A Black History Month Webinar from Center for Schools and Communities
Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, from 1 to 2 p.m. EST
Join us for our final session in this series as Shileste Overton Morris, Ed.D., director of the Center for Schools and Communities, interviews equity advocates Nikole Y. Hollins-Sims, Ed.D., educational consultant for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) in Harrisburg, and Amber M. Sessoms, Ed.D., founder of Natural Inclination, to explore the intersections between equity and education.
Our guests will discuss the successes and challenges they have observed as they worked with districts and schools to prioritize equity and focus on systemic integration; and share strategies for teachers, parents and the community at large to support systemic equity efforts in schools.
An Invitation from Dr. Overton Morris
About the Guests
Nikole Y. Hollins-Sims, Ed.D.
Nikole Y. Hollins-Sims, Ed.D., is an educational consultant for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) in Harrisburg. She currently serves as the statewide co-lead for the Behavior initiative and as an active member of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support initiative. In addition, Hollins-Sims is the statewide lead for equitable practices in partnership with the Office of Safe Schools for the Pennsylvania Department of Education. She is also involved in the State Systemic Improvement Plan with a focus on increasing the graduation rates of students with disabilities. Finally, Hollins-Sims is a Pennsylvania certified school psychologist with a specific interest in social justice. She has conducted research around caregivers of children of incarcerated parents and their motivation to engage in family-school partnerships.
Amber M. Sessoms, Ed.D.
Amber M. Sessoms, Ed.D., founder of Natural Inclination, is an accomplished Nationally Certified School Psychologist and trained facilitator, with 19 years of experience within the educational and mental health sectors. As a little Black girl, she was abandoned by her biological mother and was raised in a predominately white town, she was always keenly aware of being “othered.” These early childhood experiences refined her natural inclination for curiosity regarding fairness and belongingness, which ultimately led Sessoms to pursue a career of service in school psychology and adult education.
Today, Sessoms combines her lived experience, formal education and facilitation skills to help her clients critically self-reflect on their ways of knowing in order to break down barriers and build bridges across differences.
Sessoms holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in African-American studies and a master’s degree in psychology from Millersville University. She received her doctorate degree in psychology from Pennsylvania State University. Sessoms was awarded the 2020 School Psychologist of the Year by the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania. She is the first person of color to receive this prestigious award.
Shileste Overton Morris, Ed.D.
Shileste Overton Morris, Ed.D., is director of the Center for Schools and Communities, a statewide training and consulting organization that improves educational and life outcomes for children and their families. The Center’s work focuses on a continuum of efforts around early childhood care and development, social and emotional learning, positive youth development, family support and community service integration, school safety, and youth violence prevention. Overton Morris has worked at and with public and private institutions including nonprofit organizations, foundations and state government agencies building strategic partnerships and leading innovations. She serves on national, state, and local boards and has authored several publications to help clinicians, parents, and youth development staff work with adolescent girls regarding female aggression. Overton Morris has a strong repertoire in topics related to parent engagement, marginalized populations, and issues focusing on cultural competence, equity, and education leadership.
Center for Schools and Communities, Equity and Social Justice
For more than 30 years, the Center for Schools and Communities has worked to raise awareness of the need for equitable access to education and community systems where all students and families feel safe, valued and respected. We’ve been working to strengthen our own commitment to enacting socially-just practices, right now and far into the future. For all of us at the Center, equity and allyship are ongoing processes of learning, unlearning and working toward a practice of humbled solidarity. We remain committed to lead and support programs and initiatives to address social injustice.
Continuing Education Credits
The Center for Schools and Communities, as a division of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, is offering Act 48 professional development credit for those with Pennsylvania teaching or administrative certificates. Participants must attend a session from beginning to end, complete the session evaluation and provide their professional personnel ID number, to receive credits; a link will be provided during the session.