Taking action to build agency and belonging among high school students who want to make an impact in their communities
2021 WORKSHOP LEADERS
Community Organizing with Intentionality
Laura (she/her) is a Chula Vista native but spent most of her childhood living in Tijuana, Mexico as a cross-border student. She attended San Diego City College, where her passion and activism for social and economic justice began. At City, Laura interned with AFT and worked on political campaigns, their student workers’ rights center and organized teachers on campus. Laura transferred to UCLA where she continued to work for ASFCME and spent the summer of 2015 in Washington D.C. doing policy and research.
DR. REGINA BALLARD
How Did Biblical Stories Become Racist?
Dr. Regina Ballard is the Chair of the Religion and Ethics Department at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, CA. She received her B.A. at the University of San Diego in English Literature with a Religious Studies minor and her Master’s in Theology with an emphasis on the Catholic Church in America at Providence College. At Virginia Theological Seminary, Dr. Ballard earned a D.Min in Educational Leadership.
Community Organizing with Intentionality
Gaia grew up in San Diego, and has been organizing since high school in support of youth civic engagement, access to medicine, LGBTQIA+ rights and wellbeing, the election of progressive candidates to office, and the furtherance of civil rights and civil liberties. She has been a proud member of the She Fest San Diego planning committee since 2017. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology from the University of Edinburgh.
Jared D'Onofrio earned his BA in English and Textual Studies from Syracuse University and his MFA in Creative Writing (fiction concentration) from the University of Pittsburgh before returning home to San Diego, where he has taught at Francis Parker School for twenty-five years. He was the first member of his family and the first among the kids in his neighborhood to go to college, and has fostered and followed the careers of first-generation college students of his with keen interest and pride. He served two terms as an inaugural member of Parker's Diversity Leadership Team and remains devoted to ensuring students see themselves as well as a wide variety of others in the literature they read.
DR. DREW ISHII
Asian Americans: Identity, Model Minority Myth, and Representation
Dr. Drew Ishii is chair of the mathematics department at Sage Hill School and a SoCal POCIS board member. He co-chaired the NAIS People of Color Conference in Anaheim and has facilitated the Asian American affinity group as well. As a mathematics educator and diversity practitioner, he has facilitated workshops and been a speaker at independent schools, national and international conferences.
I'm Not Sorry! - Ending our Unhealthy Relationship With "I'm Sorry"
Ayannah Johnson has a BA in Communications and Masters' in Educational Leadership, and with these skills she has traveled the country to teach about diversity education, LGBTQI+ related issues, peer leadership, mediation training, and higher education retention programs. And as a current Academic Advisor and Professor at New Jersey City University, she is adamant about meeting students where they are and helping them begin their journey forward.
Advocating for LGBTQ+ Equity in Schools
Jen LaBarbera (they/she) serves as the Education & Advocacy Manager at San Diego Pride, where they manage the organization’s community partnerships, education & advocacy programs, civic engagement, and international diplomacy work. They also currently serve as the Secretary of the GLSEN San Diego chapter's Board of Directors and as a District Vice President for the US Association of Prides.
DR. ALTA MAURO
Calling In vs. Calling Out
Dr. Alta Mauro is the Associate Dean for Inclusion & Belonging at Harvard College, guiding divisional efforts related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Under her direction, the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural & Race Relations, the Harvard College Women’s Center, the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, and Title IX coordination converge to leverage Harvard’s great diversity to cultivate inclusive community where all students can thrive.
So, What Now?!
Alicia Oglesby graduated from Howard University, and is now a high school counselor at Bishop McNamara High School. She works with the philosophies of cultural fluency, self-awareness, and social justice, and finds ways to create a school culture that affirms and supports all students' identities. She co-authored "Interrupting Racism: Equity and Social Justice in School Counseling," and plans to commit her career and life to making schools an equitable and safe place for all.
Stronger Than You Seem: Discovering Your Voice As a Means of Empowerment
Estuardo R. Ponciano is the Executive Director of Community Programs at UC Irvine School of Law (“UCI Law”). Prior to this role, Estuardo was a founding staff member in the UCI Law Admissions Office when the school opened in 2009, first in the capacity of Assistant Director and later as Director of Admissions. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University (“BYU”) Law School in Provo, Utah. Estuardo also earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from BYU. Prior to joining UCI Law, he was the Legal Help Line Manager at the Los Angeles office of Lambda Legal, a national LGBT civil rights organization.
How Anti-Asian Sentiment in the Past Informs Racial Injustice in the Present
Ricco Siasoco (he/him/his) is an educator, writer, and consultant with 20 years of school leadership experience. He is currently a Grade Dean at the Urban School of San Francisco. Prior to joining Urban, Ricco was the Director of Equity & Inclusion at the Chadwick School, where he served as a member of the senior leadership team and led the school’s K-12 efforts to foster an equitable community through policy, protocols, and best practices.
Racial Equity through a Trauma Informed Lens
Arthur Soriano is the CEO and Founder of Youth Empowerment. He was raised in City Heights, San Diego where he fell into the pitfalls of gangs, but his passion for his community brought him back to participate in a positive way. He has since founded Youth Empowerment, a non-profit community-organization that’s leading a grassroots effort to engage at-risk youth and adult gang-members. He is also the co-author of Hidden Treasures, which examines the effects of trauma, it’s impacts on community, parents, children, and individuals.
DR. LIZA A. TALUSAN
Self-Care during a Social Crisis
Educator, facilitator, and strategic change partner for organizations, corporations, leadership teams, schools and individuals who are looking to build their skills in areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and leadership.
While she travels (now virtually) across the globe for workshops and engagement, Liza’s home is based in Massachusetts on the traditional and ancestral land of the Massachusett people.
DR. RAI WILSON
Man Up: Building a Positive Masculinity
Dr. Rai Wilson majored in History and minored in American and African-American Studies at Princeton University. He then went on to secure a law degree and PhD in History at the University of Virginia. He has taught at Francis Parker for nearly twenty years, and for ten of those also lectured in history, sociology, and law at the University of California, San Diego. He is particularly interested in questions of legal justice, and remedies to inequities of class, race, and gender. He is so proud of the students who've organized this conference, and excited to be a participant.