Date: February 11, 2021
Time: 7:00 pm EST
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already large funding and achievement gaps in the American education system. As educators face the challenges of hybrid and distance learning on top of systemic inequities with the American educational system, the opportunity to promote, embrace, and provide social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies in classrooms is an important step. Incorporating SEL strategies leads to classrooms and schools where children feel safe, valued, validated, and challenged academically, and where they can experience the joy of learning. This panel will discuss the need for SEL and how we can wield it to increase equity in American schools. The range of voices and expertise on this panel will invite viewpoints from the many interactions that children can experience during their education.
Ina Pannell-Saint Surin is a special education teacher with over 27 years of experience teaching elementary and preschool aged children in New York City public and nonpublic schools. Passionate about sharing the impactful, positive benefits of Responsive Classroom with fellow educators across the country, Ina is also a part-time consulting teacher for Center for Responsive Schools. Her dedication to Responsive Classroom began over 10 years ago when she attended her first Responsive Classroom workshop. Ever since, Ina has been thrilled each year to embrace and incorporate the Responsive Classroom approach and practices in her own classroom and believes deeply in the transformative power that this approach has on students, teachers, and families. She recently received the honor of being nominated and accepted into the Academy of Teachers. When not teaching and presenting, Ina enjoys spending time with her family and friends, dancing, and deepening her commitment to and work with Culturally Responsive Teaching and anti-racist education.
Dr. Crystal Cooper Thompson is a former Teacher of the Year and 21-year veteran instructional leader. She has gained a reputation as a passionate thought leader who leads with intention, insight, and grace. Her Responsive Classroom journey began while teaching in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1997. She was coached by founders Ruth Charney, Chip Wood, and Marlynn Clayton and became a consulting teacher in 2000. After seven years teaching grades 1 to 4, Dr. Cooper worked as a reading coach for two low-performing schools. Since moving to Georgia in 2005, she has worked as an intervention teacher, literacy coach/coordinator, and assistant principal. In 2012, she began her principalship at a Title I school in Gwinnett County. She earned her bachelor’s from William Paterson University, master’s from the University of Georgia, specialist degree from the University of West Georgia, and doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Georgia. Her hobbies include community service, shopping, singing, dancing, spending time with family, and exploring new places.
Caltha Crowe travels around the country, teaching Responsive Classroom courses and visiting schools to support implementation of the approach. During her 38-year teaching career, she taught a range of elementary grades and preschool in a variety of settings, including urban New Haven, Connecticut, as well as suburban schools in Winnetka, Illinois; Glencoe, Illinois; Hamden, Connecticut; and Westport, Connecticut. Caltha has spent many years involved with a variety of educator support programs including Connecticut’s Beginning Educator Support and Training (BEST) program and Westport’s Resource Teacher program. She is the author of Solving Thorny Behavior Problems, Sammy and His Behavior Problem, and How to Bullyproof Your Classroom, all published by Center for Responsive Schools. Caltha has a BA from Smith College, a master’s degree in early childhood education from Goddard College, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bank Street College of Education. She lives in Estes Park, Colorado, and enjoys hiking, climbing, spending time in the outdoors, and being with family and friends.
Carla Greene Felix has been an educator in Brooklyn, NY, for 30 years. She has worked as a reading specialist, multimedia teacher, classroom teacher, and curriculum developer. She is currently retired but fulfills her passion for education by substitute teaching. She also participates with her local community board and the NAACP to promote equity for children of color.
Gregory Paul is a social entrepreneur who began his career in 1994 in the educational and nonprofit sectors. He has served in leadership positions at a variety of educationally centered organizations, including the City University of New York, NY.C Police Athletic League, and Long Island University. Currently, he serves as a school improvement officer at the New York State Education Department. He is the founder of Advantage Higher Education, a nonprofit organization, and established StepUp EdCorp, a consulting company dedicated to community, education, and service.
Katie Potter is the Senior Literacy Specialist at Lee & Low Books, preparing teacher’s guides and educator resources, and working with professors and nonprofit organizations to incorporate diverse, multicultural literature into curriculum and syllabi. Katie previously worked as an educational researcher, teacher, and literacy instructor, and has a BA in Psychology and Spanish and a MEd in Childhood General Education Grades 1–6 and Literacy.
Deanna Ross is currently an educational consultant and coach at Center for Responsive Schools (CRS). In this role, she has presented workshops throughout the United States and abroad, sharing the life-changing strategies that transformed her classroom. A frequent contributor to CRS articles, blogs, and journals, Deanna is a fierce advocate for racial and cultural equity in schools. Prior to her full time work at CRS, Deanna was a 26 year veteran of Memphis area public schools where she achieved National Board Certification and was a recipient of the Rotary Award for Teacher Excellence.
Renee McLaurin Sherman, MSEd, LMHC, has worked in public education for 23 years and is currently a school psychologist with the New York City Department of Education on the School Based Support Teams. Renee works with preschool and elementary school students providing appropriate special education services. She facilitates small groups of children ages 9–10, focusing on social skills development and providing consultation with parents and teachers. She is an active member of the Pupil Personnel Committee, School Implementation Team, and Equity Team, working on improved outcomes for BIPOC students receiving special education services.