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Attendees at EDxEDNYC can choose to attend whatever sessions they want during the day. 


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Barnaby Spring, 

Una-Kariim A. Cross,

Rahesha Amon-Harrison,

David Forbes

SPECIAL DOUBLE SESSION: What is Going on Here?Mindfulness in education/NYCDOE: Hope, Fears and Guides for Mindfulness as it Continues To Emerge in Public Education


Mindfulness can be an ally in the translation of our private struggles into public acceptance and action that serves everyone - particularly our students - in a society aspiring to democratic values. C. Wright Mills argued 50 years ago: one important measure of the demise of vibrant democracy and a corresponding impoverishment of political life can be found in the increasing inability of a society to translate private troubles to public issues. (Giroux). Mindfulness is emerging as a potential ally to human awareness and identification with the struggles of others that speak directly to ideas of empowerment, education, equity and excellence. Mindfulness asks, “What is really going on here?” Join the NYC Dept of Education's Director of Mindfulness in Education, along with his co-presenters, for a special multi-session course. 

NOTE: This session will “interactive” and is also primarily for educators currently practicing/teaching mindfulness/yoga strategies with/to youth.  All are welcome, but we are looking to engage folks more engaged in the work. 


Barnaby Spring was born in Arizona, lost in Oak Creek Canyon for almost a full day when he was 4 years old, a graduate and former Mayor of Father Flanagan's Boys Town, graduate of Cornell University's College Scholar Honors Program (exit thesis was on the Relation of Technique in the Experimental Sciences and Creative Arts) an actor currently appearing in the recent film The Rainbow Experiment by independent film-maker Christina Kallas, currently developing a multi-media project called "Doctor Chango Partlow's Traveling Medicine Show" and is tremendously honored to be the first Director of Mindfulness in Education in the history of the NYCDOE. He is also happily married to NYCDOE long-time educator, Rachel Masters, and the proud father of Edward R. Murrow student, Eli.

Una-Kariim A. Cross is an education facilitative leadership coach, education visionary, and storyteller who is is deeply committed capacity building in youth and educators in a way that encourages thriving. Her approach to leadership development has always centered inspiration, creative wellness, and mindful pedagogical practices that facilitate critical thinking, collaboration, and self-reflection. She is an instructional leader with a sharp focus on developing student-centered teacher practice and youth development that utilizes authentic relationship building as a way to develop relevant, robust, and rigorous curriculum. Una-Kariim has over 15 years of education experience. She launched her work at Washington, D.C. based non-profit that was focused on youth development and capacity building. This opportunity allowed her to work closely with and train local youth for future opportunities. She also traveled to South Africa with a group of education and community leaders as a part of a Salzburg Education Fellowship. Shortly after, she began her work with the New York City Department of Education teaching English and Art Criticism in Bedford-Stuyvesant High Schools. During her time as High School educator she collaboratively launched and expanded the art-criticism program which partnered with the Whitney Museum of Art and The Brooklyn Museum, she also co-developed and launched a school-wide symposium and school-wide learning trips, and she hosted multiple public learning presentations whereby students presented and discussed their research to large audiences as a part of their Performance Based Assessment Task. Una-Kariim left the classroom with the purpose of expanding her work by leading adult educators as a facilitative coach. Her work as both an instructional leader and classroom educator demonstrate her devotion to cultivating the individual and community voice as well as fostering leadership development. Una-Kariim is currently working to secure her administrative licensure. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. She holds an Master of Fine Arts Degree from the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, and a Bachelor Degree in Electronic Media. Una-Kariim is a published photographer and writer and has written for, The and more. She was a Teacher Exchange Educational Fellow with the Whitney Museum of Art, and an Artist in Residence at The Wexner Center. She currently serves as an Education Advisor for the 14+ Foundation.


Rahesha Amon-Harrison is an educator at heart who has emerged an intrepid 21st Century educational leader. After 26 years as an award winning classroom teacher, she stepped into the roles of Educational Coach, Academic Director, and Assistant Principal, prior to becoming a founding Principal of Frederick Douglass Academy III in Bronx, New York. She later became a Deputy Superintendent and currently serves as the Superintendent of Community School District 16 in Brooklyn, New York where she is spearheading the district’s Vision 2021 Initiative; cultivating leadership at all levels for the purpose of increasing student achievement and access to opportunities. Since her tenure, Amon-Harrison was recognized by Brooklyn Deep as one of the New Generation of Leaders in education to watch. She recently received the 2019 Black History Trailblazer Award from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Amon-Harrison holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Fordham University and a Bachelors of Arts Degree from North Carolina Central University. In 2018 NCCU awarded her the coveted “Distinguished Alumni” award. She participated in the Harvard University Principal’s Institute, Teachers College, Columbia University’s Cahn Fellowship program and participated in the prestigious Center for Creative Leadership’s Managing Highly Effective Teams program. Mrs. Amon-Harrison believes that all children, regardless of their “zip code”, deserve an education that is progressive, rigorous, and culturally responsive while supporting the social emotional wellness of children.

David Forbes, PhD (Berkeley), LMHC, taught School Counseling at Brooklyn College for nineteen years and is Associate Emeritus Professor in the Urban Education Doctoral Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He wrote Boyz 2 Buddhas: Counseling Urban High School Male Athletes in the Zone (2004) about his experience teaching integral mindfulness to a Brooklyn high school football team. He was  a co-recipient of a Contemplative Program Development Fellowship from the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and was Member of the Month of the Mindfulness and Contemplative Education Network (March 2017). He is a member of the Mindfulness and Social Change Network based in the UK and is featured on a UK website, "Being Mindful of our World: A Collection of Social Mindfulness Voices." He teaches, consults with, writes on, and encourages mindfulness educators to question the neoliberal, individualist context of schooling and to pivot to a transformative, critical social mindfulness practice. Online articles, some co-authored, include "Occupy Mindfulness," "Search Outside Yourself: Google Misses a Lesson in Wisdom 101,"  “Mindfulness and Neoliberal Education: Accommodation or Transformation?", "How to be Mindful of McMindfulness," and "Critical Integral Contemplative Education," and co-edited Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context, and Social Engagement (Springer 2016). His book, Mindfulness and its Discontents: Education, Self, and Social Transformation, came out spring 2019. 






Teacher and Pupil

Dr. Jennifer Moore

Moving Beyond Academics:
How Can We Help Teachers + Students Flourish?


I’d like to engage the group in an appreciative inquiry into how schools are helping people thrive. What are schools doing to foster the cognitive AND physical, social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, physical and financial well-being of the community? What promising practices are already happening in the U.S.? What would people like support/resources in trying? What are the challenges people are facing as they move to a more humanistic/holistic approach to education that is being tried in different countries? What are the learnings? How have schools defined the ‘whole child’ and the ‘whole teacher’? How have schools gone beyond thinking about equity to creating conditions where people flourish? I’ll introduce the well-being wheel as a tool to focus our conversation, then lead people through the phases of appreciative inquiry: Discover (interviews that help people appreciate the best of what is already happening around well-being), Dream (imagining what could be), Design (determining what should be in participants’ contexts), and Destiny (creating a plan for what will be).


Dr. Jennifer Moore embraces her nerdiness. She loves learning, mostly experientially, but also through books and more books. Building relationships with people, both in the U.S. and abroad, to better understand their experiences, is very important to her. Through her different roles as teacher, principal, consultant and coach, she has developed a strong appreciation of both the macrosystems and microsystems of education. Her diverse experiences have helped her to see that there is an urgent need to focus on the overall well-being of children and adults in order to change the trajectory of children’s lives for the better, so that is what she is helping to make happen.



Dr. Samantha Oliver

Help! My Students are Asleep! 

No Worries! Flip Your Classroom!


Need to WAKE UP your instruction? Try the Flipped Classroom Model! Need to WAKE UP your lessons? Want to increase student engagement? Well, look no further! You just need to Flip your classroom! In this exciting & interactive session, teachers will leave READY to create flipped class experiences like no other. Teachers will learn how to incorporate awesome technology such as Flipgrid, Smore, Nearpod, Microsoft 365, and much more to transform their classrooms into Student Lead learning environments that foster critical thinking, student agency, creativity and much more.


Dr. Samantha Bazzell-Oliver is a Humanities Program Specialist with Fulton Public Schools in Atlanta, Ga. She has been in public education for the last 18 years. Dr. Bazzell-Oliver is a certified Microsoft Innovative Educator, a lover of all things technology and PD. She is married and has a daughter.



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Daya Alderfer

Social and Emotional Learning as a
Springboard for Literacy Development


All schools are committed to maximizing student learning. Since English language learners (ELLs) constitute the hub of many schools as well as a growing population, it is incumbent to support these students by adopting innovative tools that approach language learning through a more holistic framework. Surprisingly in the field of English as an additional language (EAL), an effort to implement a language learning approach that is holistic and innovative is woefully missing. Furthermore, current literacy, EAL and bilingual programs and curricula look almost exclusively at the development of language skills rather than including the social and emotional conditions that serve as the very foundation for literacy development to occur. The innovative language learning framework included in this conversational workshop attempts to fill this gap. Participants will discuss their own understanding of Social and Emotional Learning and how it applies to education. This includes an overview of the five SEL competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management and responsible decision making. Through a series of interactive literacy activities, participants will gain first hand experience using SEL as a springboard to build literacy development. Participants will leave this session with a tangible SEL toolkit that optimizes literacy skill development.


Daya Alderfer is a globally inspired educator with teaching experience at top International Baccalaureate schools. She is a published author for the International Schools Journal and conference presenter on literacy development, social-emotional learning and English language learning. Daya co-founded a Social Emotional Learning organization and piloted the program in Teach for India schools. She is a Columbia University Master's degree, Honors Scholar in Multilingual Education and US certified teacher in Elementary Education and Bilingual Education (Spanish/English). She loves traveling the world and has lived in Latin America, Asia, Europe and North American.


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Curtis Smith

Bernard Addo

Thomas Mcbryde, Jr.

Culturally Responsive Mindfulness in Schools of Color


Culturally responsive mindfulness has promoted progressive success within our district-wide scholar, parental, and leadership communities and we’d like to share how. Mindfulness has been at the forefront of our successful mentorship and rites of passage program. Our conversation includes interactive discussions that give attendees the opportunity to investigate culturally responsive mindfulness and how we’ve implemented the practice at a class, school and district level. In 90 minutes we’ll dive into three school community levels of Mindfulness; mindfulness in the classroom, schoolwide, and district level. Get first-hand accounts from a scholar, educator, principal, and a district superintendent about how mindfulness has elevated community District 19 despite their high needs demographic in Brooklyn. The impact of mindfulness will be evaluated from all perspectives and participants will learn about the current science-based evidence to connect research to the success our communities have experienced while taking away the best practices for paying it forward. We’ll share success stories of how mindfulness has worked at each level, including our mentorship and rites of passage program as we formulate action plans for practical implementation. Facilitated by educator, Mr. Curtis Smith and lead by Superintendent Dr. Mcbryde Jr., we’ll engage a guided discussion on transforming school culture using mindfulness and other social-emotional tools. After hearing the stories of key members of our community, participants will engage in guided practices, small group discussions, and active group work around the mindfulness tools that are making waves. Together we’ll explore how to use music, movement, and art to create a culturally-relevant mindfulness practice and conversation rooted in science-based results accessible to scholars, parents, educators, and leaders in the inner city. There will be an opportunity to share reflections and design your own mindfulness plan to take back and make your own.


Curtis Smith is an Educator, Speaker, and creator of Moment of Mindfulness (MOM), a mindfulness methodology and company committed to empowering communities to activate their best intentions through culturally responsive yet evidence-based mindfulness tools. In 2013, Curtis co-founded Vista Academy, one of the top rated public middle schools in Brooklyn, New York. In his 10th year as an educator, he leads the mindfulness program that’s infused in the school’s mission, Character Education. The impact of the program has not only contributed to Vista’s improved learning community, but also led to his work with New York City Department of Education District 19, where he facilitates and designs workshops for Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. Curtis is one of the highest rated educators in Brooklyn and holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree from Brooklyn College in the Science of Education, a certification in Mindfulness and Loving Kindness from The Path in partnership with The Nalanda Institute, and is a recent RISE for Educators recipient from Kripalu’s Center for Yoga and Health.


Bernard Addo is the principal of Vista Academy Middle School, located in East New York, Brooklyn. His 20 years experience in education comprises of 4 years as teacher, 1 year as Dean and 15 years as administrator. Bernard’s passion lies in guiding middle schoolers to navigate the stresses and challenges of transitioning from dependent elementary school scholars to becoming independent high schoolers. He is a staunch believer in educating the whole scholar via use of rigorous Academic Instruction coupled with strategic Social Emotional supports. Dr.


Thomas Mcbryde Jr. is an instructional leader committed to creating collaborative communities that foster a shared vision of purposeful instruction, accountability, and responsibility of transforming students into life-long learners and prepared citizens. Dr. McBryde graduated from Morehouse College, where he received his B.A. in English. After graduation, he began his teaching career as an 8th grade English Language Arts instructor in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Mcbryde completed his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and joined New Leaders for New Schools in the NYCDOE as a Resident Principal at Esperanza Preparatory Academy in Community District 4. After Esperanza, he became the Principal of Mott Hall IV Middle School in Community District 23 where he increased student achievement steadily. After a 5-year tenure, he became the Deputy Superintendent of Community District 4 before becoming the current Community Superintendent of District 19. His District wide initiatives: Comprehensive Literacy, Equity and Access, early childhood development, and social emotional support through mentoring (My Brothers Keeper and Girls Empowerment Movement) drive the movement of the district “All the Way Up!”.





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Laurie Faith

Oprah's Pissed: How Socio-Economic Status Impacts School Performance and What We can Do About It


Recently, Oprah Winfrey found out about the relationship between growing up in stressful conditions and school performance. It turns out, disadvantaged students struggle a lot more to manage their emotions, executive functions, and performance at school. This session will present a teaching approach that empowers all students equitably. Buckle up. We're going to cover a lot, and you're going to be able to use every single thing you learn with your students. First, we'll get an up-close and personal understanding of the ways that a traumatic or abnormally stressful childhood can impact the brain. Then, we'll explore ways to teach students about their strengths and powers as learners. Finally, we'll practise using a 5-minute classroom conversation to unlock student voice, better understand student challenge, promote community, build compassion and respect, and empower a strategic and "dukes up" approach to learning and life. This simple approach is being devoured by hundreds of teachers in multiple school boards in Ontario, the UK, and the US who are committed to breaking down inequity. The world's got some tricky problems to solve, and the wealthy and privileged don't seem to be getting the job done. Time to bring a more diverse team to the table.


Laurie Faith is the creator, lead teacher, trainer, and researcher of a teaching movement in Canada. She has been teaching in special and typical classrooms for 17 years and remains a teacher at heart. Currently, Laurie is a 3rd year doctoral student at OISE / University of Toronto, working in the Learning, Engagement, and Attention Lab.



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JP Reynolds

+ Xavier Baptiste

The Practice of Possibility:
Mindset & Skillsets to Build the Life of Your Dreams


“The Practice of Possibility” is the action-oriented arm of “Possibility Thinking,” an inspiring process of dreaming and doing in the world. You’ll hear a firsthand experience of this process from a Dream Team student and you’ll get a hands-on opportunity to experience this comprehensive method, which can be applied by anyone to anything. 


Hip-hop artist and 2-time Yale graduate JP Reynolds is a Dream Director with The Future Project at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in New York City. Additionally, JP Reynolds is the founder of Peace and Power Media, an artistic hub that produces multimedia content and experiences.


Xavier Baptiste is a current junior at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies and a member of Hudson's Dream Team since 2016. The Future Project's aim is to aid students with the support needed to reach their goals. Xavier has found success in their three year long project of studying abroad.



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Suzy Fauria

+ Leia Petty

Re-TIE: Reimagining Trauma-Informed Education


Are you interested in increasing your understanding of trauma and its impact on brain development and behavior? Join Re-TIE to examine how trauma effects students’ functioning, behavior, and learning within the classroom. Participants will use case examples to discuss trauma responses and to create trauma-informed classroom management strategies. Come with an open mind and heart, as you may discover new insights about your students and their classroom needs.


Suzy Fauria is a justice-driven conduit for change with six years of experience in education, trauma therapy, and intimate partner violence prevention. Currently working as a Relationship Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator and Child Therapist at Lab Middle School, Suzy serves children and adolescents with the goal to return to peace through restoring human relationships and recovering from ideological and institutional oppression. Suzy's dedication to anti-violence service began prior to graduate school as an educator in Cambodia and while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa.

Leia Petty is a guidance counselor at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies. 

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Nadine Lewis-Knight

+ Sabina Nwenyi


This session highlights one of the means to the ultimate goal of educators, reaching students and ensuring student achievement. Participants will understand the foundational tools and methods needed to navigate and empower all educators to understand the role relationship plays in creating Equity and Excellence in student learning. The journey to achieve excellence and equity begins with the magical word, “Relationship.” Research has shown that students will not learn from someone they do not like or trust. Therefore, the key to the human heart and connection is bonding with one another. If relationships are strong between educators and students, instructional strategies will be more effective. The ultimate goal for all educators is to ensure that equity in education begins with building bonds and fostering positive relationships, resulting in students taking risk and challenges in the classroom. Educators cannot access a student’s brain until they have touched their hearts; this is the true meaning of the human connection.


Nadine Lewis-Knight is currently a Peer Collaborative Teacher leader and fifth-grade teacher at P.S 28, The Warren Prep Academy, in District 16. Ms. Knight has been teaching for the past 16 years as an Elementary School Teacher. Ms. Knight’s corporate experiences have equipped her with the passion and interpersonal skills needed to always support her colleagues and students. Ms. Knight’s educational background includes a B.S and M.S in Education; she also has an Advance Degree in Educational Leadership. Some of Ms. Knight’s collaborative work includes working with The New York City Men Teach and New York Teaching Fellows program as a Coach for new and aspiring teachers. Ms. Knight is an intrinsically motivated and passionate educator who values the human connection that supports all youngsters in reaching their greatness. To maintain a balance lifestyle, I quite enjoy swimming, traveling, reading and playing tennis.


Sabina Nwenyi is a Peer Collaborative Teacher leader at P.S. 28K, The Warren Prep Academy, in District 16. Sabina has been an educator for over 20 years. As a teacher leader, she engages in strategic leadership conversations to develop action plans, design professional learning for colleagues, facilitate team meetings through collaborations, and peer coach by building open and trusting relationships. Sabina has a School Building Leader (SBL) license and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. Her academic and professional experiences made her a champion in getting things done by utilizing her in-depth knowledge of student and adult development and learning.

The Human Connection: Building Relationships

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Barbara Charles


How can we as educators use Restorative Circles, to impact the social emotional needs of our students but also address the social emotional needs of their families and school community. Guided by a facilitator, participants will explore the benefits of and participate in a Restorative Circle. Come practice self-care and heal yourself in process.


Barbara Charles is a Special Education Teacher, ENL Coordinator and founding team member of the The Brooklyn Green School, a progressive public middle school in District 16, Brooklyn. Originally from Florida, Barbara is and HBCU grad from Florida A&M University and graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism. Upon moving to New York City, Barbara began substitute teaching and soon fell in love with public education. She was awarded a scholarship through the Department of Education and enrolled in Long Island University, Brooklyn. She earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education with a Bilingual Extension. Barbara is also the author of Lovemarks and Crowns a children’s books about natural hair and self-love. She lives with her miniature Pomeranian, Killa, in Brooklyn, New York.




From the Inside Out: Restoring A School Community Through Restorative Circles

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Thomas Rodney + Lamar Timmons-Long


The aim of this conversation is to begin developing and spreading the idea that students learn best when they trust the individual facilitating their learning. The way to build that trust is by first building authentic relationships with students. Through collaboration, some brainstorming, and sharing best practices, we will engage in a 90 minute conversation to support educators in closing the opportunity gap for our students by understanding how to develop authentic relationships while still keeping expectations high.


Thomas Rodney is a highly motivated and organized graduate with a degree in Mathematics from The City College of New York. He has also attained a degree in Mathematics Education from Columbia University. A proven success with student team building projects and classroom management with urban youth populations. His lesson planning proficiency is continually developing from experience in the education industry. Mr. Rodney has management abilities resulting from extensive experience in the banking industry. He plays point guard in basketball, linebacker in football, so the terms "team player" and "leader" have always been synonymous with his name. On a personal level, Thomas is an avid reader, with particular favorites of the science fiction genre, like Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams and 1984 by George Orwell. Additionally, Thomas is often referred to as a "people person", he's usually smiling, although, he can be rather pensive and quiet at times. His favorite motto is "fill your life with positivity and positivity will fill your life". He is also a strong believer in the idea that if you think you can, or you think you can't, either way, you are right.

Lamar Long is an English Teacher and Special Education Teacher who has been teaching for 6 years. He is passionate about teacher development, English, literacy, and providing students of color with quality and equitable education. 





Authentic Relationships to Build Trust and Make Change

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Stephfon L. Guidry


A collaborative deep dive into the Pop-Diva Beyonce's Formation Music Video and it's lyrics as well as it's connections to the Feminist Critical Lens within literature. In tandem with an excerpt from 1 Dope Queen and author Phoebe Robinson's "Feminism We were Rooting For You, We Were All Rooting for You". This session will be an open forum to share educational ideas and experiences of Feminist Theory, Facing our own bias as Educators and how do we tackle creating open spaces to promote the equity within the Feminist movement in our classrooms.


Stephfon Guidry is a certified teacher within the Bronx, NY. He has taught for ten years Pre-K through 5th grade and most recently made the jump to High School, at the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice. He currently teaches Junior English and AP Language and Composition. His passion for building strong understandings of literature and language for his students at any level is ever present in his dedication to making his lesson culturally responsive and engaging for his students. No matter the age group, Mr. Guidry's students know his door is open for a helping hand with their writing and reading as well as an ear to hear them out when they just need to talk. While Stephfon is not teaching he is s also a Board Director with East New York's Rooted Theater Company . Stephfon is a trained actor, singer, and artist that hails from Beaumont, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. He just finished co-directing "The Last Saint on Sugar Hill" ( a Play that centers on Toxic Masculinity and Gentrification within the Urban community) and For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide.

Feminism: Let's Get in Formation!

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In this workshop we will discuss how pop culture can be utilized to introduce students to mindfulness practices. We will share activities that expand beyond meditation and yoga. Using media from popular artists such Ariana Grande and NBA Youngboy we can support students in pursuing healthy relationships and building coping skills. We will share activities that not only demonstrate mindfulness, but also increase student engagement.


Puma Simone is an award winning recording artist and producer based in New Haven, CT. She incorporates her knacks for listening and asking important questions within her teaching style. An avid reader and active member in the local and global art community, Simone engages students through honest lyrical content and popular culture references. 




Britney "Puma Simone" Brevard

Media & Mindfulness in Alternative Education

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Learn the transformational framework that will create long lasting change in students. Learn about the power of authentic storytelling, knowing your students' language, how to break vicious cycles, and more! Hands-on activities and open discussions on how to inspire and impact our students. My conversation on creating long lasting change in students includes ALL students being impacted. I hope to provide some tools and framework that would enable and empower educators to create communities and cultivate a culture of inclusion. I talk about reaching the unreached students and respecting all perspectives, while challenging students to become better, more excellent versions of themselves.


Jonathan Berenguer was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Even before he was born, life already had a death sentence against him. He was born premature and weighed 2 pounds and 11 ounces. He was so sick, he was immediately incubated and never got to feel his mother's embrace. Tragedy struck when just a month after he was born his mother passed away. Unfortunately, tragedy did not end there. His father was murdered when he was six years old. He was raised by his maternal grandparents, but at ten his grandfather passed away and he became the man of the house. Elementary school consisted of being bullied and poor grades with constant calls home. Middle school consisted of multiple fights, suspensions, cutting class, and hanging with the wrong crowd. Despite this, he was always shy till an opportunity arose in eighth grade when he rose up to the plate to help his fellow classmates with a new math topic. It was in that moment that Jonathan knew he wanted to help others. Throughout high school, Jonathan made it clear that he had goals to educate young minds. He kept busy as part of the Army JROTC program and volunteering as a participant and assistant for a community program called R.E.A.C.H. By senior year, he had climbed the leadership ladder in the Army JROTC program to earn the rank of Captain and Company Commander. He excelled in math and science and graduated with honors in both. Jonathan entered college with a full scholarship for teaching. He immediately began interning as a tutor in a Bronx high school. During his sophomore year in college he founded his first company, By Your Side Tutoring. During his time in college he was a club president and gained an advance certificate in Social Change Leadership and Entrepreneurship. He graduated with a Bachelors degree in Earth Science with a focus in Education. In 2018, Jonathan graduated with a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership and a certificate in Social Justice Advocacy. He was also selected as the Student Speaker for his college commencement ceremony.



Transformational Framework:

How to Inspire and Impact Students


Martha St. Jean


You are invited to work in community to develop a strategic and sustainable approach to SELF-C.A.R.E (Critically and Responsive Education). In order for educators to bring their best selves into the classroom, and ensure that neither a student’s background nor zip code determines the quality of education they receive, it’s important to recognize and acknowledge biases that exist. Implicit in this acknowledgement, is the idea and ideal of dignity within the student-teacher relationship. The goal is to use this 80-minute workshop to help those in the field of education create a strategic and sustainable plan of critical self-engagement with language that edifies and encourages, rather than stigmatizes and marginalizes. This conversation allows for an open avenue to address the negative schema that sometimes develops over the course of the school year. Engaging in critically conscious education requires reflection, and often a paradigm shift in how one perceives the classroom, community, and the educational system through which we operate in order initiate and/or continue the development of formal and lasting change.


Martha is a native New Yorker and middle school Special Educator. She works to facilitate high quality, and high impact relationships in and around the school community. Her past work in media allows her to bring multiple perspectives into the classroom. She enjoys engaging with middle schoolers with a goal of cultivating intellectual curiosity, and capacity. She studied at Teachers College, Columbia University, and works to make cultural connections to curricular content, and helping access resources.



Self-C.A.R.E (Critically AND Responsive Education)

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Hélène Walter


May I Be Happy reveals the significance of mindfulness practice in transforming the lives of young people. Through poetic cinematography and sequences of teachers leading sensitive or boisterous practices to kids from different backgrounds, the film brings awareness to the benefits of mindfulness as a way out of violence and suffering, and as an attainable solution for younger generations. This full-length feature documentary captures the very real challenges American children face, whether in elite private schools, public schools, on the streets, or in juvenile detention centers. Hearing the frustration of dedicated educators who find ways to teach from the heart, and seeing their optimistic work with youth is an uplifting experience. Interviews with teachers and leaders in the field of mindfulness research and education, including Dr. Dan Siegel and Vinny Ferraro, offer insights into the growing practice of mindfulness in education. Covering varying approaches to mindfulness by a range of San Francisco Bay Area programs, May I Be Happy reminds us of children's natural capacity for wellbeing, resilience and happiness. 


Hélène Walter believes in the meaningful path of teaching mindfulness to children and completed her training from the renowned Mindful Schools. The work of many of her classmates served as inspiration for this film. In 2006 she moved to Spéracèdes, a small village in the South of France and founded a production company Tama Production to create international-standard videos for corporate and private entities.vWith the intention of bringing awareness on the benefits of mindfulness for youth, Eric Georgeault and Hélène decided to self produce this independent film. 

Special Documentary Screening: May I Be Happy 

Meet the Filmmaker: Hélène Walter

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Teacher’s well-being is directly related to student performance, both social-emotional and academic. In this wellness class teacher learn valuable strategies to de-stress that can be used as tools to create a community where positive interactions are the norm. Breathe For Change is a growing movement of educators focused on teaching and learning for peace, love, and social justice. The goal of Breathe for Change is to reduce teachers’ stress and burnout through self-care: "the more we love and care for ourselves, the more we can love and care for our students, and the people in our communities."


Grace O'Keeffe is a public NYC high school educator, certified yoga teacher, and Breathe for Change Yoga Training Meditation Trainer. Grace has been studying meditation for over 25 years.


Rosa Bellu is a NYC public school special education teacher with a passion for math, a certified yoga teacher and instructor. Rosa has been practicing yoga for over 15 years.

Grace O'Keeffe + Rosa Bellu

Self Wellness Class - Breath for Change

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This conversation will explore how we can become more intentional about growing the capacity and reach of our non-teaching staff members. Staff members outside the classroom are essential to the success and social-emotional growth of our students. How can we best utilize, grow and support these important educators? Come learn about the ways that Hudson High School of Learning Technologies has developed the role of non-teaching staff members to support our students, reduce suspensions, build community and increase emotional well-being of our learners.


Will Hart is the parent coordinator and heads up the Dean's Office at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in New York City. 

Will Hart

The Forgotten Educators:

How to Grow the Role of Non-Teaching Staff Members

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Will Hart

+ Thomas Rodney


This session will explore Hudson High School of Learning Technologies' Chi Epsilon Omega High School Fraternity, which helps young men discover makes us strong as men and how we can contribute that strength within the community. The fraternity connects students to adult male role models, who have experienced and gained wisdom through things things like fatherhood, life stressors, interpersonal relationships and personal improvement. The men who visit our fraternity table represent all walks of life, races, classes, sexual orientations and professions. The Chi Epsilon Omega High School Fraternity (CEO) was founded at the Bayard Rustin Education Campus in New York City to create safe spaces for young men of color to explore the meaning of brotherhood and manhood, while setting personal and group goals — both in school and in off-site retreats. CEO also sponsors a young men’s group called S.T.R.O.N.G., a Community Men's Round Table, which is a positive space and supportive outlet for the young men of the B.R.E.C. community. Come learn about this programs from the students themsleves and see how the fraternity and men's group have impacted their lives — both personal and academic.


Will Hart is the parent coordinator and heads up the Dean's Office at Hudson High School of Learning Technologies in New York City. 


Thomas Rodney is a highly motivated and organized graduate with a degree in Mathematics from The City College of New York. He has also attained a degree in Mathematics Education from Columbia University. A proven success with student team building projects and classroom management with urban youth populations. His lesson planning proficiency is continually developing from experience in the education industry. Mr. Rodney has management abilities resulting from extensive experience in the banking industry. He plays point guard in basketball, linebacker in football, so the terms "team player" and "leader" have always been synonymous with his name.

Chi Epsilon Omega High School Fraternity: How We Brought the College Experience Into Our High School

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