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We Are #MakingEquityAVerb at IDEAcon 2022: Introducing the IDEAcon Thought Leaders Focused on DEI

November 11, 2021 9:48 AM | Ashley (Administrator)

At IDEA, we have three big initiatives: Computer Science, Equity, and Teacher Wellness

And you will see these themes throughout IDEAcon in February. In fact, new for 2022 are daily themes

Here is what you can expect each day: 

  • Day 1 (Monday, Feb. 14, 2022) is all about teaching with heart and social emotional learning. 

  • Day 2 (Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022) will focus on YOUR story through digital literacy.

  • Day 3 (Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022) is all about STEAM - learn more about our STEAM Thought Leaders here.

  • Day 4 (Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022) is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)


Although DEI has its own day, you will see this theme woven into the entire event. So, no matter which day you attend, you will be able to attend impactful sessions on DEI. 

It is our thought leaders who are really going to make this theme come to life, and we are honored to have some incredible thought leaders making huge strides in equity in education. 

Without further ado, here are the IDEAcon Thought Leaders presenting on DEI: 

Paul Gorski 

Paul Gorski is one of two keynote speakers on Day 4 of IDEAcon. 

The founder of Equity Literacy and EdChange, Paul has spent the past 24 years in various educational capacities, always working with educators and educational leaders committed to strengthening their equity and justice impacts. He has written or co-written several books, including Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap and Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education (with Seema Pothini).

Can’t catch Paul on Thursday? He is also giving a session on Wednesday (Day 3) of IDEAcon. 

Sheldon Eakins 

Sheldon is also giving a keynote on Day 4 of IDEAcon! Host of the Leading Equity Podcast, he will be recording a podcast each day of the conference and has multiple sessions throughout IDEAcon. 

Here is a sneak peek at the titles for his sessions:

  • Framing Brave Conversations About Race and Ethnicity 

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How Implicit Bias Impacts the Way We Serve Our Students

  • I am no longer an Ally and here’s why… 

With over 11 years in education, Dr. Eakins has served as a teacher, principal, and Director of Special Education. He has a passion for helping educators accomplish equitable practices in their schools. He has earned a B.S. degree in Social Science Education, an M.S. degree in Educational Leadership, and a Ph.D. in K-12 Education.

We are so excited to welcome him to IDEAcon! Be sure to catch at least one of his sessions and click here to check out his podcast. 

Principal Baruti Kafele

Principal Kafele is giving the keynote on Day 1 of IDEAcon. His presentation is titled, It's Not Enough to "DO EQUITY."...You Must "BE EQUITY!"

Principal Baruti Kafele, a highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for more than 20 years, has distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. As a middle and high school principal, Principal Kafele led the transformation of four New Jersey urban schools, including "The Mighty" Newark Tech—which went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national recognition.

You can check out Principal Kafele’s book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50 here.

Carol R. Collins Ayanlaja 

Carole Rene’ Collins Ayanlaja, Ph. D. is an educational leader, teacher and researcher.  She serves as an equity partner to schools and organizations seeking to improve leadership and staff capacity to foster a climate of inclusion, anti-racism, and intercultural respect for better outcomes. 

We are so excited to have her lead breakout sessions on Day 2, 3, and 4 of IDEAcon!

After teaching in Chicago Public Schools, serving as a principal and superintendent, Carol joined the College of Education, Department of Educational Leadership, Eastern Illinois University.  As tenure-track Assistant Professor, she teaches graduate students in the Masters of Educational Leadership program and prepares pre-service Principals and Superintendents for leadership roles in the state of Illinois 

Join Carol’s breakout sessions to become a leader in equity and education! 

Sarah Said

Sarah has been an incredible supporter and resource for IDEA. She presented at ideaU this summer and is not only presenting at IDEAcon, but is serving on the IDEAcon Committee. 

Sarah is hosting two sessions on Day 2 of IDEAcon. Here are her topics:

  • Kicks and Kimonos: Leading As My Authentic Self To Cultivate Student Voice

  • JEDIs And Stumps: Social Justice Learning and Student Voice in An Elementary School Setting

We are honored to have Sarah join us once again! Don’t miss her inspiring sessions. 

Nyree Clark

Nyree also joined us at ideaU and has been an incredible thought leader throughout this year. We are welcoming her back on Day 3 of IDEAcon for two sessions! 

She is travelling all the way from California to be with us in February. Nyree is a Curriculum Program Specialist in EdTech PreK-6 for the Colton Joint Unified School District. Her journey in education began in 1998 and has been referred to as her “Dream Job” thereafter. She has been a Reading Recovery Teacher, Gifted and Talented Education Certified Teacher,  and Reading Specialist Teacher on Assignment.

She is a member of Equity In Action CA, which is a group of educators researching and implementing ways to diversify Technology Conferences and Professional Learning settings. Learn more about Nyree here.

Sawsan Jaber

Sawsan will be presenting on Day 3 and 4 of IDEAcon, and has been instrumental in shaping DEI Day at IDEAcon. 

Dr. Jaber is a Palestinian American global educator of 20+ years. She has held a variety of leadership positions both in the U.S. and abroad.  She is a high school English teacher at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park. She founded Education Unfiltered Consulting and works with schools both nationally and abroad. Sawsan focuses on curriculum mapping, strategic planning, custom tailoring a social justice curriculum for schools, and anti-bias training. She completed her Ph.D. with a focus on inclusion and belonging of students from marginalized communities. Dr. Jaber is a Board Director of Our Voice Alliance (OVA) charged with amplifying the voices of teachers of color to create more equity for students of color.  

And that is just the beginning of Dr. Jaber’s impressive accomplishments. You won’t want to miss her sessions! 



What do you think of this powerful DEI expert lineup?! 

View the full schedule here, and click here to register for IDEAcon today! 

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Call: 630 628 1088

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