Keynote Speakers

Shawn Ginwright

Shawn Ginwright is a leading national expert on African American youth, youth activism, and youth development. He is an Associate Professor of Education in the Africana Studies Department and Senior Research Associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy at San Francisco State University. In 1989, Dr. Ginwright founded Leadership Excellence Inc. an innovative youth development agency located in Oakland, California that trains African American youth to address pressing social and community problems.

Tia Elena Martinez

Tia Elena Martinez has over 25 years of experience working nationally in low-income communities on issues that include education, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, drug abuse, homelessness, affordable housing and immigration. She currently serves as Executive Director of Forward Change, an organization that helps foundations, community-based groups and government agencies improve the lives of disadvantaged children and families.

Kristin Wright

Kristin Wright is the California State Director of Special Education, a role she assumed September 1, 2016. Kristin brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to this important position as a policy expert, a former special education student teacher, and a mother of a child with disabilities. Her public service career took a turn with the birth of her middle daughter, Shelby, who has significant intellectual and physical disabilities. A Sacramento native, Wright and her husband, Charles, have three children: Ace, Shelby, and Violet.

Chris Ulmer

Chris Ulmer is known as the teacher behind Special Books by Special Kids (SBSK), a popular blog that has surpassed a million followers in only two short years. Chris travels the world interviewing neurodiverse humans and sharing their stories. The SBSK community is leading the way towards an inclusive world for those with special needs.