Event Speakers

We are pleased to offer the following break out sessions for our November 5 event.  If you joined us before, welcome back.  If you are new to the group, welcome.  We are happy you are here. 

We have created this program to be deliberately scaffolded.  There is a session for people newer to social justice education, other sessions for those just dipping their toes into this field, and even sessions for veterans of this critical work. Regardless of your position on your social justice journey we hope to provide meaningful support to you. 

Equitable Family Engagement through the Lens of Social Justice

As educators, we should always be increasing, sustaining, and understanding systemic capacity within the educational system. The system should create ways to improve outcomes for our students and to further improve communication efforts with their parents, guardians, and significant others. Engaging with our students’ families can support our efforts in the classroom, virtually, and in our communities. During this presentation, together, we will examine and exchange ways we can address and understand social justice initiatives in providing equitable family engagement and involvement in our educational institutions.



Dr. Donna Randolph holds degrees in Education and Leadership and Policy Studies. She has been a Special Education teacher, supervisor, and principal both in the public and private sectors.
Dr. Randolph was conferred her doctoral degree in Higher Education-Leadership and Policy Studies from California State University, Northridge. Her dissertation focused on underrepresented students and research opportunities. Dr. Donna continues research with underrepresented high school and college students, social justice initiatives, and strategic life interventions. Also, her organization-My New Journeys- assists parents with advocacy and educational institution issues, service learning and community service strategies, social justice advocacy, and strategic pathways to post-secondary opportunities.
Donna’s expertise lies in personal development strategies for adults and teens, parent engagement topics, assisting parents in finding higher education and career opportunities, and professional development training.
Dr. Donna raised four children as a single mom and is a proud grandmother of two granddaughters. She is proud Millersville University alumni and serves on the Alumni Board.

It Takes A Village: Supporting and Empowering Our Students Through Cultural Trauma

It is now clear that we are facing two pandemics in America, COVID-19 and structural racism. Over the past months we have seen COVID-19 exacerbate existing inequities, and oppressed communities rise to challenge the systems that perpetuate institutional racism. As Coronavirus continues to disproportionately affect Latinx and African Americans and protests are happening globally calling for an end to injustices faced by the Black communities, educators are ramping up for a school year unlike any other. How can we as educators provide holistic and culturally-competent support to our Black and Latinx students during such a tumultuous time? Through intersectionality and a trauma-informed approach, that will empower them and promote healing. This particular workshop will focus on how educational leaders can approach courageous conversations surrounding identity, racism, and trauma. It will also discuss inclusive interventions that intersect culture and education at its core to promote equity and success inside the classroom.


TaLisa Ramos-Watts, MSW, LSW currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Officer in the Office of Diversity and Social Justice at Millersville University. Prior to coming to Millersville University, TaLisa spent much of her time developing and implementing multicultural mentorship and academic support programs at various collegiate institutions, increasing ALANA (Asian-American, Latinx, African-American & Native American) students’ success and retention rates.  For the past twelve years TaLisa has worked in both higher education and mental health care settings, providing culturally competent and holistic services and trainings. TaLisa continues her work in the mental health field as a Clinical Psychiatric Specialist at the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, spending many of her years as a Care Coordinator on the Child & Adolescent units. Her major areas of therapeutic focus are trauma-informed care, cultural trauma, and identity development.

The Journey to Equity, Critical Consciousness and Social Justice

In this interactive ZOOM session, we will begin with a thought-probing poem followed by a short introduction. All participants will be engaged through the following questions.

  1. What do the terms in our title mean for you?
  2. What is your story on this Journey and what does it mean to be an American?
  3. What does this mean for the children and adults with whom you teach or engage?
  4. What does it mean for our schools and districts?
  5. How do we navigate hostile territories?
  6. What would you like to change and why?

Handouts on meaningful dialogues and readings will be available.



Mr. Howard Hanson, Assistant Principal, McCaskey H.S. Lancaster School District and  Dr. Cheryl Desmond, Professor Emerita, MU; recently retired Board Director, SDL