The Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) in UNC Greensboro’s School of Education hosted the annual Critical Conversations Conference (CCC) March 24-25, 2023. The conference’s theme was “Leadership for Social Justice and Equity: Weaving a Transformative Framework and Pedagogy,” and it was held in a hybrid format with an evening virtual lecture preceding a full-day in-person conference session. The event was sponsored by the Wallace-Funded Equity Focused Leadership Academy with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, as well as the UNCG School of Education Dean’s Office.
The ELCCCC event was held in honor of Dr. Rochelle Brock, past chair of the ELC Department and a founding member of the CCC at UNCG. Dr. Brock’s vision was to bring scholars and practitioners together for critical dialogue about the arts, activism, and social justice issues impacting each of their circles and the many points of intersection. Even though Dr. Brock passed away in 2020, her vision lives on within the many iterations of the conference each year.
This year’s ELCCCC featured two keynote speakers: Dr. Ann Ishimaru of University of Washington-Seattle and Dr. Kofi Lomotey of Western Carolina University. Ishimaru, an expert on equitable collaborations with families, discussed establishing effective university partnerships with parent groups during her virtual address on Friday evening. Lomotey, a former K-12 school administrator and now esteemed scholar of educational leadership, discussed how principals could be better prepared to educate Black children during his keynote address at Saturday’s in-person session.
Saturday’s in-person ELCCCC session began with introductions by Dr. Tiffanie Lewis-Durham and Dr. Katherine Cumings Mansfield, the ELC faculty members who planned the event in collaboration with ELC Office Manager Nor Othman-LeSaux and ELC Graduate Teaching Associate, Arianna Di Puorto. ELC’s Dr. Brian Clarida, the Principal Investigator and Director of UNCG’s Wallace-Funded Equity Focused Leadership Academy with WSFCS, and Sabrina Otero, the Academy’s Project Manager, provided crucial support and assistance.
Saturday’s in-person proceedings commenced with a panel of current principals, who included Dr. Darrell Harris, Dr. Noelle Leslie, and Christopher Scott from Guilford County Schools, Dr. Susan Chappell from Randolph County Schools, and Colin Tribby from WSFCS. The principals who are ELC alumni discussed their dispositions as social justice leaders and how aspiring leaders can prioritize educational equity in their work. Participants at Saturday’s ELCCCC session then had the chance to attend a number of interactive workshops led by UNCG alumni, UNCG faculty members, and current UNCG students. The topics included transformative leadership, principals’ roles in culturally responsive family engagement, embodied resilience, and more. Each workshop provided opportunities for attendees to challenge themselves to be better equipped for practice in schools and their organizations. One ELCCCC attendee noted, “I enjoyed the presentations and learned a lot. I have been able to use strategies and ideas from the conference already in my work. It was super well done!” Another participant explained, “The connections to other educators and scholars was really nice,” while another noted, “sessions were informative; food was stellar!”
Learn more about ELCCCC sessions, current and past.
ELC appreciates the support of all who participated in the ELCCCC event this year. Be on the lookout for invitations to next year’s event.