2023 Illinois Educator Diversity Summit

April 12, 2023

On Monday, March 27th, 2023, The Hunt Institute hosted the 2023 Illinois Educator Diversity Summit at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois. This event was developed in partnership with The Honorable Juliana Stratton, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, who is a champion of educator diversity with a proven record of seeking evidence-based solutions and partnerships in the state to improve education outcomes for all students.  

The Summit provided participants with opportunities to engage in constructive conversations about diversifying the Illinois educator workforce with leading experts and practitioners from Illinois and other parts of the country.  

After a networking breakfast, where attendees were given the opportunity to connect with one another and discuss their goals for the day, our very own Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President and CEO of The Hunt Institute, opened the floor with some welcoming remarks before The Honorable Juliana Stratton set the stage for the day. 

The first panel, titled “Leaders of Color,” featured Andy Cole, Education Consultant for The Wallace Foundation and member of The Hunt Institute Board of Directors, and Dr. Cortez McCoy, Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Educational Services at Matteson Elementary School District 159, and was moderated by Fatima Cooke, Chief of Equity, Engagement, and Strategy at Chicago Public Schools. During this session, these influential leaders identified issues they face as leaders of color, and what policies, practices, and supports are necessary to build pathways for new leaders of color while retaining the leaders of color Illinois already has.  

Next, our President and CEO, Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, moderated a session that reviewed the current educator diversity data for Illinois, provided context to identify the opportunities and barriers to success, and identified evidenced-based practices that have found success promoting educator diversity.This session featured resource experts Jennifer Kirmes, Executive Director for Teaching & Learning at the Illinois State Board of Education, and The Honorable Carol Ammons, Illinois State Representative and Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow. 

Attendees were then given the opportunity to hear from current doctoral students in Illinois who shared their lived experiences and provided insights into the nuances of being a pre-service educator of color today. They also explored ideas on how we can improve the process for the next generation of educators.This panel was moderated by Dr. Decoteau J. Irby, Call Me Mister/Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and featured speakers Ruqayyah Perkins-Williams, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Illinois, and Alissa Irvin, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Illinois. 

The following session, titled “Policies and Procedures,” was moderated by Amanda Fernandez, Co-Founder & CEO of Latinos for Education, and featured resource experts Dr. Christopher Span, Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Jelani Saadiq, Director of Government Relations at Advance Illinois, and Dr. LaTonya Turner, Dean of Klipsch Educators College at Marian University. This conversation explored Illinois policies and procedures data, provided context, highlighted best practices from other states, organizations, or communities.

For the final two sessions of the Summit, attendees were given the option to choose between two “Planning for the Future” sessions, one focused on educator preparation and recruitment and the other focused on energy and opportunity management. The former was moderated by TNTP’s Midwest Vice President Mya Baker, featuring Krysten Wendell, Vice President of Program Delivery and Internal Learning at New Teacher Center, Kim Radostits, the 2022 State Teacher of the Year at Oregon High School, and Danielle Jordan, Paraprofessional at Chicago City Schools. The latter, moderated by our very own Dr. Winn Decker, Deputy Director of Higher Education at The Hunt Institute, featured Dr. Keith Wood, 2022 Principal of the Year at Brooks Middle School, and Stephanie Bernoteit, Executive Deputy Director at the Illinois Board of Higher Education. 

To close out the Summit, our Director of Equity Initiatives at The Hunt Institute, Dr. Ashlee Canty, thanked the day’s participants and attendees before turning over the stage to Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and The Honorable Martin Torres, Deputy Governor of Illinois.


We are grateful to the entire team at the Lt. Governor’s office for their partnership in creating this program, and to all the resource experts, students, and attendees who made the conversations great.  

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