Experience the B.E.S.T. Conference:
A Community of BIPOC Educators in STEM
June 29th-30th, 2024
June 29th-30th, 2024
8:30-3:30 each day*
*June 29th - Optional Activity / Happy Hour 3:30-5:00p
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205
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B.E.S.T. – BIPOC Educational STEM Thinkers!
Empowering BIPOC STEM educators to create positive change in their communitites.
While students of color make up more than half of our student population nationwide, educators of color are fewer and farther between and experience unique stresses in our roles in schools. If you identify with this experience, this event is for you: we invite you to immerse yourself in a community of BIPOC STEM educators. Join us to explore opportunities for belonging, awareness, healing, and change. Across two days, we will connect and discuss our challenges as well as build strength and a sense of community that we can bring back to our schools.
After this two-day conference, we will then have monthly affinity group meetings that are tailored to participant capacity, needs, and collective goals. Groups may range from tackling policy and brainstorming instructional strategies, to simply having a safe space to be and show up authentically. Participants will have the influence and autonomy to guide this experience.
What last year's participants said about the conference:
"It was refreshing to be in a learning environment with people that look like me. The knowledge I've gained along the way will contribute to improved outcomes for my students."
"The joy, connections, and sense of belonging experienced in this inaugural meeting help reinforce the impact and necessity of such a cohort. I left invigorated and prepared to show up as my authentic self in executive spaces and continue forging forward with building capacity for the next iteration of BIPOC leaders."
Speakers & Panelists - Coming Soon!
Agenda and Details Coming Soon!
PEBC Staff Developer & Beach Court Dean of Instruction
PEBC Manager of Resident Development
Sathya Wandzek has spent her career focusing on being a voice for all students, especially those of color through her love of math. Sathya received her bachelors in mathematics from CU Boulder but knew that her expertise would be used best in the classroom vs an office. As a person of color growing up in the “Boulder Bubble,” Sathya didn't see many teachers that looked like her. From a young age she was an outlier trying to fit in and find her place and she wanted to help other kids do the same.
After working for a summer at San Juan Del Centro in Boulder she knew that her passion was teaching, not just teaching, but teaching the underserved. She applied to the Public Education Business Coalition Teacher residency’s program in 2001 and was accepted into their first class receiving her Masters in Urban Education.
She taught for 10 years in Thornton Colorado supporting the development of a math curriculum for the district as well as becoming a Lab Host for other teachers to come and visit her class. She cultivated relationships through parent nights, home visits, and engaging math lessons that were meaningful to students.
After 10 years Sathya knew that she needed more, needed to grow and find a way to make more of a difference and so she joined the Public Education Business Coalition as a staff developer. For the last 9 years Sathya has traveled the country supporting teachers in best practice and helping them find the joy that comes with mathematical understanding and agency. From presenting institutes to developing PD in different states she saw a gap, again this hole in our education system when it comes to representation. Where were the teachers of color, and why were we not representing them?
Her goal for the last two years as a Dean of Instruction at Beach Court elementary in Denver Public School was to coach and launch PEBC’s first Bilingual Learning lab, and she did it! But this is just one classroom, she wants to see more teachers of color being represented in our schools. That is why she is so excited for this new adventure with Beyond 100K, a non-profit focused on sustainability of BIPOC STEM Educators.
As a person of color who lacked representation in her own life she knows the importance for students to see themselves in school, and in life. That is why she is passionate about supporting BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) educators in staying in the classroom and learning how to navigate a dominantly white system. She is excited to Launch the BEST (BIPOC Educational STEM Thinkers) conference this Summer in Denver Colorado. This conference is a place for Belonging, Awareness, Healing, and Change, all things Sathya is hoping to accomplish in her career and life.
Jailyn Jenkins has grounded her career in equity, connections, and the everyday adventures of learning. She has worked to spark a love for science within her students, particularly students of color. She knew she was going to be a STEM educator since she was four years old. However, the appreciation for curiosity, nature, and exploration led to her committing to science, hoping to minimize the barriers many people of color face within the field.
Growing up, she had a continuum of experiences – learning in spaces where diversity was prominent and promoted, and carving out space for advocacy and representation in spaces where that was both nonexistent and unvalued. Given the early onset teacher shortage in Arizona, Jailyn actually began her teaching career before earning her Bachelor of Arts in STEM Education, from Arizona State University, was conferred.
Beyond graduation, she continued teaching in the metropolitan area of Phoenix for three years, before returning to her hometown of Denver, to invest in the students within her community. Soon after her return to Denver, she completed her Masters in Education Administration, from Grand Canyon University, thus ushering her into spaces to influence and enhance equity-centered communities. She became a lab host, where other practicing teachers would visit and learn with her and her students, thus providing another platform of advocacy.
Beyond her classroom instruction, Jailyn served as a science instructional coach, staff developer, district facilitator, public speaker, and more. After about ten years of service, she saw a need to explore and expand into an organization that was committed to enhancing systems of education and comprehensive student access, so she joined the team at Public Education and Business Coalition. She is currently serving as a Manager of Resident Development, where she supports current -and aspiring- teachers, in preparation for licensure. In addition to her work with the Residency team, she collaboratively engages in intersectional initiatives around equity in education, both at the organizational and systemic level.
Having recently exited the classroom -amidst “the great resignation”- Jailyn recognizes the need for representation, healing, and joy amongst education stakeholders, especially those within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities. “It is hard to be what you can’t see,” and that is why she is passionate about supporting the retention of BIPOC educators as they learn to navigate a white-dominant system. As one of the most invigorating projects thus far, she is excited to launch the BEST (BIPOC Educational STEM Thinkers) conference this summer in Denver, Colorado. This conference is a place for Belonging, Awareness, Healing, and Change, all things Jailyn is hoping to accomplish, both in her career and life.
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