Tyrone C. Howard is the Pritzker Family Endowed professor in the School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Dr. Howard is also the inaugural director of the UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families, which is a transdisciplinary consortium of experts who examine academic, mental health, and social emotional experiences and challenges for California’s most vulnerable youth populations. He is also the director of the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools which serves as a thought partner for districts, counties, and states to pursue whole child, whole community approaches to school systems improvement. Professor Howard has published over 85 peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and technical reports. He has published several bestselling books, among them, Why Race & Culture Matters in Schools and Black Male(d): Peril and promise in the education of African American males. His two most recent books, No More Teaching Without Positive Relationships, and All Students Must Thrive: Transforming Schools To Combat Toxic Stressors And Cultivate Critical Wellness have become must reads for all educators.
Dr. Howard is considered one of the premier experts on educational equity and access in the country. He is also the Director and Founder of the Black Male Institute at UCLA, which is an interdisciplinary cadre of scholars, practitioners, community members, and policy makers dedicated to examining the nexus of race, class, and gender of school age youth. A native and former classroom teacher of Compton, California, Dr. Howard was named the recipient of the 2015 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, which is the UCLA's highest honor for teaching excellence, and was named an American Educational Research Association (AERA) Fellow in 2017 for his exemplary research on race and equity. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and has been listed by Education Week as one of the 200 most influential educational scholars in the nation on education practice, policy, and research. Professor Howard is currently the President of the American Education Research Association, which is the nation’s largest organization focused on educational research and policy.
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Dionne Wells-Hedrington, Ed.D., is a distinguished educator from St. John, Virgin Islands, who has spent most of her career serving the island's children. During her more than 30 years in public education, she has held increasing leadership positions as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, interim superintendent, insular superintendent of schools, and chief operations officer at the Virgin Islands Department of Education. Presently, she serves as the Commissioner of Education.
Dr. Wells-Hedrington is guided by the belief that all children are inherently born with potential, and through the work of caring and skilled educators, each child can develop their gifts and talents.
Dr. Wells-Hedrington is a product of the Virgin Islands public education system and equally finds passion and purpose in ensuring students have safe, welcoming, and state-of-the-art school environments where they can learn and thrive. In her previous position as chief operations officer, she oversaw the development and rollout of the Department of Education's Educational Facility Master Plan and Industry Standards, a first in the Territory. The detailed documents will guide the new construction and modernization of U.S.V.I. public schools for years to come. In leading the extensive collaborative effort, she demonstrated her ability to work well with all facets of the local community, including subject matter experts, school and community groups, business owners, legislators, parents, and students.
As a life-long educator who understands and appreciates the power of education, Dr. Wells-Hedrington has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, a Master's degree in Education Supervision and Instruction, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Wells-Hedrington is a woman of strong faith who enjoys sharing God's Word and messages of hope and empowerment. She is the president of the Purposeful, Prayerful, Passionate Women's Empowerment Group and is an active member of the advisory council for V.I. Christian Ministries.