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Warner School hosts Equity Leadership Forum

Three students sitting in a classroom
U.S. Department of Education & NYS Education Department panelists focus on English language learners 

The University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education announces its 2024 Equity Leadership Forum, scheduled for Thursday, March 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Rochester’s River Campus. By providing valuable insights and fostering a collective commitment to equity, the 2024 Equity Leadership Forum: Shaping the Future of English Language Learners will contribute to the ongoing efforts to create inclusive and thriving learning environments for all students, especially English language learners.

Presented by the Warner School’s K-12 Educational Leadership Department, the forum will showcase a distinguished panel of state and federal educational leaders and policymakers. They will provide insights, data and information about best policies, systems, programs and practices in New York’s school districts and nationwide. Moderated by Manuel J. Rivera, associate professor of K-12 educational leadership at the Warner School and former K-12 school superintendent, the panel includes esteemed panelists: 

  • Chris Soto, senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education, Dr. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Department of Education
  • Montserrat Garibay, assistant deputy secretary & director for the Office of English Language Acquisition, U.S. Department of Education
  • Elisa Alvarez, associate commissioner for the Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages, New York State Education Department
  • Diane Wynne, executive director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, New York State Education Department

“Our annual forum addresses critical topics for school and district leaders,” says Rivera. “The increasing number of English language learners in K-12 schools is a top priority. As this student population continues to grow, leaders and educators must possess the necessary skills, knowledge and resources to effectively educate all students.”

The event will engage attendees in a pivotal conversation to equip school leaders and school systems to effectively manage and support the increasing enrollment of language-diverse student populations and immigrant and non-English-speaking youth. Additionally, the forum will serve as a platform to uncover strategies for academic excellence, offering valuable insights into essential topics, including the vital role of the U.S. Department of Education and New York State Education Department in supporting English language learners, national and state-level policies and proven practices for English language learners in schools.

Co-sponsored by the Warner School’s K-12 Educational Leadership Department and Center for Urban Education Success, the 2024 Equity Leadership Forum is free and open to the public. Sarah Peyre, dean of the Warner School, and Shaun Nelms, vice president for Community Partnerships at the University of Rochester, and William and Sheila Konar Director of the Center for Urban Education Success, will deliver the opening remarks for the forum.

The event will take place in the Frederick Douglass Commons, Feldman Ballroom, on the University’s River Campus. Registration is required, and attendees can learn more and register at

For disability-related accommodations, please contact Mary Judge Diegert at (585) 273-1838 or email