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Meet Our Presenters

Ako Kambon, President of Visionary Leaders Institute

A dynamic, versatile motivational speaker and trainer. Mr. Kambon is nationally recognized as a leader in the fields of educational consulting and designing and conducting leadership seminars for public and private educational institutions.

Appointed by an Ohio gubernatorial commission, Mr. Kambon served as executive administrator of The Ohio Commission on African American Males. Mr. Kambon created a school for African American males who were at-risk of entering the Ohio penal system. The school received tremendous recognition for its creative approach to reaching and teaching young men who were at-risk of falling through the crack.

Philosophically, Mr. Kambon is a great believer in the efficacy of public-private partnerships. “I am a profound believer in self-help,” he says. When it comes to community issues, “government should be a catalyst and supporter of local initiatives, but must not attempt to apply generic solutions to specific problems and situations.”

Similarly, Mr. Kambon is a strong advocate for the establishment of policies, programs, and procedures that engage parents in the education of their children. “Parents must be hands-on participants in the educational process – active partners with teachers and administrators,” he says. “Getting parents involved often requires special effort and carefully devised programmatic approaches. This is especially true in multi-cultural environments where there may be race, class, and communications issues to overcome.”

Mr. Kambon and his wife, Hanifah – a recently retired teacher in the Columbus Public Schools – are the parents of three daughters.


 - Improving Parental Involvement in Schools

 - Who Are Today’s Students and How Do We Reach Them? Practical Application of Multi-Intelligences

Chike Akuá


Chike is an educator, lecturer, and Christian minister who has been recognized by Ebony magazine as one of its “50 Leaders of Tomorrow.” Chike shares his perspectives on education, youth advocacy, spirituality, self-knowledge, and African cultural awareness with colleges and universities, on radio and television talk shows, and for gatherings such as the Travis Smiley Foundation’s annual “Youth 2 Leaders” conference.

Chike is the author of five books, including A Kwanzaa Awakening: Lessons for the Children and Community; A Treasure Within: Stories of Remembrance and Rediscovery, and A Treasure Within: Parent/Teacher Resource Guide.

Character, Culture, and the Curriculum Connection


Sandra Alexander


Sandra is a native of Dayton, Ohio and a product of Dayton City Schools. Her qualifications and experiences are plentiful and range from teaching students in adult and juvenile corrections to more than 25 years with Columbus City Schools. Her "single gender education” program is currently operating successfully at the intermediate grade level at the Columbus Africentric Early College School. Her favorite motto is "If it is to be it is up to me."


- Single-Gender Classrooms



Cassandra Archie


Cassandra is the architect of specialized programs designed and implemented throughout the country to increase participation, involvement, and engagement of urban parents of children with special needs. She is the president and founder of Advocates for Educational Equity & Excellence, a consulting organization providing special education advocacy, training, information, and support. Her professional credentials include directing one of the largest federally funded parent training projects in New York State.

- What Every Administrator Needs To Know About Special Education

Alfred “Coach” Powell


“Coach” Powell, is internationally recognized as a humorous, powerful, award-winning public speaker. “Coach” has more than 20 years of experience in working with students and is a certified violence prevention specialist, chemical dependency counselor, author, educator, researcher, and champion high school football and track coach. His books, Message N/A Bottle: The 40 oz. Scandal, Volumes I and II, and Hip Hop Hypocrisy: When Lies Sound Like The Truth, are based on his unique understanding of today’s youth movement and culture, and are widely used as tools by clergy, educators, counselors, and parents.

- Student Motivation/Developing Student Leaders


Darryl Baynes


Darryl holds a chemistry and math degree and is committed to increasing the representation of minorities and women in science, math, and technology-based careers. He is president and founder of the Minority Aviation Education Association (MAEA), the largest minority-owned and operated science and math outreach company in the nation. Through MAEA and his hands-on work with teachers and students, his mission is to lay a foundation that will catapult young minds into their own explorations of science and math.

Improving Classroom Application of Science


Robert Burley


Bob has been a public school teacher, a vice principal, a basketball coach, and a school district chief trainer and mediator. In the latter capacity, he primarily resolved conflicts that school personnel were unable to handle. With the earned designations of a “Master Trainer” and “Master Consultant,” he brings his expertise to school districts and organizations such as federal courts and non-profit organizations as a sought-after speaker and trainer. His work has been chronicled nationally and is on display at more than 200 Simon Property Malls across the country.

- Resolving Conflict Without Confrontation

- Classroom Management


Rev. Jeffrey Dennis


Reverend Dennis is a pastor and the founder of educational, social, and psychological service organizations, targeted toward the African American community, inner city African American young men and their families, and the community at large. He is the leader of programs designed to involve churches in holistic community development partnerships and to educate clergy regarding drug abuse, chemical dependency, and mental illness. He received a Presidential invitation to be a special guest and one of 14 presenters chosen for the first National White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Can The Church Help You Market Your School?


Mark Anthony Garrett


Mark Anthony brings his audiences a background as a powerful professional speaker, an international radio talk show host, and a trainer. This is a formula to encourage individuals to take the risk to move beyond their limitations and a personal background as an abused, neglected inner city foster child. His book, Discover the Champion Within, is widely used by teachers, social service organizations, and parents as a tool to encourage students and others to tap into their inner potential to excel on all levels.

- What Children Need to Succeed


Tamara Gonzales


Tamara Gonzales is a trainer, business analyst and a US Air Force technical sergeant for 17 years. She has a Bachelor degree in Communications. She leads and guides Latino youth with how to reach for success. She is a mentor to women of color who need assistance with how to reach their educational goal achievements. Having been raised in the South-side of Toledo, she understands how important education is to the Latino youth and their success. Tamara has a passion to give back to her community and helps assist other Latinos to understand the importance of obtaining higher education. She has worked on projects in collaboration with the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/ Latino Affairs. She is a member of the Latino Empowerment Outreach Network where she is an active member of the Education Committee.


- Helping Today's Students Reach Academic Success (Focusing on Hispanics)


Betty Howton


Betty is President and CEO of the Protocol School of Columbus and has been a newspaper and magazine contributing writer and a media consultant on business and social etiquette for local NBC, ABC, and CBS television affiliates. Her clients have included corporations and organizations that want to enhance the professional and personal development of their representatives in areas including job readiness, image projection, and character education.


- Making Your School a “Friendly School Environment”

Linda Jungwirth, Ed.D


Linda Jungwirth, Ed.D., President of CONVENING CONVERSATIONS, Inc., is recognized nationally for her work with Small Learning Communities, leadership, curriculum development, assessment, and cultural proficiency. Dr. Jungwirth was recognized as Educator of the Year for Region 10 by the California League of High Schools (CLHS) for her support of high school reform and transformation of large schools into small learning communities. Dr. Jungwirth made Problem-Based Learning (PBL) come alive in the science classroom. “PBL transforms students as they connect to real-world problems with a passion that drives their learning deeper than we could ever dream to accomplish with a traditional education. As adjunct professor at Pepperdine University, Dr. Jungwirth inspires educators to be culturally proficient leaders and innovators in educational reform and personal excellence.


- Project Based Learning


Carolyn Mack


Carolyn has more than 30 years of professional experience ranging from the classroom to curriculum design and development. She is an innovative teacher with a devotion to supporting teachers with tools to effectively deliver instruction to impact student achievement. She has designed and implemented programs at the district level providing options for students, parents, and teachers. Carolyn has presented to a variety of participants at national and regional conferences and local school districts. She is a curriculum coordinator for preschool, kindergarten, gifted, science, social studies and foreign language, and serves as the CARE coach for culturally responsive teaching.


- Do You Know the Way to.... Differentiated Instruction?

Akil Marshall


Akil Marshall is a former professional football player with the National Football League (NFL) Philadelphia Eagles and the first National Basketball Association (NBA) strength and fitness coach. He has been in the wellness business for two decades. He has shared his warmth, humor, and dynamic presentation style through television, radio, videos, and cassette tapes, and was the first African-American male to host a televised exercise show. Akil has authored the book Herbal Powers and You, and has conducted seminars and workshops on health and fitness, including those within public school systems.

Art, A Key to Successful School Marketing


Stephen Peters


Stephen has been an educator for more than 20 years as a classroom teacher, vice principal, principal, and director of secondary education. In his books, Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? and Inspired to Learn: Why We Must Give Children Hope, Stephen shares how he and his staff turned their vision for the children in our schools into operational strategies. He has served on panels with the U.S. Secretary of Education, and is the founder of the Gentlemen’s Club, a revolutionary program for at-risk males that has been featured on the television program, Oprah.

Creating a Positive School and Classroom Culture
- The Gentlemen’s Club: Turning Boys into Gentlemen
- Do You Know Enough About Me To Teach Me?


James A. White, Sr.


James is a trainer, management consultant, and executive coach with more than 25 years of corporate, education, and government experience. Once a 17-year-old high school dropout, James has overcome socioeconomic inner city obstacles and is now pursuing a Doctorate Degree and is owner and operator of Performance Consulting Services, a business performance training, development and consulting firm. He has earned certification in more than 30 corporate training programs, as part of his commitment to sharing his energy and insights with a wide variety of market segments.

- Getting on the Same Page: Building an Effective Team
- Empowerment


Javier A. Sanchez


Javier A. Sanchez is an internationally recognized Youth Communications Specialist. He has spoken to and worked with thousands of teens and adults across the U.S. and abroad, including Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, and throughout the Caribbean. Javier is a Certified Prevention Specialist and graduated from Capital University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications. Mr. Sanchez was also one of forty selectees nationwide to be part of a fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Developing Leadership in Reducing Substance Abuse Program (DLRSA). DLRSA is a national program designed to encourage and support emerging leaders in the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment. After 14 years of working in the Substance Abuse Prevention field, Javier founded R.E.A.C.H. Communications Inc. Their mission is to challenge and equip both youth and adults to experience life to the fullest by Reaching Excellence in Attitude, Character, and Health.


Andrá  Ward


Andra’ is a national and international trainer and consultant in the field of right brain, left brain, and whole brain development. He has an extensive background in human resource development and diversity, which includes serving as president and CEO of Khafre Ward Corporation, focusing on improving internal and external communication skills in today’s society. He brings a perspective of diversity as more than a strategy, but rather a core value that applies at all levels within an organization.

Breaking Down Communication Barriers: Filter Through The Noise

- Whole Brain Development

- Cultural Diversity



Visionary Leaders Institute (VLI) is one of the leading educational institutions providing change in the field of urban education. The mission of Visionary Leaders Institute is to make significant positive contributions to the revitalization of urban America by providing training, guidance, inspiration and technical assistance to those involved in public education. This includes parents, students, teachers, administrators and staff.


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