Keynote Speakers

Malinda Garcia & Ryan Sennett

Malinda Garcia & Ryan Sennett

Malinda and Ryan, two high school English teachers at Wind River High School in Wyoming, were mesmerized by closing speakers at the 2017 NNER Conference. The speakers included a group of 8 seniors from Parkland High North, speaking about the need for educational reform and for educators to develop teaching practices that mirrored the social justice issues necessary for students to engage with, challenge, and be a part of their ever-changing world.

They spent the entire plane ride home at a metaphorical cross-roads, wondering what it would mean to truly provide a chance for their students to grapple with the world around them, rather than just reading about it.

They started small. Their goal was ambitious yet precise: develop a rigorous curriculum that allows their students to critically explore, engage, and challenge ideas in the career fields they hoped to enter.  

Malinda and Ryan will share with NNER Conference attendees how they continue to push the limits of what a high school classroom can be, requiring shifts in assessment design, pedagogy, and even traditional notions of a physical classroom space. They will detail how they take down walls, and build new bridges, which includes at time an openness to the irreverent and provocative.

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Dr. Margarita Bianco

Dr. Margarita Bianco

Dr. Margarita Bianco is an associate professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver and Founder/ Executive Director of Pathways2Teaching. Her research interests include strategies to recruit and retain teachers of color and Grow Your Own (GYO) teacher programs for high school students of color in urban and rural communities.

Dr. Bianco’s work has been published in leading educational journals including Theory Into Practice, The Journal of Negro Education, The Urban Review, Urban Education, Teacher Education and Special Education, and Journal of Hispanic Higher Education.

Professor Bianco is the recipient of multiple awards including the Outstanding Researcher Award from the Council for Learning Disabilities, University of Colorado Denver’s Rosa Parks Diversity Award, the 2011 University of Colorado President’s Diversity Award, University of Colorado’s 2012 Teaching Excellence Award, and most recently Dr. Bianco was named the University of Colorado Timmerhaus Teaching Ambassador (2017-2019) – and in March 2019, recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education as one of the nation’s top 35 women in higher education.