the Executive Director of Professional Educator Programs at ETS. He has worked at ETS for ten years with the goal of advancing quality and equity in education. Jason currently manages the Praxis portfolio and the HiSET program. He has also worked in the New Product Development Division of ETS. Prior to his work at ETS, Jason worked in Finance for JPMorgan Chase.

Jason holds an MBA degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. degree from Georgetown University. He also serves on the Board of CASA of NJ, Princeton Family YMCA and the Penn Club of Central New Jersey.

 

 

 

Honorable Johnny Ford

Received gubernatorial and presidential appointments as the first African American to serve as a member of the Alabama Foreign Trade Advisory Commission.

Mayor Johnny Ford

Mayor Johnny Ford grew up in Tuskegee, Alabama, the home of Tuskegee University and famed Tuskegee Airmen. He graduated from Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee with a B.A. in history and sociology and received a Masters in Public Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery. He has since received honorary degrees including The Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Alabama A&M University.

Mayor Ford began his professional career as an Executive with the Greater NY Council of Boy Scouts, but his position ended when he joined Senator Robert Kennedy's campaign for President. After Kennedy's assassination, Ford returned to work in government jobs in Tuskegee. In 1972, he resigned from his U.S. Justice Department job and ran for mayor of Tuskegee, becoming the first African American Mayor in the history of Tuskegee. He served eight, nonconsecutive, terms as mayor from 1972 through 2016, served in the Alabama State Legislature and currently serves as a Tuskegee City Councilman.

In 1984, Mayor Ford founded The World Conference of Mayors, Inc. (WCM), and he now serves as its Founder/Secretary General. He continues to work with current and former mayors and other elected and appointed officials throughout the U.S. and in other countries to foster intergovernmental communications, trade, technology, training, Twin City programs and other objectives between mayors and cities. He also founded the National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc., now officially known as the African American Mayors Association, and he serves as Founding Co-Chairman of the National Policy Alliance composed of organizations representing Black policymakers at the local, state, national and international level. It also includes the Congressional Black Caucus and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, among others.

Mayor Ford was the first African American to serve as a member of the Alabama Foreign Trade Advisory Commission by gubernatorial appointment, and he was a U.S. Presidential appointee to both the National Advisory Committee on Federalism and the Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade that advises on International Trade Policies. Mayor Ford is married to Retired Judge Joyce London Alexander, Former U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge for the District of Massachusetts.

Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr.

On August 1, 2016, became the 10th president of Grambling State University.

Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr.

Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr. became the 10th president of Grambling State University on August 1, 2016. Prior to that, he served one term as a member of the Louisiana State Senate, three terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives and one term on the Grambling City Council. Gallot graduated from Grambling State University with a bachelor’s degree in history and earned his juris doctorate degree from the Southern University School of Law in Baton Rouge. He attended the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Gallot was inducted into the Grambling State University Alumni Hall of Fame and the Southern Law School Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of the 2017 HBCUGrow “Best Leadership Award” during his first year as president of Grambling State University He is an active member of New Living Word Ministries in Ruston, LA; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; and the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, an influential independent, non-government, business roundtable of Louisiana senior corporate executives and university leaders.

Gallot has been a licensed attorney for 31 years and serves on the board of directors of Cleco Corporation, an electric utility company, headquartered in Pineville, LA and the Board of Directors of Origin Bank located in Ruston. President Gallot is married to the former Christy Cox, and they have four sons.

Professor Seth Gershenson

Associate Professor of Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University

Professor Seth Gershenson

Professor Seth Gershenson is Associate Professor of Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at American University. He is also Research Fellow at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Senior Technical Advisor to Institute for Education Policy at Johns Hopkins, and Coordinator of SPA’s Analytics and Management Institute.

Professor Gershenson works broadly in the economics of education and education policy, with specific interests in teacher labor markets, summer learning loss, student absences, teacher expectations and implicit bias, and the causes and consequences of the underrepresentation of teachers of color. His research has been published in more than 30 academic journal articles, received more than $1,000,000 in external funding, and featured in media outlets such as USA Today, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NPR, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, vox.com, NBC News, and The Atlantic. His most recent project, a book on teacher diversity policy, is now available from Harvard Education Press. Professor Gershenson received his Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University in 2011. You can learn more about Professor Gershenson’s research here.

Dr. Roy Jones

Lifelong Educator who has served in South Carolina institutions for nearly 40 years.

Dr. Roy Jones

Dr. Roy Jones is a lifelong Educator who has served in South Carolina institutions for nearly 40 years. He is Executive Director of the Call Me MiSTER program, Director of the South Carolina Center for the Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Educators and a Provost Distinguished Professor in Educational Leadership in the College of Education at Clemson University.

The Call Me MiSTER program works to increase the pool of Black Teachers from diverse backgrounds, particularly among the nation's lowest performing schools. As testimony to his life's work, Dr. Jones was a 2020 inductee into the South Carolina African American History Calendar presented by the South Carolina Department of Education and recipient of the Walker E. Solomon Award presented by the South Carolina Education Association in recognition of Outstanding Support of Public Education in South Carolina.

Dr. Jones earned his Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Georgia, Master's degree in Educational Psychology from Atlanta University and Bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

"Call Me MiSTER: A Generation Producing African American Male Teachers"

Dr. Arthur P. McMahan

Senior Associate Director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Dr. Arthur P. McMahan

Dr. Arthur P. McMahan, is the current Senior Associate Director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He most recently served as Director of VA Anti-Harassment Program, Deputy Dean of Veterans Affairs Learning University at Department of Veterans Affairs and as Director Educational Services and Strategic Planning at the U.S. Army Management Staff College (AMSC), Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

His expertise and experience includes strategic planning, institutional research, and performance management. He is a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner (2007), has served on the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Accreditation Team, and is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Washington Area Corporate University Consortium. He is the president of FAME Men’s Fellowship in Alexandria, VA. Dr. McMahan, a retired Army Officer, has written and presented on Strategic Planning, the Balanced Scorecard, change management, and diversity.

“Strategic Planning: A Virtual Possibility” is published in the May 2009 issue of Army Magazine. His article titled “Generational Diversity” is published in the Army Management Staff College’s Perspectives on Leadership. He holds a BA from the University of South Carolina, an MS from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a Ph.D. from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Dr. McMahan reads and writes fiction as a hobby.

State Representative Billy Mitchell

Elected by his colleagues to serve as chair of the Georgia House of Representatives Democratic Caucus.

State Representative Billy Mitchell

State Representative Billy Mitchell is a leader of leaders, having been elected by his colleagues to serve as chair of the Georgia House of Representatives Democratic Caucus. He also serves as president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, elected by his nationwide peers to lead the organization of African-American State legislators who represent nearly 70 million constituents across the country. Former members include almost 40% of the current Congressional Black Caucus and the 44th U.S. President.

Overwhelmingly elected in 2002 to the Georgia General Assembly, he serves on some of its most powerful committees and is the author of many legislative acts signed into law. He is the recipient of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Legislator of the Year award, the NBCSL National Legislator of the Year award, the SCLC National Public Service Award and the DeKalb NAACP Pat Jones Community Service Award, among many others.

Formerly vice-mayor of the City of Stone Mountain, Georgia, he authored legislation permitting the erection of the “Freedom Bell” commemorating the call to “let freedom ring, even from Stone Mountain of Georgia!” in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech.

Rep. Mitchell earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey; a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles; and a Jurist Doctor degree from the Georgia State University Law School.

Dr. Michael T. Nettles

Senior Vice President and the Edmund W. Gordon Chair of Policy Evaluation and Research

Dr. Michael T. Nettles

Dr. Michael T. Nettles is the Senior Vice President and the Edmund W. Gordon Chair of Policy Evaluation and Research, ETS. Nettles has a national reputation as a policy researcher on educational assessment, student performance and achievement and educational equity. His publications reflect his broad interest in public policy, student and faculty access, opportunity, achievement, and assessment at both the K–12 and postsecondary levels.

In August 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Nettles to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He was appointed by two U.S. Secretaries of Education to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), which oversees and develops policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). He also served for eight years on both the College Board of Trustees and the GRE Board.

Nettles now serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), member of the Board of Trustees of the Peddie School, member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), and member of the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Middle Tennessee.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Nettles earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Tennessee. He earned Master’s degrees in political science and higher education, and a Ph.D. in education at Iowa State University.

Secretary Noe Ortega

Nominated to serve as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) in October 2020 and was confirmed by the Senate in June 2021.

Secretary Noe Ortega

Noe Ortega was nominated to serve as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) in October 2020 and was confirmed by the Senate in June 2021. Prior to his nomination, he served as the Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for the Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education at PDE. As commissioner for higher education, he led the work of the agency aimed at closing the postsecondary attainment gaps that have persisted among historically underrepresented populations and communities of color in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Mr. Ortega facilitated the efforts of the department to improve the diversity of Pennsylvania's educator workforce and to ensure that every student of the Commonwealth has access to educators who have been trained in culturally responsive and culturally relevant approaches to teaching and learning in the classroom.

Prior to joining PDE, Mr. Ortega spent eight years at the University of Michigan where he worked as the Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and as the Managing Director for the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. While most of his research focused on postsecondary access and success for all students, his most recent publications examine how public investment in higher education influences decision-making at colleges and universities. Mr. Ortega also spent nearly seven years as director of a language institute in Japan where he trained teachers in the area of early childhood language acquisition.

Dr. Regine Rucker

Program Manager at the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (SCCHE) in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Regine Rucker

Dr. Regine Rucker is a Program Manager at the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (SCCHE) in the Office of Academic Affairs, focusing on academic program approval, connecting education to the workforce and S.T.E.M. scholarship enhancement, while advocating for equity. She manages and assesses academic, enrollment, and scholarship eligibility programs and implements policy, procedures, and evaluation. Parallel to the Black male educator pipeline, she managed the implementation of Project Pipeline Repair (PPR), an exclusive initiative of the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association utilizing collaborative partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and state higher education agencies to cultivate a highly qualified pool of minority male teachers through targeted and early recruitment. South Carolina was one of only four states to participate, and Claflin University was the partnering HBCU. Dr. Rucker developed and launched an integrated multi-media campaign, Minority Males Transforming Education, highlighting the importance of minority male educators.

Dr. Rucker previously served as a Program Manager in the Department of Career and Technical Education (CTE) with Chicago Public Schools where she managed Health Sciences and Personal Care Services programs in 13 high schools across Chicago. Serving nearly 1500 students, primarily minority students, she oversaw program structure, curriculum development, instructor recruitment, equipment and budget management, certification attainment, development and management of summer and after-school enrichment and other exposure and transition opportunities. She received a B.A. in Marketing from Michigan State University, a Master's in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University and a Ph.D. in Community Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Donald M. Ruff

Director of College and Postsecondary Initiatives at The Eagle Academy Foundation 

Donald M. Ruff

Donald M. Ruff, Jr. is the Director of College and Postsecondary Initiatives at The Eagle Academy Foundation (EAF), a non-profit organization that developed and supports the Eagle Academy schools—a network of six all-male college-preparatory schools serving 3,000 students in challenged urban communities in all five boroughs of New York City and Newark, New Jersey. Mr. Ruff joined EAF in 2007 to serve as founding Director of College Counseling, helping to establish strategic partnerships resulting in corporate collaborations, enrichment programming, internships, and travel abroad opportunities for Eagle students. He supervises a team of postsecondary counselors across the Eagle network tasked with maintaining and enhancing postsecondary readiness at their respective academies. He also helped to establish the “College Decision Day” celebration and is the architect behind EAF’s “All-Male College Fair.”

Prior to joining EAF, Mr. Ruff served as Director of the Scholars Program at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) where he helped lay the foundation for the Saturday-based programming, responsible for assisting public school students in gaining admission to and graduating from colleges and universities throughout the country. He has received many awards for his work, including “Harlem Good Scout Award” from the Boy Scouts of Harlem; the New York City Department of Education for "Outstanding Leadership in Education" award; and "Educator of the Year" award by The Eagle Academy for Young Men staff and students. He also has been credited as Associate Producer on “The Infamous Future,” a documentary that tells the story of the Eagle Academy and one of its students.

Mr. Ruff is a graduate of Oberlin College with a dual bachelor’s degree in History and African American Studies, and he has earned certificates from the Executive Education Program for Nonprofit Professionals at Columbia’s Graduate School of Business. Born and raised in Harlem, he now lives in Westchester with his wife and two children.

Monique Toussaint

Senior Advisor for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans.

Monique Toussaint

Monique S. Toussaint is the Senior Advisor for the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans. The Initiative works to develop, implement, and coordinate educational programs and initiatives at the US Department of Education and other agencies to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for African Americans of all ages. Ms. Toussaint manages the operational duties of the Initiative (i.e. strategic planning, project management, programming, etc.), coordinates the student volunteer intern program, and facilitates relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Her primary focus includes highlighting resources to improve the programs, practices and policies enacted by those responsible for students’ development and to increase participation of the Black community and institutions that serve the Black community in the Department’s programs and in education programs at other agencies.

Ms. Toussaint holds a M.A. in Education and Human Development from George Washington University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the Kogod School of Business at American University. Passionate about empowering others, she is a Group Coach for the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Leadership Development Program and an Executive Coach for the Treasury Executive Institute, and she has been recognized for Leadership in the 2017 Who’s Who Among Young Professionals by the National Urban League. She is a recent graduate of the Excellence in Government Fellows Program with the Partnership for Public Service and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

Proudly represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District.

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson proudly represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District. It is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse districts in the nation and includes parts of northwest Miami-Dade and southern Broward counties. She was elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure and Education and Labor committees and is the chair of the Education and Labor Committee’s Health, Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee.

Her tenure in Congress, now in its sixth term, has been marked by her signature spirit of unrelenting advocacy on behalf of the less fortunate. Legislative priorities include job creation, improving education, ending gun violence, voting rights and empowerment, safeguarding access to health care and the social safety net, protecting unions and multiemployer pensions in peril, and other key issues that impact communities of color. In the 117th Congress, Rep. Wilson passed the landmark Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, which will put in place this year a bipartisan commission to address disparities in society, education, economic, health, and criminal, and other areas that have for generations plagued this population and create policy solutions to address them.

As a former elementary school principal; community leader; school board member; state legislator; and founder of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, an in-school dropout prevention program, Congresswoman Wilson has developed a well-earned reputation as a “Voice for the Voiceless.”