Meet the General Session Emcees

This year, a Master of Ceremonies (MC or Emcee) will be integral to our New General Session Experience. These six talented individuals, who are members of our AVID community, will facilitate the New General Session Experience, engage the audience, and connect the student and educator stories of impact with Community of Practice (CoP) learning and Site Team goals so that educators see how vital their role is in ensuring possibility for every student.

photo of LaKetra Robinson

LaKetra Robinson

Post-Secondary Success Specialist and AVID Coordinator/Teacher

Fort Worth Independent School District
Fort Worth, TX

Being an Emcee at the AVID Summer Institute holds great significance for me because of the profound impact AVID has had on my own educational journey. It’s an opportunity to inspire and be inspired, contributing to the collective effort of improving educational outcomes for all students. I’m thrilled for the opportunity to stand beside our remarkable AVID student and educator speakers, as they share their stories of triumph and resilience, and help draw out the total story and discuss the connections to AVID, both in the elective and schoolwide.

photo of Sam Belsan

Sam Belsan

Social Studies Teacher

Coleman Environmental Magnet Middle School
Wichita, KS

I want to share my passion and excitement about AVID with everyone who will listen! As an Emcee, I get to help make the connection between the inspiring stories we hear from students and educators and the AVID work that took place to set these amazing possibilities into action. AVID Summer Institute brings together the best educators from across the country, and I am eager to help showcase the amazing things happening in the lives of AVID students and educators. It is always fun to be with AVID educators and feel the joy in the room. I cannot wait to spend time celebrating the life-changing work of AVID!

photo of Anthony Ritz

Anthony Ritz

Math Department Chair and Math Teacher

I am excited about the opportunity to connect student and educator stories to the intentional design of the work we are all doing here at AVID Summer Institute. It’s an honor to be the bridge between what people will witness and learn about our guest speakers and help translate that into what participants can do at their sites and their schools. I hope to help people make a connection to what they are experiencing and help them realize that each of their students, their students’ families, and their colleagues also have stories to connect with and that stories closer to home are just as important and poignant. Impact happens when you take action on what you heard and learned. I am excited to inspire participants to take action and commit to fundamentally changing the trajectory of students’ lives.

photo of Christie McMullen

Dr. Christie McMullen

Area Director

AVID Center

One hour is all we have together during General Session, and within that hour, so many important and powerful things will take place. I love nothing more than knowing I am able to share my talents in drawing out the rest of the story. I am excited to help reveal the steps taken and the plan implemented that lead to these amazing students and educators being on this stage and sharing their stories with us. That work is something we are all a part of each day. My goal as an Emcee is to unite a roomful of brilliant educators around some magnificent stories of triumph and give them the shot of B-12 that will allow them to tackle another school year.

photo of Sheka Houston

Dr. Sheka Houston

AVID District Director

Chester County School District
Chester, SC

AVID has been a great part of my leadership journey and has seen me through significant milestones with transforming a school. It creates real tangible results for students and educators. Being an Emcee at AVID Summer Institute is my way of giving back for all the wonderful lessons and experiences I have had throughout my AVID journey. During a time where things have become more challenging in schools, I want to inspire educators to continue to use AVID to stay the course and close the opportunity gap for every student.

photo of Ben Needle

Dr. Ben Needle

Assistant Principal

Osborne High School
Marietta, GA

As an Emcee at AVID Summer Institute, I am excited about the energy in the room and the opportunity to share the connection between the powerful student and educator voices and the impact we as educators can make as an AVID community back at our home campuses. Relational capacity is the fuel that connects students to both teachers and their peers. General Session is full of moments curated by so many impactful memories that drive us to create greatness for all we encounter.