Dr. Elbert Hawkins III., NBCT
Dr. Elbert Hawkins earned his National Board Certification in School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood. He currently serves as a school counselor for K-5 students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro—Moss Street Partnership School, North Carolina. He works to ensure a safe and caring environment for all students by facilitating social and emotional learning. Elbert also serves in several leadership roles. As a board member for a charter school, he ensures curriculum and classroom instruction centers social justice learning and integrates students’ home, school, and community experiences. Also, as an undergraduate college advisor, he facilitates critical conversations pertaining to academics, mental health, and individual and group identity. Overall, Elbert enjoys creating and implementing programs that address and disrupt dominant norms and narratives that center on race, gender, biases, privilege, cultural advantages, and more.
Joshua Thompson earned his National Board Certification in Social Studies-History/Adolescence and Young Adulthood. He taught financial literacy and world history to high school juniors and seniors in Wyoming and currently works for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at the Pathways Innovation Center, which largely draws upon an under-resourced, at-risk student population. He leads efforts around Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma-Informed / Trauma Responsive education. He works toward changing the mindset and mentality of those opposed to the support students need in his state. Active in his professional association, he chairs the Member Advocacy and Civil Rights Committee for the Wyoming Education Association, serves as a building representative, and is an active member of the Racial and Social Justice Committee for the Natrona County Education Association.
Joshua Thompson, NBCT
Elizabeth Wong, NBCT
Elizabeth (Liz) Wong is a National Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language/Early and Middle Childhood. She teaches English as a New Language (ENL) to kindergarten through fifth grade at NYC Department of Education / P.S. 124M Yung Wing School, New York. In her 24-year career, Liz has served as a 4th-grade classroom, 5th-grade classroom, and ENL teacher, teaching all academic subjects.
Most recently a 4th-grade classroom teacher, she used children’s literature to contextualize contemporary social justice movements and issues with a particular focus on the experiences of African-Americans and Asian-Americans. Liz contributes her knowledge and teaching practice to her local teachers’ union as a facilitator of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) English Language Learners (ELLs) Civics Education Working Group, member of the UFT ELL Focus Group, course instructor, and presenter at the UFT’s annual ELL Conference since 2017
Liz has trained in the National Board’s JumpStart and has served as National Board Ambassador and Professional Learning Facilitator. Recently, she was a member of the New York City School District 2 Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Team, a group focused on how to re-open New York schools and apply lessons learned from the pandemic regarding equity and social-emotional learning. Liz is well-traveled and has studied several foreign languages including Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, and French.
Jan Ogino is a National Board Certified Teacher in Generalist/Early Childhood and has state endorsements for Reading, Early Childhood, Structured English Immersion, and Library/Media. She teaches English Language Arts and Social Science to 5 graders and all subjects to first and second graders at Peoria Unified School District in Arizona. She serves on several committees in her district and helps lead the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
At the state level, she was the only elementary teacher to serve on the governor’s Arizona Standards Development Committee to oversee the review and rewrite of the College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) from 2014-2016, and also served on subcommittees to rewrite the math standards. She continues to serve on Arizona state assessment committees that review reading passages and items for bias review and set scoring standards. Jan serves at the national level as a micro-credential assessor for the National Education Association (NEA) on a contract basis.
She is a National Board Candidate Provider and member of NAME and took part in making recommendations for US Secretary of Education Cardona and his staff. She advocates for minority students by learning who they are, observing the spaces in which they are learning, and finding ways to help them embrace their ethnic and gender identities. Having been born and raised in Hawaii, in the ethnic majority, she had to learn about her identity as a minoritized member of the community, when she moved to a new location.
Jan Ogino, NBCT
Laci Lizarraga, NBCT
Laci Lizarraga achieved National Board certification in Mathematics/Adolescence and Young Adulthood. She currently teaches mathematics in an online K12 school in Hanover County Public Schools, Virginia. Having formerly served on the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Committee at her previous school, she advocates for equity and inclusion at the school level and provides professional development for teachers. Laci also mentors and advocates for at-risk students and students who grow up in poverty. She brings personal experience in LGBTQIA+, disability, indigenous, and neurodivergent communities.
Dr. Lasana D. Kazembe is an associate professor of education at Indiana University, Indiana. Prior to his higher education role, he worked in K12 settings as a teacher, teaching artist, and educational consultant. He is an educator, poet, and critical Black scholar focusing on education, culture, race, and arts learning and pedagogy. As a scholar of urban education, Global Black Arts Movements, and the Black Intellectual Tradition, his research interests include reflective teaching, culturally sustaining pedagogy, arts pedagogy, and social and racial justice in education. As a teacher educator, he prepares preservice teachers to teach in urban, multicultural learning environments. He challenges teachers to examine theoretical and practical foundations for effective teaching in diverse classroom environments. Framing education as a condition of moral, ethical, and democratic possibility that is complex and dynamic, he challenges preservice teacher candidates to reflect critically on their own awareness, biases, and knowledge, and to develop attitudes, mindsets, stances, worldviews, and critical dispositions consistent with culturally responsive, inclusive practices rooted in equity, social justice, and positive social transformation.
Dr. Lasana D. Kazembe
Dr. Lizette Burks
Dr. Lizette Burks is an assistant professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, Texas. Previously she taught science, grades 4-12, in Texas and Kansas. Her research is informed by learning English as a second language as a child, and later, teaching science education in schools whose populations were composed of learners whose socio-economic advantages, language, disabilities, and race were often predictors of academic outcomes. She has served as a leader on many education reform initiatives, for example as the Kansas State Department of Education State Education Programs Supervisor, as the co-principal investigator for a 13-state STEM grant aimed at advancing equitable systems in science education, and as a member of the Council of State Science Supervisors Access and Equity Committee. In addition, she presented lectures and papers on science education and equity. Lizette developed and directed an innovative master’s degree program in Educational Equity (K-12/All disciplines) at the University of Arkansas from 2019-2021. Recently she was hired by the University of Houston- Downtown to develop a master’s degree in Educational Leadership focused on equity.
Megan Ashley-King Mitchell teaches English Language Arts, History, Math at ABC Unified School District, California. In the past 5 years, her primary responsibilities have been focused on instructional leadership and grade level leadership. She provides district-wide professional learning, for example on affirming students of colors in classrooms, and contributes to supplemental curriculum that supports diversity and representation in English language arts, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and history/social sciences for both elementary and secondary teachers. Over the last year, she helped co-found the Whitney High School Black Alumni Association, which has provided training on anti-racism and combating anti-Blackness, and ABC Unified School District Black Family Circle, which strives to combat racism and systemic injustices at a grassroots and state level by empowering students of color. In addition, she partners with community, state, and national organizations (e.g., American Federation of Teachers, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Black Lives Matter, National Education Association, American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to champion equity, diversity, and inclusion for all marginalized persons. Megan is working to create a public education system that aligns to the universal design for learning, culturally responsive, and 21st century framework for learning.
Megan Ashley-King Mitchell
Melissa Sandler, NBCT
Melissa Sandler is a National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood. Licensed in K-6 general education and K-12 special education, she co-taught first and third graders with exceptional needs and students who were English language learners. In her role as Staff Development Teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland, she creates professional development opportunities about diversity and inclusion, including an Anti-Bias Anti-Racism Professional Learning Community, founded this past school year. She created and planned school-wide initiatives and events, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEAM) Week and International Week. In addition, she is an active member of her local teacher’s union. She served as a Teacher Fellow, as well as a Teacher Expert for the organization Understood whose mission is to support families and teachers of students who learn and think differently.
Noraa Ransey earned her National Board Certification in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood. She teaches literacy at the elementary level in Calloway County Schools, Kentucky. As a National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) Minority Teacher Mentor, she works with educators pursuing National Board Certification and hrough the Kentucky Education Association she recruits teachers of color and sees them through hiring, the first year and beyond. She works with a National Education Association (NEA) cohort to mentor aspiring educators taking their Praxis. In addition, she helped create the national diversity modules with NEA. At the state level, she has served on the Kentucky NBCT Network Board and chaired the Diversity Committee. She promotes scholarships and social-emotional wellness and was the 2020 Kentucky Education Association Teacher of the Year.
Noraa Ransey, NBCT
Noroyle Lamb, NBCT
Noroyle Lamb earned their National Board Certification in English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood. They teach English to ninth through twelfth graders at Southern High School, Kentucky. In the fall, they will begin teaching social justice to sixth through eighth-graders in Berwyn, Illinois. During their time as the Southern High School Gender Sexuality Alliance sponsor, they conducted surveys on inclusion, environment, and comfort for LGBTQIA+ students. They organized professional development on anti-bullying that included reflections on issues of inclusion, implicit and explicit bias, and microaggressions. An advocate for positive change, Noroyle is the Anti-Racist Classroom Cohort Lead and gathered students with a desire to fight for social justice in Louisville and facilitated communication between students and government officials to improve hate crimes laws. In the classroom, they integrate cross-curricular strategies for a better understanding of how all content areas influence change, especially in social justice advocacy.
Dr. Sawsan Jaber earned her National Board Certification in English Language Arts/Adolescence and Young Adulthood. She is a core class teacher in English and Education Leadership at District 212 in Illinois. Recently, she began teaching a new course in social justice American literature. An advocate for her community and the daughter of Palestinian refugees, she is the founder of the Arab American Education Network, a member of the national board of Our Voice Alliance, and an International Society for Technology in Education professional learning network leader. She completed her doctoral dissertation on the inclusion and belonging of Arab American students in public classrooms.
Dr. Sawsan Jaber, NBCT
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