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Speaker Series

The Saint Louis University Education Speaker Series was initiated in 2018 by SLU's School of Education and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Lectures are presented on the SLU campus approximately monthly on current topics in the world of education policy. Speakers include researchers and practitioners from around the country who are actively engaged in education or in education research.

The objective of the speaker series is to generate discussion and promote interest in issues related to education policy and to create an opportunity for SLU faculty and students to interact with leaders in the field of education. 

Each lecture will be presented using Zoom. Please email with any questions.

April 20, 2022: Karen Kalish and Deborah Rogers, Ed.D.

Karen Kalish
Karen Kalish

Lecture Title: Doing What It Takes: What One Nonprofit and One Urban Elementary School did Together to Provide Equity during the Pandemic
Location: Zoom and the Pere Marquette Room in DuBourg Hall 
Time: 4:00 p.m. CT

How can a community rally around a school during a time of crisis? The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare some of the educational and resource inequities facing families across the country. The pandemic has proven catastrophic for students who were already behind and facing substantial barriers to their success before COVID-19. Last summer a small nonprofit in St. Louis focused on school-home engagement partnered with one elementary school that was most acutely impacted by the pandemic.

Deborah Rogers, Ed.D.
Deborah Rogers, Ed.D.

Decades of research show that reciprocal and trusting relationships are the foundation on which educators and families can take on educational obstacles including crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. The role of families in supporting the education of their children has never been more important. Moving towards a more equitable education requires building home-school relationships that improve attendance, school achievement, classroom behavior, and parent engagement.

Join our session to hear what lessons were learned, strategies and tactics you can take back to your community, and what can be possible when a community rallies around a school.

Karen Kalish is a serial social entrepreneur focused on literacy, closing the opportunity, and achievement gaps in low-performing schools, and ending all forms of discrimination, especially racial. She is the founder of three nonprofits and a program: Operation Understanding DC in Washington, DC, and Cultural Leadership and HOME WORKS! The Teacher Home Visit Program in St. Louis.

Deborah Rogers, Ed.D. is the principal of Patrick Henry Downtown Academy and was just honored as Principal of the Year in St. Louis Public Schools.


October 26, 2021: Kacy Seals-Shahid, Ed.D.
Kacy Seals-Shahid, Ed.D.

Know Your Place, Run Your Race: Strategies on how courageous leaders create safe spaces for both students and adults

Dr. Kacy Shahid transitioned from substitute teacher to principal in a six-year period. She was resolved not to allow a childhood impeded by homelessness and drug abuse to deter her from pursuing her purpose. She earned her undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University and received her educational doctorate degree from Maryville University.

Today, over 20 years into her career, Dr. Shahid has remained resilient and uses that spirit of endurance to guide and foster her relationships with the students she serves, many of whom share similar experiences and stories.

She wrote "Know Your Place, Run Your Race" to let people know that they are not alone. We all have a story to tell and it is important for us to share those parts of our lives that we have masked and hid behind. You don’t always have to start at the good part of your story. Dr. Kacy Shahid encourages you to share your story and get the inspiration you need to become a more transparent leader.

Watch the Zoom Presentation

January 26, 2022: Dana L. Suskind, M.D.
Dana L. Suskind, M.D

Building a Parent Nation

In this virtual presentation, Dr. Dana Suskind will draw on the themes and stories found in her forthcoming book, "Parent Nation," to make the case that America has abdicated its responsibility to families, adopting policies and norms that directly conflict with the science of early childhood development and make it incredibly challenging for any parent to fulfill their role as their child’s first and most important teacher. The consequences of this abdication are profound and tragic, leading many families to struggle—in ways small and large—and robbing many children of the opportunity to reach their full potential. Never one to stop at identifying a problem, Dr. Suskind also offers a roadmap for mitigating this injustice and building a society that enables parents and caregivers to meet the needs of young children. She shows how the science of early brain development can inform not just individual practice, but also societal shifts that allow us to meet the needs of all children. 

Dr. Dana Suskind is a pediatric otolaryngologist who specializes in hearing loss and cochlea implantation. She directs the University of Chicago Medicine's Pediatric Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implant program.

Recognized as a national thought leader in early language development, Dr. Suskind has dedicated her research and clinical life to optimizing foundational brain development and preventing early cognitive disparities and their lifelong impact. She is founder and co-director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, which aims to create a population-level shift in the knowledge and behavior of parents and caregivers to optimize the foundational brain development in children from birth to five years of age, particularly those born into poverty.

February 24, 2022: Candace R. Kuby, Ph.D.
headshot of Candace R. Kuby, Ph.D.

Speculative Pedagogies: Post-Philosophies and Doing and Teaching of Inquiry

In this session, Dr. Kuby focuses on speculative pedagogies inspired by post-philosophies, specifically how philosophical concepts inspire the doing of inquiry and the teaching of inquiry in higher education. The talk focuses on the suggested readings and a recent co-authored book, Speculative Pedagogies of Qualitative Inquiry, (Kuby & Christ, 2020). Dr. Kuby gives pedagogical examples from two threads of her research agenda: 1) the coming-to-be of literacies when young children work with artistic and digital tools, and 2) approaches to and pedagogies of qualitative inquiry when thinking with poststructural and posthumanist philosophies. Dr. Kuby has provided three suggested readings for the session; she’ll open spaces for questions around these.

Dr. Candace Kuby is a professor of learning, teaching and curriculum at the University of Missouri, serving as the Department Chair and the Director of Qualitative Inquiry. She received her Ph.D. in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University. Dr. Kuby previously taught primary grades in public U.S. schools and preschoolers in Japan. 

Her research interests are: 1) the coming-to-be of literacies when young children work with artistic and digital tools, and 2) approaches to and pedagogies of qualitative inquiry when thinking with post-structural and post-humanist philosophies. Journals in which her scholarship appears include Qualitative Inquiry; International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education; Journal of Early Childhood Literacy; Journal of Literacy Research; Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies; Literacy; and Language Arts.

Suggested Readings:

Kuby, C.R. (2019). (Re)imagining multiliteracies research practices with post qualitative inquiry. In N. Kucirkova, J. Rowsell, & G. Fallon. (Eds.). The Routledge International Handbook of Learning with Technology in Early Childhood. (pp. 127-142). New York, NY: Routledge.

Kuby, C.R., & Christ, R.C. (2020). The matter we teach with matters: Teaching with theory, theorizing with (textbook) bodies. Qualitative Inquiry, 26(1), 71-80. 

Kuby, C.R., & Christ, R.C. (2018). Productive aporias and inten(t/s)ionalities of paradigming: Spacetimematterings in an introductory qualitative research course. Qualitative Inquiry, 24(4), 293-304. 

Watch the Zoom Presentation

March 8, 2022: Katie Rahn, Ed.D., and MacKenzie Grayson
Katie Rahn, Ed.D.
Katie Rahn, Ed.D.

Fostering Family Well-Being: Building Two Generation Approaches

Two-generation (2-Gen) approaches focus simultaneously on children and the adults in their lives to foster positive outcomes for the entire family. Join us to learn more about 2-Gen approaches in early childhood and how we can work collectively to bring them to scale in the St. Louis region.

MacKenzie Grayson
MacKenzie Grayson

Katie Rahn, Ed.D., is Executive Director at the Gateway Early Childhood Alliance (The Alliance). Katie has worked in the field of early childhood for almost 20 years as a classroom teacher, center administrator, consultant, and college instructor. She has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, a master's in curriculum & instruction, and a doctorate in educational leadership & policy.

MacKenzie Grayson is the Project Coordinator at the Alliance. Prior to joining The Alliance, she was the Manager of Programmatic Services at the Parents as Teachers National Center. MacKenzie has a Masters of Education Administration and a Masters of Arts in Teaching, both from Lindenwood University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science with a minor in African American Studies from Illinois State University.

March 28, 2022: Jaime E. Welborn, Ph.D., Tamika Casey, Keith T. Myatt, Ed.D., and Randall B. Lindsey, Ph.D.

Jaime E. Welborn, Ph.D.

Tamika Casey

Keith T. Myatt, Ed.D.

Randall B. Lindsey, Ph.D.

Leading Change Through the Lens of Cultural Proficiency

Leading Change Through the Lens of Cultural Proficiency tells the story of a school community in the midwest United States that contended with its approach to teaching and valuing students of diverse backgrounds. Featuring the research-based Cultural Proficiency Framework and Tools, the book provides a clear road map to advancing equity across schools and districts. Designed to support leaders and school communities in developing policies and practices that respond to the needs of all students, this book:

  • Guides school leaders in a journey of learning the theory and strategies that improved student achievement and improved the working conditions in this district
  • Features a real-life case study of a school community using the Tools of Cultural Proficiency and the Framework
  • Provides vignettes and data, based on work conducted across an actual school district, that resulted in improvements in school climate, achievement, mindset, and equitable educational practices
  • Includes powerful reflection, dialogic, and action activities for use in a variety of community learning modalities
    Is grounded in assets-based assumptions with respect to students, families, and the school community

With a focus on engagement, leadership, implementation frameworks, and collaborative learning, the authors demonstrate how to uncover and remedy inequities. Designed for education leaders at all levels of the education system, this is the ideal foundational text for implementing Cultural Proficiency in your setting as you open doors for all students to thrive.

Learn more about the authors