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Past Speakers

The Saint Louis University Education Speaker Series has brought a series of speakers since 2018 for students, faculty and staff.


Bertrhude Albert, Ph.D., September 3, 2020

Successes and Challenges Faced in The Quest to Transform Haiti's Educational System

View Albert's Zoom Presentation

Education is a basic human right. Unfortunately, quality education is not attainable for the vast majority of Haitian children. The crisis faced by Haiti’s educational system can be seen through key challenges such as low enrollment, poor literacy rates, lack of government oversight, and a shortage of qualified teachers (USAID, 2020). The weakened state of the educational system has created an environment where on average, 6 out of 10 Haitian students drop out before finishing elementary school (USAID 2014). In order to transform this system, organizations such as P4H, invest in the capacity development of teachers, directors and parents. Albert, the co-founder of P4H global, will be sharing challenges and successes faced while on the quest to transform Haiti’s educational system.

Bertrhude Albert Ph.D. is the co-founder and CEO of P4H Global, a nonprofit aimed at radically transforming Haiti’s educational system by training Haitian teachers. Under Albert's visionary leadership, P4H Global has trained over 6,000 Haitian educators in all 10 of Haiti’s geographical departments. Today, P4H Global provides intensive teacher trainings and classroom observations to many of Haiti’s key educational institutions, including the Haitian Ministry of Education (MENFP), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the Digicel Foundation. P4H is also the creator of Haiti’s National Teacher of the Year Award as well as other prestigious teaching awards in Haiti. With a staff consisting of 20 full-time Haitian trainers in Cap-Haitian and regional offices in North Lauderdale and Gainesville, Florida, Albert leads a united team committed to eradicating poverty in Haiti through educational reform. Albert has received awards for her work with P4H Global including the University of Florida’s Hall of Fame, the University of Florida’s 40 Under 40, the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies Young Alumni Award, Florida’s Chamber of Commerce’s 20 Under 40, among others. Additionally, Albert has been invited to be a TEDx speaker twice (TedxUF and TedxBocaRaton) and often serves as a guest speaker for graduate and undergraduate courses across the state of Florida. As a Haitian-American, Albert’s greatest honor is having the privilege of giving the rest of her life to seeing her country and her people rise.

Suggested Readings:

Malik S. Henfield, Ph.D., October 20, 2020

Centering Black Student Needs: Ups and Downs in the Life of a New Dean

View Henfield's Zoom Presentation

Abstract: In summer 2020, Malik Henfield sent an email to his faculty, staff, and students painting a picture of his experience as Dean, and his hopes for a drastically different School of Education. In this presentation, he will discuss what led to him hit “send” and the steps taken towards building an anti-racist School of Education.

Malik S. Henfield is a Full Professor and Dean of the School of Education at Loyola University Chicago. Henfield has published multiple scholarly manuscripts and books, and delivered numerous national, regional, state, and local keynote addresses and professional presentations. His scholarship situates Black students' lived experiences in a broader ecological milieu to critically explore how their personal, social, academic, and career success is impeded and enhanced by school, family, and community contexts. His work to date has focused heavily on the experiences of Black students formally identified as gifted/high-achieving while his latest projects focus more exclusively on developing, implementing, and evaluating in- and out-of-school interventions associated with developing Black students ready to succeed in college and careers.

Constance A. Lindsay, Ph.D., November 19, 2020

Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in the Classroom

View Lindsay's Zoom Presentation

Abstract: Constance A. Lindsay, Ph.D. will give a talk on her forthcoming book project. In this talk, Lindsay will cover three broad topics. First, she will cover evidence on the positive impact of having racially matched and the implications of that evidence for students of color. Second, she will detail the ways that history and policy have worked together to create an educator workforce that is overwhelmingly white and female. Finally, she will make the strong case that teacher diversity is teacher quality. The talk will end with suggestions and next steps for a broad range of stakeholders and policymakers in education.

Constance A. Lindsay, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Lindsay earned a doctorate in human development and social policy from Northwestern University, where she was an Institute of Education Sciences’ predoctoral fellow. Lindsay’s areas of expertise include teacher quality and diversity, analyzing and closing racial achievement gaps, and adolescent development. Her research focuses on policies and practices to close racial achievement gaps in education. Currently, her main focus is on teacher diversity and how to obtain a high quality, diverse educator workforce. Lindsay has been published in such journals as Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and Social Science Research.

Takako Nomi, Ph.D., February 25, 2021

From High School to the Workforce: Current Challenges, Opportunities, and Initiatives to Close Education Gaps in Missouri

View Nomi's Zoom Presentation

Abstract: We begin with an overview of trends in college attendance and degree attainment by race-gender subgroups in Missouri. Using a unique new student panel data set we track a cohort of public school students through high school into college to highlight educational attainment gaps, the role of high school human capital investments on subsequent post-secondary training, and the need for strengthening student support once they are in college. We use this research as a backdrop to discuss new initiatives taking place at SLU to address workforce development needs for underserved populations presented by the relocation of National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in North St. Louis and the anticipated job growth in these STEM related fields. The latter provides unique opportunities for collaboration among colleges, state K-12 and higher education agencies, public and private high schools, non-profit organizations, and private industry to support and prepare students for these jobs and highlights the importance of longitudinal data in estimating the effectiveness of the educational programs as well as barriers to student success.

Catherine Compton-Lilly, Ed.D., March 18, 2021

Meaning-Making over Time: Methodologies and Possibilities

View Compton-Lilly's Zoom Presentation

Abstract: Drawing on a set of longitudinal, ethnographic, case studies with children in immigrant families, Catherine Compton-Lilly delves into the nuances and affordances of case study versus ethnography. She then considers what is added when research is truly longitudinal. Referencing research findings gleaned from an ongoing study that has extended beyond a decade, she explores an important set of longitudinal findings. Specifically, Compton-Lilly documents the emergence of transnational awareness and critical cosmopolitanism for children and youth who have rich connections to people and texts in other parts of the world.

Catherine Compton-Lilly is the John C. Hungerpiller Professor at the University of South Carolina where she teaches courses in literacy studies and works with local educators. Her past research followed eight of her former first grade students through high school. In a current study, now in its tenth year, she is exploring the longitudinal school experiences of children from immigrant families. Compton-Lilly has authored several books and many articles in major educational literacy journals including the Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, Written Communication, and The Journal of Literacy Research. Her interests include examining how time operates as a contextual factor in children’s lives as they progress through school.

Suggested Readings:

  • The Emergence of Transnational Awareness Among Children in Immigrant Families
  • Intersectional Identity Negotiation: The Case of Young Immigrant Children
  • Revisiting Children and Families


Loretta Prater, Ph.D., September 12, 2019

Excessive Use of Force: An Educator Shares Research and Personal Experiences

Loretta Prater, Ph.D., is an author, a retired professor, and the former dean of the College of Health and Human Services at Southeast Missouri State University.

Suggested Reading:
"Excessive Use of Force: One Mother's Struggle Against Police Brutality and Misconduct," published by Rowman and Littlefield. To purchase, click here.

Howard Fuller, Ph.D.,October 17, 2019
Howard Fuller, Ph.D.

Considering School Choice through a Social Justice Lens
Why We Need Committed & Talented Educators in Urban Schools (more than ever)

Howard Fuller, Ph.D., is a Distinguished Professor of Education and the Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning (ITL) at Marquette University.

Tiffany Anderson, Ed.D., November 15, 2019
Tiffany Anderson

Transformational Leadership: Eliminating Opportunity Gaps

Be inspired to think beyond the traditional methods used to disrupt poverty and low academic performance. Tiffany Anderson, Ed.D., will share inspirational stories that highlight strategies used to close opportunity gaps in schools resulting in improved achievement. Hear how staff members in three different school districts she led helped transform a school system to eliminate achievement gaps and meet over 90 percent of state standards. Anderson will share researched-based, tiered intervention systems of support that influence academic achievement and provide practical strategies that you can use to disrupt poverty and improve low academic performance. Participants will gain data-driven strategies that Anderson has successfully implemented and that have been highlighted nationally by universities, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

Tiffany Anderson, Ed.D., is the Superintendent of Topeka Public Schools USD 501 and has been a public school educator for more than 24 years. Anderson will also be a keynote speaker at the 2019 ASCD Conference on November 9, 2019. She will be presenting, "Transforming Schools for Excellence Through Leadership: Eliminating Opportunity Gaps."

Suggested Readings:

ASCD: Dispatch From Topeka: How Schools Can Carry Out the Promise of Brown v. Board
Heinemann Publishing: Equity Now: Realizing the Promise of Brown v. Board of Education

John Pijanowski, Ph.D., December 3, 2019

Translating moral thinking into moral doing

Abstract: The judgment-action gap (the difficulty one often faces in moving from knowing to doing) has broad implications for all facets of how people navigate their personal and professional lives. The literature in public health, education, and ethics are replete with examples pointing to how the people who have already come to the conclusion of what they should do often fail to act on those decisions. Physical and emotional stressors, and contextual pressures, can heavily influence whether someone successfully moves from sound judgment to effective action. Self care and wellness are foundational to effective decision-making and ethical action, including those decisions that further support personal and public health. Therefore promoting self care and wellness are critical and foundational elements of how we help people make better choices, and ultimately act on those choices to improve their lives and the lives of others. This talk will focus on the implications of the judgment-action gap for the practice of educators.

John Pijanowski, Ph.D., is a current professor and former administrator with 25 years of experience. He regularly teaches classes at the University of Arkansas in the educational leadership program. He has also created several ethics courses including The Moral Mind in Action, Moral Courage, Teaching Character, and Leadership Ethics. Dr. Pijanowski's research and areas of expertise include ethics education, school leadership, and mindfulness and medication in education. He has led a National Science Foundation funded effort to develop ethics curriculum and teaching guides for future scientists and educators.

Shaun Dougherty, Ed.D., January 16, 2020

The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School System

Dougherty presented a working paper, The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School System. This paper estimates the causal effect of getting into and attending a set of specialized high schools that emphasize career and technical education. It estimates these effects on high school, college, and workforce outcomes using more than a decade’s worth of administrative data in a statewide system that serves nearly 10% of high school students in Connecticut.

\Shaun M. Dougherty, Ed.D. is an associate professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. His research emphasizes the use of quantitative research methods to evaluate the impact of educational policies and programs. He emphasizes understanding how the requirements, incentives and behaviors that those policies produce develop human capital.

Suggested Readings:
The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School System

Michael Hayes, Ph.D., February 11, 2020

The Effect of the New Jersey Superintendent Salary Cap on Superintendent Turnover

Abstract: Previous education policy research have examined possible explanations for why school leaders and teachers remain or leave their schools. One potentially important factor is salary. Interestingly, there has been only a few studies that have attempted to estimate the causal effect of salary reductions on school leaders. This study fills this gap through an analysis of a natural experiment in New Jersey. Starting in 2011, New Jersey set a salary cap for all future superintendent contracts based on student enrollment. The salary cap caused large and sudden reductions in base salaries for a significant number of NJ school superintendents in the initial year. Using a self-compiled dataset on NJ superintendent contracts, he finds that an additional $10,000 reduction in base salary due to the salary cap corresponds to a 16% increase in the likelihood of superintendent turnover. This is an important contribution to the field of educational administration because the study’s main finding suggests that the relationship between salary and turnover is quite strong for superintendents, especially those in districts with a relatively high number of at-risk students.

Brian Kisida is an assistant professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. He focuses on education policy, experimental design, and causal inference. His research has examined the broad educational benefits of school partnerships with cultural institutions and community arts organizations, teacher diversity, and school integration. His work has been cited in congressional testimony before the U.S. House and Senate, and it has appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Brian Kisida, Ph.D., March 5, 2020

The Benefits of Arts Education

Brian Kisida is an Assistant Professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. He focuses on education policy, experimental design, and causal inference. His research has examined the broad educational benefits of school partnerships with cultural institutions and community arts organizations, teacher diversity, and school integration. His work has been cited in congressional testimony before the U.S. House and Senate, and it has appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN.

Suggested Readings:
New Evidence of the Benefits of Arts Education
The Educational Value of Field Trips
Art Makes You Smart

Gavin Schiffres, M.A. and Jack Krewson, M.A., May 7, 2020

Kairos Academies: What Pandemic Says About The Failures Of Our Education System

From the Speakers:
Families across the country are seeing firsthand how unprepared their kids are to succeed outside the artificial environment of traditional schooling. No real-world setting—not remote working, not an Information Age career, and certainly not college—looks like the average K-12 classroom. Students today are discovering a hard truth that most only learn after graduation: their education didn't really teach them how to navigate real-life choices over when, where, how, and with whom to work.

Kairos and Kairos Oikoi are both designed to empower students to direct their own lives and learning. Kairos kids have transitioned seamlessly to remote learning (just ask our parents) not because they're any smarter than other children (although we DO adore them), but because they've spent time intentionally building executive functioning skills. Kairos students learn how to learn independently the only way anyone learns anything—with 1-1 coaching and a lot of authentic practice (in our case, self-directed studies through real-world challenges and incentives).


Among its lessons, this pandemic has taught us that the question isn't whether our children will need to take ownership of their education, work, and life. It's how, as adults, we're going to prepare them for that challenge.

Jack Krewson graduated from Washington University-St. Louis, where he studied political and racial inequity in the city. He has taught in Hong Kong, held leadership roles at Normandy High School, and supported high-quality instruction through the St. Louis Teacher Residency. He holds a master's in education and joined Kairos because he believes every child deserves a school that meets their unique needs and strengths.

Gavin Schiffres graduated magna cum laude from Yale University, with honors for his thesis work on educational innovation. Gavin has taught in New Haven, Israel, and St. Louis, and he's worked to advance educational equity at StudentsFirst and the Louisiana Department of Education. Gavin holds a master's in education and joined Kairos to bring every child the cutting-edge tools and techniques he's seen in his work around the world.

View the Zoom Presentation

Steve Zwolak, M.Ed., June 4, 2020

COVID-19 Impact of Schools Sudden Closure and its Impact on the Re-entry or Reunion process - Foundations of Attachment/Reattachment with Adults and Children - Attachment and Reattachment with and within Adults and Children - the Healing Process

Abstract: A time of loss and grieving for what we experienced as "normal," can provoke emotions that are sadly too familiar or, surprisingly unfamiliar. How do we support each other during this time of grieving when we are Removed from our environments? Let's explore the power of attachments and relationships as a critical pathway to love and healing.

Steve Zwolak is the CEO of LUME Institute and Executive Director of University City Children’s Center. He has over 50 years’ experience as a student of children, tirelessly advancing and advocating for children. Steve’s years as a classroom teacher and leader in the field of education enabled him to build the LUME Approach to education, which focuses on Emotionally Responsive Teaching. In addition, there is preliminary evidence that his work has the potential in closing the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap. The approach emphasizes that the emotional development of children is critical to future success. All learning happens in relationships. Steve has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for his work with children, families and educators.

View the Zoom Presentation

Christie Huck, July 9, 2020

Teaching an Anti-Biased, Anti-Racist (ABAR) Curriculum While Facing COVID-19 and the Ongoing Pandemic of Racism

Abstract: Schools play an instrumental role in shaping our society and culture. As such, schools have tremendous influence to either perpetuate or interrupt racism and bias. Christie Huck will talk about City Garden Montessori School’s intentional focus on anti-bias, antiracism (ABAR) in their school’s curriculum, culture and organizational structure, and the importance of all schools taking an active and explicit anti-biased, antiracist approach during this moment in history.

Christie Huck is Executive Director of City Garden Montessori School in St. Louis, Missouri. With a background in community organizing and social justice activism, Huck entered education as a parent and community member concerned about racism and segregation in schools. She worked with City Garden’s founder and parents to develop City Garden Montessori Charter School, an anti-biased, antiracist neighborhood Montessori school community. Huck is a member of the 17th Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship cohort and received the Missouri Charter School Leader of the Year Award in 2017. She lives in St. Louis with her three children and her corgi.

View Huck's Zoom Presentation


Liz Stosich, Ed.D., May 3, 2019

Leaders Respond to Standards-based Accountability Policies: Crafting Coherence Between the Common Core and Teacher Evaluation

Location: Busch Student Center, Room 254

Liz Stosich, Ed.D., is an assistant professor in the Division of Education Leadership, Administration and Policy at Fordham University.

Suggested Readings:

Margie Vandeven, Ph.D., April 11, 2019

Missouri's Show-Me Success Plan to Provide Educational Opportunities for all Children

Location: Sinquefield State Room Hall

Margie Vandeven, Ph.D., is Missouri’s commissioner of education.

Cory Koedel, Ph.D., March 7, 2019

High School Course Access and Postsecondary STEM Enrollment and Attainment

Location: Busch Student Center, Room 254

Cory Koedel, Ph.D., is an associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Suggested Readings:

High School Course Access and Postsecondary STEM Enrollment and Attainment

Tomas Monarrez, Ph.D., February 21, 2019

Attendance Boundary Policy and the Segregation of Public Schools in the U.S.

Location: Tegeler Hall, Carlo Auditorium

Tomas Monarrez, Ph.D., is a research associate in the Center on Education Data and Policy at The Urban Institute.

Suggested Readings:

Attendance Boundary Policy and the Segregation of Public Schools in the U.S.

Anna J. Egalite, Ph.D., January 24, 2019

The Benefits of Teacher Diversity: A Summary of the Research to Date

Location: Sinquefield State Room Hall

Anna J. Egalite, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development at North Carolina State University.

Suggested Readings:

Stephen Raudenbush, Ed.D., December 4, 2018

The Ambitious Elementary School and Educational Inequality

Location: Boileau Hall

Stephen Raudenbush, Ed.D.
is the Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

Whitney Harris, November 13, 2018

What Disney Has Taught Us About Retaining Teachers in Low-Income Schools

Location: Boileau Hall

Whitney Harris is the director of secondary English language arts at the Arkansas Academy of Education Equity

Suggested Readings

John Q. Easton, Ph.D., October 9, 2018

Research-Practice Partnerships: Promises and Challenges

Location: Boileau Hall

John Q. Easton, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.

Suggested Readings

Kelvin Adams, Ph.D., September 13, 2018

Education by the Numbers: How Data Makes the Difference

Location: Boileau Hall

Kelvin Adams, Ph.D.
, is superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools.