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Aliyah Bacca was called to education as a young child and has always pursued knowledge, justice, and equity from the moment she learned she had a voice. She holds a Bachelors Degree from Howard University in Washington D.C., which includes a major in English Literature with a minor in Secondary Education.

She has been teaching middle school and some high school all over the country for over 13 years now, and she is passionate about the power of education to affect change in the global society. Additionally, she loves to read all genres of literature, but she especially loves historical fiction. When she is not teaching, she loves to go on long walks with her husband and furry poodle Jupiter. Her key goal as an educator is to help students actualize their dreams for their future and find their place in the world. 

Tashelle Wright

 Dr. Tashelle Wright is an advocate and researcher that focuses on the health disparities in Black , African, Afro-Latinx, and Latinx populations. She currently serves as researcher and grant consultant for two nonprofits, in California and Utah, that are community based and focus on advancing healthy equity. 

She received her Bachelor in Science at Westminster College and went on to the University of California, Merced, where she received her Masters in Public Health and Doctorate of Philosophy (Public Health). 

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Adrienne Scott-Ellis embodies a spirit of professionalism that contributed to the achievement of high standards in education over the past 30 years. Adrienne recently retired from the Davis County School District, where she loved her profession and the children she taught. 


Adrienne is a native of Layton, Utah. After graduating from Layton High School in 1986, with high honors, she attended Utah State University, where she received both her bachelor’s and Master of Education Degrees. Adrienne began her career with an internship at Mckinnley Elementary in Tremonton, Utah. At Mckinnley, Adrienne served as the arts specialist, as well as the 4th and 5th grade core curriculum instructor. Following this internship, she was hired with Davis School District.


Adrienne taught sixth grade, at Whitesides Elementary School in Layton, Utah. She also served as the director of the Humanities/Arts Committee. This committee enhanced the quality of arts education and promoted the appreciation and awareness of cultural diversity. She authored and directed the implementation of the Utah State Office of Education/ Arts Council-Artist in Residence Grant and the 5-year strategic plan to advance the school-wide arts education program.


During her teaching years at Lakeside, she became a certified REACH instructor for the Davis County School District. She also received an ESL and Gifted and Talented endorsement. She was the recipient of the tenth annual Davis School District Hall of Fame and received the Board of Education Honor Recognition. Adrienne has received numerous awards and well-deserved recognitions. The most recent being the Robert “Archie” Archuleta UEA Human and Civil Rights Award for 2021


Serving as a fourth-grade teacher at Doxey Elementary.  Adrienne utilized Doxey’s Annual Literacy Night as a platform to highlight the contributions of individuals throughout history that worked toward the ideals of our democracy. As moving wax figures, students portrayed these historical figures and taught viewers of the words and actions taken to evoke change toward liberty and justice for all. 


Adrienne received the Exemplary Educator for Diversity Award, from NAME in recognition of her hard work and dedication to equitable education for all. Adrienne currently, serves on the board of Utah Black Round Table, is an active member of the NAACP, and the founder of Sowing Seeds of Change, a non-profit organization that uses a community garden to facilitate racial justice conversations. Adrienne is the mother of three boys and is married to a very supportive husband, Terrence Ellis.

Yvonne Nsabimana

Yvonne B Nsabimana is a dedicated educator and community leader. She holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration and has been an educator for many years as a French Dual language teacher. She founded Ngoma y'Africa Cultural Center with a vision to create a culture learning space about Africa for all.

She experienced firsthand the benefits of African dance on coping with the war trauma she faced in Rwanda in 1994. She has received the 2022 award with In Living Color Utah and works to continue to change the landscape of Diversity in Utah. 

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Jayrod P. Garrett

 Jayrod P. Garrett longs for a world that sees each of us as human beings. As a part of the Black Lives Matter movement he lost friends and some he considered family for the cause.  Every sacrifice made him stronger. His goal as a writer and performer is to share art that moves us, as people away from the caricatures that our biases and systems determine others to be, onward to a place where we see each human being for all of who they are.     

He’s published work in local anthologies and as the co-founder of the Utah Black Artists Collective (UBLAC) and he’s editing a collection of poems titled “Being Black in a White Space” to be published and presented hopefully with performances from other members of UBLAC.     He is a poet, educator, and aspiring fantasy author that graduated from Weber State with his Bachelor of English with an Emphasis on Creative Writing in 2014.


He’s taught students how to succeed in college, High school Language Arts, and spent seven years of his life professionally mentoring high school and college students. He’ll be starting graduate school in a low residency program in the fall of 2021 at Sierra Nevada University, in Incline Village, Nevada, for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a fiction concentration. Having lived in Utah most of his life he’s an Ogdenite at heart, through currently lives with his wife and two kids in Bountiful, Utah.Peace, Love, and Poetry,Jayrod


Ruth is a first generation Mexican-American who was born and raised in Utah. She works as a social media manager for RISE academy as well as Utah Educational Equity Coalition, as well a parent and partner. She’s passionate about antibias/anti-racism and enjoys writing, and making collages in her spare time.

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Mrs. Herrera was a former 4-6 RISE teacher, but is now our curriculum researches. Prior to teaching in public school, she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She worked as a marriage and family counselor, with at risk families, in both NY and Atlanta for four years.

She became a teacher when her son Elijah was diagnosed with dysgraphia, dyslexia, and unilateral deafness in addition to his moderate speech impediment. She made it her goal for him to be able to be successful academically. "A a black educator I value the opportunity to teach an audience of black students the curriculum made available by Rise Virtual Academy."

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