About the Summit

2018 Keynote Speakers


W. Kamau Bell

Emmy-nominated comic and CNN host W. Kamau Bell delivers incisive, scathingly funny commentary on modern society that will change your view of race, politics and social issues in America. As host of the CNN docu-series “United Shades of America,” Kamau travels the country, offering viewers a rare yet eye-opening look inside the various subcultures of American life. The second season for United Shades of America starts this April. He first captured audiences’ attention with his thought-provoking one-man show, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour,” and later, with his widely praised FX comedy series, “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” The multi-talented entertainer also hosts the must-listen podcasts, “Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period” and “Politically Reactive,” as well as the live public radio show, “Kamau Right Now!” Kamau’s book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell, will be released May 2nd.

With a post-modern perspective, Kamau brings audiences provocative insights as well as very human, very necessary commentary on the headlines of the day, from race relations to cultural divides. His edgy yet level-headed view of the world leaves you with a more hopeful understanding of our country’s challenges, as well as conversation-stoking takeaways on humanity and social change that will have you contemplating the state of the union long after he has left the stage. Kamau’s special, Semi-Prominent Negro, aired on Showtime this past April. An acclaimed comedian and satirist, he offers political and social commentary with scathingly funny wit and perspective. He discusses the impact of race on American culture and a humorously accurate portrayal of life in the so-called “post-racial” U.S. His one man show, “Ending Racism in About An Hour” has been praised by audiences and critics from leading outlets, including “The Guardian” and “Time Out New York.”


Christopher Emdin

Professor of Science Education & Author, and Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the Department of Energy

Christopher Emdin is an Associate Professor of Science Education and Director of Science Education in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University. He also serves as Associate Director of the Institute For Urban and Minority Education at the college.

Dr. Emdin holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics, Science and Technology, a M.S. in Natural Sciences, and Bachelors degrees in Physical Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry.

He was recently awarded the 2016 Early Career Award by the American Educational Researchers Association and 2015 Multicultural Educator of the Year by the National Association of Multicultural Educators.

Professor Emdin was also selected as a STEM Access Champion of Change by the White House, and currently serves as Minorities in Energy Ambassador for the United States Department of Energy.

Dr. Emdin is also listed on the ROOT100 list of most influential African Americans in the fields of business, science, politics, technology, social justice, sports and entertainment.

He is founder of the #HipHopEd movement, and the author of the award winning book, Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation, and the New York Times bestseller, For White Folks Who Teach In The Hood…and the Rest of Ya’ll To.


Brian Mendler

Brian Mendler has extensive experience working with challenging students in general ed, self-contained, and inclusion settings. He provides staff development training for K-12 educators throughout the world with the focus on how to be successful with even the most difficult students. He trains tens of thousands of educators every year and is a highly regarded dynamic speaker. You will find that Mr. Mendler has a unique perspective that he teaches from, that of a former student who struggled with a learning disability and severe ADHD. Educators love his seminars, because he is able to provide strategies that work immediately for today’s youth.

Mr. Mendler has recently authored a book titled, That One Kid. The book provides educators with easy to use strategies for preventing and responding to difficult, disruptive, defiant and unmotivated behavior. He has also authored The Taming of the Crew and co-authored books, Turning Tough Parents into Strong Partners, Strategies for Successful Classroom Management, Power Struggles 2nd Edition, and the best seller Discipline With Dignity 3rd Edition: New Challenges, New Solutions.


Olga Acosta Price, Ph.D.

Olga Acosta Price, Ph.D. is director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and is associate professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the University. She is a clinical psychologist with postdoctoral training in school mental health. Dr. Acosta Price has a strong interest in prevention and early intervention programs that address the mental health needs of children and their families, and has developed, implemented and evaluated programs promoting mental health and resilience conducted in school and community settings. She began her professional career as associate director of the Center for School Mental Health Assistance, a national technical assistance center, and assistant professor at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Upon her departure from Baltimore, she accepted a position as the director of the School Mental Health Program (SMHP) at the Department of Mental Health in Washington, DC. As founding director, Dr. Acosta Price launched comprehensive school-based mental health programs in more than 30 public charter and DC public schools over six years. She managed all aspects of program development, implementation, evaluation, quality improvement, and staff training and supervision on this model of service delivery, while overseeing an annual budget of over four million dollars.

Currently Dr. Acosta Price is director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. In this position she provides leadership and direction to the Center in an effort to impact the development and quality of school health services across the U.S. The position requires that she advise government officials as well as leaders in education systems and health care institutions on how to provide integrated, cost-effective and high quality health programs in schools, train professionals in best practices in school health, and inform policymakers and the public on alternative approaches in school-based health care. She also teaches graduate students in public health on ways to advance and sustain effective school health and mental health strategies to support population-level outcomes.

Dr. Acosta Price has advocated for the expansion of school-connected and community-based prevention and intervention approaches across the US, with a focus on strengthening systems to ensure education and health equity for vulnerable populations. She is currently the chair of the board of directors for the Coalition of School Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC), a steering committee member of the national Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and co-chair of the DC Task Force on School Mental Health, among other advisory roles. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on children’s mental health and school-based services and has presented at national conferences and meetings on children’s health. Dr. Acosta Price has won numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career including the Department of Mental Health 2003 Employee of the Year Award and the 2009 DC Mental Health Association Champions Award. Olga Acosta Price received her Masters and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo and her undergraduate degree in psychology from Vassar College.


The Summit is defined by 6 major strands.

  • Best Practices in Improving School Climate
  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports
  • Cultural Profiency
  • Social, Emotional and Physical Health
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leadership

Click here to learn more about these strands.