D&E Hosting Events to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day Discussion Focuses on King’s ‘Beloved Community: Bridging the Racial Divide’

Date Posted: 

Monday, January 7, 2019

ELKINS - Davis & Elkins College will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a reception, special presentation and entertainment on Monday, January 21 in Myles Center for the Arts. The event is part of the Civic Dinners Project and National Discussion on King’s “Beloved Community: Bridging the Racial Divide” supported by the King Foundation.

The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. in The Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum. The presentation, sponsored by D&E’s Black Student Union, follows at 7:30 p.m. in Harper-McNeeley Auditorium with keynote speaker Sheila Coleman-Castells and performances by D&E students and local artists. Community members are invited to be a part of the conversation and offer ideas for improving relationships.

Tickets to the reception are $15 per person general admission and $10 for D&E students, and can be purchased online at www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment. Those wanting to attend the presentation only may do so free of charge.

“We are the beloved community that Dr. King spoke about, but some have lost sight of our goal and resorted to the evils of our society,” said D&E Adjunct Professor in Dance Laurie Goux, who is organizing the event. “Let this day be a reminder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: ‘Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.’”

An exhibit featuring items from Goux’s personal collection of African artifacts will be on display outside The Stirrup Gallery. Sponsored by the Gallery and the D&E Division of Creative Arts, the exhibit will remain through Feb. 28 in celebration of Black History Month.

Coleman-Castells, an educator, statistical researcher and professional trainer, will engage the audience in a question-and-answer session following her talk. Her experience spans more than 30 years in primary, secondary and higher education, and business in the United States and abroad.

Throughout her career, Coleman-Castells has taught bilingually at every grade level, and has trained elementary and secondary teachers pursuing bachelor’s through doctoral degrees at various colleges and universities. She developed teacher education programs for young Arab university students in the United Arab Emirates, founded the first professional organization for English language teachers in the Arabian Gulf (TESOL Arabia) and presented research on second language acquisition to national and international conferences in English and French.

As a researcher, Coleman-Castells has worked in the fields of education, workforce training, economic development and community revitalization via new markets for NASA, the U.S. Department of Labor’s JobCorps program, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Energy, along with state agencies including the West Virginia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

In addition, Coleman-Castells has developed and presented various staff training and program evaluative protocols for major government agencies and international corporations including Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Phillip Morris, Alliance Life Insurance Corp., the National Institutes of Health, District of Columbia Health Department, the Federal Office of Thrift Supervision and the FDIC, among others.

Coleman-Castells also has worked as director of Teach for America in Washington, D.C., a senior research associate and a senior program officer. For the past 14 years, she has served as president of her firm, Sangha Consulting LLC, linking governments, industry and community-based organizations in projects that support education and training, economic and community development, and political advocacy for underserved populations throughout the country. She served former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as director of a U.S. Department of Energy grant to develop green jobs for the state and was appointed by former Gov. Joe Manchin to the state’s Sesquicentennial Commission of the Civil War.

Coleman-Castells holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction, both from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and a master’s degree in French literature from the Université de Neuchatel (Switzerland). She completed her doctoral work in educational evaluation from the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education. A native of Washington, D.C., she resides in Eglon, West Virginia.

Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.

Sheila Coleman-Castells