Looking for the full Convening agenda? See the Agenda page.

Friday Breakout Sessions

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Friday Morning Sessions | 10:30am-12:00pm

Healing Ourselves

Our ancestors, known and unknown, have handed down the wisdom to us to heal ourselves from both historical trauma and the ongoing trauma of navigating the world in which we live, work, and play. Let’s come together to share our wisdom, our narrative, and our strength.

Anita Garcia Morales, Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Racing to Equity, is an educator, collaborator, consultant, coach, and facilitator in transformational healing and liberation work.
Speaking from the Heart: An Introduction to Mindful Communication

Communication is the foundation to relationships AND can be challenging and uncomfortable at times, especially if you disagree, make assumptions, or are unaware of yourself and others. Mindfulness practices can support awareness of what is happening personally, while being present to others. Curiosity and compassion help with listening and speaking in ways that are open and more understanding of ourselves and others. This will be an interactive workshop where participants will engage in deep listening, reflection, opportunities to practice with partner work, and group discussion, while experiencing the benefits of mindful communication.


Damithia Nieves (she/they) is the founder of Thrive Centered and Co-Director of Programming for Space Between; a Seattle based non-profit a singular purpose of cultivating integration and wholeness for school-aged youth through trauma-informed, mindfulness practices. As a facilitator and educator, Damithia offers healing centered and culturally responsive movement and mindfulness practices and programming to youth in schools (K-12) and throughout communities.

Unpuzzling Black Male Mental Health
This session explores the misperceptions of Black male’s mental health underpinned by implicit biases and racism. Racism has contributed to the violence toward Black males, economic and educational disparities, pathologizing of Black males, deadly intersections with police, and adverse effects of harmful stereotypes through simple daily microaggressions. Clinically, Black males are less likely to present, and when they do, they are often subject to being misunderstood, misperceived, or culturally neutralized. This workshop will increase participants’ cultural competence about Black males in American society.
Dr. Conrad Webster is a mental health advocate, critical race theorist, writer, organizer, facilitator, professor, and education consultant from Houston, TX.
Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline: Changing the way we respond to behavioral challenges in the classroom
The workshop addresses behavioral components in our work, our own escalation cycles, the ways in which the brain responds to trauma and the behaviors that present as a result. The focus will be on antecedents and consequences (responses) of behavior while identifying our own biases in the way we anticipate or respond to behaviors. By taking a holistic approach to challenge the ‘status quo’ of behavioral biases, we can disrupt systems of oppression. Educators will walk away with anti-racist tools and strategies to use to support behavior in their classrooms.

Amanda Pharis is the Associate Director of School Programs with the TMC with a background as a Special Education Teacher and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who works with schools across Washington state to promote inclusive and anti-racist instructional practices in school-wide systems.

Cassie Watkins is a TMC Program Manager with 10+ years of experience as a Special Education Teacher who works with WA schools with a focus on compliance and best practices and implementation of inclusive practices through recurring workshops and 1:1 coaching.

Micheal Williams is a TMC Program Manager whose passion is working with teachers to ensure high quality instruction to students who are impacted by their disability and who may have challenging behaviors, so those students have equitable access to their education.

Elevation 101
This workshop is dedicated to understanding our true selves as educators through inner work and soul-searching. We will explore our roots and spirituality to uncover strengths and weaknesses, empowering us to be more effective advocates for our students and for ourselves. Through guided introspection, participants will be encouraged to take bold action and make more meaningful change in the lives of those we teach.
Vanna Sing: 44 Year old Khmer Rouge genocide survivor, roots from Southeast Asia: Kingdoms of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
NAKIA Academy: an origin story & lessons learned about BIPOC mentorship (Cancelled)
Every superhero has their origin story — come hear the story of the NAKIA Academy. The Academy was named for a fictional unsung hero and a humanitarian whose philosophy includes lifting others up. The NAKIA community is in continuous growth to support educators (teachers and ESAs) in coming together to lead, organize, and create equitable spaces in education. Come interact with the academy’s mentor-leaders to share and hear lessons learned, practice showing up as your most authentic self, and explore identity markers. We will conclude with a chance to have some Q&A with participants and presenters.

Tanisha Brandon-Felder, Director of PreK & Elementary Success, Highline School District
She was the Director of Equitable Leadership, Pedagogy, and Family Engagement in the Shoreline School District for 8 years as well as a classroom teacher in the Seattle Public Schools for 16 years in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. Dr. Brandon-Felder specializes in race and equity, culturally responsive practices, and, primarily, the opportunity gap occurring with Black and Brown students.

Patricia Ann Pocaigue Beuke, Director of Learning Support, Olympic Educational Service District #114 in Bremerton, 30+ years in public education
Currently, she provides professional development training and coaching to schools on the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas and serves on the board of Voices of Pacific Island Nations (VOPIN). She is learning her native language of Chamorro, committed to upholding Guam’s Inifresi and sharing the generous Chamorro spirit in her work and life.

Boozhoo. Bawaajigekwe indidgoo. Miskwaadesi indoodem. Mashkiziibiing indoonjibaa.
Bawaajigekwe Boulley, citizen of the Ojibwe Nation, member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, member of the turtle clan
She moved to Washington from Northern Wisconsin in August of 2021 as she accepted her current position as Beginning Educator Support Team Program Supervisor at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. As an educator in Wisconsin she spent time teaching in public, charter, private, rural and remote, tribal, and Ojibwe language immersion schools for 13 years. In 2020 she was named 1 of 4 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year.

Building Stronger Together (for BIPOC Leaders)

AWSP has established a Leaders of Color Network to create and nurture a supportive environment for black and brown school administrators. Participants will explore AWSP’s key resources and learn how they can leverage them for self-advocacy, leadership development, reflective practices, and seizing ownership of their leadership journey alongside fellow Leaders of Color. This session is designed to cultivate collegial relationships, affirm experiences, and foster a sense of belonging and healing. Additionally, participants will be introduced to the School Leader Framework and School Leader Paradigm, empowering them with tools for self-advocacy and opportunities for leadership growth and advancement.

Kamrica Ary-Turner, Associate Director of Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) This workshop is created by LocNet, Dear Sista (Affinity Space for Black Women Principals, Assistant Principals, and Aspiring Leaders). In addition, Kamrica supports Principal in the Puget Sound and Northwest Educational Service Districts. Kamrica Ary-Turner joined AWSP in July 2022. She served as an educator in Washington for 14 years, mainly in secondary schools, as a counselor and the last 10 years as a school administrator in ESD 121. She advocates for the whole child with a passion for justice, diversity, equity, and community partnerships.

Friday Afternoon Sessions | 1:00-2:30pm

Redefining Professionalism: The New Nature of Work

It’s our turn to define what “professionalism” means. Institutionalizing equity necessitates redefining what it means to be qualified: What it looks like, sounds like, and behaves. We need assurance of expertise (and potential) but now we choose how we experience work. We invite you to a listening circle to explore and validate lived experience, welcome collective confidence in change, find solidarity of diverse ideas, and practice the ability to define our own future with boldness.


Julia Ismael (she/her) is the Founder and Head Architect of Aspirations of The Equity Consortium whose mission is to institutionalize equity.

Supporting White Principals in Taking Anti-Racist Educational Leadership Action

This workshop is tailored toward White principals learning to take anti-racist educational leadership action. Participants will learn about the findings of a collaborative education research study on White principals’ learning journeys toward leadership for racial justice. Current literature scarcely addresses the racialized identity of White educational leaders in the context of anti-racism. Our participatory action research foregrounds White racialized identities, exploring how White principals engage with racial justice leadership in productive ways guided by a racialized sociocultural learning framework.


 Lindsey Kaiser’s research focuses on supporting White principals in learning and participating in anti-racist educational leadership. She uses participatory action and community-based research approaches that unite researchers, school leaders, and community leaders around a shared vision that foregrounds racial justice, equitable collaborations, and positionality and propels action.

Decarceration and Decolonization in the Classroom: a conversation with a legal abolitionist
Anti-racist legal reform faces many of the same structural challenges, and often experience setbacks in tandem with the movement for race equity in education. Legal reformer and prison abolitionist Frank Thomas will discuss the frameworks that legal policy advocates use to advance race equity in law with a specific focus on the decarceral philosophy known as prison abolition. Participants will strategize decarceral and decolonial policies for their classrooms with a focus on harm reduction and restorative healing for students. This program is intended as a call to action for greater solidarity in anti-racist reform across institutional silos like law and education.
Frank Thomas coordinates the Washington State Supreme Court Minority and Justice Commission, and occupies the only role within the Washington judiciary dedicated to racial justice reform. Frank has worked on issues such as the causes and disparate impact of mass incarceration, the racialized impacts of Legal Financial Obligations, and systemic youth justice reform, among others. Frank is a lifelong Seattle resident, the son of a former SPS high school teacher, and a graduate of Seattle Public Schools, Seattle Central College, University of Washington and University of California, Irvine School of Law.
Imagine Teacher and Student Liberation through Equity-Driven Practices: A Project-Based Learning Workshop
Join us for an inspiring and transformative professional development workshop designed to empower educators with innovative, equity-driven practices in Project-Based Learning (PBL). Led by our TAF Transformation Coaches, this workshop will delve into the principles of student liberation and teacher empowerment, fostering an environment that values diversity, inclusion, and authentic engagement.

Dr. Malesia Britt and TAF Transformation Coaches: 

Dr. Arleatha Bryant is the STEM Integration Transformation Coach at Brigadoon Elementary and Olympic View K-8 Schools. 

Dr. Nina FL Markham, Ph.D. is both a research scientist and science educator who is committed to the distribution of knowledge to both adults and younger minds. Having worked in academia, industry, and in secondary education, she has developed an understanding of the crossroads between all three. She has a B.S. in Chemistry, a Ph.D. in Immunology and with her teaching certificate has taught in all content areas of science to grades 6-12. Currently she is a STEM integration coach at TAF@Saghalie and loves bringing PBL practices and projects into the classrooms.

Sarah Frisbie, STEMbyTAF Transformation Coach, is a STEM coach who is as passionate about promoting mental health in our students as she is about empowering them to do amazing feats within in their communities!

Cultivating the Genius of Black Learners

What does it mean to cultivate the genius of Black students? Imagine classrooms where teachers incorporate decades of research about Black students, their learning styles, multiple intelligences, adult-child interactions, and cultural expectations. When we create classroom environments that meet the learning needs of Black students, we cultivate their genius and create opportunities for them to excel. This session presents the best practice, the best pedagogy, and the best strategies for teaching Black students.

Dr. Debra R. Sullivan is an teacher educator the author of three books, including Cultivating the Genius of Black Children.
Washington’s Broken K-12 Funding System and What It Means for Communities

Washington’s current funding approach puts enormous strain on school districts, creates deep inequities, and puts districts on an unsustainable financial path limiting the support and resources districts are able to provide students, families, and educators. In this session we will discuss how we got here, how these challenges impact school communities, what should be the goals of our funding system, and share some opportunities for engagement.

Jacob Vela, Co-CEO/ Policy & Research at the League of Education Voters. Has worked in education policy and advocacy in Washington state for over a decade including a focus on funding inequity in Washington state public education.

Mary Fertakis, M.Ed., Vice Chair, Washington State Board of Education and former Tukwila School Board Director. She has been engaged in addressing the many inequities in Washington state’s education system through policy change for three decades, and has been a strong advocate for implementing a funding system that centers student needs.

Friday Performances

Thank you to our wonderful Friday Performers!

The Northwest Tap Connection

Led by Artistic Director Ms. Melba Ayco


Spanaway Lake High School Cheer Team

‘22 & ‘24 Cheer State Stomp Champions!