Putting People and Communities First
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Helen Beckley-Forest is a graduate from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York with a major in Painting and minor in Sustainability. While she has worked mainly as a painter, she explores different forms of creation such as illustration, textiles and design. She recently published her second children’s book Go With That in collaboration with therapist Heather Hale, LCMHCS, RPT-S.
As a lifetime learner, Athenia has built her career in a variety of roles and industries, mostly in small non-profit and startup companies. With 20 years in human services, Athenia has used her extensive knowledge to build, consult and guide Community partners in developing, development plans, investing, and meeting KIP & ROIs in multiple projects. Athenia enjoys creative problem solving and has extensive experience in fundraising and donor development.
Ann Ditto is a lifelong resident of the Skarù•ręʔ (Tuscarora) Nation in Niagara County. During her 15-year career as a classroom teacher, Ann has spent six years with Orleans Niagara BOCES as an adult education teacher working primarily with individuals who are incarcerated. The majority of her teaching years have been working with students, families, and communities who often find themselves in situations deemed as at-risk, impoverished, or vulnerable. It is not only a personal goal, but a mission of Ann’s, to encourage individuals, groups, and communities to use barriers as steps to climb above the walls of oppression.
Dr. Haq has 30+ years of experience in higher education and business including expertise in academic administration, entrepreneurship, and strategic planning. He was most recently a Vice President at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) where he was a liaison to member institutions, providing advice in planning for continuous improvement through the accreditation process. Prior to that, Dr. Haq was Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Chair of the Professional Studies Division at Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY. Earlier in his academic career, he was a faculty member and then Vice President for Academic Affairs at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Haq has extensive teaching and work experience in the field of international business and is passionate about helping organizations with their business and strategic planning through Mother Earth Literacies, LLC.
Kate Shands Haq, co-founder, Vice President of Operations and Curriculum Development of Mother Earth Literacies, LLC, has been a professional educator since 1985. She taught in urban and rural schools in Western New York, primarily as an elementary classroom teacher and literacy coach. Recently retired, Kate works to promote progressive, equitable, culturally responsive teaching and learning in Buffalo Public Schools through her role as the curriculum chair for the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO). Kate is passionate about the creation of interdisciplinary equity-focused, place-based curriculum for K-12 educators and learners, interrogating the status quo, and the city of Buffalo. Kate’s research interests include teacher work and policy, youth civic engagement, environmental justice education, and critical literacies.
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Monica L. Miles, co-founder, President, and Community Coordinator of Mother Earth Literacies, LLC, has a strong commitment to both the community and our environment. Through a racialized environmental justice approach, she brings groups of diverse and interdisciplinary people together to develop multidisciplinary curriculum resources and to think deeply about equity and justice issues. Mother Earth Literacies grew from this passion. A mother, scientist, researcher, scholar, and community activist, Monica’s research focuses on the role of identity, racialized experiences, and marginalization in K-12 and higher education in STEM and medical education environments. Monica maintains a commitment to social justice efforts through critical examinations of society, the environment, and education.