Annual African, African American and Caribbean Studies Summer Institute 2022

African American 28th Annual Summer Institute

The 28th Annual African, African American, and Caribbean Studies Summer Institute featuring the Haitian Language and Culture Institute. The aim is to help educators, educational leaders, and community stakeholders identify and implement practices that can improve academic and life outcomes for our Black students.

The Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust and Gender Studies has assembled a team of experts to offer solution-oriented approaches to affirm the unique and diverse histories, cultures, and experiences of Black students. Our long-term goal is to transform classrooms into liberating spaces where each student can see their innate brilliance, beauty, and infinite possibilities.

The workshops will take place at Palm Beach Lakes Community High School (directions). The Thursday afternoon session will take place at the Delray Beach Public Library, 100 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL, 33444

Palm Beach County School District personnel register on E-Learning. All other participants register on Eventbrite.

 Monday, June 20, 2022
8:00 am - 12:30 pm

8:00 am - 8:30 am
Registration and Breakfast

8:30 am - 8:40 am
Akbar Watson

8:40 am - 8:45 am
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Michelle Martin

8:45 am - 8:50 am
Michael J. Burke, Superintendent for The School District of Palm Beach County

8:50 am - 8:55 am
David Alfonso, Principal of Palm Beach Lakes Community High School

8:55 am - 9:00 am
I Am Brilliantly Beautifully Black
Students from John I. Leonard High School and Grassy Waters Elementary School

9:00 am - 9:45 am
Affirming the History and Culture of Black Children: The Pillars of Institutional Change in Education
Brian Knowles, Manager, and Karen Jefferson, Instructional Specialist, from the Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies

9:45 am - 10:00 am

10:00 am - 11:00 am
Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies for Black Knowledge & Liberation
Dr. Bianca Nightengale-Lee

11:15 am - 12:15 pm
Land of the (Un)Free: Thinking Critically Through African American History
Dr. Jermaine Scott

12:15pm - 12:30 pm
Closing Remarks
Fernelize Henry

Workshop Presentations

9:00 am - 9:45 am - Affirming the History and Culture of Black Children: The Pillars of Institutional Change in Education
Presented by: Brian Knowles, Manager, African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies and Karen Jefferson, Instructional Specialist, African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies.

During this workshop, we will examine the five key elements:

  • Centering Black Student and Community Voice - Focuses on the needs of Black families and students by giving them a platform to share their thoughts and experiences in regards to education.
  • Policy and Organizational Culture - Developing policy and procedures within the institution that take into account the academic and social emotional needs of Black students and their respective communities. Required training on diversity and inclusion and built in mechanisms that ensure accountability of policies designed to ensure fair academic outcomes are some examples.
  • School Culture and Climate - Examining and reconstructing the culture of the entire school, so Black students have the opportunity to operate within their indigenous agency; the brilliance and ingenuity that is already within them. It involves creating an environment where these students are affirmed as a whole, which includes identity, language and social norms. Examining and eliminating deficit -based narratives are critical when building an empowering school culture.
  • Culturally Sustaining Teaching - Instruction to facilitate academic freedom utilizing diverse teaching methods that are consistent with learning styles of African diasporic people. This includes embedding the cultures, perspectives, and experiences of Black students within teaching techniques. Drawing from the strengths within Black culture, collective learning, student-centered activities, and building positive relationships are some examples of this.
  • Afrocentric Curriculum - Changing the structure of curriculum to view concepts and issues from multiple perspectives. It involves creating opportunities for Black students to make connections with content through lenses of their own histories and lived-experiences. A critical component of this dimension is reconstructing the curriculum framework. The history and culture of African people no longer exists on the margins of the traditional narrative, but is embedded within the core curriculum across all subject areas.

9:45 am - 10:00 am - Break

10:00 am - 11:00 am - Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies for Black Knowledge & Liberation
Presented by Dr. Bianca Nightengale-Lee

This session will be conducted using various activities that explore the latest iteration of culturally congruent educational applications. With a focus on Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies, participants will dive into the asset based dispositions, approaches and practices that have been proven to enhance the learning competencies of African-American students. Be ready to talk, learn, share and grow in this interactive learning session. Warning music and movement will be involved.

11:15 am - 12:15 pm - Land of the (Un)Free: Thinking Critically Through African American History
Presented by Dr. Jermaine Scott

In this session, I will be discussing the significance of studying Black history outside of its traditional narratives. Of particular interest, I will discuss the history of the long civil rights movement, as well as the ways African Americans continued to struggle for first-class citizenship in the post-civil rights era.

 Monday, June 20, 2022
5:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Community Forum
I Am Brilliantly Beautifully Black: Affirming Black History and Culture in our Schools

Opening Plenary

5:00 pm - 5:30 pm

5:30 pm - 5:45 pm 
Brian Knowles, Manager, and Karen Jefferson, Instructional Specialist, from the Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies

5:45 pm- 6:00 pm 
Debra L. Robinson, M.D., Board Member, The School District of Palm Beach County, District 7

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Keynote Presentation
Doin’ Right Bout My Child: African-Centered Organizing For Educational Excellence In South Florida

Dr. Melanie M. Acosta

7:15 pm- 8:30 pm
Workshop Presentations
Educating Black Children: Whose Responsibility is it?
Steve White
Room 1-147

Point 5: Knowledge Of Self
Amlak-Foley I
Room 1-148

Black Books and Literature: Escaping Through Books
Akbar Watson
Room 1-152

Keynote Presentation
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Doin’ Right Bout My Child: African-Centered Organizing For Educational Excellence In South Florida
Presented by Dr. Melanie M. Acosta

In this community-rooted think tank, parents and caregivers of African-descent children will engage in community-minded organizing for excellence in the education of African-descent children in Florida. We will draw on culture-centered principles of collective responsibility and humanity to 1) describe and document how we are experiencing schooling, 2) articulate the desires of our hearts, and 3) think strategically to envision liberatory educational possibilities.

Workshop Presentations
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm

Room 1-147 - Educating Black Children: Whose Responsibility is it?
Presented by Steve White

There are three institutions most responsible for educating Black children:

  • The home which includes first and foremost the parents and to a large extent, the surrounding community.
  • The educational system which consists primarily of the public schools
  • The media which includes music, television, movies, books & magazines, and social media.

Based on data and our own observations, all the above-named institutions have failed to properly educate Black children. In this presentation, we will examine the role and responsibility of each institution.

  • What is it that parents should be doing and have failed to do?
  • What is it that the school system should be doing and has failed to do?
  • How has the media contributed to the miseducation of Black children?

Black children have suffered while the adults who are responsible for their growth and development have pointed the fingers at each other or worse yet, have blamed the children for their miseducation.

After examining the roles and responsibilities, we will offer detailed and real solutions to the challenges facing Black children. Everyone attending will leave understanding the challenges and what they can do in their respective places to make sure Black children receive an education that will help them reach their full potential.

Room 1-148 - Point 5: Knowledge Of Self
Presented by Amlak-Foley I

This session will focus on helping the community develop an understanding of how to ensure that schools are providing students with an experience that involves knowledge of self. This entails creating opportunities for Black students to make connections with the authentic history and dynamic culture that they derive from. Students that have true knowledge of self will have a precise understanding of their position in society and in the world.

Room 1-152 - Black Books and Literature: Escaping Through Books
Presented by Akbar Watson

This session will concentrate on exploring how to engage readers in reflective and inquisitive processes encouraging them to question and challenge their own cultural and social realities. Readers will be encouraged to think critically and reflect upon contemporary social ideologies, identity, agency , the environment, and others. Children and teenagers are encouraged to use Black Books as models for examining their real world.

Some Black Book Genres to be studied include:

  • Superhero fiction
  • Comics and Pulp Magazines
  • Non- Fiction

Historically, Black literature has provided a moral compass that teaches lessons that enables the reader to cope with his/her circumstances and look forward to a time when the lessons that have been learned through reading and absorbing the moral world of “right” will help them in their future endeavors.

 Tuesday, June 21, 2022
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

8:30 am - 9:00 am
Registration and Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:30 am
Six Ways to Know if You Are Culturally and Linguistically Responsive
Dr. Sharroky Hollie

10:30 am - 10:45 am

10:45 am - 12:15 pm
Dr. Almitra Berry

12:15 pm - 12:30 pm
Closing Remarks
Fernelize Henry

Workshop Presentations

9:00 am - 10:30 am - Six Ways to Know if You Are Culturally and Linguistically Responsive
Presented by Dr. Sharroky Hollie

The session will answer this question for you: Am I culturally and linguistically responsive? The phrase "culturally and linguistically responsive" has now become cliché, the death knell in education. Cultural responsiveness benefits all students, in particular those students who have been traditionally underserved in the United States’ schools. Given its importance to empowering and inspiring educators to be responsive and for students to be academically successful, how do you know if you are culturally and linguistically responsive in your mind-set and skill set? Find out through a motivating, inspiring, and thought-provoking keynote address. The session will answer this question for you: Am I culturally and linguistically responsive?

Learning objectives:

  • Know what is meant by culture and language in the context of culturally responsive pedagogy—theoretically and pragmatically
  • Focus on common strategies utilized responsively in the areas of classroom management, academic literacy, academic language, and academic vocabulary
  • See connections between standard educational initiatives, such as Common Core State Standards, and the relevance of CLR
  • Understand more poignantly how implicit bias thinking can impact good
    intentions negatively

10:30 am - 10:45 am - Break

10:45 am - 12:15 pm - Sawubona
Presented by Dr. Almitra Berry

In this session, Dr. Almitra Berry, author of Effecting Change for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners, borrows the title and the message from the inspirational Zulu greeting, “Sawubona” which translates to I see you. I bring you into being.” With a focus on connecting to children of the African Diaspora, their unique history and lived experiences, Dr. Berry asks educators to examine their views, methods, and choices – making sure they both align with and value the learners of the Diaspora and the communities they come from.

 Wednesday, June 22, 2022
8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Haitian Creole Language and Culture Institute

Opening Plenary

8:30 am - 9:00 am

9:00 am - 9:05 am
Bito David, Communications Specialist

9:05 am - 9:15 am 
Melissa Patterson, Director of The Department of Multicultural Education

9:15 am - 9:30 am 
Overview of Day
Bito David, Communications Specialist

9:40 am - 12:30 pm
Workshop Presentations
Session A: 9:40 am - 10:40 am
Session B: 10:45 am - 11:45 am
Whole Group: 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

Workshop Presentations

Session A

The Haitian Sauce: An Energy-focused Approach to Daily Instruction
Presented by Dr. Alyssa Jean
(Lecture Hall)

This session provides practitioners with an introduction to Dr. Jean's theoretical model based on African-Centered thought and philosophy principle "Know Thyself". Classroom culture is created and maintained by an orchestration of teachers knowing their students, but also teachers knowing themselves. By the end of the session, participants will have the tools to answer this question, Kote sòs la? Where's the sauce?

Literacy Instruction of Haitian Students (Virtual)
Presented by Dr. Edwidge Crevecoeur-Bryant
(Main Auditorium)

Haitian students have dual language skills that need to be celebrated. Therefore, in this session, participants will be provided with information on how to capitalize on the dual language of Haitian students to improve their literacy skills in Haitian Creole and English to embrace the notion that biliteracy is an asset.

Anpil Men Chay Pa Lou: Unity is Strength
Presented Jephta Valmy Petit Frere
(Little Theater)

The one-hour session will provide parents with strategies to use the Haitian Creole Language as an asset to support student success.

Session B

Boule (Burn)
Presented by Mathew Jean
(Lecture Hall)

This session titled "Boule (Burn)" is based on an infamous phrase that encapsulates the fierce spirit of the Haitian freedom fighters. This workshop invites participants to an overview of the historical events of Haitian Revolution while engaging practitioners in thought provoking discussions on socio-emotional implications of Haitian History and Culture to the individual and collective psyche.

Deconstructing & Reconstructing Identity, Ourstory, Culture and Education (Virtual)
Presented by Dr. Guy C. Jeanty
(Main Auditorium)

Participants will:

  • Learn a theoretical framework and a cultural lens from which to identify and implement practices that can improve the academic outcomes of Haitian students.
  • Recognize unapologetically the unique needs of Haitian students in considering instructional design, curriculum development, and community advocacy.
  • Identify and vet educators who are 100 percent committed to the vision of educating and affirming Haitian students.
  • Establish and innovate systems of pedagogy designed specifically for Haitian students.
  • Interrogate both African and Haitian culture as foundational for education and curriculum development.
  • Define Haitian culture and its relationship to identity and education.

Whole Group

Here’s How to Help Me Succeed!
Moderated by Nadilia Charles, Program Planner in the Department of Multicultural Education

Haitian students discuss their academic journey to English language acquisition, their immigration experience and how a culturally responsive classroom impacts their learning. This session will inform teachers on how best to support Haitian students.

 Wednesday, June 22, 2022
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


5:00 pm - 5:30 pm

5:30 pm - 5:35 pm
Brian Knowles, Manager, African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies

5:35 pm - 5:45 pm
Karen McFarlane, Teacher, Palm Beach Lakes Community High School

5:45 pm - 6:00 pm
Jamaicans of Palm Beach

6:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Student Panel
Moderated by Kaywana Livermore, Teacher, Palm Beach Lakes Community High School

6:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Open Forum

Afro Caribbean Diaspora: English Speaking West Indies Community Forum
Student Panel and Open Forum


 Thursday, June 23, 2022
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Delray Beach Public Library
100 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, Florida, 33444

Roundtable Discussion - Evening With Spady
(food and refreshments will be available)



Melanie M. Acosta, Ph.D.Melanie M. Acosta, Ph.D., engages in work for the learning and lives of Black children, expressed through careful study of educational excellence emerging out of a culture-centered worldview. Currently, Dr. Acosta is an Assistant Professor of Education at Florida Atlantic University where her scholarship centers African American educational principles, processes, and practices in teaching and teacher education. Her research and theorizing are featured in academic journals and community outlets. Dr. Acosta is also Founder and Co-organizer of Liberate Literacy, a community-rooted initiative proposed for “Better Literacy Learning Options For Black People” through increasing Black ownership of the literacy attainment and growth trajectory of Black children. Before her work as a university professor, Dr. Acosta was an elementary school teacher and a community organizer for a grassroots parent empowerment group.

Almitra L. Berry, Ed.D.Almitra L. Berry, Ed.D. is the CEO, founder, and principal consultant of ALBerry Consulting, Incorporated. She is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and consultant on the topic of culturally and linguistically diverse learners in America’s K12 education system. Her research focuses on equity and academic achievement in majority-of-color, low-wealth, large, urban school districts. Dr. Berry is author of the book series Effecting Change which addresses the educational needs for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners focusing heavily on provision gaps, equity, and addressing related challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis holding a B.A. in political science/public administration. She holds a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction. She has held multiple credentials including a California reading endorsement, language development specialist (LDS), and bilingual/cross-cultural language acquisition and development (CLAD/BCLAD) for Spanish language instruction.

Dr. Berry has worked with educators, leaders, and school boards throughout the United States. She has presented at scores of state, national, and international conferences on the topics of equity, leadership, curriculum reform, and meeting the needs of historically underserved and disenfranchised learners. Her work aims to introduce educators to a culturally relevant pragmatism that regard the culturally and linguistically diverse learner as one who brings to school a divergent order of reality. That reality influences the culture of school, the equity of policy, and the efficacy of instructional methods. She calls upon educators and educational leaders to evaluate policy, curriculum, instruction, supervision, and professional learning with a lens focused on equity.

Dr. Edwidge Crevecoeur-BryantDr. Edwidge Crevecoeur-Bryant, is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), in the Education Department, at Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL. She earned a Master of Arts in Educational Administration and a Doctorate in Applied Linguistics with an emphasis in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She is the coauthor of two books: Educating English Learners: What every classroom teacher needs to know and Show, Tell, Build: 20 Key Instructional Tools and Techniques for English Learners. Dr. Bryant is Haitian and is the General Director of a literacy center in Haiti – OAKA (Oganizasyon Agrikilti Kominote AlfaTeknik) (Organizations Agriculture Community and Literacy). She is a Consultant for the Palm Beach County School District and regularly presents on Haitian history and language. In that capacity, she assisted in the writing and implementation of the African and African American History Infusion Curriculum. Lastly, she is the current President of the Florida Association for Bilingual Educators.

Nadilia CharlesNadilia Charles is a Program Planner in the Department of Multicultural Education for the School District of Palm Beach County. She holds a B.A. in English Literature, a M.Ed in Education, and a M. Ed in Guidance and Counseling. Nadilia was awarded Palm Beach County School District High School Counselor of the Year in 2012. She has worked as an educator for twenty-three years in the following capacities: middle and high school English teacher, high school ESOL Bilingual Bi-cultural School Counselor, and ESOL Coordinator, and ESOL Instructional Specialist. She is a Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer. She is a member of the Haitian Educators Association of Palm Beach. She is a bilingual professional that believes in providing ELL students and families with the educational, social, and emotional tools necessary to be successful.

Jephta Valmy Petit FrereJephta Valmy Petit Frere is an ESOL Instructional Specialist / Dual Language Specialist in the Department of Multicultural Education for Palm Beach County School District. She has had the privilege of supporting the launching of the first Haitian Creole Dual Language Program in Palm Beach County and the state of Florida.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. For the past seven years, her experiences as an educator have primarily evolved around bilingual education.

Being an experienced dual language teacher who is bilingual and bi-literate in Haitian Creole, she believes that language is an asset rather than a deficit. She provides opportunities to ensure that students are empowered and strive for excellence by affirming that being multilingual is valuable.

Fernelize HenryFernelize Henry is currently working in the department of Teaching and Learning for the Palm Beach County School District. She spent almost three years as a Social Studies Instructional Specialist and now is a Specialist for the Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust and Gender studies. She was a history classroom teacher for 14 years at Palm Beach Central High School. During her career, she has worked with Migrant education and the Jumpstart program during the summer. She also co-wrote the curriculum for the Latin American History course, and was a participant in the year-long Teaching American History program.

She received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) from Nova Southeastern University. She is a proud Afro-Latina from Nicaragua who is passionate about history and equity.

Dr. Sharroky HollieDr. Sharroky Hollie, is a national educator who provides professional development to thousands of educators in the area of cultural responsiveness. Since 2000, Dr. Hollie has trained over 150,000 educators and worked in nearly 2,000 classrooms. Going back 25 years, he has been a classroom teacher at the middle and high school levels, a central office professional development coordinator in Los Angeles Unified School District, a school founder and administrator, and university professor in teacher education at Cal State University. Sharroky has also been a visiting professor for Webster University in St. Louis and a guest lecturer at Stanford and UCLA.

In addition to his experience in education, he has authored several texts and journal articles. Most recently, he wrote Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (2015) and contributed a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of African American Language (2015). Dr. Hollie's first book, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning: Classroom Practices for Student Success, was published in 2011, followed soon thereafter by The Skill to Lead, The Will to Teach, co-written with Dr. Anthony Muhammad. Also, Dr. Hollie has been a contributing author with Pearson publishing, in the Cornerstone and Keystone textbook series (2009), Prentice Hall Anthology (2012), and iLit e-series (2014). In 2003, he and two colleagues founded the Culture and Language Academy of Success, a laboratory school that demonstrated the principles of cultural responsiveness in an exemplary school wide model, which operated until 2013.

Amlak-IAmlak Foley - l manifested in the physical realm and began living a reality that was surrounded by poverty yet insulated by a mother's love. This is why he considers himself a man of the people, not above but equal. It is with this mindset he graduated from the school of hard knocks with a PHD in "Streetology."

It is with this understanding Amlak-I sought out to become an autodidact, even though he chose to drop out of school at the age of 16 he would go on to attend college as well as lecture at several Universities. His efforts as an educator and mentor spans over two decades. He has been blessed to serve the needs of individuals from juvenile and adult correctional facilities to grade schools and even universities.

Dr. Alyssa JeanDr. Alyssa Jean is a Haitian Creative and Memory Recovery Specialist for the Haitian diaspora. She committed to bringing African/Haitian history into a viable curriculum program that addresses the importance of cultural identity and relevant areas of study that will build confident and capable children. She also creates children's books, music, family friendly documentaries, and various media through her online platform Haitian Preservation.

Mathew JeanMathew Jean, a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, is committed to the banner of mental health awareness and fighting stigma through his entrepreneurial efforts. He is the owner and principal therapist of Beach Stone Counseling in Pompano Beach, FL. He believes strongly that "Beach Stone Counseling is a place where people can find peace. “We want each client to be seen, heard, and valued." His vision is to provide quality therapeutic services for individuals, couples, families, group therapy, and mentorship for up-and-coming mental health practitioners. Mathew also supports the community through his in-person and virtual training on topics such as parenting-specifically fatherhood, infant mental health, anger management, to list a few. In addition, he has many years of public and motivational speaking to various audiences; however, his passion is helping under-served populations such as Black men get the mental health assistance they need. Mathew's motto is "I am the therapist I needed 15-20 years ago."

Mathew is a father of four girls, three of which are triples. And now he and his wife are expecting a baby boy. He was inspired by his love for his children to become an author of children’s books; "Go to School Everyday" and "When the Tablets Ran Away". His latest book, “Have a Good Day”, addresses stress management in children and provides practical guides and tips that parents and educators can implement to support children's emotional awareness throughout the day.

Dr. Guy C. JeantyDr. Guy C. Jeanty, born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, is the youngest of six children of Marcel Jeanty and Cesarine Jeanty. He is a U.S. army veteran, former hospice chaplain for 11 years, and university professor. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, and a Certified Family Mediator. He is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience, specializing in couples therapy and crisis management with organizations dealing with the effects of natural disasters, mass shootings, and workplace violence. He also conducts training for law enforcement organizations and schools. He has a distinct ability of being calm amidst chaos while engendering hope and resilience in others. Because of these traits and his expertise, he is the preferred clinician of the U. S. Customs and Border Protection’s Traumatic Incidents & Events Response Team. His personal and professional development includes training by Dr. Wade Nobles in African psychology which focuses on the science of spirit (or Sakhu). He is also an apprentice of Prof. Bayyinah Bello in the Natural Approach to Self-Knowledge. Dr. Jeanty is the owner of Jeanty Counseling & Consulting, LLC.

Karen JeffersonKaren Jefferson is a veteran educator with over 16 years of experience. She earned a B.A. degree in Political Science with a certificate in Ethnic Studies from Florida Atlantic University and completed her graduate studies at Lynn University.

Karen currently serves as the Instructional Specialist for the Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies within the School District of Palm Beach County. In this capacity, her work entails designing culturally responsive curriculum and professional development with a focus on pedagogical strategies for Black student engagement. A critical aspect of her work is ensuring that schools provide environments that reflect, validates, and normalizes the perspectives of Black students.

Brian Knowles, M.Ed.Brian Knowles, M.Ed. has been an educator for over 15 years. He earned his B.A. degree in History from Florida Atlantic University and completed his graduate studies at the University of West Florida.

Brian currently serves as the Manager of the Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies within the School District of Palm Beach County, the tenth–largest public-school district in the United States. The Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies has been in existence for 28 years with a major focus on providing best teaching practices for students of color and the development of culturally responsive curriculum.

Brian and his team have been instrumental in supporting schools to create environments that are conducive to the academic success of Black students. His work has served to eliminate systemic barriers and interrupt practices rooted in racism at many levels including the classroom, the School District, and the community. During his tenure, he is proud of several accomplishments including authoring the SDPBC Equity and Access Policy 1.041, which legally binds the District to address systemic deficiencies that create gaps in academic achievement. Brian has also designed a series of state-wide, secondary-level courses that highlight the historical contributions and experiences of African Diasporic people:

  • Great Men and Women of Color Who Shaped World History
  • Examining the African American Experience in the 20th Century through Music and Visual Arts
  • Exploring Hip Hop as Literature, and
  • The History and Contribution of Haiti in a Global Context.

Brian was named one of South Florida’s Top Black Educators by Legacy magazine . His work and research have been featured in the Journal of Literacy Innovation: Rethinking Literacy Instruction.

Kaywana LivermoreKaywana Livermore was born and raised in a small town called Lime Hall located in St. Ann Jamaica. She attended St. Hilda's Diocesan High School for girls located in the same parish. After high school, she attended Moneague College where she completed a course in pre-university. Ms. Kaywana Livermore immigrated into the United States over a decade ago. She earned a B.Sc. degree in Biology from Florida Atlantic University. She is a current teacher with the School District of Palm Beach County, where she teaches Environmental Science grades 9-12. Ms. Livermore also serves in the United States Army Reserves. Her favorite pastime is traveling.

Karen McFarlaneKaren McFarlane immigrated to the United States from the island of Jamaica over two decades ago. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, she attended Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha“ High School for girls in Kingston. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from the American Public University System and her MSc. in Education from the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College School of Education. She was the recipient of a New York City Teaching Fellowship and started her second career as a teacher within New York City public schools teaching students with disabilities in the social sciences. She is a teacher within the School District of Palm Beach County and taught World History, US History, American Government, and Economics with Financial Literacy to 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students full-time, respectively, up until the end of the last school year and students receiving Hospital Homebound services- part-time. She is dually certified in ESE/Special Education and Social Sciences. She is actively involved in her community as a member of her neighborhood association, the ESE Advisory Committee, and co-chair of the Classroom Teachers Association ESE committee. She is a co-sponsor of the West Indian Heritage Club at Palm Beach Lakes High School.

Dr. Bianca Nightengale-LeeDr. Bianca Nightengale-Lee, currently, serves as an Assistant Professor in the department of Curriculum Culture & Educational Inquiry at Florida Atlantic University. As a critically engaged community scholar, her work centers on academic, school, and community based settings. Her research explores critical pedagogy as it relates to socially conscious, humanizing and inclusive educational practice. Dr. Nightengale-Lee’s scholarship interrogates, resists, and re-frames traditionalized notions of curriculum development to produce equitable learning conditions for culturally and linguistically diverse students. Through her teaching she is committed to preparing the next generation of educators to meet the demands of 21st century learning contexts, which reflect the racially, socially, and politically charged structures that shape education, and the practical pathways that lead to more humanizing modes of pedagogy.

Dr. Jermaine ScottDr. Jermaine Scott is an Assistant Professor of African American, African Diaspora, and Sports History at Florida Atlantic University. His manuscript-in-progress, Black Soccer: Football and Politics in the African Diaspora, situates soccer as a site of Black politics across the Black world, and shows how Black athletes challenged the racial structures of the game while creating new expressions of identity and belonging. He has published in a wide array of publications, including, The Journal of Sport History, The Journal of African American History, and ESPN’s Undefeated.

Akbar WatsonAkbar Watson is the owner/director of Pyramid Books, Inc. located in Boynton Beach, Fl. Pyramid Books is one of the largest African centered bookstores in the country. The store specializes in providing books and related materials that enhance knowledge of the African diaspora. Mr. Watson has been in business for over 22 years and has become a major source of information about the African and African American ethos. Watson also has secured book/material contracts with the U.S. Government, the State of Florida, numerous school districts, libraries, and others who vie for his services.

Steve WhiteSteve White addresses the root causes of this achievement gap and offers solutions through his work with parents, teachers and students. His workshop presentation, “Helping Black Children Reach Their Full Potential” has been requested by schools, universities, social service agencies, parents and other organizations for more than 30 years. Steve has also written a book with the same title. Helping Black Children Reach Their Full Potential is the book that captures the information presented in the workshop of the same name.

Steve’s prison reentry program has allowed him to work directly with incarcerated male inmates and has helped many inmates make a successful reentry into society as entrepreneurs, husbands, fathers, sons and overall contributing members of society. In addition, Steve’s mentoring program entitled From Black Boy to Black Man designed for 12-18 year–old black males is a nationally recognized mentoring program that earned Steve the Chairman’s Award for Mentoring Leadership from 100 Black Men of America in 2015. Other notable awards include being named one of South Florida’s Top Black Educators by Legacy magazine and being one of only five individuals in the country honored by State Farm Insurance and the Tom Joyner Foundation for his work in the black community in 2018. The work that Steve does is indeed a labor of love.

The School District of Palm Beach County