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2013 PTA Emerging Minority Leaders Conference—Speakers

Keynote Speaker - Alma J. Powell

Read Alma Powell's Bio


Catherine E. Lhamon, J.D.

Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education

Catherine E. Lhamon is the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. Lhamon’s 17-year track record of success has earned her repeat accolades as one of California’s top women lawyers, including California Lawyer’s Attorney of the Year for Civil Rights in 2004. She was also named one of California’s Top 20 Lawyers Under 40 in 2007.

Immediately prior to joining the Department of Education, Ms. Lhamon was the Director of Impact Litigation at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Before her work at Public Counsel, Ms. Lhamon practiced for a decade with the ACLU of Southern California, ultimately rising to Assistant Legal Director. Earlier in her career, Ms. Lhamon served as a teaching fellow and supervising attorney in the Appellate Litigation Program at Georgetown University Law Center after clerking for the Honorable William A. Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ms. Lhamon received her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was named the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Amherst College.



Dr. Calvin Mackie

Award-Winning Mentor, Motivational Speaker and Author

Dr. Calvin Mackie is an award-winning mentor, former engineering professor, internationally renowned speaker, and successful entrepreneur. His message as a mentor, speaker, and entrepreneur transcends race, gender, ethnicity, religion, and time. After starting college in remedial reading due to weak SAT scores, Dr. Mackie earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, a B.S. in mathematics from Morehouse College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. He served on the Tulane University faculty from 1996 to 2007, where he received tenure and was promoted to associate professor in 2002. As a professional speaker, in 1992 he founded the Channel ZerO Group LLC (CZG), an educational and motivational consulting company.

A member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Tau Sigma and Tau Beta Pi national honor societies, Dr. Mackie’s passion for scholarship is well established, and his leadership qualities and social justice advocacy well documented. In 2005, former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco appointed Dr. Mackie to the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), the guiding agency leading the state's rebuilding efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mackie was featured prominently in Spike Lee’s 2006 HBO Katrina documentary, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Parts and its 2010 successor, If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise. He has appeared on numerous national and local news shows, including the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Dr. Mackie received international acclaim during and after a 2006 visit to the country of Kuwait as an ambassador of the LRA and the guest of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, appearing on Good Morning Kuwait and in numerous international Arab-language newspapers. In 2004, President George W. Bush awarded him the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in a ceremony at the White House. Mackie has received numerous other awards, including the Black Engineer of the Year Award for College Level Educators. In 1996, Dr. Mackie received a patent on a device to retrofit luggage stowbins on 737 and 757 Boeing commercial airliners.

In 2009, then-Louisiana Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu appointed Dr. Mackie to the Louisiana Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, and Dr. Mackie is leading the state’s effort to create policies and programs to positively impact the quality of life of black males and families in the state of Louisiana.

Most recently, Dr. Mackie was awarded the highest honor bestowed upon a graduate of Morehouse College, A Candle in the Dark’s “Bennie” Award for his many academic, professional, and entrepreneurial achievements. He has also received the United Negro College Fund’s prestigious Legacy Award for his accomplishments in leadership, education, and mentoring by encouraging students and colleagues to realize their potential and help others to achieve their best.

Dr. Mackie is the author of the best-selling book A View from the Roof: Lessons for Life and Business, as well as Grandma’s Hands: Cherished Moments of Faith and Wisdom, which recently received a silver medal in the prestigious Living Now Book Awards.  Dr. Mackie is a devoted husband to his wife, Tracy, and father to his two sons, Myles Ahmad and Mason Amir.


Aurelio M. Montemayor

M.Ed. Senior Education Associate, Intercultural Development Research Association

Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., is an IDRA senior education associate and lead trainer. Currently serving as the professional development team leader for IDRA, he offers extensive experience in working with school personnel, parents and students.

Mr. Montemayor’s career in education spans four decades and has included teaching at the high-school, middle-school and elementary-school levels. He currently serves on the National PTA Field Services Committee and served as a National PTA board member from 2006 to 2010.

Mr. Montemayor believes in the power of community engagement to foster leadership development and effective education. He was the lead developer of IDRA’s Family Leadership in Education model. One example of a sustained effort in the leadership process that Mr. Montemayor has developed is ARISE, a south Texas community organization through which a newly organized community PTA has come to epitomize the IDRA family leadership process. Mr. Montemayor is currently serving as a co-director of the i3 PTA Comunitario grant (2013-2016).

Mr. Montemayor received his bachelor’s degree in English from St. Edwards University in Austin and his master’s degree in bilingual education from Antioch Graduate School of Education in Ohio.

About the Emerging Minority Leadership Conference