30 Winners Awarded Top Honors for Excellence in
Equity Among U.S. PreK-20 Educators and Schools

2024 Excellence in Equity Awards

Administrators, classroom teachers, professors, support staff and other professionals from 15 states plus the District of Columbia named as 2024 award winners

2024 Excellence in Equity AwardsWASHINGTON, D.C.―May 7, 2024―The second Excellence in Equity Awards program for educators, presented by the American Consortium for Equity in Education, has announced the winners in 12 unique award categories recognizing contributions across PreK-12 and higher education. The winners include 29 individuals and one public school district. Additionally, 21 individuals were awarded honorable mention.

The awards were created in 2022 to acknowledge, spotlight, and celebrate high-impact work at all levels in education, as well as expand and enhance the discussion around educational equity. The winning nominees were selected based on outstanding achievement in supporting equitable access, opportunity, and outcomes for all learners.

“It is once again an exciting honor to recognize the school and system leaders, classroom practitioners, support staff, and other professionals whose dedication to learners at every level makes a positive difference not only in schools and classrooms, but in all aspects of our society,” said Ross Romano, Founding Program Chair of the Excellence in Equity Awards and Strategic Advisor to the American Consortium for Equity in Education. “Congratulations — and thank you — to each of the winners of the 2024 Excellence in Equity Awards. We’re pleased to highlight your achievements and we look forward to supporting your next big initiatives.”

The 2024 Excellence in Equity Award educator winners are:

Champion of Equity – District Leadership

  • Shameeka Browne – School Board President, Abington School District, (Pa.)
  • Scott Callahan – Facilitator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Howard County Public School System (Md.)
  • Dr. Christina Grant – State Superintendent of Education, District of Columbia
  • Karen Liddell-Anderson – Director of Student Services, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District (Ohio)
  • Dr. Crystal Marr – Director of Student Personnel Services, Summit Public Schools (N.J.)
  • Dr. Renee Willis – Superintendent of Schools, Richmond Heights Local Schools (Ohio)

Champion of Equity – School Leadership

  • Hebat Abdelbaki – Principal, Stout Middle School, Dearborn Public Schools (Mich.)
  • Haydee Burrola – Teacher and Lead DEI Coordinator, Five Keys Schools & Programs, San Francisco Unified School District & Los Angeles USD (Calif.)
  • Kristen Hughes – Principal, Milton Bradley School, Springfield Public Schools (Mass.)
  • Sherise Loeffelbein – Elementary Principal, Palmer Public Schools (Neb.)
  • Ben McMurry – Principal, West Valley High School, West Valley School District #208 (Wash.)
  • Matt Williams – Principal, Desert Mirage Elementary School, Pendergast Elementary School District (Ariz.)

Champion of Equity – Technology Leadership

  • Susan Aplin – Instructional Technology Specialist, Lexington-Richland School District 5 (S.C.)
  • William Stein – Director of Information Systems, Metropolitan School District of Mt. Vernon (Ind.)

Champion of Equity – General Education Teacher

  • Dr. Angello Villarreal – High School Teacher, Freehold Township High School, Freehold Regional High School District (N.J.)

Champion of Equity – Special Educator

  • Eli Davis – Special Education Teacher, Richland School District 2 (S.C.)

Champion of Equity – Mental Health Professional

  • Akin Akinniyi – School Counselor, Villa de Paz Elementary School, Pendergast Elementary School District (Ariz.)

Champion of Equity – Librarian or Media Specialist

  • Kristina Holzweiss – Educational Technology Enrichment Specialist, Syosset High School, Syosset Central School District (N.Y.)
  • Toni Salse – Librarian, Sunset Ridge Elementary School, Pendergast Elementary School District (Ariz.)

Champion of Equity – Support Staff

  • JoAnn Lopez Posas – District Healthcare Director, Raymondville Independent School District (Texas)

Champion of Equity – Higher Education

  • Saurabh Anand – Doctoral Student and Writing Instructor, University of Georgia
  • Dr. Peter Riley Bahr – Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Marshal Family School of Education
  • Anthony Desiderio – Director of Scholar Programs, St. Francis College (N.Y.)
  • Dr. Tiffany Hollis – Associate Professor, Coastal Carolina University
  • Dr. Nicole Pulliam – Associate Professor, Educational Counseling & Leadership and Inaugural Director, Social Justice Academy, Monmouth University (N.J.)
  • Melania Valverde – Senior Assistant Director of Access Programs, New York University

Champion of Equity – Teacher Recruitment and Retention

  • Dr. Lisa Stanley – Superintendent, North Texas Collegiate Academy
  • Dr. Paula Guerra and Dr. Sanjuana Rodriguez – Associate Professor of Literacy Education and Professor of Mathematics Education, Kennesaw State University (Ga.)

Champion of Equity – Resilient Schools and Districts

  • Pendergast Elementary School District (Ariz.)

Champion of Equity – Social-Emotional Learning Excellence

  • Maria Campanario – National DEIB Consultant, formerly Boston Public Schools (Mass.)

Learn more about the winners by reading the May special issue of the Equity & Access PreK-12 Journal. You can also learn about the winners and the 21 Honorable Mention educators at

The American Consortium for Equity in Education extends our appreciation to Starlight, the Smart Education Assessment Software from Sky Is The Limit, for being a supporting sponsor of the Excellence in Equity Awards.

About the Excellence in Equity Awards

The Excellence in Equity Awards program recognizes the companies, nonprofits, leaders, and educators whose work contributes to the critical goal of ensuring access and equity for every learner. Learn more about our awards programs for industry and educators at

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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