2024 Inquiry in Action Forum


Advancing Equity Through Inquiry

On May 14, 2024, the Mills College at Northeastern University Oakland campus was buzzing with educators at our 2024 Inquiry in Action Forum.

A Lead by Learning (formally Mills Teacher Scholars) annual tradition, the Inquiry in Action Forum celebrates the learning and scholarship of our partners and centers the voices of teachers and leaders on the ground in the dialogue of education and equity.

Our theme, Equity Through Inquiry, featured 13 flash talk presentations from educators who shared the powerful work they are doing in their schools and districts to create equitable change for students.

Community Kick Off

The event kicked off with Interim Executive Director Jennifer Ahn’s key note presentation. Jennifer grounded everyone in the room in the power of questions and the importance of holding an inquiry stance, or as she framed it, a “yes, and…” approach. As Jen shared about her life experiences that got her to Lead by Learning today, we learned how “yes, and…” has been her guide.

Flash Talks

Representing the breath of Lead by Learning’s partnerships, flash talk presentations featured classroom educators, teacher leaders, school leaders, district leaders, expanded learning leaders, and school partners. All presenters shared how their inquiries supported themselves and their systems to move closer to their student equity goals.




As the flash talks came to a close, guests took time to think alone and think together and answer the Lead by Learning anchor question, “What are you thinking now?” Guests wrote down an “ah-ha,” wondering, or next step that surfaced through engaging with flash talk presentations. For instance, one teacher from Skyline High School in Oakland shared that she is now inspired to think differently about how she is teaching reading.

The evening closed with The Anna Richert Legacy Award in Education Leadership. Since the 1990s, Dr. Anna Richert has convened educators to collaborate and discuss student learning centered around questions and unknowns. From this beginning, Mills Teacher Scholars, later to become Lead by Learning, was born. Grounded in Anna’s exquisite attention to deep listening and love of learning, Lead by Learning’s signature practices and mindsets are now a nationwide movement for adult learning and equity-centered school change.

As Lead by Learning enters this new chapter alongside Mills College at Northeastern University, we are thrilled to honor Dr. Anna Richert’s Legacy through the Dr. Anna Richert Legacy Award in Education Leadership

This award recognizes champions of collaborative inquiry who support practitioners to continuously analyze the impact of their instruction on their students’ learning and adapt daily to meet their students’ real-time needs. This dedication to equity in teaching and learning is radical love and radical change in service of students.

We were honored to have Claire Bove and Carrie Wilson as our award recipients. Two of Anna’s former students, who went on to lead Mills Teacher Scholars for over a decade, these two leaders have touched the hearts and minds and impacted the practices of countless teachers and leaders.

We look forward to the 2025 Inquiry in Action Forum and want to thank our partners, presenters, and supporters for their commitment to inquiry and equity.

Huge appreciation to each of our flash talk presenters for advancing scholarship in education:

Building Community and Connection Among School Library Staff to Grow Inclusivity for Students Debbie Gibbons, District Teacher Librarian, OUSD

Disrupting the Inequities Embedded in Education by Creating Coherence Kelly Lara, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, TUHSD

Joyous Recognition for Newcomer Voices in Reading Routines Ellen Hum, 5th grade teacher, OUSD

Letting Meaning-Making Drive Adult Learning Design DeAnna Glass, Clinical Supervisor, SPG

Staying Flexible: Working as a Design Team to Meet the Needs of our ILT, School, and Students Danny Huy, History Teacher Leader, WCCUSD

School is More Than School: Reimagining the Role of School Psychologists Aeryelle Rivera, School Psychologist, WCCUSD

Deepening a Culture of Public Learning to Improve Students’ Academic Discussion Sean Gleason, Teacher Leader Tom Skjervheim, Assistant Principal Jessica Wan, Teacher Leader, Rudsdale Continuation High School, OUSD

Building Connections Through Thoughtful Peer Listening During Circle Time Natalie Roessel, 1st grade teacher, OUSD

Evolving as an Expanded Learning Leader: Shifting from “Me” to “Them” Renee L. Collins, Expanded Learning Assistant Manager, VCUSD

Building Systemwide Teacher Leadership of PLC Collaboration Kirsten Zazo, Assistant Superintendent, AUSD

Using Tiny Assessments to Guide Next Steps Towards Giant Literacy Goals Christi Grossman, Literacy and Reading Interventionist, OUSD Areli Chavez Solario, Graduating Senior

Broader than Books: Inclusivity in School Library Spaces Samantha Solomon, Teacher Librarian, OUSD

Amplifying Black Student Voice to Drive Curricular Changes Nakisha Harris, Culture and Climate Specialist, DUSD

Activating BIPOC Communities to Thrive and White Educators Anti-Racist Inquiry Network Jennifer Ahn and Charley Brooks, Lead by Learning