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Leading with Justice Doctorate in Educational Leadership Speaker Series

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Leading with Justice: Speaker Series

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About Leading with Justice

We are honored to have featured award-winning scholars and luminaries whose work on racial justice and community-based research has shape-shifted the ways we think about learning, teaching, and theories of social change. As we grapple with how to move systems towards inclusive practices, it’s imperative that we are well-informed. This series was for everyone and expands well beyond the academy. Who we are shapes how we lead. In this milieu, justice is not merely a destination; it is the embodiment of the journey. May we lift as we climb.

Since the fall of 2020, we’ve been organizing a speaker series called Leading with Justice. We made a conscious decision to try to develop community spaces inside the pandemic. “The pandemic is a portal,” and Arundhati Roy (2020) explains to us that: “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” Building on Arundhati’s wisdom, we developed a series of webinars focused on anti-racist leadership and learning, and thousands of people from around the world participated.

How did we begin our Leading with Justice journey? Dr. Rich Milner of Vanderbilt University launched the series on Oct. 7, 2020. He spoke to us about using an Opportunity Gap Framework to improve educational outcomes. Next, we engaged with Delores Huerta – the civil rights icon who urged us to walk the walk to extrapolate anti-Black racism from our lives. Building on her work, the following week, Dr. Lisa Romero brought Assemblymember Jose Medina. He discussed his fight to bring Ethnic Studies into schools. He told us, “It is important to teach a complex history. Otherwise, it is an incomplete history.” Boom! Then we’re with the famous scholar-activist and former dean of USF, Kevin Kumashiro. He taught us that great learning is an undoing. Next, we went on to engage with The Queen Supreme, none other than the one and only Gloria Ladson-Billings! She implored us to have a “hard reset.” Dean Maureen Gillette, co-founder of Grow Your Own in Chicago, brought us back down to the nitty-gritty: “show me your budget and I will show you where your priorities are.” To move us into this school year (2021), Frank Adamson and Oakland School Board Member, Mike Hutchison, discussed school closures and the politics of trying to protect public education. Who has carried this torch to defend public education longer and stronger than Dean Pedro Noguera? He spoke to us about schools of education “working for the community” and his vision for USC. As we continued to localize the lessons, Daniel O’Connell and Scott Peters brought us to the land, specifically the Central Valley. They discussed higher education and big industrial agriculture, as well as the activists who show us how to reclaim our relationship to the earth and one another. Land is life, and land is political and ideological. We learn this in settler colonialism. Which is why we needed to pivot towards Leigh Patel at this very moment to further complicate the reckoning between settler colonialism, higher education, and an education for liberation. To manifest freedom schools, Leigh demonstrates that we’ve got to look to the leadership, lessons, and legacy of radical teachers. Dr. Jarvis Givens took us right there in his talk, “Before Anti-Racist Teaching: Carter G. Woodson, Black Educators, and Resistance.” He demonstrated the how of fugitive pedagogy. Dr. Kenjus Watson continued to push us to consider an Apocalyptic Education and Dr. Casey Wong followed with an interdisciplinary intellectual remix of Sylvia Winter, Wu Tang, and Franz Fanon. All of these experts led us into a final moment of conversation. A meeting place between theory and practice, policies and people power, scholarship and service. Mark Warren and local community organizers and school leaders in the Sacramento region discussed the need to willfully defy the school-to-prison pipeline. Altogether, the Leading with Justice series inspired us to live our legacies and prompted us to join together with bold intentions, common values, and a collective commitment to social change.

For more information on the series, check out:

Leading with Justice: Afterword and Next Steps
Citation: Wenbourne Hendrick, B. and Watson, V. (2020). “Leading with Justice: Afterword and Next Steps.” Journal of Transformative Leadership & Policy Studies, 9(1).


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The Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Sacramento State presents the #LeadingWithJustice series in partnership with: SMUD, the Sacramento Kings, Fresno State Doctorate in Educational Leadership, and Sacramento State College of Education.

OCT 7 | Professor Richard Milner, IV


About Professor Richard Milner, IV

H. Richard Milner IV (also known as Rich) is the Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor and Chair of Education and Professor of Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. His research, teaching and policy interests concern urban education, teacher education, African American literature, and the social context of education. Professor Milner’s research examines practices and policies that support teacher effectiveness in urban schools. Professor Milner’s work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has published seven books. His most recent are: Start where you are but don’t stay there: Understanding diversity, opportunity gaps, and teaching in today’s classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2010 and 2020, Second Edition), Rac(e)ing to class: Confronting poverty and race in schools and classrooms (Harvard Education Press, 2015) and These kids are out of control: Why we must reimagine classroom management for equity (Corwin Press, 2018).
Review Dr. Milner's Presentation Slides

Purchase Dr. Milner's Books

OCT 9 | Dolores Huerta

About Dolores Huerta

Event Title: The Serna Center Presents: A visiting lecture by labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta

Speaker: Dolores Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

Event Description: The Serna Center invited the campus community to a visiting lecture by labor and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta, on Fri. Oct. 9, from 1pm to 2:30pm. Huerta shared her personal story, offered insights on leadership and civic action, and discussed the importance of participating in the 2020 General Election. As she shared lessons from her activism to inspire the next generation of social and political change makers, Huerta also highlighted the importance of civic engagement, particularly for youth from Latinx, migrant, and underrepresented communities.

Sponsor: California Census

View the recorded webinar—Dolores Huerta

OCT 10 | Assemblymember Jose Medina

About Assemblymember Jose Medina

As the principal author of Ethnic Studies legislation, Assemblymember Jose Medina has been at the forefront of education policy. Assemblymember Medina was elected in November 2012 to represent California's 61st Assembly District, which consists of Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris, and Mead Valley. He currently serves as chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. A former educator, Mr. Medina cares deeply about education and works to champion policies that improve the lives of students across the state. He believes that an educated workforce is critical to the success of California.

Mr. Medina's eagerness to assist students beyond the classroom motivated him to pursue public office. He served as a school board member on the Jurupa Unified School District Board of Education and completed three successful terms on the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees. Mr. Medina recognizes the critical role higher education plays in supporting jobs and opening up the doors for opportunity.
» Assembly Member Jose Medina, Full Bio »

View the Zoom Recording—Asm. Medina

OCT 14 | Kevin Kumashiro

About Dr. Kevin Kumashiro

Dr. Kevin Kumashiro ( is an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice, with a wide-ranging list of accomplishments and awards as a scholar, educator, leader, and advocate. He is the former Dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, and is the award-winning author or editor of ten books, including Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning toward Social Justice, and Bad Teacher!: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. His recent awards include the 2016 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
» Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, Full Bio »

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Kumashiro

OCT 21 | Gloria Ladson-Billings

About Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings

Gloria Ladson-Billings is the President of the National Academy of Education. She is the former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and faculty affiliate in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She was the 2005-2006 president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Ladson-Billings’ research examines the pedagogical practices of teachers who are successful with African American students. She also investigates Critical Race Theory applications to education. She is the author of the critically acclaimed books The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children and Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms, and numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is the former editor of the American Educational Research Journal and a member of several editorial boards. Her work has won numerous scholarly awards including the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship, the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Palmer O. Johnson outstanding research award. During the 2003-2004 academic year, she was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. In fall of 2004, she received the George and Louise Spindler Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education for significant and ongoing contributions to the field of educational anthropology. She holds honorary degrees from Umeå University (Umeå Sweden), University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the University of Alicante (Alicante, Spain), the Erickson Institute (Chicago), and Morgan State University (Baltimore). She is a 2018 recipient of the AERA Distinguished Research Award, and she was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2018.
» Dr. Gloria Ladson-Bilings, Full Bio »

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Ladson-Bilings

OCT 28 | Maureen Gillette

About Dean Maureen Gillette

Dr. Maureen Gillette was appointed Dean of the College of Education and Human Services at Seton Hall University in 2016. She previously served for eleven years as Dean at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and five years as Associate Dean of the College of Education at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Prior to that, she was a faculty member and Chair of Teacher Education at the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. Maureen began her career as a teacher, serving 13 years in elementary and middle-level classrooms in public and Catholic schools. She has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. She is co-author of two books, the latest Star Teachers of Children of Poverty (Routledge, 2016, with Martin Haberman & Djanna Hill) and the 2005, Learning to Teach Everyone’s Children: Equity, Empowerment, and Education that is Multicultural (Wadsworth Cengage, with Carl A. Grant). Her research focus is on the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs that recruit, prepare, and graduate first-generation, community-based teacher candidates for urban schools.

Maureen earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin Madison, an M.S Ed. and BS Ed. from Northern Illinois University. She holds a certificate in Management and Leadership in Higher Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and a certificate from ACE in Women Leaders in Higher Education. In 2015, she was named one of the 30 most influential deans of education in the United States by Mometrix Test Preparation.
» Dr. Maureen Gillette, Full Bio »

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Gillette

MAR 3 | Victor Rios

About Dr. Victor Rios

Dr. Victor Rios is Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley in 2005. Professor Rios has worked with local school districts to develop programs and curricula aimed at improving the quality of interactions between authority figures and youths. Using his personal experience of living on the streets, dropping out of school, and being incarcerated as a juvenile—along with his research findings—he has developed interventions for marginalized students aimed at promoting personal transformation and civic engagement. These programs have been implemented in Los Angeles, California (Watts); juvenile detention facilities; and alternative high schools. He is also the author of six books including, My Teacher Believes in Me: The Educator’s Guide to At-Promise Students (2019); Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D. (2011); Buscando Vida, Encontrando Éxito: La Fuerza de La Cultura Latina en la Educación (2016); and Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth (2017).

Dr. Rios has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ted Talks, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Primer Impacto, and National Public Radio. He has had the honor of meeting President Obama and advising his administration on gun violence and policing. His Ted Talk “Help for kids the education system ignores” has garnered over 1.4 Million views. He is the subject of the documentary film The Pushouts (

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Victor Rios

MAR 10 | Bree Picower

Photo of Dr. Bree Picower

About Dr. Bree Picower

Dr. Bree Picower is an Associate Professor at Montclair State University in the College of Education and Human Development. She is the Co-Director of the Urban Teacher Residency, Newark Teacher Project and the Critical Urban Education Speaker Series with Dr. Tanya Maloney at MSU. Her newest book, Reading, Writing and Racism, is an unflinching examination of recent examples of viral racist curriculum and what it means for our educational institutions to take responsibility for addressing teachers’ understandings of race.

Purchase Dr. Picower's Book

MAR 11 | Our Justice Journey

About Our Justice Journey

Our Justice Journey is a collection of social justice podcasts designed to educate others on how to fight for social change as youth and beyond. This collection gets insight from a wide range of revolutionaries as they push to manifest equity and belonging in the world. Our Justice Journey was created by the College and Career Readiness team 2020-2021, and organized by Adiyah Obolu (Inderkum High School, 10th grade).

View the Video Series

MAR 20 | Bettina Love

Photo of Dr. Bettina Love

About Dr. Bettina Love

Dr. Bettina Love keynotes the 27th Annual Multicultural Education Conference! Dr. Love is an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at the University of Georgia. Her writing, research, teaching, and educational advocacy work meet at the intersection of education, abolition, and Black joy. In 2020, Dr. Love co-founded the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN). ATN’s mission is simple: develop and support teachers and parents to fight injustice within their schools and communities. In 2020, Dr. Love was also named a member of the Old 4th Ward Economic Security Task Force with the Atlanta City Council. In 2018, Georgia’s House of Representatives presented Dr. Love with a resolution for her impact on the field of education. She has also provided commentary for various news outlets including NPR, Ed Week, The Guardian, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She is the author of the book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (2019).

OCT 6 | Mike Hutchison

About Mike Hutchison

Activist to Organizer to Elected Official on Oakland's School Board

District 5 Director of the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education

Mike is proud that he was born, raised, and educated in Oakland, California. He spent more than 20 years working and volunteering in Oakland’s schools and with its youth. His mother was a teacher in Oakland and an active Oakland Education Association member for 40 years and his father was an instructor at Laney College for over 20 years. Hutchinson strongly believes that every child in Oakland has the right to a high-quality public education.

View the Zoom Recording—Mike Hutchison

OCT 13 | Pedro Noguera

About Dr. Pedro Noguera

What Schools Can Be: The Role of Leadership in Creating the Schools We Need After the Pandemic

Dean of the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education

Pedro Noguera is the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of the Rossier School of Education and a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining USC, Noguera served as a Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Before joining the faculty at UCLA, he served as a tenured professor and holder of endowed chairs at New York University, Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of 15 books. His most recent books are A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education (Teachers College Press) with Rick Hess and City Schools and the American Dream: Still Pursuing the Dream (Teachers College Press) with Esa Syeed.

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Pedro Noguera

OCT 20 | Daniel O’Connell & Scott Peters

About Dr. Daniel O’Connell & Dr. Scott Peters

In The Struggle: Scholars and the Fight against Industrial Agribusiness in California

Executive Director, Central Valley Partnership (O'Connel) // Department of Global Development, Cornell University (Peters)

Daniel O’Connell is executive director of the Central Valley Partnership, a regional nonprofit organization and progressive network of labor unions, environmental organizations, and community groups spanning the San Joaquin Valley. Trained as a multidisciplinary ethnographer, he holds an MS in International Agricultural Development from University of California, Davis, and a PhD in Education from Cornell University. As a politically engaged scholar, his work is dedicated to achieving social, racial, environmental, and economic justice in California.

Scott Peters is a professor in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University and a historian of American higher education’s public purposes and work. He has spent the past twenty years as a leader in the civic engagement movement in American higher education, most recently serving as faculty co-director of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA). He is the lead author of Democracy and Higher Education: Traditions and Stories of Civic Engagement. He is also co-editor of the Cornell University Press book series, “Publicly Engaged Scholars: Identities, Purposes, and Practices."

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Daniel O’Connell & Dr. Scott Peters

OCT 27 | Leigh Patel

About Dr. Leigh Patel

Study and Struggle

Professor of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Leigh Patel’s work is based in the fact that as long as oppression has existed so have freedom struggles. She is a transdisciplinary, community-based researcher as well as an eldercare provider, educator, writer, and cultural worker. Prior to being employed as a professor, she was middle school language arts teacher, a journalist, and a state-level policymaker. Professor Patel is also a proud national board member of Education for Liberation, a nonprofit that focuses on supporting low-income people, particularly youth of color, to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face.

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Leigh Patel

NOV 3 | Jarvis Givens

About Dr. Jarvis Givens

Before "Anti-Racist Teaching": Carter G. Woodson, Black Educators, and Resistance in American Schools

Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of African & African American Studies at Harvard University

Jarvis R. Givens is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Faculty Affiliate in the department of African & African American Studies at Harvard University. He specializes in the history of education, African American history, and theories of race and power in education. His first book, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, was published in 2021 by Harvard University Press, and he is currently building The Black Teacher Archive, an online portal which will house digitized records documenting the more than one-hundred-year history of "Colored Teacher Associations." Professor Givens' research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as the William F. Milton Fund. Professor Givens earned his PhD in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a native of Compton, California and currently resides in Roxbury, Massachusetts.View the Recording - Dr. Jarvis Givens

NOV 9 | Kenjus Watson

About Dr. Kenjus Watson

A Last Call for Apocalyptic Education

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Health Equity Research Laboratory Program, Evaluation Director at San Francisco State University

Dr. Kenjus Watson is the Program Evaluation Director of SF BUILD and is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Health and Equity Research Lab in the Biology Department at San Francisco State University.

His research concerns the biopsychosocial impact of everyday anti-blackness and colonization (racial microaggressions) on Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color, and the potential of abolition to bring about a re-Indigenization of Education. Kenjus also teaches courses on Educational Inequality, The History of Education, and Critical Race Theory in the Education Department and Black Studies Program at Occidental College.

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Kenjus Watson

NOV 10 | Casey Wong

About Dr. Casey Wong

Blowin Up Their F*ckin Prism and Entering the 36th Chamber of Education Research (Wynter Ruckus Remix)

Postdoctoral Scholar in the UCLA Department of Anthropology

Casey Philip Wong, PhD (he/him) is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UCLA Department of Anthropology. Recently recognized with the 2021 UCLA Chancellor’s Award for Postdoctoral Research, Dr. Wong’s interdisciplinary research examines social justice in educational theory, policy, and practice. He elucidates this perspective within an article that he published in 2021 within the Review of Research in Education, “The Wretched of the Research: Disenchanting Man2-as-Educational Researcher and Entering the 36th Chamber of Education Research.” Dr. Wong was most recently an invited panelist for a Presidential Session at the American Educational Research Association on creating expansive and equitable learning environments (virtual), an invited presenter for a Presidential Session on Hip Hop Pedagogies at the American Association of Applied Linguistics (Chicago), and a speaker at the International James Baldwin Conference (Paris). He has worked with activists in Hip Hop Education to organize four Think Tank gatherings, as well as a Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) conference that brought together leaders working for educational justice. Dr. Wong has been working inside and outside of schools to heal, cultivate critical thinking, and educate for collective freedom with K-16 youth and young adults, from Oakland to NYC, for over 15 years.

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Casey Wong

NOV 17 | Mark Warren

About Dr. Mark Warren

Willful Defiance: The Movement to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Professor, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs, McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts-Boston

Mark R. Warren is professor of public policy and public affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is a sociologist and community engaged scholar who studies and works with community, parent and youth organizing groups seeking to promote equity and justice in education, community development and American democratic life. Warren is the author of six books, most recently Willful Defiance: The Movement to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Oxford University Press, 2021). Warren has co-founded several networks promoting activist scholarship, community organizing and education justice, including the People’s Think Tank on Educational Justice, the Urban Research Based Action Network, and the Special Interest Group on Community and Youth Organizing in the American Educational Research Association. He has won a number of awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association. He is married to Roberta Udoh, a Boston Public Schools teacher, and together they have raised two beautiful daughters.

View the Zoom Recording—Dr. Mark Warren