Designing for Difference

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

This year's speakers include:

Adam Billing is the founder of Treehouse Innovation, a leading innovation consulting and training company based in London. He is an experienced facilitator, consultant, and presenter, specializing in innovation, design thinking, change, and cross-boundary collaboration.

Billing is a frequent lecturer on executive programs at Cambridge University, focusing on innovation, design thinking, and change. Over the last 15 years, he has designed and delivered custom leadership development programs with top business schools including Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech University, and Rice University.

Billing has worked closely with the boards and senior leadership teams of global organizations to define innovation strategy and promote a culture of innovation. He has also led many joint innovation projects with clients in diverse sectors including financial services, FMCG, real estate, software and technology, legal services, healthcare, and others.


Jeff Duncan-Andrade is the founder of the Roses in Concrete Community School, a community responsive lab school in East Oakland, CA, Teaching Excellence Network and the Community Responsive Education Group working with schools and districts around the world to develop and support effective classroom and school cultures. As a classroom teacher and school leader for the past 24 years, his pedagogy has been widely studied and acclaimed for producing uncommon levels of social and academic success for students. In 2015, Duncan-Andrade became a National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) Commissioner and was part of the great educators invited to the White House on National Teacher Appreciation Day by President Obama in 2016. Duncan-Andrade has been ranked as one of the 100 most influential scholars by EdWeek RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings for the past two years.


Ronald Ferguson is the lead author of the recent study from the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University that suggests some ways of balancing the nation’s emphasis on standardized test scores with other measurable learning outcomes. The study is entitled The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency.

Ferguson is the founder of Tripod and continues to lead all research. Tripod is the nation’s leading provider of classroom-level survey assessments for K-12 education. He is the Faculty Co-Chair and Director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1983. Much of his research since the mid-1990s has focused on racial achievement gaps, appearing in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, and the US Department of Education, in addition to various books and scholarly journals. Ron has a B.A. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from MIT, both in economics.


María Paula Ghiso is an Assistant Professor in the

Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her scholarship investigates literacy in multilingual and transnational contexts. Through collaborative inquiry with teachers and students, María Paula strives to support schools in being more attuned to children’s linguistic, cultural, and experiential knowledge in the curriculum. María Paula is a former New York City dual language teacher and has facilitated professional development on language and literacy learning in a range of contexts. She has published in venues such as Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, Teachers College Record, Research in the Teaching of English, Language Arts, Harvard Educational Review, and Journal of Literacy Research. She is a co-author of the forthcoming book from Teachers College Press, Partnering with immigrant communities: Action through Literacy.

Amanda Godley is an associate professor of English Education and Language, Literacy & Culture at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. Her research focuses on high school literacy instruction, predominantly in urban schools. One line of Godley’s research explores the design and implementation of grammar and language instruction in English Language Arts classes. A second line of her research centers on writing instruction in high schools, specifically, how well-designed peer review can help the development of high school students' academic writing across disciplines. Her research has been funded by the American Educational Research Association, a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Spencer Foundation Small Grant, and the National Science Foundation. Godley's publications have appeared in such journals as Educational Researcher, Reading Research Quarterly, and Urban Education. Before earning her PhD, Godley taught middle- and high-school English in the United States and South America.


Valerie Kinloch is the newly appointed dean of the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to her upcoming appointment, Dr. Kinloch was Professor of Literacy Studies in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE). She was also EHE's Chief Diversity Officer and the Director of the EHE Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Dr. Kinloch’s research focuses on the language, literacies, and community engagements of youth and adults inside and outside schools. She is author of articles and books on language, literacy, place, and race. Her co-authored book, Still Seeking an Attitude: Critical Reflections on the Work of June Jordan, was published in 2004. Her single-authored biography on poet-educator June Jordan titled, June Jordan: Her Life and Letters, was published in 2006.

Dr. Kinloch was awarded the 2011 Exemplary Research Award the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Division K for her book, Harlem Our Minds: Place, Race, and the Literacies of Urban Youth (2010). She also was the 2011 Honorary Mention for Outstanding Contribution to Research from AERA’s Division B. In 2012, Harlem on Our Minds received AERA’s Outstanding Book of the Year Award. She was also the recipient of the 2010 AERA Scholars of Color Early Career Award.

    Anindya Kundu is a doctoral candidate at NYU in Sociology of Education. He is currently working on his dissertation. He studies the relationship between agency and grit, observing how disadvantaged students in New York navigate extreme personal, social, and other institutional challenges to succeed. Anindya's research, which is predominantly qualitative, looks to connect sociological and psychological discourse on achievement to support the idea that all students can succeed regardless of background. His work is mentored by Dr. Pedro Noguera and Dr. Angela Duckworth.

At NYU, Anindya teaches, "American Dilemmas: Race, Inequality, and the Unfulfilled Promise of Public Education," and has taught "Research on Urban and Minority Education," a graduate social theory seminar. Both courses were designed and formerly taught by Dr. Noguera. Anindya is currently a resident at TED in New York City. His TED Talk and book, Achieving Agency, are forthcoming.

Margaret (Peg) Smith is a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Instruction and Learning in the School of Education and a Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, both at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the past 20+ years she has been developing research-based materials for use in the professional development of mathematics teachers and studying what teachers learn from the professional development in which they engage. She secured funding for four NSF projects to support these efforts.

Dr. Smith has authored or coauthored over 75 books, edited books or monographs, book chapters, and peer-reviewed articles. She was a member of the Board of Directors of AMTE (2001-2003; 2003 2005), of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2006-2009), and of Teachers Development Group (2009 present). In 2009 she received the award for Excellence in Teaching in Mathematics Teacher Education from AMTE. In 2010, she received the Susan Loucks-Horsley award from the National Staff Development Council in recognition of her efforts to promote professional learning in mathematics. She is the recent editor of the Mathematics Teacher Educator, which is co-published by NCTM and AMTE. She is also the chair of a NCTM working group charged with designing web-based materials that would support implementation of the effective teaching practices in Principles to Actions (NCTM, 2014).

Carmen Tafolla is a poet, storyteller, performance artist, motivational speaker, and university professor. Dr. Tafolla has just been named the 2015 Poet Laureate of the State of Texas. The author of more than 20 books, her work appears internationally in high school and university textbooks, newspapers, journals and magazines, and elementary school readers. Chosen in 2012 as the first Poet Laureate of the City of San Antonio, she presented at more than 300 schools, universities, professional conferences, and community arts centers in her two-year tenure.

Called by Roots author Alex Haley a “world-class writer,” Tafolla has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Americas Award, presented to her at the Library of Congress in 2010, five International Latino Book Awards, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, two ALA Notable Books, a Charlotte Zolotow Award, the Art of Peace Award, Top Ten Books for Babies, and has been recognized by the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies for work which “gives voice to the peoples and cultures of this land.”


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    includes materials, breakfasts and luncheons.
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    before 4/1/17
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    Requests for refunds must be made in writing by May 3, 2016, and must be accompanied by a registration receipt. The amount of the refund will be reduced by a processing fee of $25. No refunds will be issued after May 3, 2017.

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