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Dr. Kelli Cedo serves as Early Learning & Tile I Senior Director in Norfolk City Schools. She has served Principal of Forrest Elementary School in Hampton, VBCPS as Title I Coordinator, Division Contact for School Improvement, Assistant Principal, Literacy Coach, Academic Coordinator, and Family Engagement Liaison. She has served on the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals board and the National Association of Federal Program Directors Board. She has presented at numerous conferences including the National Title I conference and National Association of Elementary School Principals Conference. She currently is a blogger for Scholastic and Center for Collaborative Classrooms. Her passion is to ensure all educators and students have access to high-quality curriculum, instruction, and professional learning through mentoring and cultivating an environment of collaboration and innovation through respect, trust, and risk-taking. Dr. Cedo’s presentations focus on all aspects of comprehensive literacy including year‐round and out of school time. She supports other educators in creating strategic steps to ensure resources and programming are effective for all kids. Dr. Cedo helps schools collaborate to establish their vision, mission, goals, objectives, and action steps and confirm measurable outcomes exist while ensuring they are able to measure the outcomes. Dr. Cedo has authored or has been a contributor for articles in publications such as Title I Admin and ASCD Education Update. Dr. Cedo holds a Master’s degree in elementary education, and an Ed.S. and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership/Supervision, all from Old Dominion University. Her dissertation focused on providing all students access to quality education by examining state fiscal effort toward education.


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Dr. Tracy Joshua joined Kellogg in 2014 as the Vice President, Procurement Indirect.
In this role, Tracy is a member of the North America leadership team and she is responsible for leading Strategic Sourcing efforts as well as procuring goods and services across the organization estimated at $3 Billion.  In 2016, Tracy was the recipient of Kellogg’s highest award; the K Values award which recognized her Diversity and Inclusion efforts within the company and externally with suppliers. Prior to joining Kellogg, Tracy served in public service as the Chief Procurement and Logistics Officer for Detroit Public Schools (DPS) where she led and implemented turnaround strategies with a focus on strategic sourcing, inventory management, quality, supplier relationship management and scorecard metrics aligned with State and Federal regulations. During Tracy’s leadership, the Procurement organization was redesigned and transformed, delivered first­time cost savings ­­ while under emergency management – as well as improved quality, procurement and inventory processes while increasing service delivery. 
Tracy is a graduate of Michigan State University where she completed both her bachelor's and master's degrees in Supply Chain and Education, Organizational Development and Labor Relations respectively. She holds a second Masters from Georgia Tech University in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis on Global Supply Chains. She completed her Doctorate of Management degree from Walsh College, with a focus on Executive and Courageous Leadership specifically with women entrepreneurs. Given Tracy’s research and her diversity efforts, in 2015 she was selected to participate in a three-year global study and partnership focused on advancing women entrepreneurs in Canada. Believing that service and giving are foundational; Tracy serves as a current board member of City Year Detroit, ProcureCon Advisory Board, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, Great Lakes Women Business Enterprise and she has served as an adjunct professor.



Nicole McDowell has an extensive career in public education with over 25 plus years of experience. Throughout her career, she has held various roles within the field of education that began as an elementary special education teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools. After seven years of teaching, Nicole moved into a supervisory role, overseeing the special education programs as a Special Education Supervisor at Milwaukee Urban League Academy of Business and Economics. She has also served as both an assistant principal and principal at the high school level. At the district level, she managed and supervised one of the country's largest public school district integration programs for inter and intra-district transfers, the Chapter 220 program. She has also held positions as Director for multiple departments, including Alternative Education, Leadership Development, Family Services, and Executive Director of Equity and Community Engagement. Nicole's life's mantra, "to do to and for others the same as you would do to and for your own," reflects her commitment to treating others with kindness, empathy, and respect. This mantra is rooted in the Golden Rule, a principle in many cultures that encourages people to treat others as they would like to be treated.
In the context of education, this mantra highlights the importance of creating inclusive and equitable learning environments where all students feel valued and supported. Nicole has a reputation for treating students, families, and colleagues with the same care and respect that one would extend to their family members; she believes that educators can create a positive and nurturing school culture that promotes academic success and social-emotional well-being.
Overall, Nicole McDowell's life mantra reflects her belief in the power of kindness, empathy, and compassion to make a difference in the lives of others.



Dr. Gholnecsar “Gholdy” Muhammad began her career as a reading, language arts, and social studies middle school teacher. After teaching in the classroom, she served as a school district curriculum director and was responsible for K‐12 literacy instruction, assessments, and professional development. Dr. Muhammad received her Ph.D. in Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests are situated in historical foundations of literacy development and the writing practices among Black communities. Each year she holds a summer literacy institute with Black girls called, Black Girls WRITE! which reflects literacy practices found in nineteenth-century literary societies. Her work has appeared in numerous books and journals, including Research in the Teaching of English, Urban Education, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and Written Communication.

Dr. Muhammad is currently an Associate Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago and formerly Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Georgia State University. Additionally, she serves as the director of the Urban Literacy Collaborative and Clinic. She strives to shape the national conversation for educating youth who have been underserved. She works with teachers and young people across the United States and South Africa in best practices in literacy instruction. She also served as a school board president and continues to work collaboratively with local schools across communities in the Atlanta area. Dr. Muhammad is the 2014 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English, Promising New Researcher Award, the 2015 NCTE Alan C. Purves Award, the 2016 NCTE CEE Janet Emig awardee, and the 2017 Georgia State University Urban Education Research Awardee. More recently she was awarded the 2018 University of Illinois‐ Chicago, Researcher of Year, and recipient of a $750,000 U.S. Department of Education grant to study culturally and historically responsive literacy. She just finished her book entitled, Cultivating Genius: An Equity Model for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.


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Diane H. Pappas is a former Senior Advisor to the Superintendent Los Angeles Unified School District. Diane H. Pappas is a nationally recognized executive leader known for implementing cohesive and high performing strategies for large‐scale, complex problems. Most recently, she led a team of more than 300 people in turning around one of the largest student data projects in the country, the My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS) project. Ms. Pappas formerly served on the Superintendent’s Executive Cabinet and worked closely with her colleagues on the senior leadership team to ensure the District was investing wisely and working efficiently to enhance and contribute to student success. Ms. Pappas served for 10 years as a key leader in the District’s Office of General Counsel. In this capacity, she was charged with restructuring and managing various legal teams, overseeing multimillion-dollar budgets and recruiting new attorneys and legal professionals to assist in managing complex litigation. A long‐time champion for children’s rights, she is passionate about the education and safety of all children and has thus far dedicated herself to providing legal expertise and leadership to advance the District's goals to provide a high-quality education to every student in a safe and nurturing environment. Diane is also a prolific writer and has published 18 children's books. Diane established and served as a former board member of the LAUSD Education Foundation, as well as assisted in establishing the LA Fund for Public Education. Diane holds a J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law and is an active member of the State Bar of California. Additionally, Ms. Pappas is a graduate of UCLA and received a School Business Management Certificate from the University of Southern California.

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