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Tickets are now available for the 2024 BlackSEL Summit.

Welcome to the hub for the latest information and updates on the 2024 edition of the Black SEL Summit.  The Black SEL Summit is a two-day event that brings together educators and SEL practitioners from around the country. At the summit, we share best practices, innovative approaches for classrooms, and culturally responsive resources to sustain SEL as a tool in Black communities. The Black SEL Summit is crafted to stand as the premier gathering for Black SEL Providers, Educators, Community Leaders, and Professionals. We firmly believe that equipping every Black individual with the skills to navigate life through the lens of SEL is essential.

What to expect:

Sponsorship Opportunities

Black SEL offers five sponsorship levels for this year’s Summit! Sponsor packages include a District Level sponsorship to ensure educators can attend. Click the link below to request a Sponsorship Deck.

Applications and Nominations

Join us in shaping our event!

Your commitment to this work is valuable.  Black SEL acknowledges that Black students face a unique set of challenges related to racism, prejudice, and marginalization. Given the ongoing racial trauma and stress many Black students experience, these challenges can negatively impact their academic performance and overall social-emotional health. We warmly invite you to be a part of our Black SEL Summit 2024!  Be a part of the movement as a vendor, speaker, and/or award nominee!  

We are seeking speakers to contribute to the following topics:

  • Black SEL + Health and Wellness
  • Black SEL + Black Men
  • Black SEL + MTSS Supports
  • Black SEL + Adults
  • Black SEL + Liberation
  • Black SEL + Data/ Latest Research
  • Black SEL + Implementation
  • Black SEL + Community Organizing
  • Black SEL + Higher Education
  • Black SEL + Equity
  • Black SEL Providers
  • Black SEL + Collaboration
  • Black SEL + Community Violence

Speaker Application

Our aim is to spotlight Black leaders, educators, parents, and community advocates for their dedication to promoting SEL within Black communities. All applicants should either be actively engaged in or have contributed to initiatives related to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).  The submission deadline is June 1st, 2024.

Awardee Nomination

Our goal is to showcase Black lead organizations that are trying to get there products/services in front of Urban Districts, Black Parents, and overall the Black Community. We are excited to review your products and services. All products and services should be aligned with Social-Emotional Learning.  The submission deadline is June 1st, 2024.

Summit Vendor Application

The Black SEL Summit Block Party is a vibrant community initiative aimed at providing culturally affirming SEL experiences to Black communities. Open to the public, this free event offers an opportunity for attendees to engage with various vendors, showcasing products, services, and initiatives that align with our mission of empowering Black individuals through SEL. We invite Black-led companies and organizations to apply for vendor slots at the Block Party. Showcase your brand and contribute to our collective goal of fostering emotional well-being and resilience within Black communities.

Block Party Vendor Application


The answers to your questions are awaiting you! Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Black SEL Summit.  If you don’t see the answer to your question among our FAQ’s, please contact our event team:

Hotels & Reservations

Group Rates Now Available

We are thrilled to announce that our hotel room blocks are ready for booking at Aloft Durham Downtown, Residence Inn Durham, and Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel. 

Hotels are located in the heart of Durham, NC, and are situated near popular attractions, dining options, and entertainment venues. Please visit the links below to secure your room.

Aloft Durham Downtown
Extending your stay
or having any issues?

If would like to extend your reservations to include alternative nights, you can reach out to the hotel after setting up your initial reservation through the link.

If any issues arise or the room block is sold out, please contact us at

Join us in celebrating our

#BlackSEL Awardees

At the Black SEL Summit, we celebrate individuals who are dedicated to advancing social-emotional learning, particularly for Black youth in urban districts and Black and Brown communities. Nominations for our Annual Summit Awards are now open. Help us recognize those making a difference!

2021 Awardees:

Honoree Dr. Comer, Dr. Ralph Simpson

Dr. Roberta Grace Scott, PhD

Dr. Theresa McGowan

Dr. Bloodine Barthelus

David Adams

Byron McClure

Brandon Frame

2022 Awardees:

Jahara Davis

Christina Morales

Dr. Dena Simmons

Ray Brown

2023 Awardees:

Dr. Aaliyah Samuels

Dr. Jasmine James

Dr. Melvin R. Hayden Jr.

Sarah Frayer

Amber Lee Forrester

Jeneca Parker-Tongue

Community Award (2023):

Village of Wisdom

Leadership Award (2023):

Dr. Terrell M. Hill, 

Superintendent for Windsor Public Schools in Windsor, CT

Social- Emotional Learning will not be a trend in black and brown communities, but a sustainable tool to advance and heal- one community at a time.

Kristen Hopkins, Founder

We had a TIIIIIME!

We’re deeply grateful for the overwhelming support we received for our BlackSEL Summit 2023! It was heartening to see so many come together in a community of like-minded Black SEL proponents and allies. A massive thank you once again to our attendees, speakers, volunteers, and sponsors!

Summit 2023 went something like this...
Peep our recap video below:

Join the movement

Get Your Tickets Today!!!

Welcome to the #BlackSELSummit2023!

We are positively overwhelmed by the support we received for our BlackSEL Summit 2022! So many came out to be in a community with like-minded Black SEL proponents & allies. BlackSEL is all of us and we’re so happy that you have chosen to be a part of something as impactful and historic as this movement is and will continue to be.

Black SEL acknowledges that Black students face a unique set of challenges related to racism, prejudice, and marginalization. Given the ongoing racial trauma and stress many Black students experience, these challenges can negatively impact their academic performance and overall social-emotional health.

Your attendance and commitment to this work is valuable!

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Samuel is a bilingual executive leader with expertise from early childhood through higher education. Dr. Samuel previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Local, State and National Engagement at the U.S. Department of Education and former Executive Vice President of Government Affairs & Partnerships at NWEA. She has informed state policy agendas, assisted with developing cross systems approaches to develop policy solutions to support children and families and leading systems-level change. In her role at NWEA, she led a team working on driving a state and federal education agenda. Prior to NWEA, Dr. Samuel was the Director of Education at the National Governors Association (NGA), supporting high-ranking state officials on the development of policies that impacted health, education, and workforce. In every role, she works with diverse constituents, philanthropies, national and international partners. 

She has testified before Congress and has been quoted in Bloomberg, Education Week, U.S. News, and the Washington Post on various education topics, and featured on network segments such as Univision, NBC and CNN. Dr. Samuel presents at numerous education conferences and convenings nationally, internationally and is seen as a global leader. She holds an undergraduate degree from Tuskegee University, a Masters from University of South Florida, and a Specialist and Doctorate Degree from NOVA Southeastern.

Breakout Sessions

We are excited to add Breakout sessions to this year’s Black SEL Summit!  Breakout sessions feature hosts’ from diverse backgrounds, allowing us to take a deeper look at the importance and relevence of SEL- both in and out the classroom.  Scroll below to meet host’s and watch.

Description: This breakout session will examine the ways to effectively evaluate Black SEL programs and their success with Black youth. The session will provide participants with up to date research concepts and practices. This will be an engaging session that will prepare participants to better integrate research practices into their everyday work with children and families. 

Meet Your Host: 

Taneisha Brown, Ph.D. is a Program Evaluator with over 18 years of experience as a director, educational program developer, grant writer and manager, and program evaluator. Dr. Brown’s expertise is with both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and she has evaluated programs funded by the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Brown received a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs from Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies Program with a concentration in Research, Measurement, and Statistics from Georgia State University.

Description: This breakout session will review best practices for collaborating with others to support Black SEL efforts. Participants will actively engage in ways to build practices that support the collaboration of Black SEL providers.

Meet Your Host:

After working across grade levels in different districts as a teacher, reading specialist, teacher tutor, mentor and student advocate, it became clear to me that there is a lack of programs that support the personal growth and development of students, especially girls, as they navigate a technology and social media driven world. As a classroom teacher I felt despite their academic success I was falling short of nurturing their self- esteem, self-worth and social skills. As a result, in March 2018 I launched, Girls Embracing Manifestation, a student development and character building workshop, that focuses on the importance of self advocacy, effective communication and conflict resolution designed to encourage girls to believe in their abilities and introduce them to a more complex way of thinking. Through this transition I began working collaboratively with Dangers Of The Mind as a ReSELient Coach Lead overseeing curriculum instruction with our partner schools and more recently took on the role as the Program Coordinator for BlackSEL.

Description: This breakout session will review evidence based practices regarding ways to integrate Black SEL into various Black spaces such as: churches, homes, schools, community agencies, and etc. This session will be interactive and allow participants to share and learn.


Michaela Stovall:

Michaela Stovall, is an instructional administrator and teacher coach for a public school in the state of North Carolina. Michaela’s expertise is in instructional development and planning, student data analysis, and coaching educators. Michaela has supported Title I schools in urban areas for over 5 years. Michaela Stovall received her Bachelor’s of Science in K-6 Education with a concentration in African American and African Diaspora Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master’s in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University. 

Description: This session will provide participants an opportunity to take a further dig into the data that has been collected by The Dangers of the Mind Education Fund. The participants will review and discuss the current data. Facilitators will provide information around how data can support best practices.


Meet Your Hosts:


Ashley Mathews is currently working as a School Social Worker at Windsor Public Schools. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Bennett College for Women (2005) and her MSW from the University of Connecticut (2009). She is currently a doctoral candidate in the DSW program at Southern Connecticut University. Over the last 15 years she has worked with various organizations to support children and their families’ socioemotional needs. Her advocacy work within the school system has been impactful to many children and their families. She is passionate about early childhood social-emotional development, positive self-concept among youth, and racial equity in education.


Abdulai Munkalia:

Munkaila Abdulai Ph.D, is a business mogul, leadership consultant and an astute academic with the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). He is passionate about empowerment and advocacy and currently serves as the president of both the Sustainable Leadership and Innovation Centre (SLIC-Ghana) and the Consumer Advocacy Centre (CAC), Ghana, an Affiliate of the Consumers International. He is also the founder and executive director of Kgrape-Africa Institute and the Managing director of Haley Catering Services.  In the academic environment, Munkaila has several peer reviewed articles and books to his credit and is a seasoned academic with over 8 years of professional teaching in higher education. Currently, he serves as the Coordinator of MBA-Total Quality Management at the School of Graduate Studies, UPSA. He has played varied roles over the years in the University. He served as the coordinator for International Education and Projects. Consulted on several international and government funded projects executed by UPSA and CAC-Ghana. Facilitated leadership summits that champion the issues of consumerism in the Africa sub region. 

He has a background in Leadership, Strategy and Innovation. He obtained his PhD from Capella University, USA, where he studied Business Management with a specialization in Strategy and Innovation. He received a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Leadership and a Bachelor degree in Business Administration (BBA), all from the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA). Sharing ideas, creative thinking and service to mankind through collective learning have been his ultimate goals in life. His research area is focused on quality management, leadership, innovation and Strategy. He currently consults and teaches graduate courses related to Strategy and Innovation, Strategic leadership, Managing Change and Continuous Improvement, and Total Quality Management. 

Description: This session will provide participants culturally responsive strategies that can be utilized in the classroom to support Black youth SEL development. Participants will engage in hands-on learning opportunities and will leave with take home items.


Meet Your Host:


Jahara Davis was born in Darmstadt, Germany. She grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where her father is retired military and her mother is currently a chaplain for the VA Medical Center. She graduated from North Carolina Central University with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. In 2014, she began teaching as an English I teacher at E.E. Smith High School (Fayetteville, NC). A few years later, Davis taught at West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, NC. It was there, she received her first award for Teacher of the Year and made it to the top nine in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County by becoming the 2017-2018 PROJECT LIFT Learning Community Teacher of the Year (Charlotte, NC). That same year, she won the 2018 CIAA Food Lion High School Educator Award. Davis has worked at three Historically Black High Schools (HBHS) in the state of North Carolina. Currently, she works at Hillside High School (Durham, NC) where she teaches English II, is the English Department Chair and the advisor over three school organizations. Davis’ motto stems from the community philosophy, “It takes a village to raise a child,” because that is what inspired her catchy thematic classroom: Village University. Hence why her students affectionately refer to her as Professor Davis. Her ability to create a culture around building positive student-teacher relationships has allowed her to be recognized from the Black SEL Non-Profit as 2022 Black SEL Awardee and receiving recognition for buying out a movie theater to surprise all 96 of her students to go see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Recently, she was awarded the 2023-2024 Durham Public School’s Teacher of the Year and 2023 40 Under 40 for North Carolina Central University. Her style of teaching has impacted hundreds of students over the last nine years. To know Davis, you will know her proudest accomplishment is being the mother of her two beautiful children, Carter and Davis.


We carefully curated panel discussions that focus on current issues students, parents, teachers, and communities experience when it comes to Social Emotional Learning.  Panelists and moderators have extensive experience and critical perspectives within the SEL field.  Learn more about the panelists & moderators below. 

Dr. Bloodine Barthelus currently serves as the Senior Director of Practice at CASEL. In that role, she oversees multiple key practice initiatives strategically designed to support and scale SEL work across school districts, regional offices of education and other collaborators in the field. In addition, she uses her experience of integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) and equity to help codify and map out aligned language, approach, and technical assistance to CASEL partners supporting the implementation of SEL in service of equity. Dr. Barthelus started in education as a school counselor and went on to become a district department lead in DC Public Schools as a director of school climate and social-emotional learning before joining CASEL. She specializes in program development and professional learning that elevates adult SEL through a heightened focus on the inner work needed to shift practice, create change, and construct equitable learning spaces for young people.

Dr. Simpson is a native of Atlanta, Georgia.  He began his career in criminal justice after receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of West Georgia in 1986.  After working in a maximum-security prison for four years and observing so many individuals who had ruined their lives, he decided that he could become a part of the solution instead of the problem.  He set out to help young people avoid having to serve time in a correctional institution or in the penal system.  He re-enrolled at the State University of West Georgia where he obtained certification to teach middle grades.  He embarked upon his career as an educator in 1991 teaching elementary school for two years and in middle school for three years.  Dr. Simpson experienced tremendous success as a teacher, mentor, and leader.

Feeling that he could be a more effective leader as a school administrator, Dr. Simpson re-enrolled at State University West Georgia for a third time to pursue a Master of Education Degree in Administration and Supervision. To further strengthen his academic portfolio, he completed his Specialist in Educational Leadership in 2002, and earned a Doctorate of Education in Supervision and Leadership at the University of Sarasota in February of 2004. In 2007, he chronicled his challenges as a student in a book entitled, “From Remedial to Remarkable.” 

Dr. William Blake currently serves as the Assistant Director of Redesign for the District of Columbia Public Schools. In this role, he supports the design of the instructional and school culture space to ensure every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared daily. Over the span of 15 years in urban education, Dr. Blake has served as a Classroom Teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal and Director of Social Emotional Learning. Dr. Blake believes that educators must strategically focus on closing the access gap for students furthest from opportunity, which is why he is dedicated to using social emotional learning as a lever to create equitable outcomes for students, especially for students of color. Dr. Blake earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University. He later attended Trinity University to earn his Master’s in Curriculum in Instruction. Lastly, he earned his Doctorate Degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Dr. Blake is a devoted member Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Minnie Forte-Brown is nationally recognized for public school advocacy and for board of education leadership. President of the NC School Boards Association, officers of the National School Board Association and the Council of Urban Boards if Education, university professor and other management roles are included on her extensive resume. Forte-Brown was elected to the Durham Public Schools Board of Education in 2004 and served as a member and in vice-chair and chairperson positions until 2020. She taught at NC Central University in the departments of English and Mass Communication until retirement in 2011. She currently serves as adjunct faculty. Her statewide experience includes an appointment to the NC Council of the Status of Women and the NC Gang Advisory Task Force. She is co-founder of the East Durham Children’s Initiative and board member for KIPP:ENC

Ryanne Peterson is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and CEO of OIC Counseling and Wellness, PLLC. She is also the Director of Counseling Services at Bennett College in North Carolina and the founder of MastHERpiece, a nonprofit organization that empowers teenage girls to redefine success through real world experiences. Ryanne’s passion for mental health and wellness stems from her desire to eliminate stigmas and debunk myths surrounding mental health in black and brown communities. Through her work, Ryanne hopes to help foster a new generation of leaders who can help eliminate barriers and stereotypes.

Dr. Brandon Frame is a visionary leader, social innovator and educator. He is the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of TheBlackManCan, Inc. an award-winning nonprofit that amplifies the stories of what Black Men and Boys can do. Guided by his vision TheBlackManCan, Inc. has impacted over 10,000 Black Men and Boys across the world, established a MENtor network of over 500 Black Men and built a socially conscious online community that has over 800,000 followers and generates 7 million impressions weekly. Accomplishments and accolades are no stranger to Brandon Frame, but what makes him extraordinary is the humility and servant-leadership that marks his life. Brandon Frame is the Senior Director of Social Emotional Learning at The Urban Assembly where he leads a team to work with districts and schools around implementation, integration and sustainability of Social Emotional Learning. Brandon is also Co-Founder of the award-winning twitter chat #hiphoped and the Author of Define Yourself, Redefine the World: A Guided Journal for Boys and Men of color and the children’s book My First Tie. For his service to his community, Brandon has received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award, Change Maker of the Year, and was named Next in Class in the field of Education by Black Entertainment Television. Brandon’s work has been featured in Black Enterprise, Boston Globe, Essence and he has appeared on CBS, NBC, ABC, HLN and NY1 as New Yorker of the Week. Brandon pursues excellence with impeccable effort in all that he does. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Boston University, a graduate of Morehouse College and resides in Bronx, NY.

Dr. Cynthia Treadwell is the Executive Director for the Office of Social and Emotional Learning. Prior to this role, she was the Principal of Ira F. Aldridge Elementary. During her principalship, she accomplished becoming a CAHN fellow for distinguished principals and a Chicago Public Schools distinguished principal. Dr. Treadwell has been an educator in Chicago Public Schools for the past 22 years and she has fulfilled various roles. In addition to being a driven educator, Dr. Treadwell has had the opportunity to teach courses as an Adjunct Instructor to help strengthen the pipeline and development of future educators. Dr. Treadwell holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from National Louis University and she is the author of 30 Days of Encouragement for the Educator. Her goal is to create academically engaging school communities and learning experiences that fosters curiosity, kindness, and a strong focus on social and emotional skills for all.

Dr. Patricia Russell is a native of Chattanooga, TN, where she demonstrates her competence of highly effective teaching, counseling, and leadership while investing in her schools and community. Patricia is the Executive Director of Social Emotional and Academic Development (SEAD) for the Hamilton County Schools. In her current role, she oversees school counseling, social work, student success planning, college and career advising, 504’s, and positive school wide behavior support. She also works closely with the district executive leadership team to ensure social emotional learning and post-secondary goals are effectively executed. Patricia’s highlighted achievements include being the author of The Student Leadership Experience, Co-founder of Chattanooga Student Leadership Academy, a Public Education Foundation, Teacherpreneur, and a Chattanooga Chamber, Corporate Innovator of the Year, Finalist. Patricia’s highlighted achievements include being the author of The Student Leadership Experience, Co-founder of Chattanooga Student Leadership Academy, a Public Education Foundation, Teacherpreneur, and a Chattanooga Chamber, Corporate Innovator of the Year, Finalist. Patricia is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) where she earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and a M.Ed in School Counseling. She also earned an ED.S in Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University and an Ed.D from Trevecca Nazarene University. During her leisure, she enjoys international travel, arts, reading and outdoor activities. She is classified by Myers-Briggs as the idealist that enjoys problem solving and thrives while interacting with others.

Dr. Michael Mallery is a transformative leader and educational influencer with over 14 years of experience working with educational systems at the secondary and post-secondary levels. Dr. Mallery currently leads the Award Winning Social Emotional Learning Department of Windsor Public Schools in Connecticut. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from Southern University and A&M College. M.A. in Survey Research and a Ph.D. in Learning, Leadership, and Educational Policy from the University of Connecticut (UConn).

Greg Lucas is an educator, trainer, and non-profit leader with over 20 years of school-based youth development experience. Greg has coached and led schools in the implementation and assessment of social emotional learning, school climate, restorative practices and culturally responsive student engagement. Greg is the founder of Joy Roots LLC. Joy Roots is a training and consulting collective focused on equity-centered social and emotional development and restorative practices. Greg also serves as the Director of Social and Emotional Learning at New Visions for Public Schools where he oversees the implementation and continuous improvement of social emotional learning, restorative practices, equitable policies, and positive school climate for a network of New York City schools. Greg is also an equity fellow with the Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship and has served as a consultant for both local and national organizations including the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, NYC PRIDE, World Vision, Fresh Air Fund, City Relief, and Girls Scouts of America. Greg is a school coach with the National School Climate Center where he advises school leaders from across the country on issues of school culture and climate. Greg also serves as a trainer and consultant for Ramapo for Children where he has led the development of training content and facilitates training for schools and community based organizations. Greg serves as associate pastor for New Light Baptist Church of Harlem, NY. Greg holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Long Island University, a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University at Albany and is currently completing a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Social and Emotional Learning at Antioch University.

LaTrayl Adams is the SEL and Restorative Practices Director at Winston Salem-Forsyth County Schools. Prior to this role, LaTrayl Adams served as a Social Emotional Learning Specialist in Guilford County Schools. In both roles, she has worked in partnership with the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (CASEL) and executed a district-wide plan to lead the systemic implementation of social and emotional learning. She has also designed and lead ongoing professional learning focused on equity and strengthening adult SEL for teachers, administrators, district personnel, and parents. Prior to serving as a district leader, Adams served as a secondary professional school counselor for 13 years. During this time, she had a vital role in increasing graduation rates, student scholarships, and assisting first generation students with the college application process. Adams holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Communications and Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also holds a master’s degree in Agency/Human Resources Counseling from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Most recently, Adams was named a CASEL Fellow as well as selected by her district to participate in Cohort I of the federally funded SEED grant at High Point University to participate in Project Ascend, an educational leadership graduate program. Adams is passionate about students, culture and climate, equity, wellness, and is committed to being a lifelong learner. Ms. Adams understands the power of a restorative community and the critical need for social and emotional learning to ensure equitable and safe spaces for all. LaTrayl Adams is also a certified Restorative Practices and Trauma Informed Trainer.

September 29, 2023 | 2:30 – 7:30PM 

Learn, be inspired, and get to know yourself BETTER at the Black SEL Self-Awareness Block Party!  This event is free and open to the community.  

Meet us at “The Bull” (211 W. Parrish St. Durham, NC 27701) for food, music, fun, and SEL resources for the the community.  This event is made possible by the Dangers of the Mind Education Fund, in partnership with Blackspace .  Your support allows us to continue our mission to Elevate and Develop Black Voices and Allies to Sustain Social-Emotional Learning in Black Communities.  Click the link below to support the Dangers of the Mind Education Fund and our mission to impact black communities! 

Thank You To Our Sponsors!