Speaker Bios

Featuring Equity Fellow Dr. Daniel Spikes
Assistant Professor, Educational Administration
Iowa State University - Ames, IA
Dr. Spikes received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration, specializing in Educational Policy and Planning, from The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin). Prior to pursuing his doctoral degree, he worked for the Lufkin Independent School District in Lufkin, Texas, as a middle school English/Language Arts teacher and as a school administrator. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Angelina Community College.

While at The University of Texas (UT-Austin), he served as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Neighborhood Longhorns Program (NLP) and as the Assistant Director for Pre-College Academic Readiness Programs (PCARP) in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). Most recently, he served as the District Site Coordinator for the federally funded Principalship Program. Daniel was also a Teaching Assistant for a course in the Department of Educational Administration, titled Social/Cultural Contexts of Education. His research interests focus on racial disparities in education and the practices of school districts, schools, and school leaders that serve to perpetuate and/or ameliorate these disparities. 
Kathleen King Thorius, PhD
Associate Professor, Special Education
Indiana University - Indianapolis
Dr. Thorius is an associate professor of special education in Indiana University’s School of Education and principal investigator for the Great Lakes Equity Center, funded by the U.S. Department of Education to address school desegregation in relation to race, gender, and national origin. Dr. Thorius has a strong record of facilitating partnerships with state departments of education and school districts to create inclusive educational systems. Via her research, she explores ways educational policy and local practices converge to shape experiences and outcomes for historically underserved students, particularly students of color with dis/abilities. Dr. Thorius' work has been published in Exceptional Children, Remedial and Special Education, and Theory into Practice, as well as other dis/ability-related and interdisciplinary journals. She is co-editor (with Dr. Elizabeth Kozleski) of Ability, Equity, and Culture: Sustaining Inclusive Urban Education Reform published by Teachers College Press. 
Seena Skelton, PhD
Director of Operations
Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center
Dr. Skelton is Director of Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center. As Project Director, she works in collaboration with Executive Director, Dr. Thorius, to plan, direct, and manage projects and services offered to state and local education agencies throughout the Center’s 13-state region. Dr. Skelton has worked as an educational consultant for a regional special education resource center in southwest Ohio, a lead consultant for three state-wide school improvement initiatives funded by the Ohio Department of Education. Dr. Skelton also served as co-director of Professional Learning and Technical Assistance at the Equity Alliance at Arizona State University, and Assistant Director of Professional Learning and Technical Assistance at the Great Lakes Equity Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has garnered more than 15 years of experience working in the areas of systems change, school improvement, and educational equity. Dr. Skelton has been an adjunct professor at Northern Kentucky University, the University of Cincinnati, and the College of Mount Saint Joseph. She has co-authored book chapters on implementing systemic change for improved student outcomes, and regularly presents at numerous local, state, and national conferences on various topics related to promoting the achievement of diverse students.  
Tiffany Kyser, PhD
Associate Director of Engagement and Partnerships
Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center
Dr. Kyser is the Associate Director for Engagement and Partnerships at the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center) within the Great Lakes Equity Center. In this role, Dr. Kyser leads the coordination of publications, resources, and tools, as well as co-leads outreach and engagement work across the USDOE technical assistance and dissemination network. Dr. Kyser has over twelve years of experience in outreach education, K-12 teaching and administration, higher education administration, authorizing, and education policy. Her research and work is rooted in collaboration, design thinking, and change management. Prior to joining the MAP Center, Dr. Kyser served as a Language Arts Inclusion teacher, Governance & Leadership Analyst for the City of Indianapolis, and as Chief of Staff for Tindley Accelerated Schools.

Dr. Kyser is an Indianapolis native and graduate of Culver Girls Academy of the Culver Academies. Her research and ideas around design thinking, education leadership, and education reform have been accepted by Design-Ed, the Indiana Urban Schools Association, International Conference on Urban Education, the Design Management Institute, the Academy for Educational Studies, and the Journal of Curriculum Theory. She has been fortunate to receive such awards as Indianapolis Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40", Junior Achievement's "Indy's Best & Brightest," the Center for Leadership Development's Distinguished Achievement Award, Indiana University Alumni Magazine's "Top 30," and being named NCAA Indiana Woman of the Year. Dr. Kyser has received executive training at Harvard, Stanford, and Indiana Universities.