Loyola University Maryland

Bridging the Divide

About the Panelists

S. Dallas Dance

S. Dallas DanceAs superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools since 2012, S. Dallas Dance leads the instruction of more than 111,000 students in 173 schools, centers, and programs, and the work of more than 21,000 employees.

S. Dallas Dance aims to graduate every student globally competitive with a bold strategic plan, "Blueprint 2.0: Our Way Forward," targeting academics, safety and security, communication, and organizational effectiveness. Fundamental shifts in teaching and learning include "Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow," a multi‚Äźyear instructional digital conversion, and the Passport Program, an expansion of world language instruction into elementary grades.

A noted speaker on equity and using digital learning to increase opportunity, S. Dallas Dance was appointed to President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He is a White House Connected Educator Champion of Change, and was chosen to serve on the executive committee of AASA, the School Superintendents Association, as well as the board of directors of the International Society for Technology in Education.

Previously, S. Dallas Dance served as one of three chief school officers in the Houston Independent School District, the seventh largest school system in the nation, and served in executive leadership positions in Virginia. S. Dallas Dance earned doctorate and master's degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor's degree from Virginia Union University.

Karl Alexander

Karl AlexanderKarl Alexander, director, retired from the Johns Hopkins University in 2014 after 42 years on the sociology faculty, including 15 years as department chair. He is presently the director of the Thurgood Marshall Alliance.

Alexander received his PhD in Sociology in 1972 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He is past president of the Southern Sociological Society, past editor of the journal Sociology of Education, and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

Beginning in 1982 and continuing for more than a quarter century, he and colleague Doris Entwisle directed the Baltimore-based Beginning School Study (BSS), which tracked the life progress of 790 Baltimore children from first grade into mature adulthood. He is author of nearly 100 scholarly publications.  His six books include The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth and the Transition to Adulthood (Russell Sage 2014), recipient of the 2016 Grawemeyer Prize in Education.

In addition to his work with the Marshall Alliance, Alexander serves on the board of the National Summer Learning Association.  His studies of summer learning loss in Baltimore have helped bring attention to the problem of "summer slide" among low income children. With the leadership of NSLA, he is co-editor of The Summer Slide: What We Know and Can Do About Summer Learning Loss (Teachers College Press, 2016).

Camika Royal

Camika RoyalCamika Royal, Ph.D. began her career in urban education teaching middle school language arts for the Baltimore City Public School System in 1999. In 2014, she returned to Baltimore as assistant professor of urban education at Loyola University Maryland. Additionally, Dr. Royal also serves as director of the urban education minor and co-director of Loyola’s Center for Innovation in Urban Education (CIUE).

She is a foundations of education scholar, and her work focuses on the intersections of race, politics, history, and urban school reform. Currently, she is writing a book on race and school reform in Philadelphia. In addition to scholarly research, Dr. Royal also writes about contemporary education issues, and she has been a recurring education contributor to Al Jazeera America TV and the web show Huff Post Live.

Dr. Royal is a heavily sought after speaker, and she has given talks at the Swarthmore College; University of Pennsylvania; Voices for Children Nebraska; Chatham County Public Schools in Pittsboro, North Carolina; the National School Board Association's Council of Urban Boards of Education in San Diego, California; the Congressional Black Caucus's Pre-Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, DC; the Network for Public Education Conference in Austin, Texas; and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Marcy Leonard

Marcia LeonardMarcy grew up in Columbia, Maryland and is the very proud principal of Hammond High School. She earned a B.A. in History from Haverford College, a M.A. in Education from Wake Forest University, and advanced to candidacy for a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland at College Park.  Her career as an educator began as a social studies teacher and assistant principal at Wilde Lake High School. In 2005, she had the unique opportunity to return to her alma mater, Atholton High School, to serve as principal for five years, prior to her joining the Hammond community in 2010. While serving as the principal at Hammond, the school has made substantial gains in numerous metrics, including on-time graduation, college enrollment, SAT scores, Advanced Placement scores and participation, and staff and student engagement. 

In addition to her work for Howard County Public Schools, Marcy is a member of the board of trustees for the Community Foundation of Howard County, the board of directors for Maryland Leadership Workshops, Inc., and has run 18 marathons in the last 13 years, raising over $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  She is an adjunct faculty member for McDaniel College, teaching graduate courses for aspiring school leaders. She was a recipient of the 2012 Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership award, has been named the Howard Magazine Principal of the Year nine times, was recognized with the City Gives Leadership Award in 2012, and was awarded the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance Arts Leadership Recognition Award in 2013.

Elizabeth Nix

Betsy NixElizabeth Nix is an associate professor of history and the director of the Helen P. Denit Honors Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Baltimore.

An American Studies graduate of Yale University, Nix received her Ph.D. in American studies from Boston University. Nix was part of the steering committee for the award-winning Baltimore '68. 

With project organizers, Nix co-edited an anthology, Baltimore ’68: Riots and Rebirth in an American City (Temple University Press, 2011). She co-wrote the forthcoming, Introduction to Public History: Interpreting the Past, Engaging Audiences, which will be published this spring.  Her work and interviews with her about Baltimore’s history have appeared in Slate, Time magazine, CNN, NPR, and The New York Times. She has lived in Baltimore City for 23 years and raised two sons in Baltimore’s Union Square neighborhood.