Author Bio

Noor Charara is a middle school teacher in Dearborn Public Schools and a graduate of Wayne State University’s College of Education. Growing up, she noticed a lack of diversity in the classrooms she was in; this called her into the field of education. She believes students need to see themselves represented in the classroom and curriculum, while also experiencing and connecting to cultures other than their own. Involved in her community, Noor teaches Arabic on the weekends and has published previously about childhood experiences related to being the only باجح (hijabi—female who wears hijab) in her elementary school. She can be reached at chararn2@dearbornschools.org.

By day, Stephanie Fazekas-Hardy lives out one of her wildest dreams as a children's librarian at the Detroit Public Library. She is a poet and the author of the picture book The Empress' New Hair. She is a fierce literary advocate, inspired by her son, nieces and nephews, to saturate the children's publishing market with books inclusive of marginalized people. She is a native Detroiter and serial graduate of Wayne State University— with degrees in Africana Studies, Psychology, and Library and Information Science. She serves as a mentor with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She can be reached at sfhardytheauthor@gmail.com.

Brandon Gleaton is a proud graduate of Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Wayne State University College of Education. He is completing his master’s degree at the the University of Michigan-Dearborn and currently serves as the Program Director of the Hazel Park Promise Zone and College Access Network. He is involved in the Reconciling Ministries movement and was named a Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellow. He serves on the advisory board of Brilliant Detroit. He can be reached at brandon.gleaton@hazelparkschools. org.

Melissa Isaac is Anishinaabe Kwe (Indigenous Woman) and a Tribal Citizen of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. She serves tribal students as both the Education Director for her tribe as well as the Giigdokwe (Chairperson) for the Confederation of Michigan Tribal Education Directors. She is a proud graduate of Central Michigan University, obtaining both her Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science in Administration. Melissa is determined to promote visibility of often forgotten Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples in the public school system. When Indigenous learners in Michigan (and beyond) are able to see themselves in their learning environment; learning becomes relevant and outcomes improve. She can be reached at misaac@sagchip.org.

Sungti Hsu is a founding member of the Association for Advancing Quality for Educator Preparation, an accreditation agency of educator preparation providers. His work focuses on educator preparation program quality assurance and improvement, educator effectiveness, educator credential assessment development and research, as well as relationship management at institutional and state levels. He holds degrees in special education from Brigham Young University and is an Education Policy Fellow with Michigan State University. He can be reached at hsus@michigan.gov.

A proud Detroiter, Dr. Leah van Belle is an education consultant with the Michigan Department of Education, focusing on educator preparation and educational equity. She is passionate about dismantling literacy opportunity gaps through assets lenses: literacy is access, literacy is equity, literacy is life. She serves on the Coordinating Council of 313Reads, a collaborative of families, schools, and community organizations supporting early literacy in Detroit. She serves on the board of the Black Male Educators Alliance of Michigan and on the Teach313 Fellowship team. She is an alum of the University of Michigan. She can be reached at vanbelle@ me.com.


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