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Phylicia Anderson at the 2019 National Youth-At-Risk Conference

Phylicia Anderson

Phylicia Anderson MSW, LCSW is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the Savannah, Georgia area. She has experience in mental health services, therapeutic relationship building, special education, conflict management, de-escalation skills, cultural and diversity awareness, behavior and classroom management, family services, case management, public speaking, youth at-risk, foster care, student outreach, individual and group counseling, and advocacy. She has shared her expertise in various schools, workshops and conferences through presentations and consultations. Phylicia hopes to inspire and motivate all people to explore innovative ways to help themselves, advocate for others and to make impactful change for all.

Session: “Black Girl Magic: Understanding Our Misunderstood Black Girls Through Therapeutic Relationship Building”

Abbigail Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong has been an educator for 23 years. She is currently a professor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina where she serves as the Middle Level Education Program Director. She has consulted in various school systems across the United States such as Chicago, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina where she has shared her expertise on fostering motivation and challenging students in at-risk and diverse populations. Dr. Armstrong is the co-author of Rigor in the 6-12 Math and Science Classroom: A Teacher Toolkit. Dr. Armstrong known for her interactive, hands-on, practical presentations.

Bob Barr

Dr. Robert Barr is nationally recognized as one of the leading experts on poverty and education. He is the author or coauthor of 13 books; two have received national awards. His last book, with Emily Gibson. Building a Culture of Hope was selected by Learning Magazine as the 2015 Teacher’s Choice Award for Professional Development. He has appeared on national TV, been quoted in the Wallstreet Journal and the New York Times and has testified as an expert witness in a number of high visibility trials.

Kiana Battle

Dr. Kiana Battle is a licensed Master Social Worker, with a Ph.D. in Social Work Policy Planning and Administration (Clark Atlanta University), and an  M.S.W. in Social Welfare and a B.A. in Sociology (State University of New York at Stony Brook). She currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Human Services at Gordon State College in Barnesville Georgia. Dr. Battle’s professional area of practice is school social work, as she served as the District Social Worker for Lamar County Board of Education from 2008-2017 and school social worker for Long Beach Public Schools (Lindell Elementary School) in New York from 2004-2008. She is also the co-author of Real Girls: Shifting Perceptions on Identity, Relationships, and the Media (2010), and Real Girls: Reflections (2011) and Grief, Why Me? Why Not Me?: A Journey of Self-Discovery (2015).

Jessica Begley

Jessica Begley is a dynamic educator and training specialist. She began her career in education as a teacher in the Philadelphia School District. After leaving the classroom, she transitioned into the field of training and performance improvement where she provided consultation on bullying and violence prevention to schools and youth-serving organizations. In her current role, Jessica serves as an educational consultant for the Delaware Compassionate Schools Initiative, training professionals regionally and nationally on trauma, resilience, and self-care.


Session: “Compassionate Schools: Creating a Systemic Approach”and “It’s Getting Hot in Here: Brain-Based Strategies for Regulating Students & Staff”

Joanne Billingsley

Joanne Billingsley

Joanne is a nationally acclaimed presenter, author and former Texas Regional Teacher of the Year. She is recognized for her expertise in creating engaging, student-centered classrooms that support deep language development and meet the needs of all students, including ELs and special populations. Joanne is the author of Making Words Real (2016) & Aim to Grow Your Brain (2009). Her work combines current neuroscience research with best practices in teaching. She is passionate about supporting educators and sharing creative strategies for building brain-friendly, language-rich, interactive classrooms and fostering positive academic mindsets. Joanne models creative, practical strategies that can be quickly implemented, generating exciting, repeatable “episodes of success.”


Session: “The Science of Learning: What to Do When Students Struggle or Progress Plateaus” and “The Science of Fear: How to Reduce Fear & Create a Safe Place to Learn”

Keith Brown

Bio Information Coming Soon

Reggie Carruth

Reginald Carruth currently serves as a Title/RTI Coach. He served as Dean of Students and Math Department Head at Whitworth-Buchanan Middle School, an MTeach teacher-partner at Middle Tennessee State University, and hosted Parent Engagement Nights at LaVergne Middle School, where he was a site-based presenter. He was chosen as Teacher of the Year, 2015–2016, and has presented at several conferences including the Rutherford County Schools Summer Conference, National Youth-At-Risk Conference, and the AMLE Conference.

Session: “Engaging Students Through Instructional Games”

Steven Edwards

Steven Edwards

A leader nationally recognized by USA Today for his innovative approach to education, Dr. Edwards has successfully implemented numerous programs to improve student performance during his 16-year tenure as a school administrator. He has also been instrumental in helping countless school districts tailor similar programs with positive, far-reaching results. In addition, Dr. Edwards is an internationally recognized keynote speaker, facilitator and trainer regularly featured as a content expert on television and radio with appearances on CNN on topics such as school safety, school climate and reform. He has worked in 49 states and 42 countries.

Session: “Leading from the Heart: Personalization as the Foundation of Successful Schools”

Mary Felton

Bio Information Coming Soon

Dawn Gafa-Davis

 Bio Information Coming Soon

Session: “Beyond Bingo: Activities to Increase Student Engagement”

Rebecca Gaylor

Rebecca Gaylor is a graduate student of psychology, aspiring to become a mental health professional. Her areas of focus are Humanistic and Critical Psychology, as well as nature-based and animal-assisted therapies. Her professional background includes working as program manager for an outpatient behavioral healthcare therapeutic farm program as well as director of junior leadership at a young women’s nature-based empowerment camp. She’s passionate about working with young people, especially at-risk youth, as she finds joy in creating community and discovering their unique gifts.

Session: “Igniting a SPARK in ‘Dead-Eyed’ Youth”

Emily Gibson

 Bio Information Coming Soon

Katie L. Greer

Previously of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and for the State Police, Katie Greer travels the country working with and educating law enforcement, communities, school staff/administration and students on social media and tech/Internet safety best practices. Katie has spoken to hundreds of thousands of students throughout the country, urging them to use technology in safe and productive ways. Katie serves as a media industry expert and has been featured on CNN, The O’Reilly Factor, The Meredith Vieira Show, Inside Edition, and in media such as The Huffington Post, TIME Magazine, The Boston Globe, USA Today, Procter & Gamble, Parents Magazine and more.

Session: “Technology and Addiction: How to Have a Healthy Relationship With Tech”

Eliza Hirst, Esq., CWLS

Eliza Hirst is a Deputy Child Advocate with Delaware’s Office of the Child Advocate. In that position, she has represented children in dependency/neglect proceedings since 2010. In addition to direct representation, Eliza is currently partnering with Casey Family Programs and local school districts to increase education supports and opportunities for youth in foster care. She also provides systemic advocacy, training, and advice on child welfare matters, education, and disability issues at the local and national level. Eliza has published articles in many journals including articles in the American Bar Association Child Law Practice, and the Juvenile and Family Court Journal.

Session: “Compassionate Schools: Creating a Systemic Approach” and “Improving Education Outcomes for Youth in Foster Care”

Cary Hollman

Mr. Cary Holman is currently the Principal of LaVergne Middle School, where he has served for the last eight years. Entering his 23rd year in education, Mr. Holman has served as a teacher (1st, 5th, 6th Grades), Assistant Principal, Elementary Principal, Middle School At-Risk Coordinator, Adjunct Faculty member at Draughons Jr. College and Middle Tennessee State University. He received his educational training at Motlow State Community College (A.S-Elementary Education, 93’), the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (B.S- Elementary Education, 95’), Tennessee State University (M.Ed- Administration Supervision, 00’), and at Middle Tennessee State University (Ed.S- Administration Supervision, 05’).

Session: “The Sweet Side of Middle School”

Hotep

Education Success Strategist and Congressional award-winning author, Hotep is widely known for his proactive, “tough love” approach to education. He is a 15-year master teacher that has developed a reputation for requesting the most troubled students and transforming them into willing participants in their own education. Hotep is the founder of Hustle University and creator of the MAKE A WAY program, a series of high-relevance curricula which are used in over 1,000 schools throughout the U.S. His profound work has earned him nominations for the Presidential Citizen’s Award and as a CNN Hero. Hotep is also the creator of the revolutionary Outcome Progression Model, which he uses to transform the climate and culture of poverty, excuse-making and helplessness into one of empowerment, resiliency and success!

Session: “Addressing the Poverty Mindset” and “For Principals and Admin Only!”

Principal Baruti Kafele

 Milken National Educator, internationally-renowned speaker and best-selling author, Principal Baruti Kafele has excelled in the capacity of teacher and principal. As a teacher in NJ, he was selected as the district and county teacher of the year. As a principal, he led the turnaround of four different New Jersey urban public schools, including Newark Tech, which was three times recognized by U.S. News and World Report Magazine as one of America’s best high schools. He is also the author of nine books including his national best-sellers, The Principal 50 and The Teacher 50.

Jennifer Kinsman

Mrs. Jennifer Kinsman is currently a 6th grade teacher at LaVergne Middle School, where she has taught for the last five years. Entering her 16th year in education, she has served as a teacher in both 6th and 7th grade. She is the Social Studies Department Head and the HOUSE (positive behavior system) coordinator. Mrs. Jennifer Kinsman received her educational training at East Carolina University (B.S.-Middle School Education 03′), and University of New England (Masters- Curriculum and Instructional Strategies, 12′).


Session: “The Sweet Side of Middle School”

Frank Kros

Frank Kros, MSW, JD

Frank Kros is a career child advocate who has served as a childcare worker, child abuse investigator, children’s home administrator, consultant, college professor, attorney, writer and speaker. He serves as president of The Institute for Transformation Education, executive vice president of The Children’s Guild, and director of the National At Risk Education Network. He presents professional development workshops and consultations worldwide to students, parents, educators, child-serving professionals and their leaders on various brain-based topics. Frank has presented his workshops at national education, and social work conferences and his work has taken him to countries around world. In addition to lecturing, he has co-authored several books, including Creating the Upside Down Organization: Transforming Staff to Save Troubled Children. Frank earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology (Creighton University), a master’s degree in social work (University of Nebraska-Omaha) and a law degree (Notre Dame Law School).

Session: “Giving a Fish a Bath: The Untold Story of the Adolescent Mind” and “Becoming a Mental Health Sleuth: The ‘Sherlock Holmes Skills’ Every Program Needs”

Robert Lake

Bio Information Coming Soon

Teri Lawler

Teri Lawler is a results-driven educator, passionate about making equity of opportunity available to all students regardless of zip code. Current projects include socioemotional competence, universal behavior screening, strengthening multi-tiered systems of support, and the creation of trauma-informed systems of care for schools, out-of-school providers, and youth-serving organizations. Teri is a founding member of Delaware’s Compassionate Schools Learning Collaborative and the City of Wilmington’s Advisory Council for Youth Gun Violence Prevention. Current passions include expanding awareness of the impact of developmental trauma and toxic stress on learning and the implementation of neurosequential intervention strategies for healing the brain and body.

Session:  “Compassionate Schools: Creating A Systemic Approach” and “It’s Getting Hot in Here: Brain-Based Strategies for Regulating Students & Staff”

Bea Lewis

Known for her “real, raw and relevant” storytelling, Bea Lewis, author, speaker, and CEO of BEAHIVE Consulting, LLC, is a retired educator with 36 years of experience.  She specializes in teaching strategies to building positive relationships with students and parents as the cornerstone to shifting mindsets in order to cultivate a thriving and nurturing school culture.  She is the author of, Really? Apples Don’t Fall Far From the Tree: Understanding the Behaviors of Parents and Students. She is a special guest panelist at Jacksonville Youth Leadership Conference, Inside the System, a Toastmaster, and a member of the Professional Woman International Speakers Bureau.  Bea was also nominated to participate in the Office of Justice as a Program Reviewer. She holds a Bachelor’s in Exceptional Education (South Carolina State University) and a Master’s in Educational Leadership (Nova Southeastern University).

Session: “You Must Know Them, Before You Can Grow Them”

Takeysha Lewis

Takeysha is a District School Social Worker for the Bibb County Public School District. She has worked with the Child Protective Services for the State of Georgia, as well as on the local level. These experiences have afforded her the opportunity to work with youth and families from diverse backgrounds. She is a proud product of the Bibb County Public School System and holds a Bachelor’s in Social Work (Fort Valley State University), a Master’s in Social Work and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership (Valdosta State University). Her experience includes working with students and families in public education, with families in Child Protective Services, working as a Hospice Social Worker, and in the community sector for local non-profit organizations. Her passion is to engage and inspire every child on the importance of obtaining an education. This drives the work she performs on a daily basis with students and families—providing children with the knowledge to understand that their future is a shared future.

Session: “Count Yourself In: Bridging Schools and Communities Together to Combat Truancy”

Curlandra Lightfoot-Smith

Curlandra is the PBIS Coordinator in the Bibb County School District and served the county as a School Social Worker and an Educational Therapist/Special Education Lead Teacher at a Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support, where she taught students with a variety of disabilities from Autistic spectrum to SEBD. She holds a Bachelor’s in Social Work (Fort Valley State University), a Master’s in Social Work (Valdosta State University) and an Educational Specialist degree in Teacher Leadership (Valdosta State University). Her experience includes working in public education, with families and children in Georgia’s foster care system, in hospice care and for the DJJ as a Social Worker. Mrs. Smith’s passion is to empower students, families and communities to unite and create a positive climate, not only in our schools but also at home and in the community

Session: “Count Yourself In: Bridging Schools and Communities Together to Combat Truancy”

Stephanie Love

 Bio information coming soon!

Daryl Macaluso

 Bio information coming soon

Session: “Gang Signs and Solutions: Addressing Gangs Activity in our Schools”

Wesley Montoya

Dr. Wes Montoya is the principal at the Gilliam Youth Detention Center for Denver Public Schools, Denver, CO. He has worked with youth-at-risk, primarily Latino students, for more than 28 years. As a teacher, he taught math, science, and social studies, and has been a Dean of Students and an assistant principal in both low and high performing schools with free and reduced lunch (FRL) populations as high as 100%. Dr. Montoya has worked at the Colorado Department of Education as a Title I Senior Consultant. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Denver, Denver CO.

Session: “What Educators Need to Know About the Opportunity Gap and Educating Latino Students”

Chang’aa Mweti

Known for his dynamic and humorous presentations, Kenyan native Chang’aa Mweti has a B.S in English and Drama, and an M.S in the teaching of English in Secondary Schools, all from the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His area of concentration was “The Power of Narratives in Education.” He taught elementary schools in Kenya for over 13 years. He is currently an associate Professor and “Director, African and African American Studies Program” at the University of Minnesota, Duluth campus.

Session: “Our Cultural Filters Construct Our World View”

Mike O’Neal, Courtesy of Nuno Serrano

Though born and raised in Philadelphia, PA., Michael has been in Savannah for almost 45 years. He has been married for 42 years to Jo-Nell and they are the parents of three sons and a daughter, three daughters-in-law, and 10 grandchildren. He is one of the founders of Parent University and now serves as the Executive Director of Community United Services Inc., the managing entity of Parent University program. He has been the chief steward of this grassroots, community-based program since its inception in Savannah in 1999. Michael currently facilitates Parent University and its new component, the“Early Learning College” program, for the parents of children birth to five years old.

Session: “20 Years of Parent University: Going from the Grassroots to Long-Term”

Steve Parese

Dr. Steve Parese began his career as an educator and counselor, working special needs youth in a variety of therapeutic, community, and correctional settings. Since leaving his teaching position at George Washington University, Steve has become a successful author, trainer, and speaker, and has published 12 curricula related to crisis intervention with high risk youth, and job-readiness for job-seekers with challenging backgrounds. Steve grew up in Upstate New York, but now lives in a small mountain town in NC. He is active in his community and church, and spends his free time renovating his 100-year-old home.

Session: “‘What Were You Thinking?’ Using Cognitive Behavioral Interventions to Influence Antisocial Attitudes and Actions” and  “’Kids These Days!’ Preparing At-Risk Youth with Social Emotional Skills for Workplace Success”

Judge Tom Parmer

Tom Parmer is the juvenile court judge of Carroll County, Georgia. He presides over all dependency and delinquency cases arising in Carroll County. He also presides over the Carroll Juvenile Wellness Court, a juvenile drug treatment court, and the Carroll County Family Treatment Court, a drug treatment court for parents whose children have been placed in DFCS custody. Tom received his Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University in 1987 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1990.

Session: “Igniting a SPARK in ‘Dead-Eyed’ Youth”

Tom Peterson

Dr. Thomas Peterson has served for 27 years as a professor of Critical Theory and Philosophy of Education at the University of West Georgia (UWG). He teaches courses including philosophy, critical theory, and history. His research interests include teachers’ inner-life, teacher burnout/renewal, growing a spiritual classroom, and igniting a SPARK in challenging youth. The son of a preacher, Tom lived his formative years in South East Asia. Prior to his appointment at UWG, he was an elementary/middle school principal in North Carolina, and an art teacher in California and Maryland, World Masters gold medal winner in badminton, flight instructor, and father to three sons and five grandchildren.


Session: “Igniting a SPARK in ‘Dead-Eyed’ Youth”

Patrick Phillips

Patrick Phillips

As a social worker, author, college professor, national speaker/trainer and youth engagement specialist, Patrick Phillips, facilitates change through engaging and motivating speaking engagements that leave participants motivated, inspired and equipped with skills to make a difference. With more than 10 years of experience teaching and working with families, youth and adults as an educator and consultant, Mr. Phillips uses a unique combination of evidence-based strategies and practical “real talk” to educate and empower. He is the author of several publications, including Decisions: A Young Man’s Guide to Avoiding the Traps, Change 101, and many others.

Session: “There’s Nothing Wrong With Me…I Just Don’t Learn The Way You Teach”

Mildred Rabun

Mildred Rabun has worked with the Spark Mentoring Program under Dr. Tom Peterson for the last four years. During this time, she has found a true passion for igniting hope in the eyes of students who feel hopeless. Mildred recently graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and just started her second year of teaching at Northside Elementary School in Newnan, Georgia. In her free time, she kayaks with her husband and their dog, Stella.

Session: “Igniting a SPARK in ‘Dead-Eyed’ Youth”

Dan Rea, NYAR Co Chair

Dan Rea, NYAR Co-Chair

Dr. Dan Rea earned his MAT in teaching secondary mathematics from Howard University and Ed.D. in educational psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has worked as a secondary mathematics teacher in public and alternative schools and as a professor of educational psychology at Doane College, University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, and Georgia Southern University. Dr. Rea has served as a co-chair of the National Youth-At-Risk Conference since 1994 and published numerous articles and edited books on fostering the well-being of youth placed at risk, motivating student underachievers, and building learning communities in schools. Presently, he is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at Georgia Southern University and the founding editor of the National Youth-At-Risk Journal.

Session: “National Youth-At-Risk Journal: Overview and Opportunities”

Caryn Ross

 Bio Information Coming Soon

Session: “Beyond Bingo: Activities to Increase Student Engagement”

Eric Rowles

Eric Rowles

Eric is a nationally recognized trainer and speaker who has worked with over 150,000 youth, adults, administrators, and policy makers within the past 15 years. His previous experience includes work as Senior Director of Training with the Youth Leadership Institute (CA), Director of Leadership Development at Rutgers University (NJ), Director of International Youth Summer Abroad (CA), Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator with Riverside County Friday Night Live (CA), and running a traveling theater company that toured for over 10 years. He’s also a former professional DJ and is renown for his powerful, energetic, and tool-focused presentation style.


Sessions: “MOVE to M.I.S.T.: Power Tools to Engage Youth” and “Rockstars & Revolutionaries: Training Your Staff For Success”

LaMarr Shields

LaMarr Shields

 Bio Information Coming Soon

Jacqueline Smart

Dr. Jacqueline Smart is employed with the Savannah-Chatham School System. She is a graduate of California State University and Cambridge College School of Education with a degree in Educational Leadership, and is also the author of What Makes A Bully. Dr. Smart is passionate about finding solutions to the issue of bullying behavior and that everyone is responsible for bullying solutions. Dr. Smart also writes for various local newspapers where she writes a column about bullying and social justice issues.

Empowering her students to envision themselves as productive citizens encourages a desire in them to better our nation and world of tomorrow.

Eric Thomas

A native of Savannah, Dr. Thomas was selected to become Georgia’s first Chief Turnaround Officer. In this role, he is responsible for creating and executing the strategy to support the state’s lowest-performing schools. Eric spent six years as the Chief Support Officer for the University of Virginia’s Turnaround Program. The program is widely recognized as the top turnaround program in the country. Before UVa, Eric was the Chief Innovation Officer for the Cincinnati Public Schools. As a member of the superintendent’s cabinet, Thomas’ responsibilities included redesigning the district’s teacher evaluation system, leading new district improvement initiatives, facilitating the development of new schools, and launching a Principal Development Academy.

Jà Hon Vance

Bio Information Coming Soon

John Vandenburgh

John Vandenburgh works with organizations across the country seeking to enhance school climate and student engagement. John has presented his work for the Office of Homeland Security on building Safe Schools, the California Attorney General Gang Prevention Summit, and the Urban Superintendents of America Association on the Future of High School Youth Leadership. He is the Author of the Evidence Based PLUS Program and the Founder of Direction Survey.

Session: ““Do You Know What YPAR Is? You Should, It Is Evidence-Based to Increase Student Engagement!”

Victor Woods

Born to two college-educated parents, Victor threw the script with which he was born to play completely away and rewrote it. He started his own underground newspaper in high school, for which the police were called, and then, as a teenager, he moved onto orchestrate one of the biggest armed robbery rings in the history of Chicago, for which he was sent to state prison. He then masterminded a $40 million Visa Gold credit card conspiracy and was arrested by the United States Secret Service. He left prison determined to succeed and use talents the right way. Inspired by wisdom from his grandmother, he wrote his life story in A Breed Apart. His story has been shared on national TV shows, including FOX, CNN and C-Span. He has spoken at corporations, colleges, school districts, conferences, and to countless students, administrators, teachers, corporate executives and law enforcement officials nationwide.

Session: “Never Give Up, Take Charge of Your Life, School & Community Before It’s Too Late”

Cordelia Zinskie

Dr. Cordelia Zinskie is a Professor of Educational Research at Georgia Southern University, teaching graduate courses in research methods (quantitative and qualitative), statistics, and proposal writing. She has extensive experience mentoring graduate student research and has served as an evaluator on several funded grants. Dr. Zinskie was the co-chair of the 2017 National Youth-At-Risk Conference in Savannah and is chief editor of the National Youth-At-Risk Journal.

Session: “National Youth-At-Risk Journal: Overview and Opportunities”

 

#NYAR19 | March 3–6, 2019 | Hyatt Regency, Savannah, GA

 

Last updated: 10/4/2018