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Recognizing Race in Education

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Recognizing Race in Education

Presented by Cynthia Martinez, Lead Educator for Special Education, Camden City Schools (NJ); Christian Taylor, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, 4x World Champion, Track and Field – Triple Jump; and Dr. Shaun Nelms, Education Partnership Organization (EPO) Superintendent, East Upper and Lower Schools, Rochester (NY), and William and Sheila Konar Director for the Center for Urban Education Success
Moderated by Darri Stephens, Former Award-Winning Classroom Teacher, Founder of Darrow Ink, Learning Designer, Author, and Speaker

Sponsored by Classroom Champions and ClassLink

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
Get a CE Certificate for this edLeader Panel Learn more

The value of discussing the dynamic topic of race early with children is readily agreed upon, but HOW to do it effectively and empathetically is a resounding question. Transform your school culture by hearing from others on strategic ways to both recognize and invite conversations about race and diversity in your local community. Discover new social and emotional learning (SEL) resources to capitalize on those teachable moments that occur daily in our classrooms.

Come hear from our panel—an education expert, school leader and a world-class athlete—who share their candid moments from their own experiences of discussing and learning about race as students.

This recorded edLeader Panel will be of interest to teachers and school and district leaders of the kindergarten through middle school levels.


Cynthia MartinezAbout the Presenters

Cynthia Martinez is an educator in Camden City, New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in special education from Rowan University, a master’s in educational leadership from Walden University, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in educational leadership with a concentration on social justice at Rowan University. She is currently a lead educator for the Special Services Department. Prior to her supervisory role, Cindi taught special education for 23 years at various traditional public schools in Camden. Her last years in the classroom were spent at Cooper’s Poynt where Cindi was introduced to Classroom Champions by the school librarian. Special education and social justice are her passion because she believes all children can learn from someone who believes in them.


Christian TaylorChristian Taylor is a two-time Olympian (2012, 2016) and two-time Olympic gold medalist, as well as four-time World Champion in the sport of track and field. His specialty is the triple jump. Christian started his career as a standout track and field athlete, setting state high school records in the long jump, triple jump, and 400m. He went on to graduate from the University of Florida, where he racked up both indoor and outdoor National Championship titles and a 2011 World Championship. In 2012 at the Olympic Games in London, Christian won in dramatic fashion after scratching on his first two jumps. In 2015, Christian was part of the “greatest triple jump competition” ever, where he jumped over 18 feet and won gold in the World Championships. While competing, Christian has mentored thousands of students with Classroom Champions and has studied for his master’s degree at the University of Florida, which he just completed in December 2019! Christian also sits on the Board of Directors for Classroom Champions.


Shaun NelmsShaun Nelms, Ed.D. is the superintendent of East Upper and Lower Schools, a new position created through a unique partnership among NYSED, the Rochester City School District, and University of Rochester. Dr. Nelms has been charged with creating a school reform model that can be replicated throughout the U.S. In 2018, he was named the first William and Sheila Konar Director for the Center for Urban Education Success (CUES) at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. In this role, Dr. Nelms leads the center’s efforts to support the success of K-12 urban schools both locally and nationally through a combination of research, relationship building, and a commitment to pursue and share best practices. A graduate of the University of Rochester, Dr. Nelms received his doctorate in K-12 school leadership and master’s in education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Fredonia.


Darri StephensAbout the Moderator

Darri Stephens is a former member of Teach for America and a seasoned educator, with more than 10 years’ experience in Los Angeles and New York City public schools. She’s a published author, who has also worked for education-focused media companies including Nickelodeon, IMAX, EdSurge, and Discovery Education. With master’s degrees in education from both Harvard and Stanford, she’s passionate about creative curriculum development that pushes boundaries, especially considering the influx of today’s technologies. Her most recent positions as Senior Director of Content at Common Sense and Director of Education at Wonder Workshop underscore her love of instructional design, writing, and the ever-changing edtech world—so much so that she has now founded her own content consulting agency, Darrow Ink.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edLeader Panels, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Classroom Champions

Classroom Champions is a non-profit and registered charity that connects volunteer Olympians, Paralympians, and Professional Athletes to classrooms through a K-8 social and emotional-based curriculum and mentorship experience.

ClassLinkClassLink is a leading provider of cloud-based education products that connect educators and students with their classroom, their curriculum and each other in richer, more powerful ways. As leading advocates for open data standards, we offer instant access to apps and files with single sign-on, streamline class rostering, automate account provisioning, and provide actionable analytics. ClassLink empowers 13 million students and staff in over 1,700 school systems.

Classroom Champions


Tuesday, February 16, 2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST
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