Southern California

Date and Time

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
8:00 a.m.-3:45 p.m. (PT)


San Diego Marriott La Jolla
4240 La Jolla Village Drive
La Jolla, CA 92037

State-based Issues

Global Citizenship (NASSP Student Leadership Initiative)
Service is the cornerstone of the National Honor Societies, in particular, an awareness of, concern for, and involvement in the well-being and success of others. In this session, participants will discuss global citizenship and their potential impact in schools, communities, and ultimately the world.

Improving Learning Environments
Schools remain central to a competitive workforce and productive communities. In this session, participants will discuss ways in which schools might be modernized to provide 21st-century learning environments.

Operation: Conservation
Municipalities across the country and around the world have seen even greater strain on natural resources as the climate changes and urban development and renewal transform the terrain. Participants will learn about various strategies to improve conservation efforts in homes, schools, and larger communities.


8:00-8:30 a.m. Registration
8:30-9:45 a.m. Opening Session
9:55-11:10 a.m. Student Workshop I: Leadership Competencies
10:10-10:55 a.m. Adviser Workshop: NHS & NJHS Policies and Procedures 
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Student Workshop II: State-based Issues and Initiatives
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Adviser Workshop: NHS & NJHS Programs and Resources
12:20-1:10 p.m. Luncheon: Daniel Leon-Davis: Leadership Narrative
1:10-2:30 p.m. Collaborative Work: Student Caucus Groups
2:30-2:45 p.m. Afternoon Break
2:45-3:20 p.m. Presentations: Student Caucus Groups
3:20-3:30pm Reflective Remarks (Closing)

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Presenters and Workshop Leaders

Amir Alhambra

Amir Alhambra is a program manager with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. There, he collaborates with colleagues to develop effective strategies to provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to stay in school, to recognize business opportunities, and to plan for successful futures. He seeks knowledge about the growth and development of children, and he enjoys working with teams to help each student achieve success in entrepreneurship and college and career readiness. Amir is currently a doctoral candidate at The George Washington University.

Keesha L. Coleman

Keesha L. Coleman is a project manager at Georgia State University where she manages high-level initiatives centered around the university’s strategic plan as well as special projects for the office of the provost. Her current role allows her to engage with several of the university’s key working groups and programs, including the Council for the Progress of Cities; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and Women Lead, an undergraduate leadership program. Keesha is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all through public service and social engagement and considers herself a champion of bridging the gap.

Andy Costanzo

Karen Dawson

Karen Dawson spent 32 years as a high school art and leadership teacher and was also involved in service learning. She earned numerous awards during her career, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George Bush for her work with Habitat for Humanity. In 2012, she received an award for a new weekly community outreach program she co-founded that provides a meal for those in need in St. Louis. For the past five years, more than 40,000 meals have been served and the program is being emulated in 54 communities.

Leonel Diaz

Leonel A. Diaz is the coordinator of student leadership and engagement at the University of New Mexico. He is interested in mixing digital media with leadership development. For example, he is involved with development of a mobile app to help students track their leadership skill development through their involvement on a college campus. In his current role, he is working on creating a leadership center and a marketing campaign aimed at reducing sexual assault, discrimination, and hate bias.

Andrea Elzy

Andrea “Drea” Elzy has extensive experience in postsecondary education, student affairs, and student services. Her areas of expertise are residential education, diversity education, health and wellness education, paraprofessional mentoring, and innovation. Throughout her career, she has focused on helping students reach their highest academic and personal potential though mentorship and sharing her experiences. She holds a master’s in Higher Education from the University of Southern California and is a current doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Organizational Leadership at the University of Southern California.

Courtney Melos

Courtney Melos is a social media specialist for mdg (Marketing Design Group), working directly with NHS and NJHS social media accounts. She is extremely interested in the growth of the industry and is passionate about how the power of social media can be used creatively to communicate a message. She has worked with major accounts in the past such as Planet Fitness and Dockers Khakis and is now working on bridging the gap among secondary school advisers, teachers, principals, and students via social media.

Charlotte Gossett Navarro

Charlotte Gossett Navarro is a coalition organizer, community advocate, and radical social worker committed to a world vision with social justice at the center. Currently, Charlotte serves as the regional outreach manager for the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), a leading organization in the fight for immigrant justice. Charlotte joined the NYIC with diverse experience gained over 15 years working with young people and families in schools and immigrant communities across the New York and Washington, D.C., metro areas. Charlotte was raised in New York state within a multicultural, transnational, and musical family where no meal was complete without arroz con habichuelas.

Drew Ollero

A southern California native, Drew often finds himself in entrepreneurial roles that involve coming up with ideas, creating, and executing new programs. Currently, he serves as the associate director at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, where he focuses on launching new strategic initiatives. A proud community college graduate, Drew studied social work at Cal State Long Beach and continued his graduate studies in social work and public administration at the University of Southern California. In his free time, Drew is a Crossfit coach and mentors youth through an entrepreneurship program called BUILD.

Bertrand Perdomo

Bertrand Perdomo is a third grade teacher in the Gadsden Independent School District of New Mexico through Teach for America. Prior to teaching, he was heavily involved in community engagement at the grassroots level. As a program manager for three University of Southern California outreach programs he worked with community residents, local law enforcement, and school and university staff to make South Los Angeles safer.

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith is an educator, advocate, change agent, dream director, warrior of peace and possibility, and transformational leader. She is committed to unleashing the passion, purpose, curiosity, imagination, courage, and grit in students and youth leaders. She currently works as the senior program officer, School Programs, and the director of the summer academic enrichment program for the College Success Foundation DC.

Nhi Truong

Nhi Truong

Nhi Truong is currently an English teacher lead and advisor at ARISE High School, a small charter school in Oakland, CA. Prior to becoming a classroom teacher, she worked with students in many different capacities. She has been a youth organizer, workshop facilitator, tutor, and residential advisor. Her passion for working with high school students stems from working with various youth organizations like College Summit and AYPAL. She is committed to working with students toward liberating their minds and fight for social justice by making positive changes in their own lives, communities, and the world.

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Daniel Alejandro Leon-Davis

Daniel has embodied success in his niche as senior creative director at SOZE and social media director to Russell Simmons. He has brought a distinctive voice to challenge the powers that be. Daniel Alejandro Leon-Davis is a 2011 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar and alumnus of Seminole State College of Florida and American University. He majored in International Relations and minored in Music Theory. Through his work, Daniel has worked on the creation of #SonsAndBrothers, a campaign to help uplift young people of color; building out the first ever #ImmigrantHeritageMonth; and curating the content that appears on Russell Simmons social channels. He also is happily married to his husband Dom and the proud father of a 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Ralph!

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