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7th Annual 2016 Sizemore Summer Conference - Keynote Speakers

Dr. Louie F. Rodríguez is an educator, researcher, author, professor, and speaker in the field of urban education. His work takes a socio-cultural analysis of urban schooling and typically focuses on three keys areas: 1) students' voices and experiences in the school and community context, 2) critical ways to understand and use institutional culture to boost student engagement, 3) and engaging educational communities in institutional and community excellence. The goal of this work is to shape educational policy and practice at the local and national levels.Rising through the public school system in Southern California, Dr. Rodriguez found himself in community college (SBVC) and with the support of mentors and meaningful academic opportunities, transferred to CSU, San Bernardino. As a college student at CSU, San Bernardino (where he currently teaches), he became a McNair Scholar and became passionate about using research to understand and transform educational opportunities for historically marginalized students. After completing a summer research internship at Harvard, he applied and was admitted to Harvard for graduate school. After serving as a middle-school counselor/intervention specialist and later as a high school math teacher, Dr. Rodriguez completed two master's degrees and a doctorate in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University. His dissertation focused on issues of educational equity studying the experiences of Latina/o and Black high school students in the context of high-stakes testing, zero-tolerance policies, and school restructuring. While at Harvard, he held several leadership roles, particularly as co-founder and inaugural co-chair for the Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC), and served as a Teaching Fellow for eight graduate courses.

He is currently an associate professor in Educational Leadership and Technology and Co-Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). Prior to his position at CSUSB, Dr. Rodriguez was on the faculty for three years at Florida International University in Miami where he continued his research on urban education issues.

From his research, Dr. Rodriguez has published three books Small Schools and Urban Youth (with Gil Conchas) (2007), The Time is Now: Understanding and Responding to the Black and Latina/o Dropout Crisis in the U.S. (2014), and Intentional Excellence: The Pedagogy, Power, and Politics of Excellence in Latina/o Schools and Communities (2015). He has also published several peer-reviewed journal articles, blogs, and practitioner-oriented articles about Latinas/os in education, student engagement, and educational policy issues.

His current work focuses on issues of equity and access, specifically on the dropout crisis facing the Latino community. At CSUSB, Dr. Rodriguez is the principal investigator of the PRAXIS Project, Participatory Research Advocating for Excellence in Schools. This school/community-based project aims to study and advocate for educational excellence by directly engaging youth, educators, and community-stakeholders in the process of empirical research to positively impact educational policy and practice at the local and national levels. From this work he published A 10-Point Plan to Respond to the Dropout Crisis which consist of 10 policy-memos intended for educational policymakers, leaders, and educators. His work has helped guide school and district level policy and practice, particularly around student engagement issues in the Southern California area.

Dr. Rodriguez has received many honors including Outstanding Latino Faculty by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) in 2015 and an "Emerging Leader" designation in 2014 by Phi Delta Kappa International in Washington, DC. In 2013-2014, he was selected to participate in the Inland Empire Economic Partnership's (IEEP) inaugural Regional Leadership Academy (RLA). In 2013 Dr. Rodriguez was named Outstanding Professor of the Year for Research in the College of Education at CSU, San Bernardino. In 2012, he was selected as a Fellow for the Executive Leadership Academy at UC Berkeley and also as a Kika De La Garza Education Fellow with the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2011 he received a Person of Distinction award by San Bernardino Valley College and was a Faculty Fellow for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. In 2010, he was the recipient of the 30 Under 35 Award for Latinas/os and Native Americans for his service to the community by California State Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter and received special recognition from Assembly Member Manuel Perez for this service to the 62nd assembly district in California. Dr. Rodriguez is currently working with the National Latino Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP), served as past Co-Chair of the Faculty Fellows Program for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), and past board member for the Hispanic Alumni Board at CSUSB. He is a frequently invited speaker to address student engagement and educational equity issues for schools, districts, and communities.

Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick has more than 25 years of experience in higher education, public policy, philanthropy, and urban PK-12 schools. Currently, she is dean and professor of educational policy and leadership at the Howard University School of Education. Under her leadership as dean, the School of Education submitted a record $18.1 million in grant proposals to federal agencies during one academic year, attained national recognition of its degree programs, hosted a campus visit by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, held a Capitol Hill policy forum on African American male student achievement (attended by nearly 200 educators and legislators), established a Visiting Scholar in Urban Education post, and received an $800,000 award from the U.S. Department of the Interior for capital improvements to the historic Miner Building, home to the Howard University School of Education. In addition to her duties as dean of the Howard University School of Education, she is co-principal investigator of the Ready to Teach Program, a $2.1 million award from the U.S. Department of Education designed to recruit and prepare African American males (and other underrepresented groups) as PK-12 teachers.

Considered a scholar-administrator, Dr. Fenwick held successive appointments as a visiting scholar in education and visiting fellow at Harvard University. Additionally, she was a program officer at the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) where she successfully managed the implementation of an $11 million minority teacher pipeline project in 7 southeastern states supported by the Wallace Funds. Dr. Fenwick also served as associate dean of the School of Education and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership during her thirteen year tenure at Clark Atlanta University.

Fenwick has devoted her career to improving educational opportunity and outcomes for African American and other underserved students (in the education pipeline from the elementary through graduate school levels). Noted for her work in education policy circles, she is editor of numerous books and author of research articles and policy monographs about the strategic value of using urban school reform as a lever for community rebuilding and neighborhood revitalization, educational policy (particularly as it relates to race equity), and the principalship.

Fenwick is a contributing author to The Last Word: Controversy and Commentary in American Education. The book features the best commentary essays in the 25-year history of Education Week and boasts selections from former President Bill Clinton, noted historian John Hope Franklin, and esteemed educators Linda Darling-Hammond and Howard Gardner among others. In January 2009, Dr. Fenwick appeared on C-SPAN as a panelist to discuss solutions to the nation's education challenges. Most recently, she delivered framing remarks at the first hearing of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Commission which aired in its entirety on C-SPAN.

Fenwick earned a BS in education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and a PhD in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University. She is a member of the National Advisory Council for the George Lucas Education Foundation.