Dr. Vincent Pompei is an education consultant with expertise in creating identity safe schools and promoting equitable outcomes for LGBTQ+ students. He also works full-time as an assistant professor in the doctoral program for Educational Leadership at San Diego State University. Previously, he was the National Director of the Youth Well-Being Program for the Human Rights Campaign, served as a Project Director for the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, and spent over ten years as a teacher and school counselor. Pompei served as President of the California Association of School Counselors, authored the LGBTQ section of the American School Counselor Association’s National Model®, and was a national cadre trainer for the National Education Association. He has been invited to speak at numerous national conferences and has authored several publications, including the California LGBTQ Youth Report, in partnership with the Association of California School Administrators, the California PTA, and seven other statewide professional associations. Pompei’s dedication to the safety and inclusion of all students has been nationally recognized. He was acknowledged by the National Education Association as a Classroom Superhero, was one of the Advocate Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40, and was honored by both the California PTA and Equality California for his dedication to creating safe and inclusive schools.
Melina Duarte is the Founder and Principal Consultant of MyDuarte Group, LLC. MyDuarte matches organizations and individuals to strategies and solutions and specializes in a wide range of services including (but not limited to) organizational development, branding, board development, donor cultivation, public relations and the managing of high profile clients and events.
Melina is a self proclaimed ‘Chingona’ and considers herself to be part of a movement of Latinas who have taken back that term and now wear it as a badge of honor. Her unique contribution is the creation of an official definition for the term, which can be found on a line of products she sells as part of her culture and lifestyle brand aptly named Chingona Definition. Melina’s motivation for starting Chingona Definition was to inspire all women, particularly young women of color, to own their power and pursue their dreams with confidence.
Melina splits her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Coachella Valley and is passionate about investing her time and energy in those communities through volunteer work, philanthropic efforts and supporting local business owners. She is a proud alum of UCI and self proclaimed tech geek. When she isn’t working (which is almost never because she loves what she does), Melina is likely to be found playing with gadgets in her craft room or enjoying the company of family and friends.
Faith Morreo is a enrolled member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Recruitment and Outreach Specialist for the California Indian Nations College and Cahuilla Language Instructor. Ms. Morreo was raised in a traditional Cahuilla home where both parents spoke in their traditional Cahuilla language. She is an active member of the tribal community and served as an elected tribal official for over 20 years. Ms.Morreo is a proud mother of two very talented young adults who attended the Coachella Valley Unified School District who are also very active in their tribal community. Throughout her life, Ms.Morreo served in several capacities within her local area on the Native American Parent Advisory Committee for the CV school district, Tribal Delegate for the Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc., as well as a Regional Director for the Torres Martinez Tribal TANF Program. She is currently involved in several service capacities within the Native American population in the Coachella Valley and beyond.
Manny the Movie Guy has always had a passion for movies. His love of film criticism started while working for his school newspaper at Purdue University in Indiana. Upon graduation, Manny was offered a full-scholarship to complete his Post-Baccalaureate degree in Film at the School of the Arts Institute in Chicago. Currently, Manny is a member of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) where he votes for the yearly Critics Choice Awards.
Manny the Movie Guy is a multiple Emmy-award winning film critic/host based in Palm Springs, California. He’s a radio, newspaper, and TV personality who melts everyone’s hearts with his giggles.
You can see Manny’s movie reviews and celebrity interviews on NBC Palm Springs. He is also on The Filipino Channel with ABS-CBN News and on ANC News worldwide.
When not running around in Hollywood, Manny enjoys relaxing at home with his fur babies — Nemo, Tony, Tia, (all terrier mix), Twinkle, and Dory the kitty cat. Manny loves calling the Coachella Valley his home.
Victoria Castillo is a Mexican-American former field worker as well as a former English Language Learner. I attended Coachella Valley schools. She worked as a para-educator with DSUSD for seventeen years and began college during that time. She earned a Master’s Degree in Education while teaching at Las Palmitas Elementary School in Thermal, California and eventually retired from teaching in 2013.
Victoria’s most recent accomplishments are my books, Field Work Through the Eyes of a Child and its Spanish version, Trabajo del campo en los ojos de una niña.
Victoria would like to share with you some of the many things she learned as she worked in the fields, how these skills helped me succeed as an ELL student, and how being a former ELL student helped me make a positive difference in my students’ lives. She wants to share her passion for education with you
Mr. Derrick Jamerson, Program Director for Autism Academy for Education and Development is a veteran educator with over 25 years of experience in the profession with degrees from Ball State University and Indiana Wesleyan University. He started his career as a 5th grade teacher in a diverse lower socioeconomic school before transitioning into an administrative role where he served at both elementary and secondary levels in public, charter, and private schools. Well respected for his focus on positively impacting the lives of students, their families, and his colleagues, Mr. Jamerson has received several awards for his professional accomplishments including MCS Teacher of the Year, Jaycees Outstanding Educator, and BSU Alumni Award of Achievement. He currently serves as a district administrator supporting multiple campuses throughout AZ with students on the Autism spectrum.
Dr. Joyce Jamerson, Director of Academic Planning and Solution Development for Scholastic is a servant leader who has dedicated over 25 years to supporting students, families, educators, and educational leaders in various capacities (teacher, literacy coach, administrator, district program director, college professor, national literacy leadership specialist, and author). Dr. J is purpose-driven and passionate about making a liberating difference in the lives of others through education. She has served as a board member for several organizations (National Writing Project, International Literacy Association, BSU Black Alumni Constituents Society, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.) and has received prestigious awards for her professional accomplishments and service to the profession.
David J Layne is a native of a Harlem, New York residents who grew up in the Bronx of Manhattan area in New York currently, he resides in Paris California, David attended Russell Sage college in 2000 went for a BA in business administration with minor in graphic design he was captain of the basketball team hobbies include singing, property, and swimming David is a visionary mission driven detail oriented executive with 20+ years of proven strategic leadership and management experience and an unwavering commitment to impacting and transformation. Mr. Layne loves and excels at transforming ideas into actions as he works hand in hand with our youth. David is an active member of the 100 Black Men of the Inland Empire and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Oscar Ortiz was born in Mexicali, Baja California and raised in Indio, CA. He graduated from Indio High School in 2008 and went on to get his Bachelor’s in Chemistry at Stanford University. After college, Oscar worked as a chemist in production of pharmaceuticals and cannabis medicines. Simultaneously, Oscar volunteered with Black Lives Matter to help advocate for families who were losing their loved ones to police violence in Los Angeles.
In 2016, Oscar moved back to the Coachella Valley to work in the local cannabis industry. Oscar became involved in local politics and was elected to Indio City Council in 2018 as the youngest councilmember in the city’s history. His priorities as a councilmember involve providing affordable housing options for Indio’s residents, helping grow local businesses, improving the city’s communication engagement strategies, and bringing innovative solutions to build a more sustainable city.
Oscar currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem in the city of Indio and now works as the Director of Education for Friends of the Desert Mountains, a non-profit that focuses on conservation and environmental education.