2016 Conference Speakers

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Award for Excellence | Previous Conferences

Connecting the Dots: Engaging Communities to
Support Educational Access and Success

Baltimore, MD – April 27-29, 2016

View the full conference agenda for detailed descriptions.

We were thrilled to welcome the following keynote speakers to NPEA’s 8th annual conference on April 27-29, 2016 in Baltimore, MD.

Shaun Harper HeadshotKaren Mapp HeadshotLiz Murray Headshot

Pictured (left to right): Shaun Harper, Karen Mapp, and Liz Murray.

Shaun Harper
, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, University of Pennsylvania. As part of his work at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Harper also serves as the Director of the Research, Innovation, Strategy, and Evaluation (RISE) Collaborative for Boys and Men of Color. Professor Harper’s research examines race and gender in education and social contexts, equity trends and racial climates on college campuses, Black and Latino male student success in high school and higher education, and college student engagement. He has published 12 books over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and other academic publications. In 2015, Dr. Harper was appointed to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper advisory council and recognized in Education Week as one of the 50 most influential professors in the field of education. Learn more about Shaun Harper.

Karen Mapp, Senior Lecturer on Education, Faculty Director of the Education Policy and Management Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Mapp has focused on the cultivation of partnerships among families, community members, and educators that support student achievement and school improvement. She has served as the co-coordinator with Mark Warren of the Community Organizing and School Reform Research Project, and is a founding member of the District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement. Professor Mapp currently works as a consultant on family engagement to the United States Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement. She is the author and coauthor of several articles and books about the role of families and community members in the work of student achievement and school improvement, including Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships (2010) and A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (2011). Learn more about Karen Mapp.

Liz Murray, Author, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard (2011). Liz Murray’s life as the child of cocaine-addicted parents in the Bronx was bitterly grim. There was never food in the house, everything was filthy, drugs were everywhere, and the welfare checks were spent before they arrived. By age 15, her mom had died and she was homeless–living on the streets, riding the subway all night, and eating from dumpsters. Determined to take charge of her life, Murray finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations. Lifetime Television produced a movie about Murray’s life story entitled Homeless to Harvard, which was nominated for three “Emmy Awards.” Murray is the recipient of the White House “Project’s Role Model Award” and Oprah Winfrey’s first-ever “Chutzpah Award.” Her memoir, Breaking Night, landed on the New York Times best seller list within a week of its release and quickly became an international bestseller published in twelve countries, in eight languages. Murray is passionate about speaking on the importance of personal motivation, transforming problems into opportunities, and what it takes to make a difference in people’s lives. Learn more about Liz Murray.


View the 2015 conference speakers.

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