Elizabeth Deines
Teacher Programs Coordinator
Elizabeth Dale-Deines is Teacher Programs Coordinator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Renwick Gallery. She collaborates with local schools and cultural organizations to incorporate interdisciplinary thinking and student-driven learning into established curriculum. With a background in virtual education and community service, she seeks to support learners equitably during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since 2014, Elizabeth Deines has taught DC-area educators and students how to engage with artworks as rich texts and provocation of deeper inquiry. She has presented at regional and national conferences on interdisciplinary education and has collaborated closely with a local research project of Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero. Elizabeth served as American Art’s Distance Learning Coordinator between 2010 and 2014, bringing the Museum’s collection to lifelong learners in the States and dependents of American military personnel around the world via videoconference. Elizabeth has a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia and an M.A.T. in museum education from the George Washington University.

Mary Elliot
Museum Specialist
Mary Elliott is the curator of American slavery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, where she co-curated the ‘‘Slavery and Freedom’’ exhibition.  Mary also co-authored one of The 1619 Project articles which appeared in the New York Times supplemental broadsheet that accompanied the New York Times August 2019 magazine issue.

Mary is a graduate of Howard University and the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, Mary helped produce local history exhibits in the Washington, D.C. area and produced several public history programs. She served as a contractor and consultant to various organizations including the National Visionary Leadership Project, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland and the African American History and the Humanities Council of Washington, D.C. 

Mary has over twenty years of experience in researching and presenting African American history and culture. Her personal research focuses on African Americans from antebellum slavery through the Jim Crow era, with a specific concentration on migration and community development. Her research has taken her to Virginia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, covering subject matter including slavery and freedom in America, Reconstruction, the all-Black towns of Oklahoma and the National Negro Business League.

Marissa Long
Teacher, Social Studies
Marissa Long is a Middle School Social Studies teacher working in the Beverly Hills Unified School District.  Marissa holds a BA in Communication from the University of Arizona and an MA in Education from Loyola Marymount University, where she was selected “Student of the Year” for Secondary Education. This is her eighth year teaching 8th grade U.S. History and Current Events. Marissa has been the recipient of the PTA Award and the “Apple Award,” an annual distinction for teacher of the year at each of the district’s school sites.

Last year, Marissa joined the inaugural staff at Beverly Vista Middle School, the district’s first dedicated Middle School. She is also the co-founder of C.R.E.W., (Celebrating Rad and Empowered Women), a female empowerment club for middle-school girls. In addition to that, Marissa serves on the Instructional Leadership Team and is currently working towards her National Board certification in early-adolescent Social Studies. She lives in the South Bay with her husband, Chris, and their four-year-old son Oliver.

Niya Sosa
Coordinator of Curriculum Infusion & Diversity, Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Initiatives, Buffalo Public Schools
Niya Sosa is a Coordinator for Curriculum Infusion and Diversity within the Office of Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Initiatives in Buffalo Public Schools. She started her career in education in 2004, as a Teacher Assistant in a special education day school. Niya became a teacher shortly thereafter and taught special education for ten years.

Starting in 2017, Niya began developing curriculum and teaching for My Brother’s Keeper Male Academy for 7th and 8th grade scholars in Buffalo Public Schools. After realizing the significant lack of representation of people of color in the curriculum and textbooks, Niya quickly developed a passion for the work and this became the start of her journey into culturally responsive teaching practices and curriculum development.

Niya’s current work as Coordinator for CLRI, allows her to engage with scholars, educators, parents, community members, District staff and administrators within the Buffalo Public Schools community in various capacities, which include professional development experiences, scholar programs, book studies and curriculum development. Currently, she is pursuing her Educational Leadership degree at Canisius College.

Joanna de’Shay
Executive Director of Diversity Leadership Alliance
Joanna de’Shay serves as the Executive Director of Diversity Leadership Alliance, an education nonprofit.  She has been in this role for the past 5 years.

Joanna is also an International Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur and Educator with over 10+ years of experience in the Fashion Industry and 20+ years in Corporate America.  She has been a University level professor for 5+ years and loves to share her passion and expertise in Fashion Marketing, Branding and Design with the many students she coaches and teaches. This ASU Alumni, is also a dynamic, Global leader with expertise in overseas manufacturing and sourcing as her collection is manufactured in Bali, Indonesia.

Born in Accra, Ghana on the Western Coast of Africa to a Nigerian father and a Russian mother, Joanna deʼShay grew up heavily influenced by the exotic people, cultures, and textures of her homeland. Inspired by both her international upbringing and her motherʼs chic European fashion sense, Joanna created Black Russian Label in 2013 for the global woman who is unapologetic, bold, and empowered by her individual style. Her strong focus on innovation, versatility, and adaptability continues to be a hallmark of her unique collections.

Bravely leaving a 15+ year career in Corporate America, Joanna is the epitome of a Passionate Entrepreneur who has designed an intentional life filled with success on her terms.  Joanna is an avid Servant Leader who believes in Community Service as a way to change this world for the better.

A mother of two amazing young men ages 12 and 16, Joanna is determined to shine as a beacon of light for Warrior Moms, who strive daily to balance passion, family and community.

Genah Lasby
Teacher, Social Studies

Genah Lasby is a Social Studies Teacher for the Buffalo Public School system at Lewis J. Bennett High School of Innovative Technology P.S. 363. Genah currently teaches both Advanced Placement and NYS Regents U.S. History. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science from Buffalo State College receiving a teaching certification in Secondary Social Studies Education 7-12. She earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Medaille College. Genah is in her eleventh year of teaching, including her seventh year teaching for Buffalo Public Schools.

Genah is an enthusiastic, driven and motivated teacher. She is dedicated to her craft of teaching and is always looking for the positive in all students. She goes above and beyond to ensure that all students have a voice and feel represented. Genah grew up in Woodinville WA, a suburb of Seattle. She now calls Buffalo, NY her home with her son, who also attends Buffalo Public Schools.  


Fareed Mostoufi
Associate Director of Education, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Fareed Mostoufi is part of the education team at Pulitzer Center, where he focuses on designing classroom resources and educational experiences that share methods of connecting global news with students and educators. He is also a teaching artist at Arena Stage, where he spent several years managing youth and community programs as part of the Community Engagement department. While at Arena, Fareed devised and directed original, autobiographical plays with communities in Washington D.C., Peru, India and Croatia that explored violence, health and identity. Before that, Fareed taught ESL and Spanish in D.C. Public Schools.

As a recipient of a 2009 Fulbright Scholarship to Argentina, he also taught culture, literature and playwriting at a teachers’ college in San Miguel de Tucuman. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education there, he created the workshop Drama Techniques for English Language Learners, which was presented to more than 400 teachers in the Tucumán province. Fareed received his BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University in 2008 and his MA in Teaching from American University in 2012. He is passionate about social justice and is a firm believer in the power of storytelling to cultivate empathy.

Christina Sneed
Christina Sneed is a tenth year educator and has enjoyed three years of instructional coaching. She has recently transitioned into a new position as her St. Louis district’s ELA Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator. Her teaching background has been in middle and high school English Language Arts and Theatre Arts. Her educational background is in Speech Communication, Training and Development, and Educational Leadership.