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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Leading Courageously for Racial Equity

Five $1,000 Scholarships to be Awarded to Graduate Students of Color from Conference Proceeds


140 Twin Cities Education Leaders to Discuss Race, Educational Equity During
April 21 Conference at Minnesota State University, Mankato at Edina.

Mankato, Minn. – Nekima Levy Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of NAACP and a University of St. Thomas School of Law professor, spoke to more than 140 Twin Cities K-12 teachers, principals and administrators about “Re-imagining Public Education: The time for racial equity is now” at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 21 at 7700 France Avenue in Edina, Minn. (Minnesota State University, Mankato at Edina).

Pounds’ presentation is the opening keynote address at the third annual “Leading Courageously for Racial Equity” conference sponsored by Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Educational Leadership.
(Note to editors: Although conference registration is full, media members are welcome to attend and cover the conference. Please make media requests to Candace Raskin, professor and chair of Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of Educational Leadership, by phone at 952-818-8881 or by email at

The April 21 conference, which ran from 1-8 p.m., will conclude with a closing keynote by Yvette Jackson, CEO of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. Jackson will discuss her best-selling book, “The Pedagogy of Confidence,” and the integrated process she has developed to motivate and elicit potential in underachievers.

This year’s conference also for the first time issue student scholarships, as five graduate students of color in educational leadership programs at Minnesota State Mankato will be awarded $1,000 scholarships for fall 2016 at the conference’s opening session. The scholarships were established from conference proceeds.

Four breakout sessions will be held:

• “Can We Get a Win-Win? The case for restoring relationships” (Led by two facilitators: Bernadeia Johnson, former superintendent, Minneapolis, independent consultant; and Natalie Rasmussen, assistant principal, North High School, Minneapolis)
• “Leadership for our Somali Students” (Facilitator: Abdikadir Ibrahim, community integrations manager, Government Market Solutions of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of MN)
• “Courageous Leadership: It’s a Personal Journey” (Led by two facilitators from Mankato Area Public Schools’ district: Ken Essay, assistant principal at Dakota Meadows Middle School, North Mankato; and Akram Osman, special education teacher at Rosa Parks Elementary School, Mankato, and head girls’ soccer coach at East High School, Mankato.)
• “Creating a School Culture of Racial Equity” (Led by facilitators from four St. Paul Public School District schools: Chreese Jones, principal, The Heights Elementary; Kirk Morris, principal, Benjamin E. Mays Elementary; Heidi George, principal, Four Seasons A+ Elementary; and Scott Masini, principal, Bruce Vento Elementary.)

The third annual “Leading Courageously for Racial Equity” conference for educators is committed to positively affect the achievement gap and students of color through courageous conversations about race and educational equity. Nationally recognized leaders share their insight, experience and strategies to elevate education for all students.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.


For MSU events: individuals with a disability, who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, are asked to contact the Office of Accessibility Resources at 507-389-2825 (V/TTD), 800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTD) at least five days prior to the event.

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