Skip to main content
December 1 - 4, 2015
2015 Parent and Family Engagement Conference
"The Next Generation of Partnership"

Keynote Speakers

Nefertiti Bruce Poyner

Opening Session Keynote

Nefertiti Bruce Poyner, M Ed, is an author, public speaker and provider of professional learning for the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. She began her career as a preschool and kindergarten teacher in Philadelphia, and in her 10 years with Devereux, she has promoted the social-emotional health and resilience of individuals, families and communities. Nefertiti uses humor, personal stories and a spirit of enthusiastic optimism to help others “build their bounce”.

Joe Cepeda

Closing Session Keynote

Mr. Cepeda received his BFA in illustration from California State University, Long Beach in 1992 and also studied Engineering at Cornell University. He is the illustrator of awarding-winning picture books such as What a Truly Cool World and Nappy Hair. Mr. Cepeda received the Recognition of Merit Award for 2000 from The George G. Stone Center for Children's Books. His illustrations have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Times; Buzz, Inc. Magazine; and Latina Magazine.

José-Luis Orozco

Closing Session Special guest

José-Luis Orozco is a bilingual educator, children’s author, and recording artist who has dedicated his life to creating quality bilingual music, books, and videos for children. He encourages learning of the Spanish language and promotes Latin American culture through his art. He is an acknowledged expert in children's music and is a featured speaker for teachers, parents, librarians and childcare providers who seek to use music as an important learning tool in multicultural classrooms.

Sylvia Acevedo

Closing Session Alumni Keynote

Sylvia Acevedo is an award-winning CEO who has earned worldwide recognition for her work in addressing one of society’s most vexing challenges – universal access to education. Ms. Acevedo started her career as a rocket scientist at the Jet Propulsion Labs. She has since served as an executive with Fortune 100 companies: Apple, IBM, Autodesk and Dell. On top of that, Ms. Acevedo is a Head Start alum!

Kenneth M. Young

Policy Council Dinner Keynote

Mr. Young has served as the elected Riverside County Superintendent of Schools since 2007. He oversees the state’s fourth largest regional K-12 public education system, which has more than 430,000 students. He has worked in the field of public education for 21 years, and before that, he worked in the private sector for 20 years—14 of which he was the CEO of a private engineering construction corporation.


Featured Speakers

Stacey Alicea

Stacey holds a PhD in Applied Psychology from NYU Steinhardt School of Education, and an MPH in Family Health from Columbia University. Through her work at Mt Sinai School of Medicine and Columbia University, Stacey directed a variety of intervention and service-based research projects targeting education across multiple domestic and international urban contexts. She has published in numerous journals and is the recipient of a Ford Fellowship.

Donna Beegle, Ed. D.

Dr. Donna Beegle has been writing and speaking on poverty for 25 years. After growing up in generational poverty, leaving school for marriage at 15 and having two children she found herself, at 25, with no husband, little education, and no job skills. What followed were: self-confidence, a G.E.D., A.A. in Journalism, a B.A. with honors in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Communication with a minor in Gender Studies with honors, and completion of a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership.

Kai-leé Berke

Kai-leé Berke is the Chief Academic Officer at Teaching Strategies, LLC. Kai-leé has dedicated her entire career to supporting children, families, and teachers in the early childhood community. She has taught and cared for for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners in public, private, and Department of Defense programs. She was as a program administrator for a preschool organization, and most recently, she's taken the lead in developing many of Teaching Strategies' resources.

Brenda Buzzell, M.Ed.

Brenda Buzzell, M.Ed, Building Blocks for Literacy® Coordinator, for the Stern Center for Language and Learning, instructs trainings/workshops and college courses. She co-authored the Building Blocks for Literacy® 12-hour online course and co-presented a series of webinars sponsored with the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Perry Davis

Mr. Davis is a Finance and Management Specialist with TTAS at Western Kentucky University. He specializes in the areas of cost allocation, internal controls, non-federal share, procurement, budgeting, facilities, the Grant Application Budget Instrument, the HHS – Grants Policy Statement, the Uniform Guidance and Management Systems. He has conducted workshops at National, Regional and State Head Start Associations as well state and local Community Action Agency Association meetings.

Alika Hope

Alika received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame and her M.A. in early childhood special education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Alika has a variety of experiences as an educator, including working with Early Head Start, Head Start, private and parochial schools,Northside Center for Children, and New York City public schools. She is a published author and has taught at the college level.

Mable Jones

It is well documented that Mable Jones, the Founder & CEO of The Jones Connection has lived the life she advocates and recommends for others. She has acquired and nurtured a special love for Head Start children, parents, and staff members. A former Head Start parent, teacher, and parent coordinator, she worked at GLEAAMS Head Start program in South Carolina.

Katrina Morse

Katrina Morse is a children’s book author and illustrator and Assistant Director of Family Reading Partnership, a not-for-profit literacy coalition based in Ithaca, NY. Her love of the creative process has been with her from an early age and led her to pursue degrees in studio art and education. She is driven to teach, share, and inspire others to think creatively.

Norman Lorenz, Ed. D.

Norman Lorenz, Ed.D. is a professor of Human Development at Sacramento City College (SCC). In addition to his classroom responsibilities, Dr. Lorenz is the Coordinator of Faculty Development and Student Equity at SCC. Previously, Dr. Lorenz was a consultant for the State of California, Child Development Division supporting agencies offering State Preschool Services and those who blended State and Federal Head Start funding.

Silvia Esqueda

Silvia Esqueda is a bilingual/bicultural, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has worked with families and Promotoras Comunitarias for more than 20 years. Presently, Silvia Esqueda is a national trainer and consultant for Abriendo Puertas and the Department of Mental Health Services.