COSEBOC Talks: Speaker Bios - Jackson, MS


David C. Banks is the President/CEO of The Eagle Academy Foundation. He was the Founding Principal of The Eagle Academy for Young Men, the first school in a network of innovative all-boys public school in New York City. As President he is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the organization, which is charged with the replication of the successful Eagle model. Since opening in 2004, the Eagle Academy family has grown to encompass a total of five schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem and Newark New Jersey, and is expanding its vision nationally. Prior to becoming principal of Eagle, David served as the Founding Principal of The Bronx School for Law, Government & Justice. This theme-based high school provided a unique opportunity for him to combine his law and education background. David is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey and received his Juris Doctorate from St. John’s University. He earned his Educational Administration and Supervision certification in only one semester by attending three colleges: Brooklyn College, City College and Baruch College. David and his wife reside in New Jersey. They have four children and one grandchild.


Eric Mahmoud has more than 20 years of hands-on experience in educational administration. His commitment to academic excellence is reflected in his passionate pursuit of policies and programs that support teachers, empower parents, and inspire students. Mr. Mahmoud is Founder and CEO of Seed Academy, Harvest Preparatory School, Best Academy, Sister Academy and Mastery Schools. Under his leadership, Harvest Preparatory and Best Academy are the top schools in the state of Minnesota in closing the academic achievement gap between white and African American children. In 2011 and 2012, the Star Tribune recognized Harvest Preparatory School as the number one school in the state of Minnesota that is “Beating the Odds.” Mr. Mahmoud has received both local and national recognition for his work in education. In 2012 the University of Minnesota recognized him with its Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award. In June 2012, he was inducted into the National Charter School Hall of Fame. In October 2012, the Minnesota Business Partnership recognized Harvest and Best Academy with its Minnesota Futures Award.  And in 2013, General Mills and the MLK Breakfast Committee recognized Eric Mahmoud as a Minnesota Local Legend. Mr. Mahmoud has been married for the past 27 years, and has four children. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering.


Rivera is an expert in connecting positive youth development to community development using culturally relevant methods. He has employed asset-based and social emotional learning principles for over ten years in community-based youth work in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Chicago. He has most recently been named one of the “Top Young Change Agents in America” by the Search for Common Ground Coalition, and in 2012 became a fellow through the Unreasonable Institute for his social entrepreneurship skills. Mr. Rivera speaks at national and international conferences expressing powerful learning lessons linking the asset framework to organizational and community efforts with and for young people. Since he was once labeled “at-risk” himself, Mr. Rivera passionately advocates for giving young people sufficient support and opportunities so they can take positive risks and become change agents themselves.


Marco A. Davis is Deputy Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. The Initiative is tasked with expanding academic excellence and improving educational opportunities for Hispanics by making recommendations to President Obama and Secretary Duncan. Prior to joining the Initiative, Mr. Davis served as Director of Public Engagement for the Corporation for National and Community Service, where he led President Obama’s call to service initiative, United We Serve, as well as the annual Martin Luther King National Day of Service and the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Previously, Mr. Davis was a staff member of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. At NCLR, he became Director of Leadership Development, and created the Líderes Initiative, which includes the national Líderes Summit at the NCLR Annual Conference. Originally from New York, he received a bachelor’s degree in History and Latin American Studies from Yale University. He has been a Washington, DC resident for 20 years, and lives in the District of Columbia with his wife and daughter.


Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D., is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and the faculty director of the Education Policy and Management master’s program. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Mapp’s research and practice focus has been on the cultivation of partnerships among families, community members, and educators that support student achievement and school improvement. She is a founding member of the District Leaders Network on Family and Community Engagement, is on the board of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C., and currently serves as a consultant on family engagement to the United States Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement. Dr. Mapp joined HGSE in January 2005 after serving for 18 months as the deputy superintendent for family and community engagement for the Boston Public Schools (BPS). She holds a doctorate and master’s of education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master’s in education from Southern Connecticut State University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Dr. Mapp is the author and coauthor of several books about the role of families and community members in the work of student achievement and school improvement including A New Wave Of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement (2002); Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships (2010); and A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform (2011).


Dr. Howard Stevenson is Professor of Education and Africana Studies and former Chair of the Applied Psychology and Human Development Division in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. His research publications and clinical work involve developing culturally relevant in-the-moment strengths-based measures and therapeutic interventions that teach emotional and racial literacy skills for families and youth.  One such project, entitled PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth), involved the culturally relevant teaching of emotional empowerment through athletic movement in basketball, self-control in martial arts, cultural pride reinforcement in group therapy, and bonding in family interventions to help youth cope with face-to-face violence, social rejection, and stress in school and neighborhoods from peers, family, and authority figures. The second project, Success of African American Students, identified the protective role of racial identity and racial socialization processes in the development of emotional coping strategies for African-American students and families in predominantly White independent schools. Dr. Stevenson’s new book, Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference (Teachers College Press), focuses on how educators, community leaders, and parents can emotionally resolve face-to-face racially stressful encounters that reflect racial profiling in public spaces, fuel social conflicts in neighborhoods, and undermine student emotional well-being and academic achievement in the classroom. Dr. Stevenson received his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology from the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology, his MA in Theology from the Fuller Theological Seminary, and his B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Eastern College.