NSBA Equity Online Symposium

On February 10, more than two thousand school leaders committed to educational equity and registered for the 2021 NSBA Equity Online Symposium. They heard inspirational stories, valuable advice from their peers, and important guidance on how to provide the support that equalizes and improves the educational experience for every student. If you missed it, video is now available.

Over the years NSBA has increased its commitment to educational equity. However, it has become painfully clear that our nation’s education system is a long way from providing an equitable public education for all children. Therefore, NSBA’s leadership saw that it was time for an initiative that explicitly focuses on racial inequities in education. Out of this vision was born the Dismantling Institutional Racism in Education (DIRE) initiative. This symposium focused on the importance of DIRE to ensure the support that equalizes and improves the educational experience for every student.


CEU Information

If you watched the live symposium on Feb. 10 or have viewed the video on NSBA's Vimeo page, you can download your CEU form by filling out the 2-minute feedback survey. Visit the survey page, submit your answers, and then you'll be sent to a page with a link to download the form.

Watch the Recorded Video of the Symposium

You can still get incredible insights from thought leaders on this important subject. View the free video of the Symposium at your convenience and share with your colleagues. The short session times also allow for easily digestible learning and to hear from a variety of speakers throughout half day event.

Equity Resources

NSBA is committed to bringing about equity that recognizes children have unique needs and that obstacles to learning must be identified and eliminated. Visit our equity page for news and resources you can use to help the children in your school district. Download free reports, attend additional equity programming, and join a council and get involved.


Times represent where those sessions can be found in the recorded video of the Symposium.

Opening Remarks

Anna Maria Chávez, Executive Director & CEO, NSBA                           

Keynote Introduction
Charlie Wilson, President & Co-Chair DIRE National Advisory Steering Committee, NSBA

09 – 51  minutes 

Keynote: Undoing Miseducation
Brandon P. Fleming, Founder & CEO of Harvard Diversity Project, Assistant Debate Coach at Harvard University

In this presentation, Fleming shared his riveting journey from being an at-risk youth and college dropout to becoming an award-winning Harvard educator. Fleming revealed the lessons and tools that he uses to transform underprivileged youth into global champions and Ivy League scholars. Among the many topics addressed are best practices in the importance of leadership in intentionally supporting pedagogy, classroom management, climate and culture, administration, socio-emotional intelligence, and much more.

51 minutes – 1:14 hour/minutes  

DIRE Discussion with NSBA Council Leaders
Jacinto Ramos Jr., Chair, Council of Urban Boards of Education, NSBA and President, Fort Worth Independent School District, TX
Devin Del Palacio, Chair, National Black Council of School Board Members, NSBA and Board Member, Tolleson Union High School District, AZ
Moderated by Kathleen Vail, Director of Publications, NSBA


1:24 – 2:31 hour/minutes                            

General Session: Equity Starts at The Top! A Panel Discussion with Education Leaders
Dr. Nakia Hall, Director of Field Services, Illinois Association of School Boards
Dr. Tamara M. Young, Board Vice President, Country Club Hills School District #160, IL
Dr. Mark D. Benigni
, Superintendent of Schools, Meriden School District, CT
Moderated by Dr. Samuel T. King, Director of Superintendent Searches & Board Development, Georgia School Boards Association

As we see the needs of students and communities change, much discussion regarding equity centers around programs and initiatives. However, in order for a district to be successful in their pursuit of equity they must first embrace the concept of equity at the board level. Panelists discussed equity at the school board level; how to create school board policy about equity; and how to apply this to the ever-changing needs of students, staff, and communities.

2:312:51 hour/minutes                             

Student Presentation
East Side Community School, New York, NY                        


2:51 – 2:54 hour/minutes                               

Stories from The Field Presentations

This session featured school board members from across the nation, sharing their inspirational stories and lessons learned through their personal journeys. Presentations focused on the importance of dismantling institutional racism in education to ensure all students receive equitable access to an education that maximizes their potential.

2:54  – 3:08 hour/minutes                              

Dismantling Racism: Equity through Access to HQPE (High Quality Physical Education)
Martha James-Hassan, Associate Professor, Morgan State University, Commissioner, Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners

Addressing systemic racism requires leaders to not only explore policies and practices but to also examine the experiences and structures that inform our decisions around those levers. In this conversation, you will hear insights observed from James-Hassan's nearly 30 years in urban public education to support equity-based budgeting and investing in the whole child.

3:08  – 3:15 hour/minutes                               

Prescribing the Equity Lens
Dr. Sharon Gentry, Board Member, Metro-Nashville Public Schools/Board of Education, TN

Equity has become as overused as the word unprecedented. But what do we really mean by equity, and is our "equity lens" appropriate?

3:15 – 3:26 hour/minutes                              

Seats at the Table: School Board Members’ Perspectives on Race and Racism
Dr. Jayme Mathias, Executive Director, Mexican American School Boards Association

The Mexican American School Boards Association responded to the 2020 murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery by publishing a book with nearly 50 school board members’ perspectives on how far we’ve come with respect to the issues of race and racism in our nation’s public schools—and how far we still have to travel to achieve Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a society where our children and grandchildren will no longer be judged by the color of their skin. This session presented findings from the book.

3:26 – 4:03 hour/minutes                              

Stories from the Field Panel Discussion
Moderated by Frank S. Henderson, Jr, Secretary-Treasurer, NSBA & Co-Chair DIRE National Advisory Steering Committee, NSBA                               

Closing Remarks
Verjeana McCotter-Jacobs, Esq., Chief Transformation Officer, NSBA