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Learning Ally's Spotlight on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Join us for this latest event in our Spotlight Learning Series!

Dr. Sherril English will discuss belonging in the era of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and the foundational importance of literacy in achieving equity in disadvantaged populations. There will also be a panel discussion with Dr. Miriam Ortiz and Telissha Wesson.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are directly connected to the work and lives of teachers and especially to the lives of students of color and economically disadvantaged students. As classrooms of students have become more racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse, many educators have celebrated this richness of diversity as encouraging for students, their families, and entire school communities.

When diversity is valued by educators and reflected in their literacy curriculum, students are more inclined to develop a sense of inclusion and belonging to their school communities that can be inspiring, empowering, and unifying and that encourages students of color to take academic risks.


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Dr. Sherril English
Clinical Associate Professor @Southern Methodist University
Dr. Sherril English joined the faculty of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development in 2008 and is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. Dr. English's guiding philosophy that "education is a journey, not a race" is her way of encouraging adults to give children the necessary time, space, and instruction to grow and reach their God-given potential. Dr. English’s classes at SMU focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging by encouraging teachers to give students a “voice” to share their lived experiences and interpretations of the gaps in their academic achievement and for teachers to become social justice advocates for their schools.
Dr. Miriam Ortiz
Owner & Lead Consultant @K12 Matters, LLC
Dr. Miriam Ortiz obtained her Ph.D. in Education and Human Development from Southern Methodist University in 2017 with a focus on Special Education and Response to Intervention. Prior to completing her Ph.D. she worked in Tallahassee, Florida as a K-12 teacher for students with behavior and emotional disabilities. She has worked closely with researchers across the country to improve the reading skills and academic achievement of struggling students and students with disabilities. She has taught courses and delivered professional development on the topics of Early Literacy, Behavior Management and Intervention, Assessment, Program Evaluation, and Special Education. Dr. Ortiz is passionate about improving academic outcomes for children with or at-risk for disabilities, teacher training and professional development, as well as assisting struggling readers of all ages.
Telissha Wesson
Hunt Family Director of Early Childhood @St. Philip’s School & Community Center
Bringing words to life has been my favorite pastime since I can remember! The awakening of my mind and spirit tapped by words lead to many worlds that I’ve spent the last 30 years exposing children to. I’m the current (year 7) Hunt Family Director of Early Childhood at St Philip’s School & Community Center, continuing to enjoy the world of literacy in education. It is a pleasure sharing my knowledge and learning along the way.