6:00–8:00pm Join a panel of world-class educators as they discuss how we can create schools that allow all their members to engage in a more powerful, authentic learning process. The panel will be in the 440 auditorium.


  • Crystal Cubbage - Founding Director of the Philadelphia Learning Collaborative - Crystal Cubbage Founding Director of The Philadelphia Learning Collaborative (PLC). PLC is a grassroots nonprofit that exists to create the conditions for student-centered, deeper learning progressive K-12 educators and schools to thrive in Philadelphia. The organization is greatest strength is its cross-sector membership that includes public, private, and charter schools; The School District of Philadelphia; and the schools of education of Philadelphia’s leading universities

    She is a proud Philadelphia native who studied Physics at Lincoln University and used her degree to land a job as an Electronics Engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH before taking a leave of absence in 1992 to serve as an Education Volunteer in the Peace Corps, in Cameroon, West Africa. Passionate about education, Crystal made the permanent career change from engineering to education.

    She moved back to her hometown, and from 1996 -2006 taught physics and chemistry at a number of schools in the Philadelphia area, including Girard College, The Shipley School, and Germantown Friends’ School. Simultaneously, she helped to launch a nonprofit named The Forerunners’ International Institute. The organization’s flagship program Journey to Freedom was an international cultural exchange and personal development experience for students ages 13-18. For three weeks each summer, students traveled to two to three of the following countries in Cameroon, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Italy.

    Determined to create her own organization, in 2007, Crystal earned a Masters in School Leadership from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Since then she has developed as an educator by conducting research at the educational think tank, Jobs for the Future; starting her own nonprofit, Teachable Moments International; and opening new progressive public schools in her former positions with Drexel University and the School District of Philadelphia.

    In her free time, Crystal cooks, travels, scuba dives, bike rides, and loves hanging out with her nieces and nephew.

  • Tomas Hanna - Tomás Hanna is currently the Chief Human Capital Officer in the New York City Department of Education serving 1.1 M students, 150,000 employees in over 1,800 schools, field and central offices.

    Tomás has over 25 years of experience in urban public education in the cities of New York, Philadelphia and Providence, RI. He has served in key leadership roles – principal, central office administrator, and as a member of the senior cabinet. In these roles he has led a wide-range of functions, including: human capital and organizational development; employee feedback; performance management; innovation; attendance and truancy; parent, family, community engagement and faith-based partnerships; student support services; and non-instructional school support.

    Some of the outcomes achieved under Hanna’s leadership include improved academic outcomes; improved hiring processes; enhanced supports to new teachers; quality customer service to prospective employees; and groundbreaking labor agreements. Two case studies were written by the Harvard Business School and Graduate School of Education for the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) documenting his work in the area of human capital management and its sustainability over time.

    Tomás is a native Philadelphian and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey, a Master of Arts in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies from LaSalle University, and holds a Pennsylvania Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility.

    Tomás resides in Philadelphia with his wife Priscilla Fuentes and is the proud father of a college-aged daughter, Isabella, and Tomás Andrés, 10.

  • Kristina Ishmael - Senior Project Manager of Teaching, Learning, and Tech for the Education Policy Program at New America - Kristina Ishmael is an educator, learner, thought leader, advocate, and agent of change. After working in the classroom and at the state, she moved to DC to work on education policy in the perfect culmination of her commitment to make instructional materials inclusive and representative of students and to provide professional learning for educators. She is the Senior Project Manager of Teaching, Learning, and Tech for the Education Policy Program at New America where she supports educators rethinking the role of instructional materials to create deeper learning opportunities for students. She previously served as the K-12 Open Education Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology, Digital Learning Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education, and an elementary teacher in Omaha, Nebraska. You can find Kristina sharing about her work, travels, mental health, and life at @kmishmael.

  • Cornelius Minor - Educator and Author - Cornelius Minor is a Brooklyn-based educator. He works with teachers, school leaders, and leaders of community-based organizations to support equitable literacy reform in cities (and sometimes villages) across the globe. His latest book, We Got This, explores how the work of creating more equitable school spaces is embedded in our everyday choices — specifically in the choice to really listen to kids. He has been featured in Education Week, Brooklyn Magazine, and Teaching Tolerance Magazine. He has partnered with The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, The New York City Department of Education, The International Literacy Association, Scholastic, and Lesley University’s Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative. Out of Print, a documentary featuring Cornelius made its way around the film festival circuit, and he has been a featured speaker at conferences all over the world. Most recently, along with his partner and wife, Kass Minor, he has established The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools. Whether working with educators and kids in Los Angeles, Seattle, or New York City, Cornelius uses his love for technology, hip-hop, and social media to bring communities together. As a teacher, Cornelius draws not only on his years teaching middle school in the Bronx and Brooklyn, but also on time spent skateboarding, shooting hoops, and working with young people.