Thursday, March 12th
Malcolm J. Mitchell
Malcolm Mitchell is a native of Valdosta, Georgia. As a high school senior, he was an Under Armour All-American and went on to finish in the top ten all time receivers during his playing career at the University of Georgia (UGA). While a student athlete, Malcolm was recognized as the National Captain of the Allstate Good Works Team for his frequent visits to elementary schools to read to students and talk about literacy, the first student ever at UGA to win this Honor. He also received the National Haier Achievement Award for his success beyond athletics. Additionally, Malcolm was the recipient of the Atlanta Sports Council Community Service Award, the Georgia Chapter of the National College Football Hall of Fame Jack Turner Award, and the UGA Student Athlete of the Year Award. He graduated in December 2015 from the University of Georgia with a degree in Communications.
During his freshman year in college, Malcolm developed a love of reading. Initially, reading was a challenge, however, through perseverance, books became an avenue for expanding his curiosity, creativity and learning. In 2015, Malcolm authored and published a children’s book, “The Magician’s Hat” and created a youth literacy initiative called Read with Malcolm. In 2016, he went on to establish a 501c3 organization, Share the Magic Foundation with a sole purpose: to transform children’s lives through literacy. Share the Magic Foundation’s mission is to inspire young people to read by bringing book ownership to students in Title I schools and under-resourced communities. Since its founding, the Foundation has placed books in the hands of more than 65,000 young readers and provided Read with Malcolm Literacy programing to almost 200,000 students. In 2016, he received the Children’s Author of the Year by the Georgia Writers Association, and in 2017, Malcolm signed a three-book contract with Scholastic Publishing Company.
Malcolm’s inspirational story has been featured nationally on CBS Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, CBS Sports, ESPN, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC and the NFL Network and has been used by many schools as encouragement for students to embrace the importance of reading. Malcolm has also been featured in numerous magazines and newspaper articles, including USA Today and Sports Illustrated Kids (celebrating National Reading Month). In 2015, a documentary about Malcolm won the College Sports Media Outstanding Special feature.
In May 2016, Malcolm was drafted by the New England Patriots, and in February 2017 he became a Super Bowl Champion as a wide receiver for the New England Patriots. Malcolm received an Accommodation from the State of Georgia and a “Key to City of Valdosta, GA” for his work on and off the professional football field. In April 2017, Malcolm was honored at the 20th Anniversary of the President’s Summit for America’s Future and received the Promise Hero Award from Colin Powell for his contributions to youth in America by the America’s Promise Alliance. Malcolm also was the recipient of the Pinnacle Award from The International Dyslexia Association for his contributions to all individuals who struggle with dyslexia and other related reading differences so that they may have richer, more robust lives. In 2018, he received the Youth Literacy Award from the national organization, Read to a Child, for his support of youth literacy. Recently, Malcolm was selected to participate in TEDxUGA and was named by the University Georgia as one of the University’s “40 under 40.”
Among Malcolm’s numerous awards and accomplishments both on and off the field, he considers discovering a love of reading one of his greatest achievements.
Friday, March 13th
Charter Chats: Promoting Mental Wellness in the Educational Environment
5th Grade Student, Amana Academy
Jaida Mansour is in 5th grade student at Amana Academy. She loves to read, play, and learn. Jaida hopes her TEDxAmanaAcademy talk will remind adults of the positive influence they can have on a student. She believes that these positive interactions are vital to supporting students who have been bullied or experience trauma.
Teacher, Georgia Cyber Academy
Ryan M. West and Gen. George S. Patton, AKC registered Boxer and trained service dog for PTSD have been by each other’s side for the past four and a half years. They have taken a new pedagogical approach in the classroom addressing the whole student. This method is taken from published research Ryan did with breast cancer patients in 2012-2014. The research examined the totality of breast cancer patients as they were being treated. Ryan created the Integrative Resource Assessment Program at a regional cancer facility and merged a Symptom Inventory Tool with what was being used at M.D. Anderson. The research showed that when you focus on the patient’s distress, as well as the physical manifestation of the disease, the overall quality of life and level of distress show improvement. This knowledge coupled with his experience working in the Juvenile Service Division as a certified Police Officer in Alabama and his time in the United States Army helped in establishing a new pedagogical method to help spur total student growth in and out of the classroom.
Principal/CEO, International Community School
Ms. Allen serves as the current Principal/CEO of the International Community School. She has worked her entire career in education, specifically serving low-income and historically oppressed communities, across metro Atlanta. Ms. Allen believes that all students deserve an education that will allow them to live choice-filled lives, and she is committed to leading this charge in her current role. She began her career as a Teach for America teacher where she was a finalist for the national Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching award. Since leaving the classroom, Ms. Allen has coached elementary teachers in over 20 metro Atlanta schools, and served as Teach For America’s National Director of Classroom Culture. She has served with other non-profits such as the GSU Young Alumni Council, Centennial Academy Board of Directors, and Decatur Cooperative Ministry Board of Directors. Ms. Allen has presented at national conferences such as the Sources conference and the National Association for Education of Young Children. She earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from GSU and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida.
Derrell Bradford is the executive vice president of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, and the executive director of its New York branch, NYCAN, with more than seventeen years working in education reform policy and advocacy. In his role, Derrell trains and recruits local leaders across the country to serve as executive directors of state CANs, advocacy fellows, and citizen advocates. He leads the National Voices fellowship which focuses on education policy, media, and political collaboration, and is a member of the organization’s executive team.
Derrell previously served as the executive director at Better Education for Kids. At B4K Derrell worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. B4K’s advocacy also led to electoral victories for reform-minded candidates across the state. Prior to B4K, Derrell spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) as director of communications and then executive director. While there he also served on the state’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force.
Derrell frequently contributes to education debates in print, digital, radio and TV media. He serves on several boards dedicated to putting the needs of students and families first, including Success Academy Charter Schools, EdBuild, The National Association of Charter School Authorizers Advisory Board, and the PIE Network. A native of Baltimore, Derrell attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English.