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2022 Washington Leadership Program Session V: Educational Equity: Where do we stand?

July 6, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

This session will focus on educational disparities within the AANHPI community as well as the experiences of AANHPIs within the education system. Topics include the integration of AAPI history into school curriculum, affirmative action, the model minority myth, as well as access to educational resources.

Note: All WLP Sessions will be recorded live.

Opening Remarks

Shital C. Shah

Shital C. Shah serves as the Senior Advisor on Strategic Partnerships at the US Department of Education. Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Education as Director of Strategic Partnerships, Shital was the Director of Philanthropic Engagement at the American Federation of Teachers and also served on the 2020 Biden-Harris Transition Team for the US Department of Education. While at the AFT, she cultivated and strengthened relationships with philanthropic and education industry partners to garner support for improving children’s well-being, creating powerful learning, building teacher capacity, and fostering school and community collaboration. She has spent over a decade working in the field of community schools policy and practice, providing strategic support and guidance to state and local affiliates related to policy, advocacy and school and district implementation of approaches to the community school strategy and extended learning time.  During her time with the national Coalition for Community Schools, as the Manager of Policy & Partnerships, she lead partnership development as well as federal and state policy coordination.



Rebecca Lee

Rebecca Lee is Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. Rebecca was previously Communications Director for the Initiative under the Obama Administration. Prior to returning to the Initiative, Rebecca was a small business owner consulting for AA and NHPI organizations. Rebecca has held public affairs roles at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was a 2012 Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) under the federal government’s premier leadership development program. Rebecca received her Master of Public Health from Columbia University and bachelor’s degree in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University, where she led a diverse coalition to found the Asian & Asian American Center. She served as Chair of CAPAL in 2013 and is co-founder of anti-bullying nonprofit Act To Change.




Dr. Victor C. Thompson

Dr. Thompson was born in Long Beach, California, son of Victor and Desma Thompson of American Samoa. He is the Retired Director of the Division of Student Support Services for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), and has 36 years of experience in education. He is a former high school Spanish Teacher, and Principal. He is the Executive Director of the National Pacific Islander Education Network. He enjoys running, surfing, and playing the ukulele. He is married to the former Marie Gilpin of Greentown, Pennsylvania and they have four children, Ele, Ema, Andrew, and Amelia Hope. All the members of his family have earned college degrees.





Benetick Kabua Maddison

Benetick Kabua Maddison is the Assistant Director and Project Specialist for Youth, Climate, and Nuclear Issues at the Marshallese Educational Initiative (MEI), a nonprofit based in Springdale that serves the Marshallese community, raises awareness of Marshallese culture, and facilitates intercultural dialogue to foster positive social change. Benetick has years of experience working with his peers and the public to promote educational attainment and educate about Marshallese traditional culture and history and issues affecting his people and homeland. Born in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (Aelōñ Kein Ad), a low-lying island nation in the North, Central Pacific, Benetick moved with his family to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas in 2001. He is a graduate of Springdale High School (International Baccalaureate) and a student at NorthWest Arkansas Community College.




Solomon Chen

Solomon Chen is the educational policy research associate for the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. As someone who was home-schooled throughout K-12, Solomon describes himself as a product of school choice and hopes all families enjoy the best educational opportunities for their students. Solomon is a former Falls Church Anglican Fellow and previously worked with the civic education program at the Philanthropy Roundtable as well as Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute. Solomon holds a degree in political science from Biola University and was a member of Biola’s Torrey Honors Institute.



Dr. Kani Ilangovan

Dr. Kani Ilangovan (she/her) is the founder and a board member of Make Us Visible NJ. She is also a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and mother. As a psychiatrist, she sees the lifelong impact of racial trauma and the physical and mental toll on children and our communities. She is so thankful to the NJ legislature and Governor Murphy for signing the AAPI Curriculum Bill into law and establishing the DOE Commission on Asian American Heritage. Thousands of people collaborated to get the AAPI Curriculum bill and DOE Commission on Asian American Heritage passed. It was a massive mobilization effort and she is so grateful to the 60+ allied organizations who advocated for this cause.




Roby Chatterji

Roby Chatterji is an Associate Director for K-12 Education at the Center for American Progress. He previously worked at Whiteboard Advisors; Washington Partners; and as an education policy fellow for the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, where he worked on school infrastructure and teacher preparation policies. He also interned at the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Federal Communications Commission on issues of broadband equity and digital learning, and started his career in education policy as a 5th grade teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. Roby received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain scholar, a master’s degree in elementary education from Arizona State University, and a J.D. from the University of North Carolina.








July 6, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Categories:
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Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL)