Paul Hernandez, PhD, earned his doctorate in Sociology specializing in the sociology of education, social inequality, and diversity. Dr. Hernandez is a nationally recognized speaker and leader in college access and success, community outreach, and pedagogy for educators working with underserved/underprepared students and students at risk of dropping out of school. As a former faculty member, non-profit administrator and educational consultant, Dr. Hernandez works with higher education institutions, K-12 schools, and non-profit organizations helping them further develop and evolve their work with students and communities. Prior to earning his degrees, he was engulfed in gang culture and deep poverty, surviving on the streets of Los Angeles. Paul openly shares with others his unique personal story of being a youth at risk and how his path has influenced his work. He has learned ways to empower young people traveling a similar path, and through his inspirational messages hopes to share his lessons and passion with those working to address the multitude of challenges faced by diverse populations of youth at risk. Dr. Hernandez has been nationally recognized for his work and was awarded the National Education Association Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award, the Michigan Education Association Elizabeth Siddall Human Rights Award, the Equity in Education award by the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and an Honors Professor of the Year Award for teaching.
Becki Cohn-Vargas, EdD, has more than 35 years of experience as a teacher, principal, curriculum director, and superintendent. In each setting, she focused on educational equity and effective strategies for diverse populations. Her educational mission is ensuring identity safe classrooms where teachers strive to assure students that their social identities are an asset rather than a barrier to success in the classroom. Partnering with identity safety researcher Dorothy Steele, she coauthored Identity Safe Classrooms Grades K–5: Places to Belong and Learn; followed by Identity Safe Classrooms Grades 6–12: Pathways to Belonging and Learning, with Alex Creer Kahn and Amy Epstein. Her third book, co-authored with Kahn, Epstein, and Kathe Gogolewski, Belonging and Inclusion in Identity Safe Schools: A Guide for Educational Leaders, focuses on school transformation and was published August 17, 2021. Currently, Becki is an independent consultant and presenter. She was hosted at the White House by President Obama’s Education Staff and has worked to create inclusive climates in over 150 schools across the U.S.
Robert Q, Berry III is currently the Samuel Braley Gray Professor of mathematics education at the University of Virginia, and served as President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), 2018–2020. He received his B.S. (middle grades education), Old Dominion University (ODU); M.A.T. (mathematics education), Christopher Newport University; Ph.D. (mathematics education), University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. He has taught in public schools and served as a mathematics specialist since 1991. Robert has collaborated with teachers, leaders, parents, and community members across the United States and has been a teacher at nearly all levels. These experiences have afforded him a perspective on the issues facing mathematics teaching and learning across diverse contexts. He sees himself as a teacher who is always learning and improving my professional practice. He brings a strong sense of equity and fairness, rooted in my understanding of the mathematical experiences of students of color and the belief that all students deserve access to learning environments and resources that support their engagement with mathematics. He brings an ability to establish rapport and trust with people from diverse backgrounds by working to understand their perspectives, histories, and lived experiences. He understands the importance of building partnerships and how to draw on each partner’s strengths to achieve a common goal. In sum, he brings experiences and abilities that make me an effective advocate for teachers and students. He has published High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice with Corwin.