Arizona Department of Education
Superintendent Kathy Hoffman has spent her entire career working in public education, first as a pre-school teacher and then as a speech therapist in Arizona’s public schools. She began her career in the Vail School District in Southern Arizona before joining the Peoria Unified School District. As State Superintendent, she oversees all of Arizona’s public schools and manages a department of approximately 600 education professionals that work across the state.
Superintendent Hoffman’s vision for the role of Superintendent and the Arizona Department of Education is informed by her experience as an educator and advocate for students with disabilities. She believes all students deserve equal access to a high-quality public education, and that only through committed investment and inclusive policies can Arizona bring its public schools to the top of our nation’s school system. Like her colleagues in the classroom, Superintendent Hoffman holds the adamant belief that Arizona’s future starts in our schools.
Dr. Curtis Acosta
Founder and Executive Director
Acosta Educational Partnership
Assistant Professor, Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies, University of Arizona
Dr. Curtis Acosta was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years, where he developed and taught Latinx Literature classes for the renowned Mexican American Studies program in Tucson. He is an award-winning educator whose work was featured in the documentaries Precious Knowledge and Dolores, as well as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He is the founder of the Acosta Educational Partnership, a consultation firm that helps educators create culturally sustaining and humanizing educational practices in their classrooms, schools, and communities.
Dr. Acosta received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and later obtained a MA and Ph.D. in Language, Reading, and Culture from the University of Arizona. He is currently an Assistant Professor in Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies and Director of the M.Ed. in Secondary Education, Alternative Path program at the University of Arizona.
Associate Superintendent of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Arizona Department of Education
As the first Associate Superintendent of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the Arizona Department of Education, Ms. Erica Maxwell has more than 25 years as a certified educator. In her education tenure, Maxwell has served as an administrator, adjunct faculty member at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and as a faculty associate at Arizona State University.
Additionally, Maxwell is a co-founder of the annual Arizona Multicultural Education Conference. She also facilitated a series of community book discussions for Arizona State University’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. Maxwell was recently appointed to the Arizona Juvenile Justice Commission and serves as a Board Member for Children’s Action Alliance and the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Recognized for her community involvement and excellence in education, Maxwell received the 2016 Outstanding Adjunct Award from Chandler-Gilbert Community College and the 2015 East Valley NAACP Education Advocacy Award.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Ms. Maxwell resides in Chandler and has a son who attends Arizona State University, and a daughter who is a high school junior.
Raelene Brooks, Ph.D. RN
Associate Dean, Undergraduate & Masters Non-FNP Nursing Programs
University of Phoenix
Dr. Brooks is the associate dean of the undergraduate and masters non-FNP nursing programs at the University of Phoenix. As a nursing researcher, she studied the long-term outcomes and weight regain in the bariatric surgery population. She has several publications in the areas of critical care and nursing education. Completing a masters in science of nursing in 2000, she went on to complete her PhD from the University of San Diego in 2018.
Dr. Brooks has been a registered nurse for over 25 years and practiced extensively in the areas of: ICU, trauma, and critical care in the UC Healthcare System. She is a Doris Howell Scholar. The Howell Foundation is dedicated to "making a long-term positive impact on women's health." She is a California native. She is married, has one son, and a grandson.
Coach & Trainer
Tammy Zuccala is a Coach and Trainer. Tammy's education and career began in Massachusetts with a Bachelor's Degree from Westfield University in Early Childhood for children with and without special needs. Tammy continued her education and completed her Master's Degree from University of Phoenix in Adult Education and Training prior to moving to Arizona.
Tammy has over 35 years of experience working in the field of early childhood education as a teacher, director, & trainer for Head Start, child care centers, after school and Universal Pre-school programs.
Súle Greg Wilson,M.A.
Griot Path Media, LLC
Súle Greg Wilson, M.A., is a fourth-generation educator, folklorist, and cultural healer. Born and raised in Washington, DC, he attended Oberlin College and received his MFA and MA/Archivist certification from New York University. Former Director of the Smithsonian’s Afro-American Index Project (precursor to the NMAAHC), Wilson has taught in New York and Arizona public schools, Arizona State University, and the Maricopa County Community Colleges.
Co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and author of The Drummer’s Path: Moving the Spirit with Ritual and Traditional Drumming, his company, Griot Path Media, has just released Funky Banjo: Level One. He currently offers online workshops, personal and group healing, and life-path coaching.
Kelli Christiansen has spent more than three decades in publishing as a bookseller, editor, literary agent, and writer. Since 2019, she has been an adjunct instructor for the University of Chicago Graham School, leading courses in Essentials of Grammar and Editing for Diversity and Inclusion.
In 2007, Kelli launched bibliobibuli, working with a variety of authors and publishers to help make publishing dreams come true with books that have earned recognition from Barron’s, Booklist, BusinessWeek, Library Journal, The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The Wall Street Journal.
She earned a B.A. cum laude in Journalism from Northern Illinois University, pursued an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and earned certification in Inclusive Leadership Training. A frequent speaker, she has appeared in front of audiences large and small for such organizations as Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Chicago Women in Publishing, Editorial Freelancers Association, and Military History Fest.
Gloria McGinty Med
Gloria has worked in the Early Childhood field for over 38 years as a teacher, a director, consultant /trainer, Early Childhood Development Instructor at Maricopa Community Colleges and an Instructor at Arizona State University. Gloria has developed and instructed both courses and workshops that teach how to work with the diverse needs of students and their families.
Gloria has done extensive work on Enhancing Infant and Toddler Development and has implemented trauma-informed care curriculum for children birth to five. She has a Master degree in Educational Leadership and a credential in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) which includes historical trauma related to multi-cultural experiences.
Bilingual Early Childhood Advocate
Marissa Calderón is a dynamic bilingual early childhood advocate. A proud Latina, podcast host and early ed consultant with over 20 years of combined experience in the early childhood and social services sector, she’s proudly worn many hats from family child care provider to working in crisis care as an operations program supervisor of a children’s residential facility.
Marissa founded the pioneering podcast, Early Childhood Journeys in 2016, and was also the 2018 First Things First Champion for Young Children recipient for her work in the early education field. Utilizing multiple online platforms to bring more attention to racism, equity gaps and anti-bias programming, Marissa aims to reach diverse audiences, including parents and the business community, and stress how important the early childhood experience is to getting children ready to succeed from birth to life.
Dr. Latrice Gettings
Founder and President
Latrice Gettings, Ed.D. is an innovative educator with a passion for servicing school communities who face challenges with culture and climate, special education, diversity, equity, inclusion, and English Language Learners. Exceptional levels of student achievement and building relationships distinguish Dr. Latrice Gettings' 20-year career as a dedicated leader with not only knowledge from academic courses but real-life experiences. Dr. Gettings graduated from Grand Canyon University, where she earned a doctorate in organizational leadership with an emphasis on special education.
Dr. Gettings' vision is for students and families to receive educational support, materials, and resources from highly qualified educators to close the achievement gap by implementing equitable education via the arts, culturally responsive social-emotional activities, and standard-based lessons. As Founder and President of Purposeful Pathways, Dr. Gettings and her consulting team focus on social-emotional learning, diversity, equity, inclusion, English Language Learners, policies and procedures for special education.
Dr. Jeff McGee
Founder and President
Dr. McGee is a published author and thought leader in using an asset-based approach to understand cross-cultural and leadership competencies. He is passionate about equipping leaders with strategies and approaches to lead tomorrow’s organizations. He has studied and witnessed barriers between diverse groups where issues of trust, decision-making and roles are misunderstood.
Dr. McGee has successfully led many organizations through trainings/consultations that have positively impacted organizational culture and relationship building efforts. His interactive approach to engagement empowers leaders to think differently and challenge norms.
Dr. McGee has over 10 years of experience as a speaker, educator and trainer for K-12 schools, higher education institutions, businesses, city governments and nonprofit organizations including churches. Dr. McGee serves on several local board of trustees, community groups and dissertation committees. He holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Geneva College and a Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Turquoise Devereaux is part of the Salish and Blackfeet tribes of Montana. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Montana and her Masters of Social Work at Arizona State University.
Turquoise works at the intersections of direct support to students, institutional and organizational process consulting, program evaluation, training facilitation on decolonizing approaches to practice and Indigenous Social Justice.
For majority of her career, she helped transition and retain Native students in higher education while implementing Indian Education for All at a state and institutional level in Montana. For the past two-years, Turquoise is continuing her advocacy by providing capacity building trainings for Education Administrators, Industry Executives, Faculty, and Youth.
Laveen Elementary School District
Sadie Redfern is in her eighth year as a 5th grade teacher in the Laveen Elementary School District at Rogers Ranch Elementary. She is an advocate and activist in the LGBT community. She is a member of the Educational Advisory Committee for GLSEN nationally.