ORLANDO, Fla. – As districts across Central Florida welcome students back to brick-and-mortar classrooms, News 6 is taking a closer look at how evidence of inequality and racial disparity present themselves on campus.
From 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 9, News 6 hosted the Real Talk: A Candid Conversation on Equality in Schools town hall.
We brought together a panel of experts who will share their knowledge about academic gaps, disciplinary statistics and more. You can read about inequality in classrooms here.
To learn more about our panelists, read their bios below:
Wedna Daltirus, president of Central Florida’s Future Leaders United
Wedna Daltirus is a 17-year-old senior International Baccalaureate student at Evans High School in Pine Hills. She participates in a variety of extracurricular activities including Mu Alpha Theta, Act Out Justice, swimming, lacrosse, Club Creole and Central Florida’s Future Leaders United, of which she is the president. She aspires to give back to her community and hopes to one day launch a program that would teach teens and young adults about code switching, money management and other applicable life skills.
President and CEO of the Central Florida Urban League Glenton Gilzean Jr.
Glenton Gilzean Jr. joined the Central Florida Urban League in 2016 and since then, he’s rid the organization of its $1.2 million debt and helped re-establish it as a leading organization in the community. At 26, Gilzean founded Educate Today, a program that provided hundreds of children with a safe after school destination. He’s also served as the vice president of family and student affairs at Step up for Students, where he worked in Tallahassee to ensure that students and parents had educational choices that met their needs. Gilzean has earned six gubernatorial appointments during his career.
Cocoa High School teacher Stephanie Lay
Stephanie Lay teaches seventh grade math at Cocoa High School. She’s earned degrees at Bellarmine University, the University of Kentucky and most recently, National Louis University. She taught in Louisville, Kentucky from 2008 to 2013 before moving to Brevard County. As a teacher on the Space Coast, she’s worked to help expose students to STEM careers and encouraged mentoring. She’s directed summer math camps, engaged students during Saturday school and served as a as a speaker and event co-host for Girls to Women Night, an event meant to highlight female role models and empower young women.
Dr. L. Trenton S. Marsh, assistant professor of urban education at UCF
Dr. L. Trenton S. Marsh earned his doctorate at New York University’s Steinhardt School in the Teaching and Learning department, where his focus was urban education. His dissertation titled “Success at a price” earned multiple awards. While in college, he also served as an associate research scientist at NYU Steinhardt’s Metro Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, where his role was to evaluate disciplinary and special education data from New York schools. At the University of Central Florida, his research interests include teacher-student interactions, the social context of education and the experiences of low-income students and students of color.
Osceola County Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace
Dr. Debra Pace has served as the superintendent of the Osceola School District since March 2016. Her focus in that position is to build relationship, raise expectations and provide strong leadership. She’s also worked as the principal for Poinciana and Harmony High Schools, the deputy superintendent for secondary in the Osceola School District from 2003 to 2011 and associate superintendent for the Human Resources Services Division for Brevard Public Schools. She prides herself on fostering academic success in diverse cultures, allocating resources to meet the district’s needs and developing high-quality programs.