Matthew R. Kay

Matthew R. Kay is a proud product of Philadelphia’s public schools and a founding teacher at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). He is a graduate of West Chester University and holds a Masters in Educational Leadership with a Principals’ Certificate from California University of Pennsylvania.

At SLA, he teaches an innovative inquiry-driven, project-based curriculum.  He is also the Founder and Executive Director of Philly Slam League (PSL), a non-profit organization that shows young people the power of their voices through weekly spoken word competitions. The PSL is the only season-long, school-based slam poetry league in the United States.

He deeply believes in the importance of earnest and mindful classroom conversations about race. Furthermore, he believes that any teacher who is willing to put in the hard work of reflection can, through practice of discrete skills, become a better discussion leader. Driven by these convictions, he is passionate about designing professional development that teachers find valuable.


Dr. Elana M. Evans

Dr. Elana M. Evans was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Masters of Education in Elementary Education degree with a certification in Special Education, Masters of Education in Educational leadership degree with a principal certification from Chestnut Hill College. She received her Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Saint Joseph’s University. 

After her educational studies, she was hired by the School District of Philadelphia to work at a comprehensive high school in West Philadelphia. From this assignment, Dr. Elana M. Evans gained a strong passion for teaching her students as well as an even greater love of learning herself.

As a result of loving a challenge and because of her commitment to being a life-long learner, in June of 2017, Dr. Elana M. Evans expanded her knowledge base and utilization of her academic and leadership skills by being nominated for and accepting to serve in the voluntary position as the Moderator of her church. This position affords her the opportunity to assume the responsibility for the leadership and guidance of the executive council and church boards until a permanent pastor is called and installed at the church. In addition to being aware of the protocol and operation of church governance, Dr. Evans is also responsible for navigating the sometimes, tumultuous waters of interpersonal relationships, establishing and maintaining boundaries as well as understanding and studying the scriptures to be an effective spiritual leader.

Finally, she has been a mentor for doctoral students, newly hired teachers, and professional development facilitator for administrators, parents, and teachers utilizing her education to empower herself and others.

Sharif El-Mekki,
Principal, Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker Campus

For the past twelve years, Sharif El-Mekki has been the proud principal at Mastery Charter School-Shoemaker Campus, a neighborhood public charter that serves 750 students in grades 7-12. Mr. El-Mekki is also co-founder of The Fellowship: Black Male Educators for SocialJustice. As the son of an educator and activists, Mr. El-Mekki’s career has been based on the idea that all children should at least be afforded the educational experiences that they would desire for their own children. He believes that a child’s zip code should not be the obstacle a child faces to receive a strong and robust education that paves the way for him/her to be successful in a forever changing world. Mr. El-Mekki holds a Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and gained his Master’s degree and Principal Certification from Cheyney University.