2019 Keynote

Dr. Jason Willis, Director of Afro-American Studies
Rochester City School District

Dr. Jason B. Willis, a Rochester native, has a doctoral degree in Education Administration & Supervision from Jackson State University in Mississippi. He taught high school General Education/Special Education in the New York City School District (Spanish Harlem). Additionally, he educated youth at Rankin County Juvenile Detention Center in Rankin County Mississippi. Throughout his academic journey, Dr. Willis has obtained degrees in African American Studies, Sociology and Education Administration & Supervision. Over the last four years, he has taught Introduction to Criminology and Juvenile Justice at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Currently, he serves as the director of African/African American Studies at Rochester City School District.

As a part of his community work, Dr. Willis is a local & national advisory board representative for Teen Empowerment, a non-profit organization in Rochester committed to hiring youth and utilizing their abilities to positively impact peers in their spheres of influence. He is a current member of the Project Exile Advisory Board, a law enforcement and community stakeholder program dedicated to the elimination of illegal guns in Rochester. Dr. Willis has been a part of the Trust-Information-Programs-Services (T.I.P.S.) program, a program facilitated by Camp Good Days and Special Times, which conducts community service surveys and sponsors a community barbeque four times a summer in places that have been most impacted by violence.

Dr. Willis’ teaching and learning pedagogy is steeped in the plight of youth from marginalized communities. His research and professional work interests include, but are not limited to: African Diaspora & African American Studies, Educational Policy, Critical Race, Social Justice, Evaluation/Evidence-Based Practices, and Restorative Justice & Juvenile Justice.