Event Speakers

Afrika Afeni Mills

CEO of Continental Drift, LLC and Adjunct Professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development

Afrika Afeni Mills, MEd, is the CEO of Continental Drift, LLC, an author, Education Consultant, and Adjunct Professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development. She has been an educator since 1999 with a background as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, teacher developer, and school administrator. 

Afrika works with teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators to develop and sustain culturally responsive and sustaining, antibias, anti-racist, pro-human instructional practices. Afrika has been featured on podcasts, blogs, delivered keynote addresses, and facilitated sessions at conferences across the United States. 

Afrika is the author of Open Windows, Open Minds: Developing Antiracist, Pro-Human Students, as well as the viral blog post, A Letter to White Teachers of My Black Children. Her TED-Ed Talk, Four Ways to Have Healthy Conversations About Race was released in Spring 2023. Her talk has over 1 million views and over 32K likes. Afrika was chosen as one of Brightbeam’s Top 22 Education Influencers of 2022, inducted into Who’s Who in Black Charlotte in 2023,  and is a member of Learning Forward.  

Afrika has an M.Ed. in Elementary Teaching from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development, where she graduated first in her class. 

Sara Staley

Assistant Professor of Teacher Learning, Research, and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and Co-Director of A Queer Endeavor

Sara Staley is an assistant professor of Teacher Learning, Research, and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education and Co-Director of A Queer Endeavor, a nationally recognized center for gender and sexual diversity in education. Her research and community-based work are animated by deep commitments to teacher learning and to safer, more humanizing school cultures for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and staff. Dr. Staley began her career teaching language arts at a large public high school in Riverside, California. Provoked by questions about educational opportunity that her time in the classroom inspired, she left teaching in 2008 to pursue graduate study. After earning her doctorate in Literacy Studies, she joined the School of Education faculty at CU, and in 2014, she and Co-Founder Dr. Bethy Leonardi launched A Queer Endeavor. Through close collaboration with district and school leaders, K-12 teachers, and counselors, she has built long-term university-district partnerships with six school districts in Colorado and facilitated LGBTQ+-focused professional learning for more than 15,000 educators. Building on the strong foundation of those partnerships, her research leverages queer theoretical and pedagogical perspectives to support teachers to learn and enact anti-oppressive and queer-inclusive practices. Her work has appeared in journals such as Harvard Educational Review and Research in the Teaching of English.

Bethy Leonardi

Associate Professor in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder

Bethy Leonardi is an associate professor in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice. After teaching middle and high school for 16 years, Bethy Leonardi returned to graduate school and received her PhD in Educational Foundations Policy and Practice from The University of Colorado Boulder in 2014. That year, along with Dr. Sara Staley, she co-founded A Queer Endeavor, a nationally recognized center for gender and sexual diversity in education, which is housed in CU Boulder’s School of Education. A Queer Endeavor is a grassroots, queer-run initiative that’s a significant influence on Dr. Leonardi’s scholarship and community-based work. In collaboration, Drs.Leonardi & Staley work in deep partnership with districts and school communities to develop knowledge, practices, processes, and resources so that the culture of school is not only safe from physical and or emotional danger, but also humanizing for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and staff.  In real life, Bethy loves spending time with her family, hiking, and holding steady as a novice on the Big Green Egg.

Kade Friedman

Director of Education at PINE, the Program for Inclusion and Neurodiversity Education and Adjunct Professor at New York University.

Kade Friedman (they/them) is a white, non-binary, neurodivergent, New York-based educator with 20 years of experience teaching pre-K through higher ed. They are the Director of Education at PINE, the Program for Inclusion and Neurodiversity Education, as well as an adjunct professor at NYU, and a consultant on inclusion projects around the world. Kade works with teachers to uncover their biases so they can co-create equitable and inclusive learning communities with neurodivergent, disabled, and gender expansive youth. 

CTTL Facilitators

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Lorraine Martinez Hanley

Lorraine Martinez Hanley has been a diversity practitioner, an activist, and an educator for over 30 years. She is the Director of Professional Growth and Studies at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Maryland and the Lead Researcher for Diversity, Equity, and Belonging at the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL). Lorraine is a founding principal consultant for The Glasgow Group, where she integrates the strategies and principles of Mind, Brain, and Education and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Belonging. She is a think tank member of the Turnaround Arts-Kennedy Center on the integration of belonging in arts programming. Lorraine is a certified All Kinds of Minds (AKOM) trainer and a 16-year veteran faculty member of the National Association of Independent School’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Born in Los Angeles, California, she attended the University of Southern California and the University of Maryland University College and has a B.A. in Humanities.


Ian Kelleher

Dr. Ian Kelleher is the Dreyfuss Family Chair of Research at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and co-author of Neuroteach: Brain Science and the Future of Education. He grew up in the UK, got a Ph.D. at Cambridge, then moved to the U.S., where he has spent the last twenty-nine years teaching Chemistry, Physics and Robotics and coaching soccer. Ian’s work for the CTTL focuses on helping teachers translate Mind, Brain, and Education research into classroom practices, and measuring the impact. Ian has presented at Learning & the Brain, SXSWedu, the UK’s Festival of Education, ResearchED, and the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference, and written for publications including ASCD, Edutopia, EdSurge, Impact, and Mind, Brain and Education. Ian likes to read, write, and run. Talk to him about English Premier League soccer, F1 and rugby.

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Eva Shultis

Eva Shultis is the Associate Director for Research & Product Development at The Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning and a science teacher at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She works with students, teachers and school leaders to translate the science of learning into their everyday practice. Eva has taught middle and high school science since 2010 and co-designed Neuroteach Global Student, a program that puts research-based learning strategies directly in the hands of students. She cares deeply about neurodiversity, identity, and equity in education. She earned her Sc.B. in Human Biology from Brown University and an Ed.M. in Mind, Brain & Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Previous Speakers

2023 Speakers

Tanji Reed Marshall, Ph.D

Vanessa Rodriguez, EdD

2022 Speakers

Elena Aguilar

Founder and President, Bright Morning

Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang

Director, USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education (CANDLE)

Dr. Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

Professor of Harvard University’s Extension School and Researcher