CREATE’s Annual Civic Learning Symposium will be held in the evening on Friday, August 25, and Saturday, August 26 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Ballroom at Ball State University.

Cost: Free
Dress: Casual
Meals: Dinner and Lunch Provided

To Download a Copy of the Schedule: Click HERE

Friday’s Presenter Bios

On Friday, August 25, at 5:00 p.m. the Symposium will begin with opening remarks by Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch. As Lieutenant Governor, Suzanne serves as the President of the Indiana Senate. Statutorily, the Lt. Governor oversees a portfolio that includes the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA), and Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC). Additionally, she chairs the Roundtable on Mental Health, the Intellectual and Development Disabilities Task Force and the Civics Education Commission. Suzanne graduated from Mater Dei High School in Evansville. She went on to receive her Bachelor’s Degree from Purdue University, majoring in Political Science. She is married to Larry Downs and together they have a grown daughter, Courtney.

The Symposium will also feature remarks from Indiana Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner who leads the Indiana Department of Education As the state’s first Secretary of Education, Dr. Katie Jenner leads the Indiana Department of Education with a learner-centered, future-focused vision. Under Dr. Jenner’s leadership, IDOE is focused on three key pillars: student learning and opportunity, educator talent, quality, and value, and system-alignment and capacity. As a team, the department prioritizes collaboration with a number of stakeholders in order to meet every child where they are and ensure they have access to the quality education they need to enjoy lifelong success. As part of Governor Holcomb’s team, Dr. Jenner also serves on the Indiana State Board of Education, the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana, and the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.

KeyNote Adress, Rodney Robinson: “What is Equity and Why does Every Child Deserve It?”

KeyNote Speaker: Rodney Robinson

Rodney’s passion is helping the underprivileged and underrepresented populations in America. He has over 20 years of experience as a social studies educator with Richmond Public Schools, including five years at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Jail.  He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Virginia State University in 2000 and a master’s in educational administration and Supervision from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. His work focuses on personal and professional growth and his students’ personal growth.  He has received numerous awards, notably the R.E.B. Award for Teaching Excellence and National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief States Schools’ Officers in 2019. He used his time as Teacher of the Year to advocate for economic equity and cultural equity to make sure students have teachers and administrators who look like them and value their culture.  He also worked with Pulitzer-winning author James Foreman to develop curriculum units on Race, Class, and Punishment as a part of the Yale Teachers Institute. Rodney currently is a Senior Advisor with Richmond Public Schools in charge of Teacher and Leader Pathways and started the RVA Men Teach Program to recruit and retain male minority teachers in Richmond Public Schools. In 2022, he partnered RVA Men Teach with the Virginia State University School of Education to launch the first paid HBCU Teacher residency in America.

Crystal Adams teaches science to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at Southside Middle School. An active and passionate teacher, she also is the Cheerleading/Dance Coach and leads the Kindness Club. Crystal currently is working to organize Southside’s Student Council and Newspaper Club. Before starting with MCS, Crystal studied Pre-Law at Ball State University and served as an investigator for the Department of Child Services for many years.

Janet Chandler is an experienced teacher at Hamilton Southeastern High School. This is her 12th year to coach a We the People team, and she has served as a mentor teacher for several years at the We the People Summer Institute sponsored by the Indiana Bar Foundation. She has coached mock trial at HSEHS for 25 years. Her teams have competed in county, regional, state, and national competitions.

Hannah George is in her fifth year of teaching 5th grade at West View Elementary School. Born and raised in Muncie and a Ball State graduate, she is passionate about integrating civics into her classroom. As a BSU junior, Hannah participated in Schools Within Context of the Community, an immersive learning experience that sparked her passion. Outside of school, Hannah enjoys chasing after her toddler, coaching the Muncie Central Girls Swim Team, or reading a good book.

Elizabeth Gillentine is a 38-year teaching veteran with instructional experience primarily in grades 4-5. She completed Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education and a license in Gifted Education and has worked with students with skills levels ranging from gifted to below grade level. At MCS, she has taught at Storer Elementary School and Northside Middle School. Beth has sought “life altering” experiences for herself and her students, including working with veterans from the Tuskeegee Airmen, NASA astronauts, and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges. She is an avid gardener and the mother of one son.

Tim Kalgreen has been the Director of Civic Education for the Indiana Bar Foundation since August 2019. His team puts together programs and professional developments for teachers and students around the state to help them learn civics content and activities. Tim also manages relationships with other organizations, schools, and businesses to advance policies and initiatives related to civic education. Before joining the Indiana Bar Foundation, Tim worked as a program coordinator at the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education for 12 years, conducting similar civic education programming for Ohio. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in history and a Master’s degree in education.

Allen Kidd has taught Japanese at Muncie Central High School since 2005. He grew up off-the-grid in northeastern Minnesota near Canada and Lake Superior. He first went to Japan as an exchange student while studying at Bemidji State University. After graduation, he taught English in a Japanese junior high school for two years and then spent several years working for a Japanese manufacturing company. He subsequently earned teaching credentials at Michigan State University. Kidd is a fourth-generation public school teacher and was Muncie Central’s 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year. He has started conducting some of his lessons and activities outdoors and has served as sponsor of the MCHS Recycling Club since it was founded by students in 2008.

Formerly Dean of Teachers College, Anand R. Marri is Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Ball State University. A co-Principal Investigator of CREATE, his research focuses on economic literacy, civic and multicultural education, teacher education, and urban education. He has won over $8.5 million in grants from foundation, state, and federal funders. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a master’s degree from Stanford University, and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College.