On the morning of January 8, 2020, the Student Center ballrooms were filled with middle and high school students for the Future Teacher of Color Conference: Inspiring and Motivating a Diverse Teacher Workforce.
The day began with opening remarks from Dr. Tamara Lucas, Dean of the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS); Dr. Jennifer Robinson, Executive Director of the Center of Pedagogy; and Dr. Carolina Gonzalez, Assistant Dean of CEHS. Additionally, the MC of the event, Nelly Bess, and DJ Shelly Spin performed and played music. Nelly Bess is a New Jersey-raised poet who created The Loud Project, a literacy and performance poetry program that helps youth discover their voices as change agents in their communities; she is also an alumna of Montclair State University.
Dr. Micia Mosely was the Keynote Speaker. She has dedicated her career to helping students reach their full creative potential by designing custom reform strategies that help educators and administrators increase equity while maximizing school performance. Based in northern California, she is the founding Executive Director of The Black Teacher Project, an organization committed to recruiting, developing, and sustaining Black teachers for schools in the United States.
Dr. Rashad Anderson led a Special Featured Session. Dr. Anderson is the Campus Director of Call me MiSTER Program (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) at South Carolina State University, as well as an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education. Central to his work is engaging students, scholars, practitioners, and community members to find and implement effective means to better propel Black male youth through K-12 and higher education settings.
The Breakout Sessions included talks on topics such as Why do Schools Look Like Prisons?, Art Integration as a Vehicle to Foster Diversity and Enhance Creativity & Collaboration in Science Education, Creating an Equitable and Socially Just Elementary School Classroom, Teaching is Real Love, Changing the Narrative, and others. Lunch was provided, and the students enjoyed more poetry and music by Nelly Bess and Shelly Spin.
Overall, the event was a great success and proved to be a motivational and inspiring day for the young students. Learning about the impact teachers have on students’ lives can propel teaching careers amongst the attendees. Additionally, please view the video below by News12 highlighting the educational day.