Monday: Start Here. Start Now.

Presenters: Dr. Sharla Horton-Williams and Dr. Toni Harrison-Kelly
Co-Founders/Partners of the SLSJ/Horton Kelly Company

There is so much to do to achieve equity in our schools and in society more broadly, and there is a place for everyone in this work. Whether you are new to the learning or could (or maybe even have!) write a book, you are welcome and needed in the huge task of making the world a better place for all. Through equal parts narrative, humor, and information, we will explore the concept of equity in education and lay out a clear path forward for those who are ready to jump in for the first time and provide encouragement and resources for those who are ready to go deeper.


Dr. Toni Harrison-Kelly is a fifteen-year exemplary teaching veteran and education consultant, having worked with a variety of community partners, including KERA, the Dallas-area PBS affiliate, and trained over 1,500 parents and teachers to date. Dr. Harrison-Kelly earned her Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree from Texas A&M University, where she focused on researching student engagement in high-poverty, high-minority schools. She currently leads the collaborative community involvement efforts of Southern Methodist University as the Executive Director of the The Budd Center for Communities in Education at Simmons College of Education and Human Development.

Dr. Sharla Horton-Williams is a career educator and organizational leader with a strong commitment to and vision for equity and justice in schools. Over the past 20 years, Sharla has served as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in private, public charter, and traditional public schools. She has also held numerous community leadership roles and has extensive non-profit experience with education-adjacent organizations. As a full-time education consultant and co-founder of School Leadership for Social Justice, Sharla works with districts and schools nationally to actualize comprehensive strategies for equity and excellence. She earned a Doctor of Education from Texas A&M University. Currently, Sharla is leading the collaborative academic recovery efforts to support 150,000 students across three Dallas-area districts.


Tuesday: First Our Hearts, then Our Minds

Presenter: Ali Hearn

While it may feel like the pandemic is winding down, in education the aftermath of the harm seems to be amping up.  Student behaviors are intense, staff needs are complex, and the gap between surviving and thriving in our schools can feel insurmountable.  Still, I am unwavering in my belief that when we keep relationships and community at the heart of what we do, we will strengthen our systems and bring academic achievement and social/emotional competence to their minds.  Working together to heal the harms from the last three years will open the door for us to bring clarity, consistency and, ultimately, improved outcomes to our schools.


Ali Hearn, LCSW is a national keynote speaker, trainer, and coach whose mission is to shift mindsets and ignite fires within others to create sustainable change and impact. Throughout her career she has worked with thousands of educators across the country, emphasizing the importance of improving social/emotional skills, promoting the installation of Restorative Practices within school systems, and reinforcing MTSS frameworks to better support the current needs of students, staff, and families. Ali’s diverse experiences as a school-based social worker first sparked her passion for working with people, and her years working with the Midwest PBIS Network in partnership with the National Center on PBIS, honed her skills in strengthening school systems and culture to positively impact social, emotional, and academic outcomes.

Ali’s balance of energy, humor, candor, and heart not only inspires educators to want to make schools better, but empowers them to know they can. Her unique style and approach make her a sought after leader in educational spaces and a dynamic catalyst for change.

Ali received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois, her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago, is a certified Restorative Practices trainer, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She shares monthly strategies, reflections, and resources with a growing online community through her “SPARKS.” Find her at