Meet the Committee The Amplify Community Advisory Committee is a collaboration of Kansas City-area educators and community members who support educators of color. Skyelar Anderson(she, her, hers) Skyelar Anderson is a 17-year-old rising senior at Raymore Peculiar High School. After graduating high school, she plans to attend Howard University to study sociology/criminology. She aspires to be an activist and civil rights attorney as many of her passions root from the injustices and discrimination the Black/Brown community faces daily. She finds a deep passion in not only community outreach but how exactly she can be the voice of change here in Kansas City. ^ back to top Trese Booze(she, her, hers) Trese Booze is a senior director for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she serves as the key operations and administrative leader for education-focused grants and programs. Booze has a master’s degree in counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University, a bachelor’s degree in counseling from Calvary University, and is a national certified counselor. ^ back to top Jennifer Collier(she, her, hers) Jennifer Collier** is the superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS). She has served as an educator in KCPS for over 20 years, serving as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director of human resources. She is dedicated to securing a workforce that has the capacity, will and dedication to provide a quality educational experience for the children and families of KCPS. Collier has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas, master’s degree in education from Avila University, educational specialist in educational leadership from University of Missouri — Kansas City, and has a doctorate in educational leadership from University of Missouri — Kansas City. ^ back to top Trinity Davis(she, her, hers) Trinity Davis is the president and founder of Teachers Like Me, an organization dedicated to recruiting, developing, and retaining Black teachers in public education. Davis saw the need for progressive and radical change in recruiting and preparing educators, educating youth, and addressing systemic inequities in education. Davis’ service as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, associate professor, and assistant superintendent allows her to understand systems and disrupt the inequalities in education. Recently, Davis recruited Black teachers and recruited students of color to the College of Education. Davis received her doctorate in urban education and leadership at Kansas State University. ^ back to top Cornell Ellis(he, him, his) Cornell Ellis** is the founder and executive director of Brothers Liberating Our Communities (BLOC). He is a Kansas City native who helped found the Amplify conference and BLOC, which both exist to sustain and increase teachers of color. He uses his understanding of equitable and justice-centered surroundings to provide consultation and public speaking to schools and leaders with his LLC – Eggshells Inc. By curating liberatory curricula, creating anti-racist professional development, and providing tools for teacher evaluation, Cornell aims to make all schools places where all teachers can thrive, and all students can achieve. Ellis received his B.A. in history from Avila University with a specialization in ancient world studies. ^ back to top Nicole Goodman(she, her, hers) Nicole Goodman is superintendent at Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School. She has experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent, in urban settings for all of her 27 years in education. She knows that education is the key to eliminating systemic barriers, which motivates her pursuit for equitable learning. Goodman has a B.A. in elementary education and sports administration from Simpson College; a M.A. in administration from Lindenwood University; a Master in reading and an ESL endorsement from Concordia University; and an education specialist degree in educational leadership with a concentration in superintendence from the University of Central Missouri. ^ back to top Tonya Guinn(she, her, hers) Tonya Guinn is a founding member of Amplify and senior program associate for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she supports grants and education-focused initiatives through program development, project management, relationship building, and community management, e.g. Kauffman Education Fellowship, Amplify, Equity in Schools, and capacity building. As a Kansas City native, she attended Kansas City Public Schools and this drives her passion for establishing equitable, fair, and quality educational opportunities in the urban core. Guinn has a B.A. in business administration and a M.A. in management from Baker University. She is a 2020 BME Vanguard Fellow and Kauffman Fellow. ^ back to top Sylvester Holmes II(he, him, his) Sylvester Holmes II is a dynamic high school social studies teacher and head coach at East High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He is entering his third year of teaching. Alongside his teaching role, he serves as a pastor, filmmaker, and aspiring author. As an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and a director of a local youth nonprofit organization, Holmes aims to impact his community through service and mentorship. With 10 years of marital bliss and a brilliant daughter, Holmes finds joy in his family life and pursing his passion of curriculum development. His future goal is to become a curriculum coordinator, shaping the educational landscape in Kansas City. ^ back to top Keith Jones, Ph.D.(he, him, his) Keith Jones, Ph.D., has held leadership roles in middle and high schools since 2012. He is currently the head principal at North Kansas City High School. He has taught English, journalism, and video production. Jones is passionate about teaching the whole child and helping students develop life skills as well as advocating for college and career preparatory programs. Jones works with the BLOC Organization that supports educators of color. Jones is a graduate of Florida A&M University, Pittsburgh State University, and Baker University. He holds a B.A. in journalism, a M.A. in instructional leadership, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership. ^ back to top Charles King(he, him, his) Charles King is the founder and CEO of The Educator Academy, and has an unyielding commitment to seeing schools in the urban context succeed. He believes that it has to start one classroom at a time, one teacher at a time. For more than 20 years, he has worked in urban public schools as a teacher, principal, and charter management organization leader, fighting to end educational inequities, and in turn, close the opportunity gap. King earned a master’s degree in education administration from Houston Baptist University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College. ^ back to top Elise Kwenin(she, her, hers) Elise Kwenin is an entrepreneur, educator, and a product of Kansas City public schools. She has been working in Kansas City schools for over 10 years, serving as a fourth grade teacher, fifth grade math teacher, an Algebra 1 teacher, and now has her own business. Her greatest passions in education are community building and outreach. Advanced Care Academy is going into the 3rd year of operation and provides opportunities for families and students to engage in learning through private tutoring and math workshops. They support teachers through coaching and professional development. As a founding member of the Amplify planning committee, she is inspired and rejuvenated each year by this community. ^ back to top Kayla McClellan(she, her, hers) Kayla McClellan teaches at Lincoln College Preparatory Middle School and coaches track and volleyball. A proud HBCU graduate and product of the Kansas City Public education system, she began teaching at Northeast Middle School. She is honored to have been selected as a Green Fellow. This allowed her to take her students to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn., which was fully funded by Shark Tank for Teachers. She was selected as Teacher of the Year for her school, district, and Kansas City region between 2022 and 2023. She has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in history. ^ back to top Tysie McDowell(she, her, hers) Tysie McDowell** is the co-founder and superintendent of Crossroads Charter Schools. She was also formerly the chief academic officer of Crossroads Charter Schools. Before founding Nia Educational Consulting, McDowell taught at another charter school, as well as in the Kansas City Public School district, and as an adjunct professor at University of Missouri — Kansas City. McDowell is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., the Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association, and the nonprofit board of To The World, Inc. McDowell graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in elementary education and a minor in African world studies. She earned a master’s in school administration from Baker University. ^ back to top Naomi Nix(she, her, hers) Naomi Nix is an English teacher at Lincoln College Prep. She is a driven educator, writer, teacher, and poet, who believes in the power of words. She uses her knowledge of English and creative thought processes to help build the next generation of readers and writers. Nix seeks to kindle joy and the love of reading to everyone she meets. In the next few years, she is looking to become a published author and college professor to be there to shape the minds of future educators. ^ back to top Edgar J. Palacios(he, him, el) Edgar J. Palacios is the founder of the Latinx Education Collaborative (LEC) and Revolución Educativa (RevED). Palacios recently participated in the Deeper Learning and Equity Fellowship and the City Leadership Fellowship. Palacios was president of Young Latino Professionals of Greater Kansas City and the KC chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. He is currently board president of Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School. Palacios sits on the national Latino Educator Advisory Council through Latinos for Education. Palacios earned a master’s from Rockhurst University, a B.A. in music from UMKC, a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University, and is a trained community organizer. ^ back to top James Taylor(he, him, his) James Taylor is the assistant principal at KIPP Endeavor Academy. He was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. The road to his education experience started in the sixth grade. In his economics class, a Black male teacher told him that he wasn’t going to be anything in life but the average athlete. Taylor told him, “I’m not just gonna be a great athlete, I’m also going to come back and take your job as a teacher.” In 2015, Taylor became a teacher at that same school. Five years later, he became an assistant principal. ^ back to top Daniel Velazquez(he, him, his) Daniel Velazquez is a fourth grade teacher at Crossroads Academy — Quality Hill. He has been in Kansas City for the last 10 years working with diverse learners in a variety of roles. Velazquez has wanted to be a teacher for as long as he can remember. He grew up in a family of educators in Asuncion, Paraguay, and he pursued a degree in education in San Francisco, Cali. He believes all students deserve a high-quality education and the opportunity to live in a world that’s increasingly more diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all of us. ^ back to top Karis Walker(she, her, hers) Karis Walker** is currently the chief academic officer at Crossroads Academy – Central Street. She is a school leader who is dedicated to creating excellent educational opportunities for all students and empowering teachers and students to unleash their full potential. Additionally, she is a Teach For America alumna, a Leading Educators alumna, and a Fund for Teachers grant recipient. Walker has an unshakable commitment to transforming the educational system and a passion for critical conversation. ^ back to top **Emeritus — Our esteemed emeritus committee members bring decades of expertise and wisdom to Amplify and continue to serve as invaluable advisors and mentors. They have played a vital role in shaping Amplify’s future through their experience and dedication.