Dr. Debbie Almontaser is an internationally recognized, award-winning educator, speaker and authority on cross cultural understanding. She is an influential community leader and the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group, Inc.
Dr. Almontaser was the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, NY. A twenty-five year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught special education, inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity advisor. Currently, she is the Board President of the Muslim Community Network (www.mcnny.org). She frequently lectures, serves on panels, and facilitates teacher and public workshops on cultural diversity, conflict resolution, Arab Culture, Islam, Muslims in America, interfaith coalition building and youth leadership at schools, universities, libraries, museums, faith-based organizations, churches, synagogues, as well as national and international conferences.
Maimuna Mohammed has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Leadership from Bank Street Graduate College of Education’s Principal Institute. She has been working as an early childhood educator in community based programs, in New York City for more than 35 years, and has gained a wider experience in teaching a variety of students. In that time she has specialized in working with all types of abilities, families and cultural ways of learning and doing. Reveling in the mysteries of creative equitable classroom management skills, team work, and enjoying working in play centered style.
Ms. Mohammed uses multiple approaches to encourage cooperation between organizations and individuals to help all team members to gather around a common value, goals, and culture that will improve the communities. Her partnership support for families and community includes getting other individuals, organizations, alliances, and coalitions involved in accomplishing community goals. She supports Elevating Parent Voices and has a sense of loyalty and devotion to supporting and improving community growth and development.
Jonayah Marie Jackson (Jo) is a data analysis consultant with 4 years of experience working in higher education. In her last role, she was the project manager for the Center on Culture, Race & Equity at Bank Street College of Education. There, she managed research projects, conducted interviews, administered focus groups, and co-facilitated professional development sessions for educators and caregivers. In addition, Jo supported her team with graphic design, website maintenance, and administrative/technical support. A graduate of Williams College with a major in Anthropology and a concentration in Africana Studies as well as a certificate of Software Engineering from Columbia University School of Engineering, Jo brings her experience conducting fieldwork, creating materials, and working in nonprofits and higher education to her teams. Currently, she is bridging her passion for data and technology by working on educational- and medical-themed applications.
Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is an award-winning educator, writer, activist, and scholar who believes deeply that love, equity, and justice are closely intertwined. He writes and speaks regularly on issues of diversity, inclusion, civil rights, religion, and hate violence, and his thought leadership extends to a number of audiences, from the White House and the Pentagon to university campuses and social justice groups.
Simran is a professor of religion at Trinity University and Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights organization based in New York City. This year, Simran serves as the Henry R. Luce Fellow for Religion and International Affairs at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media. He frequently contributes opinion pieces to various news outlets, and he has become a consistent expert for reporters around the world in television, radio, and print media. Simran is also on the board for Religion Newswriters Association, a fellow for the Truman National Security Project, and a term-member with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Nationally known as the Hip Hop Principal, Dr. Shango A. Blake-CEO of TRU SK Consultants, LLC is a much sought after speaker about issues in urban education; from pioneering unique collaborations between students, teachers, parents, and the community towards creating and sustaining a vibrant academic atmosphere, to his successful tenure as a New York City Principal, he has proven to be a true renaissance educator. As a Principal, Dr. Blake saw a profound need to institute drastic and creative changes to improve his school’s failing health. Dr. Blake initiated a bold and daring self-created project to integrate a conceptualized Hip Hop based educational program. This program led to the creation of:
As Chair of the Education and Youth Committee of the Million Man March Coordinating Council of Queens, Dr. Shango Blake has been responsible for: