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2021 Speakers

Critical Race Theory


Dr. Sharon L. Contreras


Guilford County Schools

Dr. Sharon L. Contreras is a teacher at heart, a transformational leader and a passionate advocate for children and education.  A true warrior for equity, Dr. Contreras is celebrated for implementing policies aimed at closing achievement gaps and improving opportunity for students of color. Since taking the lead in Guilford County, she’s helped close the graduation rate gap between black and white students from 12.6% to 5.7% for the 2018-19 school year. While in Syracuse Dr. Contreras took on reducing the school-to-prison pipeline and tackled the disproportionate impact these policies have on students of color, successfully cutting suspensions in half over a five-year span.

Dr. Contreras was named Superintendent of the Year by the North Carolina PTA (2019), a North Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year (2020) by the Piedmont Triad Educational Consortium and a Top 5 Finalist for the Green Garner Urban Education Leadership Award by the Council of the Great City Schools (2020). Sharon holds multiple degrees including: a Doctor of Philosophy, Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis and a Master of Science, Educational Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; a Master of Arts, English Literature; a Master of Arts in Teaching, English Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton.


Leandro Update

Rick Glazier

Executive Director of NC Justice Center

Rick Glazier is the Executive Director of the NC Justice Center. Previously, he had been elected seven times to the North Carolina House of Representatives from Cumberland County. Rick received his JD from Wake Forest University in 1981. He was a Visiting Professor in Criminal Justice at Fayetteville State University for 8 years and has been teaching pre-trial civil law, as well as trial and appellate advocacy, at Campbell University School of Law for 28 years. In 1996, he was elected to the Cumberland County School Board and served for six years, two as Chairman.  Rick started his professional career in Fayetteville as Assistant Public Defender, then served 5 years as a law clerk to two federal judges, James C. Fox and Wallace Dixon, and spent 15 years as a member, partner, and for 8 years, managing partner, of the Beaver, Holt law firm.


Rick has received many legislative honors and awards, including the President’s Award from NCAE, Common Cause’s Democracy Award, Defender of Justice Award from the NC Justice Center, Outstanding Legislator Award from the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, and Legislator of the Year Award from numerous organizations, including Equality NC, NC Social Workers, NC Autism Society, NC Mental Health Alliance, NC Association of Teacher Assistants, NC League of Conservation Voters, NC Association of Superintendents and Administrators, NC Guidance Counselors Association, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner's Award, and the Ruth Easterling Award from the Covenant for NC's Children. He also received the Citizen Lawyer Award from the NC Bar in 2012 for his work in public office, the Patrick Henry Award from the National Guard Association of the United States, the N.C. Council of Churches Faith in Public Service Award, and in 2015, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.


Rick is also a former member of the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation Advisory Board, the UNCTV Board of Trustees, the Chief Justice's Committee on the Future of the Business Courts in North Carolina, the NC Public School Forum Board of Directors, the Cumberland County Children’s Advocacy Center Board, and the Fayetteville Urban Ministry Board. Rick currently serves on North Carolina's Actual Innocence Inquiry Commission and as a member of the Chief Justice's Equal Access to Justice Commission as well as the Chief Justice's Faith and Justice Alliance.




Equity in Education

Dr. Anthony Graham

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Winston-Salem State University

Since 2003, Dr. Anthony Graham has served in the North Carolina A&T Department of Education in various capacities – including as chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Previously, Dr. Graham worked as a high school English teacher and as an academic counselor/lecturer in the Center for Student Success at A&T. In these roles, Graham advocated for student success and worked with colleagues to conceptualize, design, and implement initiatives and programs that promoted student growth and development.

Dr. Graham’s research has focused primarily on the experiences of Black males in K-12 public schools and ways in which classroom teachers and community leaders can transform their environments to promote cultural, academic, and professional identities for these youth.

His engagement activities have included the Charles Hamilton Houston Leadership Institute for Adolescent Black Boys, a residential summer camp on the campus of A&T for boys in ninth through 12th grade; the annual Urban Education Institute, which focuses on barriers that inhibit students of color in urban schools from achieving academic success; and the “Onward and Upward toward the Light” Scholarship Search Conference, which is designed to orient high school students to the college application, college admission, and scholarship search process.




Critical Race Theory

Deena Hayes-Greene

Director of Racial Equity Institute

Guilford County Board of Education Member

Deena Hayes-Greene was elected to Guilford County’s Board of Education in 2002 (former and current District 8). She is the former human relations commissioner for Greensboro, co-chair of N.C. Public School Forum, chairwoman of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum’s board of directors, and a member of the Community-City Working Group.

Hayes-Greene is managing director of the Racial Equity Institute (REI) and has more than 15 years of experience as a community and institutional organizer. She chairs the school board’s Achievement Gap, School Safety and Historically Underutilized Business Advisory committees.



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