Parent Workshop Presenters

Dr. Michael Thomas

Dr. Michael J. Thomas has over twenty years of experience in the fields of education and social work. He received his Bachelor's in Social Work from the University of St. Thomas and completed his Masters in Social Work as a Title IV-E Fellow at the University of Minnesota. Recently, Dr. Thomas completed his doctoral studies as a full Presidential Scholar at the University of St. Thomas in the School of Education’s Educational Leadership program. Dr. Thomas also completed his PK-12 Principal and Superintendent licensure at the University of St. Thomas.   Dr. Thomas is currently the Superintendent for Colorado Springs School District 11. 

Dr. Manya Whitaker

Dr. Manya Whitaker is an Associate Professor of Education at Colorado College. She is a developmental educational psychologist with expertise in social and political issues in education. Her courses include Urban Education, Diversity & Equity in Education, and Educational Psychology, among others. She researches the stability of teachers’ diversity-related belief systems across time and settings, and how those beliefs can be intentionally disrupted and re-structured through teacher training. She is the author of Learning from the Inside-Out: Child Development and School Choice and co-editor of Counternarratives from Women of Color Academics.

Dr. Elmer Harris

Dr. Elmer Harris is a 5th grade teacher at Christa McAuliffe Elementary in Colorado Springs School District 11. His experience as an educator also includes five years as a special education teacher and two years as an early intervention paraeducator.  In addition to his daily work as a classroom teacher, he has taught early childhood special education, equity, and cultural competency coursework as an affiliate faculty member in the Schools of Education at Metropolitan State University and University of Colorado Denver.  Dr. Harris has specific interests in family engagement,  supporting students with special needs and recruitment/retention of teachers of color. 

Dr. Martina Porter

Dr. Porter works as a Professor at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work; School of Social Work at Simmons Univerisity and Touro University Worldwide Undergraduate Social Work Program.  Dr. Porter brings knowledge and extensive experience working with children, youth, families, military populations, conducting assessments, multicultural counseling, community resources, crisis intervention, violence, abuse, and trauma, casework with difficult clients and their families, and provide education to those in need.

Dr. Tory White

Dr. Tory White is a Therapist and Owner of Creative Pathways Counseling in Colorado Springs. She specializes in Women Issues, Teen Girl Issues, Families, Couples and Workplace Relationships.  Through her Public Speaking engagements, Tory demonstrates honesty, transparency, and courage; often sharing her own experiences in relationships with others. The information she presents is practical and helpful, leaving her audience with a sense of hope and optimism.    


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