Empowering your students to be agents of change

Youth-led movements have influenced policy and social change in the past. What makes young people's voices uniquely powerful? How do teachers give students agency in taking on problems they see in their own communities and in the world? 

Join us for an enlightening panel discussion, as we pose these questions and more to a group of experts to understand the challenges of fostering civic engagement in times of uncertainty, and how you can help your students become not only college and career ready but citizen ready. 


Wednesday, April 11
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
GC 140 


Norma Martin Goonen, EdD
Associate Professor, Higher Education
Department of Leadership & Professional Studies 
Florida International University

A first-generation Cuban-American, Dr. Norma Martin Goonen has served as a distinguished educator for more than three decades. She has taught at high school and university levels, and has held leadership positions in higher education administration. At Miami Dade College, she served as President of the Hialeah Campus and previously, as Provost for Academic and Student Affairs. She was also Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Nova Southeastern University; Vice President for Academic Affairs at St. Thomas University; and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Florida International University. Her research interests include the training of professionals in the areas of educational administration, leadership, school law, and multicultural education. She received a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Adult Education at Florida International University, and earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership (Higher Education) from the University of Florida. A past Fulbright recipient and Leadership America graduate, she is also a presenter and consultant and serves on several professional associations and boards. Among her publications is a book co-authored with Rachel Blechman, Esq., Higher Education Administration: A Guide to Legal, Ethical, and Practical Issues. Dr. Goonen is currently a full-time Clinical Associate Professor and Graduate Program Leader of the graduate programs in Higher Education Administration at Florida International University.

James Burns, EdD
Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Instruction
Department of Teaching & Learning 
Florida International University

Jim Burns is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum Studies at FIU where he teaches undergraduate methods and graduate courses in curriculum studies and qualitative research methods. He has previously worked in rural education with Tribal communities in South Dakota, as a high school history/social studies and ESOL teacher in the Washington, DC area, and in elementary education in a Title I school in Hawaii. He earned his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from the George Washington University, his MA in Political Science from the University of Hawaii, and his BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. He also served for eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Research interests include gender and education, curriculum theory, and institutional power and violence. He recently published his first book, Power, Curriculum, and Embodiment: Rethinking Curriculum as Counter-Conduct and Counter-Politics.

Rick Garcia, PhD
Assistant Professor, Ed Leadership
Florida International University

Dr. Ricardo Garcia has 30 years of educational experience. He currently serves as visiting clinical assistant professor for the Educational Leadership and Professional Studies department. Prior to joining FIU (fall 2017), he served as Executive Director for Transformational Learning in Arlington, TX where he oversaw PK-12 educational operations, Career & Technology Education (CTE), Guidance & Counseling, Advanced Academics, and Student Development & Support Services. He also spent a decade in the community college arena serving as:

  • Associate Vice Chancellor for College Readiness and Developmental Education (Fort Worth, TX);
  • Executive Dean of Mathematics and College Readiness (developmental studies) (Dallas, TX);
  • Dean of Outreach & Student Development (Dallas, TX); and
  • Associate Dean of Student Development and Vice Principal of the Richland Collegiate High School (Science & Engineering) at Richland College (Dallas, TX).

Before his community college experience, Dr. Garcia taught at the elementary, secondary and university levels, and served as counselor (PK-12) and assistant principal (grades 9-12) (Dallas, TX).

He received his B.Ed. and M.S. from Texas A & M Commerce, M.M. from Wichita State Univ., and obtained his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Arlington (TX).

Eric Dwyer, PhD
Associate Professor, TESOL/Foreign Language Education
Department of Teaching & Learning

Eric Dwyer is an associate professor of Foreign Language Education at Florida International University. Eric received his PhD from the University of Texas. His scholarly interests are focused on examining local expertise in language learning pedagogy and literacy development, particularly in poorer areas. A key outgrowth of that research has been an unexpected delving into issues of advocacy. Eric has made over 100 presentations on issues and applications related to interactive teaching techniques in more than 20 countries.

Philip Lazarus, PhD
Associate Professor, School Psychology
Department of Leadership & Professional Studies
Florida International University 

Dr. Lazarus has served as the Director of the School Psychology Program for over 30 years and his primary responsibility is to train school psychologists to work in the schools. He is currently the President-Elect of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). He is licensed as both a psychologist and school psychologist in the state of Florida. Dr. Lazarus is a founder and Past- Chairperson of the National Emergency Assistance Team of the NASP. This team has provided direct crisis assistance in the aftermath of more than a dozen tragic school shootings. Dr. Lazarus led the NASP crisis response in Mississippi and Louisiana where he provided crisis intervention training in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Rita and he also led the team in the Gulf Coast in the response to the gulf oil spill disaster. He has also maintained a private practice for 25 years. He specializes in working with children, adolescents and families. His practice encompasses assessment, therapy and consultation with troubled youth and their families. Dr. Lazarus has dealt with schools and communities that have been involved with trauma such and loss of life and has provided therapy and assessment following bus accidents impacting two communities in both Florida and Texas. He consulted with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in their landmark study on profiling school shooters and has worked on school violence prevention and bullying prevention for National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc and VIRTUS®. Dr. Lazarus has been interviewed by a number of news sources such as the CNBC, CNN, the Glenn Beck Show, Newsweek, Seventeen Magazine, Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, and has appeared on numerous radio talk shows dealing with such topics as depression in children, anxiety in children and adolescents, responding to natural disasters, coping with trauma following school shootings, school violence, helping children deal with grief and trauma following 9-11, bullying in schools, threat assessment, and identifying troubled students.

Dr. Lazarus’ research areas include suicide prevention and intervention, crisis intervention, bullying prevention, school violence prevention and the advocating for the emotional well-being of our nation’s youth.

Daniel Vinat
Department of Social Studies
Felix Varela Senior High School 

Daniel Vinat is a National Board Certified Social Studies Teacher at Felix Varela Senior High School with 16 years of teaching experience. Daniel has a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education from Florida International University (Class of 2002). He is currently the President of the Miami Dade County Council for the Social Studies, where he assists in the organization of conferences and professional development opportunities for Social Studies teachers. Daniel has worked with Florida International University’s dLOC and Latin American and Caribbean Center to develop Social Studies specific activities related to the primary documents in the collection such as interdisciplinary lessons on the Caribbean as a region as well as the Brazil-Asia connection. He has also worked with the Division of Social Sciences and Life Skills for Miami Dade County Public Schools to develop the scope and sequence for the new World History curriculum that aligns with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Florida as well as on the Textbook Adoption committee for the AP Economics textbook.

Daniel was recognized for his outstanding work as the recipient of the Miami Dade Council for the Social Studies High School Teacher of the Year in 2008. In 2009 Daniel spent a week learning and working with Florida Supreme Court Judges through the Florida Law Related Studies Justice Teaching Institute. He has also twice been awarded 2nd place for his lesson plans in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Miami Branch Economics Lesson Plan of the Year Contest. In 2011 Daniel was named a Finalist for the Region Teacher of the Year Award for Miami Dade County Public Schools. Additionally, he was awarded the Governor’s Award twice for his economics based lesson plans, from the Florida Economics Council. In the summer of 2011, Daniel was selected as 1 of 25 teachers to represented the United States on a trip to Brussels to visit and discuss issues with EU government officials as part of the Euro Challenge Program.

Toni Freeborn 
Peer Counseling and English Teacher
Department of Language Arts
Coral Glades High School

Toni Freeborn is a teacher of Peer Counseling and English at Coral Glades High in Coral Springs, Florida. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Florida Atlantic University. Ms. Freeborn enjoys teaching with a unique combination of 12 years of education experience coupled with twenty years’ business background running her own concessions.

Ms. Freeborn is an LGBTQ Mentor for Broward County Staff and Faculty. She also presents Professional Development at Coral Glades and is a Professional Learning Community leader. She currently is working with the district as the equity liaison to study equity in schools in Broward County.

Ms. Freeborn was the 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year at CGHS and is dedicated to enthusiastic and dynamic teaching as a means of creating and nurturing a lifelong love of knowledge in students.

Lori Bailey 
Teacher and Dean of Students 
Department of Language Arts
Miami Northwestern Senior High School

Lori Nicole Ford Bailey wears many dynamic hats and has worked tirelessly to serve the community in which she lives. She is a mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, cousin, entrepreneur, and an all around incredible woman. Ms. Bailey has been employed by Miami Dade County Public Schools for over 25 years. At present, she works within the Language Arts Department, serves as a dean of students, and is a Future Educators of America Sponsor.

She has a dynamic speaking voice and before becoming an educator she worked at WMBM 1490 Gospel Radio Station as an on air announcer and promotions director. She is also a certified competent communicator within Toastmasters International, Incorporated. She is very active in her community and holds several leadership positions in the various organizations for which she is involved.

Ms. Bailey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dramatics and Speech with a minor in communication from Fisk University, a historically black college and university located in Nashville, Tennessee and holds a Master of Arts degree in Education Administration from St. Thomas University here in Miami.

Alexandra Magoulas
English Teacher and Doctoral Candidate
Department of Language Arts
Saint Brendan High School 

Alexandra Magoulas currently teachers senior-level English Literature at Saint Brendan High School and moderates the school’s National English Honor Society chapter. She received her B.A. in Literature Studies from Florida State University and is currently a doctoral candidate within Florida International University’s Curriculum & Instruction PhD, focusing in language, literacy, and culture. Alexandra has taken an interest to Latino cultural representation and sustainability in the secondary classroom and presented on culturally-sustaining strategies at the National Council of English’s 2017 conference this past November.