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Mark Naison

Mark Naison is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of four books and over 200 articles on African American politics, labor history, popular culture and education policy. Dr. Naison is the Principal Investigator of the Bronx African American History Project, one of the largest community based oral history projects in the nation and has begun work on an book of oral histories from the BAAHP, with Robert Gumbs, entitled Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. His articles about Bronx music and Bronx culture have been published in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English. He has two books coming out this year, a novel Pure Bronx, written with Melissa Castillo Garsow, and a book of writings on education and youth activism, Badass Teachers Unite, to be published by Haymarket Press.

When not doing historical research, Naison likes to play tennis and golf, post commentary on his blog, “With a Brooklyn Accent,” and make periodic forays into the media. During the last five years, he has begun presenting historical "raps" in Bronx schools under the nickname of "Notorious Phd" and has been the subject of stories about his use of hip hop in teaching in the The Daily News, Bronx 12 Cablevision, and Fox Business. He also comments regularly on education issues through his blog and on LA Progressive, History News Network and The Washington Post “Answer Sheet, and is one of the founders of three education activist sites on Facebook -“Dump Duncan,” “Occupy Teach for America” and the wildly successful “Badass Teachers Association.” However, some know him best for his appearance on the Chappelle Show, where his "performance" has been preserved on that show's Second Year DVD.

Michael Alfano

Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Central Connecticut State University. Former Chair of the Department of Special Education and Reading at Southern Connecticut State University and former Executive Director of Teacher Preparation Programs at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut.

Robert Cotto
Current member of the Hartford, Connecticut, Board of Education and social studies teacher at the CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies in Bloomfield, CT. Senior Policy Fellow for K-12 Education at the Connecticut Voices for Children. He obtained his B. A. from Dartmouth College and his Ed. M. from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Nelba Marquez-Greene
AAMFT Clinical Fellow, Mental Health and Relational Wellness Director of the non-profit organization Sandy Hook Promise that works toward supporting those affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, CT. Ms. Marquez-Greene's daughter, 6-year-old Ana, was killed during the shooting in December, 2012. She has spoken about education, mental health, and gun violence and has published works in the Huffington Post and Education Week.