Maria Guajardo, Ph.D - CIRCLE 2019 Speaker

Maria Guajardo, Ph.D., is Vice-President and Professor at Soka University, Tokyo, Japan. She was the first female dean and the first non-Japanese to serve in this capacity. Her area of expertise is leadership, with a focus on women, global citizenship, and leadership development. Prior to her arrival in Japan, Dr. Guajardo served as an educational leader in Denver, Colorado, providing leadership in city and state government, and nonprofit organizations.

Taishya Adams - CIRCLE 2019 Speaker

Taishya Adams is a passionate and dedicated servant leader in educational equity with over 20 years of experience across the country and the globe. Currently, Taishya works at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) as a Senior Education Consultant, building skills and knowledge among educators that focus on educational policy, research and practice in the midwest. Taishya was recently appointed by Governor Jared Polis to serve on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Ash Beckham - CIRCLE 2019 Speaker

Ash Beckham is a bold, dynamic presenter who speaks about empathy, respect and the power of having real conversations. HerTEDx talks have gone viral with more than 10 million YouTube views. Significantly, her message has also become a topic of global discussion. Ash reaches millions every day as her inspiring speeches are experienced in classrooms, boardrooms and auditoriums around the world. 

Rodney Glasgow - CIRCLE 2015 Keynote Speaker

Rodney Glasgow is a noted speaker, facilitator, trainer and activist in the areas of diversity, equity, and social justice. He has given a number of keynote presentations, delivered workshops, and offered consultation to schools and organizations nationwide. Mr. Glasgow is one of the founding members and now Chair of the National Association of Independent School’s annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a 20 year-old training ground drawing over 1500 high school students nationwide. Last year, Rodney launched the National Diversity Directors Institute, a summer intensive for diversity practitioners. Rodney is a featured writer in the book Diversity in Independent Schools, and he wrote the prologue for the recently released One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out About What’s Gotten Better…And What Hasn’t. Additionally, he is an advisory board member for the Family Diversity Projects, Inc. In 2009, he was given the People of Courage Award by the City of Worcester for his work with the Greater Worcester Community Foundation’s LGBT Initiative.

Shakti Butler - CIRCLE 2014 Keynote Speaker

Shakti Butler, PhD is a multiracial African-American woman (African, Arawak Indian, and Russian-Jewish) whose work as a creative and visionary bridge builder has challenged and inspired learning for over two decades. She is frequently hired by organizations seeking a catalyst for change.

Butler is the producer and director of groundbreaking documentaries including, The Way Home, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness

Visible, and her latest film Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity. This latest film uses story, theater and music to illuminate the larger frame of structural/systemic racial inequity.

Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. - CIRCLE STAMP 2014 Keynote Speaker

Too often when we hear of a young African American male becoming successful we immediately think of sports, music or movies as his ticket out. Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. has pursued and achieved success in the world of academia, business, diversity and community service. In 1996, he started America & MOORE, LLC in order to provide comprehensive diversity and cultural competency trainings/workshops for K-12 schools, community organizations, businesses and colleges/universities all across the nation/world. Dr. Moore has presented at national/international conferences focusing on issues of diversity, youth, community, education, cultural competency, leadership, white privilege and other forms of oppression. Eddie is a dynamic, personal diversity consultant and public speaker. His presentations are interactive, fun, challenging, informative and practical. While doing all of this, he serves as the Director of Diversity at Brooklyn Friends School in Brooklyn, NY.

Dr. Cornel West - CIRCLE 2013 Keynote

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He appears frequently on the Bill Maher Show, Colbert Report, CNN and C-Span as well as on his dear Brother, Tavis Smiley’s PBS TV Show. He is also co-host of the popular radio show “Smiley & West” heard on PRI around the country. The co-hosts have recently co-authored the book titled The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. The new book is a game-changing text on economic injustice in America.

He made his film debut in the Matrix – and was the commentator (with Ken Wilbur) on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call & Response, Sidewalk and Stand.

Last, he has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices (which won the Grand Prix in France for the best Jazz Album of the year of 2009), The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome, Raheem DeVaughn’s Grammy-nominated Love & War: Masterpeace, and most recently on Bootsy Collins’ The Funk Capital of the World. In short, Cornel West has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.

Dr. Brenda J. Allen - 2013 CIRCLE Closing Keynote Address

Writing the next Chapter; Taking Steps for Change

This interactive closing session will inspire attendees to specify how they will actualize their learnings from the day. Dr. Allen will guide participants through a series of exercises to develop feasible commitments and goals to create and sustain inclusiveness and culturally relevant practices within various contexts. This closing session will be an opportunity for CIRCLE participants to take the first step towards commitment to self, school/ organization and community.

Brenda J. Allen (Ph.D., Howard University) is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus. She also is a Professor of Communication and she serves as Master Mentor of the Tenure Track Faculty Mentoring Program at the university. Her research and teaching areas are organizational communication, diversity, and critical pedagogy. Among her numerous publications is a groundbreaking book entitled Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity. She presents keynote speeches and conducts workshops and consultations on a range of topics, including self-empowerment, diversity, strategic planning, presentational speaking, and teamwork.

Lee Mun Wah - 2012 CIRCLE Keynote


Lee Mun Wah is an internationally renowned Chinese American documentary filmmaker, author, poet, Asian folkteller, educator, community therapist and master diversity trainer. For more than 25 years he was a resource specialist and counselor in the San Francisco Unified School District. He later became a consultant to private schools, working with students that had severe learning and behavioral issues. Lee Mun Wah is now the Executive Director of Stirfry Seminars & Consulting, a diversity training company that provides educational tools and workshops on issues pertaining to cross-cultural communication and awareness, mindful facilitation, and conflict mediation techniques. Thousands of people from government and social service agencies, corporations and educational institutions have taken Lee Mun Wah’s workshops and partnered with Stirfry Seminars & Consulting on their diversity initiatives.

Dr. Chuck Luna - CIRCLE 2010 Keynote Speaker

Dr. Chuck Luna is a national trainer and consultant who has provided intercultural competency skills training throughout the United States. He has extensive experience as an educator at the elementary, junior high and high school levels, as a middle school counselor and as both a high school principal and assistant principal. Dr. Luna received his Bachelor's Degree in Modern Languages and his Master of Arts Degree in Educational Administration from Colorado State University. He received his Doctor of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Luna was a professor of educational leadership at Colorado State University for five years where he engaged in research and organizational restructuring. In January, 1992, the Center for Peak Performing Schools released Dr. Luna's video entitled Building Championship Schools . Dr. Luna is a past executive director of the Colorado Hispanic Institute and past Director of the Diversity and Equity Office for the Boulder, Colorado School District. He has provided work- shops on intercultural skillfulness and leadership for Sears & Company, American Nurses Association in Washington, D.C., the Denver Mental Health Corporation, county government employees, and realtors. He has also been a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and teacher educator on cultural skillfulness for school districts and universities throughout Colorado and the United States. Dr. Luna is currently an adjunct faculty member with Regis University and co-director of the Rocky Mountain Intercultural Institute.

Maria Guajardo, Ph.D - CIRCLE 2009 Keynote Speaker

María Guajardo is the executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Education and Children in Denver, Colorado. Focusing on the first two decades of life, the charge of her office is to champion educational advancement for children and youth in Denver. Her leadership initiated and launched the Denver Preschool Program, the 5 By 5 Project, after-school programs citywide and summits on Multiple Pathways to Graduation. She oversees operations from Head Start to providing high school students an even start to postsecondary education. A licensed child psychologist, in 2005 she received a congressional commendation for her contributions to Latino education.

She is a national spokesperson on topics of education, leadership, and the strength of diversity. Her publications include The Spirit of Culture and The Power of Parents.

Dr. Guajardo graduated with honors from Harvard University and earned her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Denver. She is a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. From 1991-1994 she was a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow. A daughter of migrant parents, she currently has a son enrolled in Denver Public Schools. María is an author, a mother, a community volunteer, and a national speaker

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