JoBeth Allen, Ed.D.- -- Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, and author of Creating Welcoming Schools: A Practical Guide to Home-School Partnerships with Diverse Families; Literacy Research for Political Action; and With the Best Intentions: Agents, Impetus, and Consequences of Placement Decisions. Prof. Allen often collaborates in her work with elementary and middle school teachers in action research projects and is primarily interested in the intersection of issues of literacy, social justice, and educational equity. She is currently co-director of the Red Clay Writing Project, which involves work in 10 sites where she and others are investigating and designing processes that address the impact of poverty on literacy teaching and learning.
Aaron P. Dworkin, M.M. -- A 2005 MacArthur Fellow and the founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. An author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen, and avid youth education advocate, he has received extensive national recognition for his vast accomplishments. He has been featured in People Magazine, on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN’s Airport Network-Innovator Series and Anderson Cooper 360, NPR’s The Story and Performance Today, and named one of Newsweek's "15 People Who Make America Great." In addition, he has been written about in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News and Free Press, Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Emerge and many other media outlets. He is the recipient of the National Governors Association 2005 Distinguished Service to State Government Award, Detroit Symphony’s 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Michigan’s African-American Alumni Council’s 5 Under 10 Award, “Entrepreneur Of The Year” award by the National Black MBA Association-Detroit Chapter, and Interlochen Arts Academy’s 2003 Path of Inspiration Award.
Mr. Dworkin has authored an autobiographical poetry collection entitled, They Said I Wasn't Really Black as well as a children’s book, The First Adventure of Chilli Pepperz. His writings have been featured in Symphony Magazine, Polyphonic.org, Andante, an on-line music industry magazine and others. He has contributed to the first English edition of Superior Bowing Technique, a treatise by legendary violinist Lucien Capet, and authored the foreword to William Grant Still’s Violin Collection published by WGS Music. Dr. Dworkin founded and served as Publisher and Editor-and-Chief of The Bard, a literary magazine with a readership of over 40,000 throughout southeast Michigan.
A passionate advocate for excellence in music education and diversity in the performing arts, Mr. Dworkin has been a frequent keynote speaker and lecturer at numerous national conferences. He has served as a panelist on various arts committees as well. He has produced and recorded two CDs, in addition to producing and directing an independent film. Mr. Dworkin received his Bachelors of Music and Masters of Music in violin performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, graduating with high honors.
Mr. Dworkin is an accomplished acoustic and electric violinist, and a spoken-word and visual artist. He has strong interests in politics, world history and issues of economic and social injustice. In addition to various genres of music, he enjoys travel and culinary arts. Mr. Dworkin resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with his wife and two sons.
Geneva Gay, Ph.D. -- Professor of Education at the University of Washington-Seattle where she teaches multicultural education and general curriculum theory. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, presented by the Committee on the Role and Status of Minorities in Educational Research and Development of the American Educational Research Association; the first Multicultural Educator Award presented by the National Association of Multicultural Education; the 2004 W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Lecturer Award presented by the Special Interest Group on Research Focus on Black Education of the American Educational Research Association; and the 2006 Mary Anne Raywid Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Field of Education, presented by the Society of Professors of Education. She is nationally and internationally known for her scholarship in multicultural education, particularly as it relates to curriculum design, staff development, classroom instruction, and intersections of culture, race, ethnicity, teaching, and learning.
Dr. Gay's writings include numerous articles and book chapters, including A Synthesis of Scholarship in Multicultural Education; the co-editorship of Expressively Black: The Cultural Basis of Ethnic Identity (Praeger, 1987); author of At the Essence of Learning: Multicultural Education (Kappa Delta Pi, 1994), and Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Practice, & Research (Teachers College Press, 2000); and editor of Becoming Multicultural Educators: Personal Journey Toward Professional Agency (Jossey-Bass, 2003). Culturally Responsive Teaching received the 2001 Outstanding Writing Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). She also is a member of the authorship team of the Scott Foresman New Elementary Social Studies Series. Her professional service includes membership on several national editorial review and advisory boards. International consultations on multicultural education have taken her to Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, Finland, Japan, England, Scotland, and Australia.
Alejandro Jimenez -- A music educator in the Hartford Public Schools since 1974, Jimenez has spent 22 of those years teaching in middle and junior high schools. He has been a presenter at many national conferences (National Multicultural Music Symposium, National Urban Music Symposium, MENC, CMEA, CTAOSA, and others) and has published numerous articles/chapters with such publishers and publications as: Share the Music textbooks from McGraw Hill, World Music Press, K-8th Magazine, and Spotlight on Music by Hal Leonard Publishers. In 2006 he was selected as the state of Connecticut's Elementary Music Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Gail Thompson, Ph.D. -- Associate Professor at the Claremont Graduate University, she has written five books: African American Teens Discuss Their Schooling Experiences; What African American Parents Want Educators to Know; Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask About African American Students; Up Where We Belong: Helping African American and Latino Students Rise in School and Life; and Exposing the Culture of Arrogance in the Academy: A Blueprint for Increasing Black Faculty Satisfaction. Through Ebony Eyes, especially, has received a considerable amount of attention from educators, talk show hosts, and news reporters across the nation.
Recently, a chapter that she wrote was published in an edited book, From Work-Family Balance to Work-Family Interaction: Changing the Metaphor, one of her essays was published in USA Today, and her work has been published in numerous academic journals. Dr. Thompson has appeared on PBS television’s The Tony Brown Journal, National Public Radio, KPCC, WBAI, WSOU, and KXAM, and has been quoted in several newspaper articles. She has served as a reviewer for the Educational Broadcasting Network, and several academic journals, and has done presentations, keynote addresses, workshops, and consultant work throughout the U.S. and in Canada. Dr. Thompson is married to Rufus, an educator, and they have three children, Nafissa, a doctoral student, NaChe’ a college undergraduate, and Stephen, a high school senior.