ISTA is hosting its inaugural Indiana Educators of Color Networking Conference for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) members and allies. The conference will begin at the conclusion of the Summer Leadership Conference on June 8 – 9 at the Sheraton Hotel at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis. This year’s theme is “Make Your Mark!”



All times ET. 


11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Registration

1 - 2:30 p.m. | Lunch & Keynote Address, Dr. Ivan Douglas Hicks 

2 - 3 p.m. | Registration

3 - 4 p.m. | Welcome & Land Acknowledgement/Smudging, Keynote Speech - Make Your Mark, Christine Sampson-Clark

4 - 5 p.m. | This is a movement, not a moment, Dr. Lasana Kazembe 

5 - 6 p.m. | Meet Your Neighbor 

6 - 9 p.m. | Dinner Ceremony & Celebration 


7:30 - 8:30 a.m. | Breakfast 

8:30 - 9:30 a.m. | The Power of Solidarity: Organizing to Activate Change, Dr. Hilario Benzon & Christine Sampson-Clark

9:40 - 11 a.m. | The Challenges We See & Overcoming the Opportunity Gap, Dr. Cleveland Hayes & Dr. Hilario Benzon

11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. | Breakout Sessions 

12:15 - 1 p.m. | Lunch

1 - 2:30 p.m. | Where Do We Go From Here? 

2:30 - 3 p.m. | Closing 



Christine Sampson-Clark, a special education teacher in Trenton Public Schools, was elected to the National Education Association (NEA) Executive Committee in July 2019 for a three-year term.

Sampson-Clark began her career in education 30 years ago as an education support professional and since then has taught in special education programs and alternative education programs, and also provided literacy intervention through the Reading Recovery program.

Sampson-Clark is dedicated to raising issues on the national agenda that are important to students and NEA members. She can often be found using her social media platform to encourage others to use their voice and to advocate for those in need.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and earned her master’s degree in special education from Grand Canyon University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in organizational leadership at Grand Canyon University.


Dr. Lasana D. Kazembe is a nationally recognized, award-winning poet, educator and critical Black scholar whose work examines culture, race, history, the arts and the social context of education. In his research and teaching, Dr. Kazembe explores the ‘lost-found’ sacred epistemologies (i.e., history, expressive forms, imaginaries, folklore, futurities) of Africana peoples and situates them as sites of memory, critical pedagogy, cultural production and social action.

Dr. Kazembe’s scholarly writings have been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and books. A major aspect of his work examines the history, political thrusts, aesthetic foundations and audio politics of 20th century Global Black Arts Movements. Dr. Kazembe is an assistant professor in the IUPUI School of Education, and an adjunct assistant professor in the IUPUI Africana Studies Program. He also serves as inaugural Artist-in-Residence for The Cabaret (a performing arts venue in Indianapolis, IN). His current project is, Paul Robeson: Man of the People, a jazz poetry opera that explores the life, activism and artistic legacy of Paul Robeson.


Dr. Hilario Benzon is the associate director of the Human and Civil Rights (HCR) Department, Center for Racial and Social Justice within the National Education Association (NEA). Hilario leads the team in the development and delivery of NEA’s anti-racist/racial justice curricula. He also currently leads the professional and leadership development programs within HCR, including social justice, school-to-prison pipeline, restorative practices, LGBTQ+ advocacy, gender equity, leadership development for leaders of color and women and culturally responsive/relevant pedagogy.

Hilario has earned a B.S. in Management from Syracuse University, MBA from Colorado State University, M.A. in Cultural, Linguistically Diverse Education from University of Colorado Denver. Hilario earned his Ph.D. in Administration, Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Colorado Denver in Fall 2022. His research focused on examining the impacts of White supremacy culture ideology on the lived mentoring experiences of Latino/a principals through the framework of culturally responsive mentoring and culturally responsive school leadership.


Dr. Kara M. Taylor is a clinical assistant professor in the School of Education at IUPUI. She is a Black womxn, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, scholar and activist. She has a love and passion for healing through literate practices and movement. This passion is reflected through her research on narrative inquiry for the collective healing of people of color as well as her yoga instruction. She is working for equity and justice in urban communities and was born and raised on Chicago's Southside. She considers herself as a public intellectual working to spotlight silenced and marginalized voices.


Dr. Cleveland Hayes is the associate dean, academic affairs and professor of Education Foundations in the Urban Teacher Education Department at the School of Education at Indiana University-Indianapolis. Dr. Hayes teaches elementary foundations of education, elementary science methods, Critical Race Theory and qualitative research methods. Dr. Hayes’ considers himself an interdisciplinary researcher. His research interest include the use of Critical Race Theory in Education, historical and contemporary issues in Black education to include the school to prison pipeline, teaching and learning in the Latino community, whiteness and the intersections of sexuality and race. Dr. Hayes is an active member of the American Education Research Association (AERA) at the Division Level, SIG level and committee level. He is also on the executive board of the American Education Studies Association (AESA) and is the Division G vice president for the American Education Research Association. Dr. Hayes’ research can be found in Democracy and Education, Qualitative Studies in Education, Gender and Education, Urban Review and Power of Education. In addition, he is the co-editor of the various books titled including: Unhooking from Whiteness: The Key to Dismantling Racism in the United States, Unhooking from Whiteness: Resisting the Esprit de Corps and Unhooking from Whiteness: It’s a Process. Lastly, he is the co-editor in chief of the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education journal.


Registration is closed. 

Overnight accommodations at the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing are free for ISTA members who choose a double-occupancy room.

Those who choose a single-occupancy room should anticipate an $81.32 room charge.

Questions? Contact Elisa Halpin at

Cancellation Policy 

Should you be unable to attend any portion of the Educators of Color Conference, please send your cancellation within seven days of the conference to Elisa Halpin at

If you do not cancel within the specified timeframe, any hotel charges will be your responsibility and an invoice will be sent to you.