Elevating the Whole Girl 2022

Speakers and Sessions

Sally A. Nuamah (Opening Keynote) is an award-winning scholar, advocate, founder and filmmaker who explores issues at the intersection of race, gender, public policy, and political behavior. She completed her Ph.D. in political science at Northwestern University in June 2016. She has held fellowships and faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Princeton University and Duke University. Currently, Dr. Nuamah is a professor (tenure track) at Northwestern university. Her first book, How Girls Achieve, has been the recipient of multiple national and international awards. Dr. Nuamah is also the creator of an award-winning scholarship organization and film focused on girls education. In 2019, she was named Forbes Magazine “30 under 30 in Education,” awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, aka “the Brainy Award,” and in 2021 named a recipient of the Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award from the Urban Affairs Association. Her second book, Closed for Democracy, is forthcoming in 2022.

Ruth Nicole Brown (Closing Keynote)is Professor and the Inaugural Chairperson of the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. Brown grew up in Park Forest and Chicago Heights, IL nurtured by bold and determined practices of collective possibility. She continues to activate home truths and bring others to futures of radical creative power and praxis through Saving Our Lives, Hearing Our Truths (SOLHOT), a collective Brown founded in 2006 to celebrate Black girlhood by meeting Black girls face to face and heart to heart.  Nicknamed “Dr. B” by the homegirls of SOLHOT, she has published two books, Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood (University of Illinois Press, 2013) and Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward A Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy (Peter Lang, 2009), co-edited several anthologies, Disrupting Qualitative Inquiry: Possibilities and Tensions in Educational Research with Rozana Carducci and Candace Kuby (Peter Lang, 2014) and Wish To Live: The Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy Reader with Chamara J. Kwakye (Peter Lang, 2012), and written numerous journal articles.

For nearly 20 years, Ileana Jiménez (Panelist) has been a leader in the field of feminist and social justice education. In an effort to inspire teachers to bring intersectional feminism to the K-12 classroom, she launched her blog, Feminist Teacher, in 2009. She is also the creator of the #HSfeminism and #K12feminism hashtags.  Her social media presence has lifted up the work of high school feminism teachers nationally and globally, bringing exciting visibility to the feminism-in-schools movement. A high school teacher in New York, Ileana teaches innovative high school courses on feminism and activism that have gained the attention of education and activist circles. She also teaches American literature with a social justice, intersectional lens; a course on Toni Morrison’s Beloved; a queer love stories class; and a memoir writing course. In addition to speaking, Ileana has consulted at a variety of schools including Andover Phillips Academy, the Calhoun School, and Miss Halls School. She has also been a guest teacher in schools throughout India, including the Sanskriti School in Delhi; the Shri Shikshayatan School in Kolkata; and the Prerna Girls School in Lucknow.

Dr. Stephanie Akoumany (Presenter) is the Founder and CEO of Bloom Wellness Lab and host of The Blooming is A Habit Podcast.  Dr. Akoumany is an optimal performance consultant, interpersonal relationships expert, speaker, researcher, educator, world schooling mom, marathoner, and yogi, who helps schools, businesses, nonprofits, universities, and government offices, and institutions cultivate cultures that embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, resilience, and holistic wellness.  She is a native Baltimorean. and earned her B.A. and PhD in American Studies focusing on social justice and youth and adult resilience and mindfulness strategies in the face of adversity at the University of Maryland College Park. Dr. Akoumany’s dissertation highlights how black early adolescent girls utilize resilience strategies, particularly, self-assertion, storytelling, creativity, play, and community building to cope with daily stressors.

Dr. Sheri K. Lewis (Panelist), native to Chicago’s South Side, is a passionate advocate for social justice and Black girl advocacy. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for undergrad majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and pursued both Masters of Art and Doctorate in Educational Policy Studies and Organizational Leadership. At the university, Dr. Lewis fell in love with a Black girlhood collective entitled Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT), where she worked with African American teen girls for several years enhancing literacy, self-efficacy, and social development.  Continuing to apply her program development and engagement skills, in 2016, Dr. Lewis co-founded Melt with former teen girl participants, Rachel Gadson and Ashley Battle.  As a recent contributing author in The Black Girlhood Studies Collection, Dr. Lewis foregrounds Black girl stories and lived experiences through Melt magazine. In her chapter, she contends that Melt serves as a viable creative platform and research methodology.  As the Executive Director, Dr. Lewis’s mission is to generate resources, opportunities, and access for Black girls to be seen, heard, and valued.

Bridgette Oimette (Presenter) hails from a family of all-girls school alumnae in Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Towson University, an M.A. in Teaching from the University of Southern California, and a teaching credential in Secondary Social Studies. Bridgette has been responsible for developing strategic partnerships that bring a distinct advantage to female students and has overseen internal and external research initiatives in PreK-12 schools. She is the co-founder of a global Professional Learning Community on girls education. Bridgette is passionate about bringing intentionality to educating girls and has developed and delivered faculty professional development programs to inform research-based best practices in everything from instructional strategies for girls to the impact of social media and technology on girls, and the basis of risk aversion in girls.

Session 1: 10:45 – 11:45 AM
Leading for Liberation (for School Leadership Teams) with Dr. Sherri K. LewisLeading for Liberation (for School Leadership Teams): Dr. Sherri K. Lewis will facilitate a working session for school leaders to consider the ways they make space for liberatory pedagogy and practices that validate and uplift urban girls and girls of color.
Health and Wellness for Girls of ColorDr. Stephany Akoumany will share her research on the importance of mindfulness in building resilience and goal-oriented attitudes in adolescent girls of color.  She will engage educators in a discussion of the importance of integrating mindfulness into daily instruction, as well as introduce strategies that can support both students and educators in addressing their social and emotional needs.
Advancing Girls: Are Our Girls’ Schools Feminist Spaces?Educators will engage in a discussion of whether girls’ schools are truly meeting the charge of being feminist spaces.  As an educational model, all-girls schools now exist in a different context and serve a different demographic of students than originally intended.  By exploring history and research-based practices, participants will answer how can schools and educators ensure that they are creating the optimal environment for today’s girls?
Feedback for Growth MindsetBLSYW Math Intervention Teacher, Ana Isabel Kuoh, will present the strategies she has implemented since participating in the EWG Workshop Series.
Building Academic ConfidenceWestern Teacher Academy teacher, Jaqueline Kirkorian (M.A. PhD) will present strategies implemented since participating in the EWG Workshop Series.
Session 2: 1:40 – 2:30 PM
Infusing Social Justice to Authentically Empower StudentsHow does social justice teaching increase student outcomes? Western teacher Katy Rennenkampf will share Social Justice Teaching Standards to support teachers in looking at their own curriculum and teaching practice to apply practical methods that empower students.
Developing Critical Consciousness with Nicole Hamilton of CulturevateNicole works in collaborative partnership with schools and organizations to create pathways leading from punitive, racial and gender biased disciplinary practices towards methods that are more restorative, trauma informed and culturally affirming.  This session will explore the role of white educators in creating equitable and brave spaces for girls of color.
Content Connections RoomsParticipants can join a collaborative space with other educators in their content area to share reflections from the day and think about applications to their practice.  This rare opportunity for teachers serving similar demographics within a similar school model to share practices and questions, and serve as thought partners.  Participants are encouraged to use this space to really think through application of lessons from the day, especially because too often we come away from conferences with ideas but no time to think about executing them.