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Our Symposium Facilitators

Vera Ahiyya

Workshop - Lets Get Rebellious

Vera Ahiyya (née Corbett) was born in Germany and raised in El Paso, Texas with her wonderful mother and amazing grandparents. Originally a pre-med student, Vera realized her calling as an educator at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where she majored in History and Psychology and earned her MA in Education. Vera has taught Kindergarten and first grade for the last 16 years in Austin, Boston, and Brooklyn. Vera’s online presence is dedicated to influencing other educators by spreading her vast knowledge and love of inclusive children’s books.

Vera’s unwavering commitment to social justice and diversity is also the focal point of her professional development presentations for other educators. Vera lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Lonnell and her dog, Mozi. She is the author of Rebellious Read Alouds, a professional development book for educators. She is also the author of two picture books, You Have a Voice and KINDergarten.


Camille Idedevbo

Workshop - Leveraging the Power of Design for System Transformation.

Camille Idedevbo hails from the Washington, D.C. metro area just miles away from the nation’s capital. As a native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, C

amille carries with her an east coast flare and a curiosity about the historical, political and social landscapes in which she finds herself. She recognizes that each of these factors shape the stories of the people in those local contexts. Motivated by a commitment to building thriving communities, Camille’s career trajectory has followed an unorthodox path that has led her to work with businesses, corporations, organizations, and grass-roots organizers on organizational development, policy analyses, philanthropic efforts, strategic partnerships and most recently innovation strategy and experiential design.

Each of these unique career experiences have led her to develop a personal and professional framework that explores the power of design for social good in three major categories. As a skilled strategist, Camille assesses organizations’ culture, network, and internal systems, to determine its capacity for innovation and designs equity-centered strategies for impact. She curates well-designed experiences for target communities that amplify their cultural assets and provide development opportunities. Most importantly, Camille uses storytelling to remind individuals of the importance of centering joy and healing as a pathway to collective liberation.


Dr. Xylecia Fynn

Workshop - The More Reflective...

The More Effective: I-C-U

Dr. Xylecia Fynn, a wife and mother, is also a highly demonstrated educator with over two decades of domestic and international practice. She is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, a graduate of Spelman College and Georgia State University. She taught in Atlanta Public Schools for 18 years before relocating to Portland and joining Hillsboro Schools District. She has served in diverse school settings, specializing in reflective practice, social and emotional learning, cultural sensitivity and responsiveness, and student engagement strategies. She has worked in various roles, including a classroom teacher, a behavioral interventionist, a dean, a student success coach, a college lecturer, restorative facilitator, and district level support. Most recently, she founded RISE Ed which provides Consulting, Coaching, and [en]Couraging for educators. As an “edugager” she integrates music and poetry in her practice in order to engage and inspire audiences.

Dr. Fynn is dedicated to supporting educational practitioners, students, families, and community members who want to dig inwardly to experience the transforming impact of critical self-reflection on their practices, responsiveness, and relationships within their school community.


Lauren Kristensen and Zachary Stocks

Workshop - Centering The Black Experience on the Oregon Trail: Using Curriculum to Center Black Voices

Lauren Kristensen spent 10 years as a teacher in Portland Public Schools and West Linn/Wilsonville School Districts before beginning her work as an Instructional Coach. Currently, Lauren is a faculty member at the Arbor Center for Teaching, a teaching training program connected to Pacific University and the Arbor School of Arts and Sciences. Helping aspiring teachers of Color obtain their teaching license is a passion for Lauren and she currently helps recruit and support teachers from underrepresented groups through Arbor's Fellowship program. Lauren is passionate about curriculum design that centers the Black experience and she hopes to inspire other teachers to write the curriculum they feel is missing in their classrooms.

Zachary Stocks is a public historian, interpreter, and the Executive Director of Oregon Black Pioneers. Zachary previously served as Program Director of Historical Seaport and Visitor Services Manager of Northwest African American Museum. He is a former seasonal Park Ranger at Lewis & Clark National Historical Park and a former intern of Colonial Williamsburg and Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History He holds a BA in History from the College of William & Mary with a certificate in Public History from the National Institute for American History and Democracy, and an MA in Museology from the University of Washington. Zachary lives in Astoria.


Dori King

Workshop - Mindfulness For All Of Us

Dori King has been an educator for over 20 years in a variety of roles: elementary school teacher, literacy coach, English language development coordinator, middle school vice principal, and director of inclusion and community engagement. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, both from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dori’s action research has focused on building social support structures in educational communities. Her BIG question: How do we cultivate individual and collective self-awareness and agency? Dori is a certified transformative meditation facilitator and a certified Yoga Calm™ teacher.


Michael "Chappie" Grice

Workshop - Parents and Family Professional Development: Giving parents the edge, giving teachers the insight

Michael "Chappie" Grice earned a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell College in Iowa and the Master of Arts in Teaching from Reed College in Oregon.

While serving as board president for the National Council on Educating Black Children ( from 1994-1998, he was invited to design and direct the IRISE Initiative, a culture-rich, urban schools teacher development intervention, in San Francisco from 1996 to 2008.

Currently, Mr. Grice designs after-school intervention curriculum for the Coalition of Black Men, Inc. in Portland and volunteers as a mentor for their Mentoring Initiative which serves several schools in Portland. He advises the board of directors for the American Music Program teen jazz program which has won competitions at the Lincoln Jazz Center and recently won the 2018 Mingus Jazz Band Award at Rutgers University. Mr. Grice has volunteered as liaison for the Cooperative Developmental Energy Program at Ft. Valley State University in Georgia for the past 23 years. That program has provided scholarships to students in Portland and San Francisco.

He relocated to Portland in 2010 and currently serves as founder for the Urban Wings and Aerospace Leadership Club ( teaching aviation and leadership fundamentals to middle and high school youth. He is co-founder, and director for World Arts Foundation, Inc. ( and the annual tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2020, they marked their 35th consecutive production.

Retired educator, and grandfather, Mr. Grice works as a professional mentor and coach in education professional development and youth leadership. He is known widely as an amateur golfer, film maker, and photographer and has produced four television documentaries including: “Mr. Title I: The Amazing Gus Hawkins” and

“Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest.”

In 2010, he was presented the National Human and Civil Rights Award in New Orleans by the National Education Association.


Dr. Paul Coakley

Workshop - Leaving A Legacy: Elevating Voices, Removing Barriers, and Creating a Healthy Culture

Dr. Paul E. Coakley serves as the Superintendent of Multnomah Education Service District.

Dr. Coakley began his school administrator career in 2008 as the Principal of Hudson Park Elementary School in the Rainier School District, located in Rainier, Oregon. After six years as Principal, he became Rainier’s Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction. In 2014, Dr. Coakley was hired by Centennial School District as Assistant Superintendent/Human Resources Director. He then served as Superintendent of Centennial from 2016 to 2021. Before becoming a school administrator, Dr. Coakley taught in Portland Public Schools and in Champaign, Illinois.

A frequent presenter at state and national conferences on a variety of education topics, Dr. Coakley is a Professor at Portland State University in the Initial Administrative Licensure program for school administrators. He is currently the Superintendent Advisor for the Oregon State Board of Education. Dr. Coakley also serves on the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators Equity Board.

Dr. Coakley has a Doctorate of Educational Leadership and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Portland State University. Dr. Coakley completed Harvard University's Advanced Educational Leadership Program in 2021.


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