Yvonne Thevenot is an educator within the Harlem community who firmly believes that “education is a form of resistance, and that everyone is a scholar who is capable of learning.” She serves a dual role in Harlem: as teacher at an alternative school run by the Harlem Commonwealth Council and as the Assistant Director of Programs for Youth On The Move In The Community. Within both entities she not only develops and implements curriculum for these academic programs, but she also teaches within them as well. This native of Springfield, Ohio and a descendant of Anthony Burns is affectionately known as “Miss T” in both circles.
Prior to her role as an educator, Ms. Thevenot consistently taught innovation to her direct reports while implementing change that improved the bottom line. Heralded as the “little lady who made things profitable and better,” during her 20 year career in corporate America she successfully held her own & served as: Systems Programmer and Finance & Planning Analyst for Morgan Stanley in Riverwoods, Illinois (just outside of Chicago), she designed a system that was awarded Best In Class by Booz Allen Hamilton, she served as Corporate Controller for Business Systems Engineering, Inc. (Chicago), was President & CEO of NumberSpeak Inc. (San Francisco & Dallas), and held various senior roles at JPMorgan Chase (New York) where she managed business units with $1.7B assets under management.
Even as an undergrad Yvonne was a catalyst for teaching and igniting change as member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where, at the University of Dayton (UD) were she served in the roles of Basileus (President) and Epistolas. As Basileus, Yvonne organized and led a campus-wide weeklong series of activities, entitled, South African Apartheid Awareness Week. The on campus events which included all pan-Hellenic and religious organizations sent the message to university administrators that UD Flyers publicly denounced apartheid and would work tirelessly to eliminate the atrocities of apartheid and support divestiture. She also led campus-wide, often heated, protests against Operation Desert Storm.
As an active member of Abyssinian Baptist Church, she serves as an Usher and Sunday School teacher. Yvonne is a practicing Christian and a warrior woman cancer survivor of faith. Having emerged from this game changing challenge with a true “knowing” of the importance of a total oneness with self and the gift that life is to contribute our talents and gifts from the heart (in harmony with the mind). As a result she has an even greater zest and commitment than before to pursue all things that allow her to serve the community, the Church, and the potential within each individual to learn, heal, grow, and transform through education.
When she isn’t developing partnerships with individuals in the Harlem community who support her efforts in building a culturally relevant and rigorous academic foundation within the educational systems in Harlem, she is conducting research in order to further inform her pedagogical practices in the classroom. The bulk of her research time focuses on methods of curriculum development and instruction of students with learning challenges, and unpacking the systems that fuel the school-to-prison pipeline.
Yvonne is a devoted mother to her 13-year old son, Blaise, who was named after the mathematician and philosopher, Blaise Pascal. When she isn’t the loud hockey mom at the ice rink in support of Blaise’s hockey matches, or cheering him on in fencing tournaments he participates in, she spends time interior decorating, and continuously working towards becoming the not-worst-person-speaking-Portuguese in the room. She also enjoys riding horses, sailing, and watching as many episodes of Frasier as possible.
Yvonne Thevenot received her Masters in Education from the University of Southern California specializing in K-12 STEM curriculum and instruction, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from the University of Dayton, where she was a Mead Corporation Minority Scholar and a Martin Luther King, Jr. scholarship recipient. She is currently making plans to pursue her Doctorate in Education in 2016, where she will gain mastery through researching ways that culturally relevant pedagogy and instruction can effect positive outcomes in the scholastic achievement of students of color.
Barbara Kerr, Ph.D., is the Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Kansas. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Ohio State University.
Dr. Kerr is the author of four books: A Handbook for Counseling Gifted and Talented; Smart Girls; Smart Boys; and Letters to the Medicine Man: The Shaping of Spiritual Intelligence. She has written more than 100 articles and papers on the topic of guiding and nurturing talent. Her research ranges from case studies of inventors, artists, writers, and architects to large-scale studies of students who attained the highest scores on the ACT college admissions test.
She is a winner of the NAGC Torrance Award for Contributions to Creativity, an American Psychological Association Fellow, and was named one of the 25 most influential psychologists in the study of giftedness by APA.
Dr. Kerr currently directs the Counseling Laboratory for the Exploration of Optimal States (CLEOS), where creative students learn to navigate the invisible pathways to creative careers, and is co-director of the Lawrence Creates Makerspace, where artists and technologists innovate together. Previously, she was Associate Director of the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education at the University of Iowa, and she established a guidance center for gifted youth at the University of Nebraska.
Kimberly Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology” by introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts.
Kimberly has enjoyed a successful 25+ year professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer. Since 2011 Kimberly has helped Black Girls CODE grow from a local organization serving only the Bay Area, to an international organization with seven chapters across the U.S. and in Johannesburg, South Africa. Black Girls CODE has currently reached over 3000 students and continues to grow and thrive.
Kimberly serves on the National Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Board of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance. Kimberly and Black Girls CODE have been nationally recognized as a social innovator and for her work to increase opportunities for women and girls in the tech industry. In August 2012 Kimberly was given the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support communities in the Bay Area. In 2013 Kimberly was highlighted by Business Insider on its list of “The 25 Most Influential African- Americans in Technology” and was named to The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists. A highlight of 2013 for Kimberly was being invited to the White House as a Champion of Change for her work in tech inclusion and for her focus on bridging the digital divide for girls of color. In 2014 Kimberly received an American Ingenuity Award in Social Progress from the Smithsonian along with being given the Inaugural Women Who Rule Award in Technology via Politico. She has been identified as a thought leader in the area of tech inclusion and has spoken on the topic at events such as Personal Democracy Forum, TedX Kansas City, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival, SXSW, and many others.