Program guide for the 2022 Summer Conference

by Jeff Camp | June 12, 2022 | 0 Comments
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Sessions and Speakers 2022

The summer conference of the 2022 Ed100 Academy for Student Leaders took place online June 20-22, 10am to noon and 1:30pm to 5pm. It was free, and any student aged 13+ could apply up to June 17. Faculty advisors were invited, too.

This is the digital "conference brochure" for 2022. Our vision was for every high school in California to be represented. Was yours? Don't assume — check here to find out. No nomination was required, and it only took a few minutes to apply.

We urged educators and parent leaders to apply for this conference to participate in this program as allies. There was no cost.

To understand what this conference was all about, watch this two-minute video:

Leadership opportunities. You'll be invited to leadership opportunities (some selective, others not).

Connections. You'll meet students in breakout sessions, and you'll be invited to join the Ed100 Student Academy Discord, a great way to connect with each other and discover leadership opportunities throughout the school year.

Insights journal. During the conference, take note of what you learn in your Leadership Insights Journal to bring what you learn back to your school community and to your college advisors. The journal will be released just before the start of the conference.

Civic engagement. Participate actively in the Academy to earn a certificate as evidence of civic engagement. You'll also learn how to earn the California Seal of Civic Engagement for your high school diploma.

Session 1
Students and the Big Picture
Monday, June 20, 10am - noon

The conference begins promptly at 10am.

Alvin Lee

Founder, GENup

Alvin Lee is the student founder of GENup, a fast-growing coalition of student advocacy organizations that elevates the voices of students in high schools and colleges throughout California and beyond.

Alvin is a founding member of the California Department of Education's first Youth Advisory Council and a co-founder of the California Student Board Members Association (CSBMA). He is a rising sophomore year at Stanford. You'll get to know him as the host of the Academy.

Alvin will be supported by co-hosts including Kavya Suresh, a member of the Ed100 team of student outreach ambassadors. Kavya is an Ed100 graduate and a rising junior at San Marcos High in Santa Barbara, where she will serve on the school board next year.

Gavin Newsom

Governor of California

Governor Newsom will be the keynote speaker.

As Governor, Gavin Newsom leads the executive branch of the most populous state in America. If this state were a country, it would be counted as the fifth largest economy in the world. More than a quarter of a million people work in departments or organizations that report to the Governor.

Newsom began his career in public service in San Francisco, where he served on the city council and then as Mayor. In 2004 he became nationally known for his leadership role in advancing equal freedoms for the LGBTQ community, especially the right to marry.

Hudson Yang


Young people have a lot to offer. Hudson Yang asks: What will you do to make a difference?

Hudson Yang, named by Variety, The Wrap and others as a rising star to watch in young Hollywood, spent six years as irrepressible protagonist Eddie on ABC's historic Asian American family sitcom Fresh Off the Boat. His performance garnered him multiple NAACP Image Awards nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Youth, and Teen Choice Awards nominations as Choice Scene Stealer in 2016 and Outstanding TV Comedy Actor in 2017 and 2018. Yang has also appeared on Family Guy, Disney's Sophia the First, Liv and Maddie and The Lion Guard and PBS's Cyberchase. He will next be seen as the lead in director Tamika Miller's highly anticipated feature film debut, Honor Student. Born and bred in Brooklyn, Yang began studies at Harvard in 2021.

Josh Fryday

California Chief Service Officer

What is the role of volunteering in society, and how do students fit into that vision? As a member of the cabinet of Governor Gavin Newsom, Josh Fryday leads service, volunteer and civic engagement efforts throughout California.

Effective service requires effective coordination. Fryday is a military veteran and the former Mayor of Novato. Prior to stepping up as CSO for the state, he served as the president of Golden State Opportunity (GSO), led NextGen Climate, and served as an officer in the US Navy as a member of the Judge Advocate Corps (JAG).

Ted Dintersmith

Change Maker

In his award-winning film "Most Likely to Succeed," Ted Dintersmith pointed out the many ways that the world has changed… but most schools have not. As homework before this session, students are invited to watch it, free.

Dintersmith knows a lot about innovation; before he became an education advocate he was one of the world's most successful investors in start-up businesses. How can schools and school systems work better? That's the focus of his series What School Could Be. Through examples and stories, he showcases the work of educators and schools that are mobilizing their community to reimagine learning. How can student leaders play a role in transforming their schools into inspiration zones?

Rana Banankhah and Naomi Porter

California State Board of Education

The student position on the California State Board of Education is the highest position a student can serve in government, appointed by the Governor to represent more than six million students. This summer, Rana is finishing her year of service and Naomi is about to begin hers. They will explain what the position entails and how rising juniors can apply in September to serve in their senior year.

Rana Banankhah attended Modesto High School, and concurrently served as the student representative to the board of Modesto City Schools while serving on the State Board of Education. She will begin studies at Stanford this fall.

Naomi Porter is a rising senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, where she serves on the school site council. She also serves on the Superintendents' Roundtable and founded EntrepreYOUership, a nonprofit focused on entrepreneurship and financial literacy. She is an Ashoka Young Changemaker, a Ted Talk Speaker, a Gold Award Girl Scout, and an Eagle Scout.

Session 2
The Education System
Monday, June 20, 1:30pm to 5pm

Mary Perry

Independent Education Consultant

Mary Perry will bring everyone to a shared level of basic understanding about how the education system works, including the critical role of money. This is a familiar role for Mary, who has demystified the system for thousands of education leaders.

Mary has served many leadership roles for the California State PTA including Vice President for Education. She served as deputy director of EdSource from 1993 to 2011. A former school board member, Perry holds a B.S. in journalism from the University of Oregon and an M.A. in liberal arts from Stanford. She has been a longtime adviser to Ed100.

Josh Becker

California State Senator, San Mateo and Santa Clara

California's education system is guided by laws. The process of making and changing law involves a lot of committees. How does that actually work? Senator Josh Becker will explain.

Elected to the State Senate in November 2020, Senator Becker represents most of San Mateo County and the northern part of Santa Clara County. He is the author of several bills focused on accelerating California’s transition to 100% clean energy and net zero emissions, voter access and justice reforms, and leveraging technology to provide greater economic mobility for all Californians. In 2000, Becker created Full Circle Fund, the non-profit organization that developed Ed100.

Hae-Sin Kim Thomas

Charter Public Schools

More than a tenth of California's students attend a public school that is governed as a charter school. These schools, tuition-free and open to any student in the district where they are located, operate with somewhat fewer rules than traditional schools. When are charter schools the right answer?

Hae-Sin Kim Thomas received the Legacy Award of the California Charter Schools Association for her role in developing school options for students in communities that were poorly served by traditional district public schools, especially in Oakland. She was the founding principal of ASCEND, one of a handful of autonomous schools recognized for providing high-quality education. She founded Education for Change Public Schools, a network of charter schools. She served as CEO of urbanED solutions and was also the lead organizer and co-founder of Great Oakland Public Schools, an Oakland-based advocacy group.

Sal Khan

Founder, Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone anywhere. Khan Academy's content and mastery learning platform has more than 137 million registered users across 190 countries. On an average day, the site supports about 80 million minutes of learning throughout the world. Teachers and school districts use Khan Academy as a way to personalize the process of learning for each student.

Sal Khan holds three degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. He has been profiled by 60 Minutes, was the only nonprofit leader ever profiled on the cover of Forbes and was recognized as one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the World. His thought-provoking presentation at the inaugural Ed100 Academy for Student Leaders in 2020 was one of the highest-rated sessions of the conference.

Session 3
Tools for Informed Leaders
Tuesday, June 21, 10am to noon

Alex Padilla

US Senator for the State of California

Alex Padilla represents the state of California in the US Senate. He was sworn into office by Vice President Kamala Harris, his predecessor.

Senator Padilla is the proud son of immigrants from Mexico, his father a short-order cook and his mother a housekeeper. Padilla attended Los Angeles public schools and is a graduate of MIT, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating, Padilla was elected to the L.A. City Council, where he became the youngest Council President in Los Angeles history. He served two terms as California's Secretary of State, launching the state's pre-registration program, which enables 16- and 17-year olds to automatically be registered to vote when they turn 18.

Dr. Marika Manos

The California Seal of Civic Engagement

The California State Seal of Civic Engagement, affixed to your diploma, celebrates your informed participation in the civic life of your community. It's a fairly new program, and not every school district offers it yet. What does it take to make it real in your district?

Dr. Marika Manos is leading efforts to implement the Civic Seal in school districts in Orange County. She will provide her perspective about the value of the Seal, the challenges that must be overcome, and how students can help make it available in their the districts.

Carrie Hahnel

Opportunity Institute

As a student leader, will your voice be heard, or will you be dismissed? When you know your stuff, you are harder to ignore. Carrie Hahnel will give you a nuts-and-bolts rundown of the tools and data sources that can make you an insider.

Hahnel is the Senior Director of Policy and Strategy at the Opportunity Institute, where her work focuses on improving systems of school finance, resource allocation, and school accountability to be more equitable. Previously, she was interim co-executive director and director of research and policy at Education Trust-West, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on educational justice. She also served as director of research and evaluation for the KIPP Foundation. She earned her undergraduate degree at Carleton College and her Master's of Education degree from Harvard.

Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez

Past President, CSBA

Does California have a state system of local schools, or a local system of state schools? What is the role of policy in the way that a specific school works, and how can local action make change that matters? Do those arriving without English fluency have a shot in California?

Few understand the role of school boards in this state as deeply as Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez. She is the immediate past president of the California School Board Association (CSBA) and now in her 20th year as a trustee of the Azusa Unified School District in east Los Angeles County. As Deputy Director of Californians Together, she directs work to support immigrant and refugee students.

Session 4
Issues that need student voice
Tuesday, June 22, 1:30pm to 5pm

Dr. Shirley Weber

California Secretary of State

This is an election year. You might think that you need to be 18 to participate in the process. Actually, there are many ways for students to get involved, as you’ll learn directly from the state’s top election officer.

Shirley Nash Weber, Ph.D. is the fifth African American to serve as a constitutional officer in California's 171-year history. Born to sharecroppers in Hope, Arkansas during the segregationist Jim Crow era, Dr. Weber earned her PhD from UCLA by age 26. She served as a member and chair of board of the San Diego Unified School District, and was elected to four terms as a member of the California State Assembly, representing the San Diego region.

Education Trust-West

Dr. Christopher Nellum, Executive Director

Universal public education is core to America's vision of a society that works for all of us, preparing each student for their future. The challenges are not the same for every student. EdTrust-West, a non-profit organization, advocates for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, particularly those of color and living in lower-income communities.

Dr. Christopher Nellum regularly appears in media to speak on these themes. His winding path from Head Start through K-12 education and college mirrors many of the challenges students of color and students from lower-income communities face. His home, California’s Imperial Valley, is rich with traditions, but also the site of extreme rural poverty. Nellum completed his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara, his master’s degree at CSU Long Beach, and his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

Stella Keating

GenderCool Champion

With each generation, Americans are becoming dramatically more open-minded about gender identity and sexual orientation, including their own. In 2020, a survey by Gallup found that about 15% of adults born 1997-2002 identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, and about 1.8% identify as transgender. These figures surprise many, unaware of the diversity all around them.

Stella was the first transgender teen to testify in the US Senate. Her personal story, viewed by millions, opened minds and hearts — and redefined a national conversation about equality under the law. Stella is a champion of the GenderCool Project, a youth-led movement helping to replace misinformed opinions with positive experiences by meeting transgender and non-binary youth who are thriving.

Sivan Kotler-Berkowitz is a rising senior, an athlete, and a member of a local youth commission working to address the racial and economic inequities that have been highlighted by the pandemic. He speaks Hebrew and is learning ASL.

Daniel Trujillo and his family were featured in People Magazine’s first ever print Pride Issue in June 2020. He hopes to contribute to creating change through continued advocacy and telling the stories of Latinx trans youth like himself through his music, art, and stop motion movies.

These champions enjoy the support of a loving family that accepts them. "Less than half of the states in our country provide equal protection for me under the law," Stella pointed out to US Senators in her testimony for the Equality Act. "How is that even American?"

March For Our Lives

Trevon Bosley, Board Member

California schools prepare children for earthquakes and active shooters, as if both are normal or inevitable. Only in America, the most likely cause of death for teens is a bullet. What can students do?

Trevon Bosley lost his brother in a mass shooting. As a member of the board of March For Our Lives, he is a prominent voice in the call to deal with gun violence as an intersectional crisis. "Everyday shootings are everyday problems," he emphasizes.


John Fensterwald, Editor-at-Large

How have changes in the education system affected the lives of the students attending this conference? How might the system change going forward? No one is in a better position to answer these questions thoughtfully (or playfully) than long-time education journalist John Fensterwald. Last year, John presented a brief history of California's education system through the allegory of Ginny the Guinea Pig. This year, John and Alvin will discuss what's changed — and what could.

For anyone who hopes to keep up with California's changing education issues and policies, John's reporting is required reading. Prior to EdSource, he was the founder and editor of The Educated Guess website, an editorial writer for the Mercury News in San Jose, and a journalist for papers in New Hampshire.

Session 5
Getting Involved - Making a Difference
Wednesday, June 22, 10am to noon

In this session, you'll have some decisions to make. You will hear a series of brief, well-crafted "pitch" presentations from organizations that work with student leaders. Each presentation will answer four questions:

  • What does your organization do?
  • Why is it important?
  • How can student leaders get involved and help?
  • Why should student leaders choose to get involved with your organization?

Based on these presentations, you will fill out a survey to provide feedback and indicate organizations that you want to connect with. Your survey responses will directly affect meetings and programs that you may be invited to participate in.

Zaila Avant-garde

Winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, 2021

But first, a bit of inspiration. What kind of practice does it take for a young person to become very, very good at something? We will ask Zaila Avant-garde, the winner of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee. With dreams of the WNBA, she also has set three world records for juggling basketballs.

Each year, some 11 million students aged 15 or younger take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. In 2021, Zaila became the first African-American winner. Learn more about her in this two-minute feature from Sports Illustrated:

TOLA Organizing Academy

Christian Garcia, Vice President

What does it mean for a community to advocate effectively for an outcome, like amending a policy, passing a bill or raising funds? How does change happen, and how can students help?

The non-profit TOLA academy trains organizers: people who help communities find the conviction to make a difference and the strategies to make it happen. Christian is committed to organizing people who don't typically engage in the political process. For over a decade, he has coached new organizers and provided direction, training, and strategic advice on community engagement. Born and raised in a farm labor camp in Watsonville, California, Garcia earned his MPA from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

To learn about organizing, read Sidewalk Strategies.

ACLU of Southern California

Irene Rivera, Education Policy Advocate

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends the fundamental rights outlined in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights through public education, lobbying and litigation.

Irene Rocha Rivera is the Education Policy Advocate and Organizer at the ACLU of Southern California. She focuses on community engagement, advocacy, policy research and litigation support for the statewide education team to ensure that the public education system provides quality education to all students. She is a graduate of UCLA and the first in her family to attain an undergraduate degree. She is a native Spanish speaker and proud daughter of immigrant parents who is committed to working on educational equity issues across CA.

Youth vs. Apocalypse

Aniya Butler, Hip Hop and Climate Justice Coordinator

YVA started as a group of Oakland youth using direct action and lobbying to fight a proposed coal terminal in their city. It has grown to a base of media-savvy youth activists with a fellowship serving more than 60 frontline youth leaders.

Aniya is a Lead Circle Member and a member of the organizational management team. A spoken word performer, she joined YVA to recognize and uplift the connection between movements for climate justice and social justice.


Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder

Every day, the sun beats on aging school buildings, blacktop playgrounds, and unsheltered parking areas. School districts spend vast sums maintaining, operating, and cooling facilities that could be contributing to climate solutions. UndauntedK12 supports America's K-12 public schools to make an equitable transition to zero carbon emissions while preparing youth to build a sustainable future..

Jonathan Klein is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur, campaign strategist, and executive with a demonstrated history of impact in education and politics. He is a co-founder of GO Public Schools, Revolution Foods, and the Oakland Public Education Fund. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale, his MBA from UC Berkeley, and his teaching credential from Chapman University.

March For Our Lives

Maya Deganyar, California State Co-Director

Homicide is the leading cause of death among teens in California. What can we do?

Maya has been involved in the gun violence prevention movement since the beginning of March For Our Lives. Before becoming state director, Maya started a MFOL chapter at her local high school in Los Angeles. As a queer Middle Eastern American, Maya sees gun violence as a global issue that needs to be combatted on all levels, not just through basic "gun control" measures. She now attends UC Berkeley.


Caitlin Lainoff, Youth Engagement Manager

CreateCA advocates for high quality arts education for all students by providing policy expertise and by mobilizing a statewide network of allied partners.

Caitlin Lainoff has over a decade of experience in the field of arts and education. She graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, and has an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Caitlin designs locally and is a teaching artist at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Session 6
Uniting for Impact
Wednesday, June 22, 1:30pm to 5pm

Black Youth Leadership Project

Lorreen Pryor, President

BYLP is a non-profit and non-partisan educational organization dedicated to developing California's next generation of public policy leaders.

Lorreen is an Alumna of Sacramento State and a veteran Legislative staffer with 16 years under the dome. She serves as the President of Black Youth Leadership Project (BYLP) where she devotes her time in support of Black students throughout California.


Saanvi Arora and Genavieve Koenigshofer

GENup is a national student-led social justice organization and student-activist coalition that advocates for change through the power of youth voices. Thousands of student leaders participate in chapters in high schools and colleges.

How do you find a GENup chapter, or form one? What are the roles involved? How do you learn what you need to know, and how does being involved in GENup lead to change? Genavieve, Chief of Staff, is a rising junior at UC San Diego who was previously a student board member for Capistrano Unified. Saanvi is Director of Strategic Partnerships.

California Student Board Member Association

Zac Patterson

Each school board in California should include a student member if the district includes one or more high schools… but many still don't. CSBMA is a student-led organization for students who serve on school boards. CSBMA provides support for efforts to expand student board membership and connects student board members to help them better represent their constituents.

Zachary Patterson, the founder of CSMBA, began working on education reform in 7th grade. He spent three years leading a campaign to add a student to the San Diego Board of Education, a position he was then elected to serve. Zachary’s activism throughout high school involved him in many activism priorities as he helped lead the San Diego March For Our Lives, successfully passed student sexual harassment regulation at the state level, and helped the district set vaccination policies. In the fall Zac will begin studies at Duke University. Learn more about Zac in this feature on KPBS. (4 min.)

California State PTA

Shereen Walter and Maya Bhandari

Students serve on the governing boards of at least 325 high school PTAs in California. Students also serve on the governing board of the California State PTA, where they participate in the dialogue about the organization's policy positions.

As a student from Lowell High School in San Francisco, Maya Bhandari served as a member of the Board of Managers of the California State PTA. Last year she led a successful campaign for the state PTA to encourage all schools to offer plant-based options in their food service. Maya will begin studies at UC Berkeley this fall.

Shereen Walter is the President-elect of the California State PTA and a consistent advocate for student leadership in school communities. She will join Maya to talk about the leadership opportunities in PTA organizations.

California Association of Student Councils (CASC)

Ellie Lian, President

Established in 1947, CASC develops skilled, ethical, and sensitive leaders of diverse backgrounds and cultures by providing leadership development for students through peer training. CASC programs emphasize authenticity, ethics, and collaborative decision-making.

Ellie Lian is president of the California Association of Student Councils and a senior at Portola High School in Orange County. "Successful activism relies on more than effective planning," she says. "Unity among student activists is essential."

Ellie will be joined by Ava Gebhart, the State Policy Director.

Ed100 Academy

Kaylee Nguyen, Director of Outreach

The Ed100 Online Academy for Student Leaders brings student leaders together to learn, connect, and make a difference. A select team plays a central role in planning and carrying out this conference, including outreach, marketing, technology development, social media, speaker recruitment and more.

Kaylee Nguyen joined the founding leadership team of the Ed100 Academy in 2020, and served as Director of Admissions in both 2021 and 2022. She recruited and directed the team of Outreach Ambassadors and oversaw the addition of the certificate program to recognize students who participate deeply in the Ed100 Academy summer conference. Kaylee is a rising senior at UC Berkeley, where she studies psychology and English. She plays midfield for the Cal Bears women's soccer team, and received the Haas Jr. community service award for student-athletes.

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