Identity Talk 4 Educators LIVE
By Kwame Sarfo-Mensah
Identity Talk 4 Educators LIVE Jun 23, 2021
137) "How Clinical Therapy Changed an Educator's Life" (Jess Cleeves)
In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with educator-turned-therapist Jess Cleeves about the ups and downs of her educator journey, her introduction to clinical therapy, and the three maladies that negatively impact teacher performance and quality of life. To learn more about Jess's work, you can visit her website at jesscleeves.com or follow her on LinkedIn.
Before becoming a classroom teacher, Jess worked with learners in informal contexts from after-school programs for 1st-3rd graders to outdoor programming for incarcerated students. After earning her MAT in secondary science education at Stanford's Teacher Prep program (STEP), Jess taught in impacted and marginalized communities in California, Colorado, and Utah, supporting all ages and stages of students from middle school through experienced in-service educators. Jess earned a second Master's of Social Work at the University of Utah while she served as the Associate Director for Equitable Instruction and Clinical Support at the Center for Science and Mathematics Education. Her current work includes a clinical therapy practice and supporting educators through workshops and consultation.
136) "The Antiracist ELA Classroom" (Keisha Rembert)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming multi-award winning educator and author Keisha Rembert on the podcast to talk about her educator journey, her new book, "The Antiracist ELA Classroom", her transition from teaching in the classroom to entering the world of academia, and so much more! To learn more about Keisha's work, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@klrembert). BIO: Keisha Rembert is a lifelong learner and educator. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Teacher Preparation at National Louis University. Prior to entering teacher education, she spent more than 15 years teaching English and U.S. History in the Chicago area. Her passion for equity, social justice, and youth literature coalesce in her membership and work on the National Council for Teachers of English’s (NCTE) Committee Against Racism and Bias, as a member of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) Committee for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and a member of ALAN’s Board of Directors, an advisory board member for the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, as well as in her service on the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s Educator Advisory Board.
In 2019, Rembert was named Illinois History Teacher of the Year as well as the 2019 National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Outstanding Middle-Level English Educator. Her commitment to advocacy and equity is best reflected in her published works, myriad nationally recognized presentations, consultant work and as a Teach Plus Policy Alum, her work with the Illinois State Board of Education’s Diverse Learner and Teacher Ready Network and as a Master Teacher for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
135) "The Science of Reading vs. Whole Language Learning" (Shannon Moore)
In this episode, I had a chance to chat with reading specialist Shannon Moore In our conversation, Shannon shares about how she developed a love for reading as a child and rediscovered that love as an adult, her educator journey, and why the Science of Reading is the best approach for teaching students how to read. To learn more about Shannon's work, you can visit her website at mooreliteracyleaps.com or follow her on Instagram (@mooreliteracyleaps)
Shannon Moore earned a master of arts in teaching and an education specialist certification in reading. She has held many roles as an educator, including classroom teacher, interventionist, instructional coach, consultant, reading specialist, and private tutor.
134) "A Teacher Who Turned Her Pain into Power" (Briana Morales)
In this episode, I had a chance to catch up with my good friend and 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year Briana Morales. In our conversation, Briana shares about her early childhood, overcoming family trauma, the teacher who inspired her to become a teacher, her work with TeachPlus, and so much more! To learn more about Briana's work, you can follow her on LinkedIn or on Instagram (@queenh0neyb)
Briana Morales is a proud Latina and freedom fighter for students in alternative education, where she has spent her career loving and learning alongside students furthest from justice in East St. Louis, IL. She focuses on empowering her students with personalized, competency-based education where their cultural funds of knowledge are honored and students work at their own pace to master content rather than traditional learning that focuses on seat time and completion of work. Briana was honored as a 2021 NCTE Early Career Educator of Color and has shared the journey she and her students have embarked on to turn pain into power through narrative poetry of witness both locally and nationally. Her commitment as a school board member for the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, School District #428 has allowed her to elevate the voices of justice-impacted youth. She is deeply passionate about creating healing-centered spaces where Black and brown students can feel seen, heard, and, one day, be free to be their authentic selves. Her love offering toward this future is her nonprofit, (Sister)Hood of Hope, Inc., dedicated to honoring brighter futures for girls of color everywhere by empowering them through the community of sisterhood. She earned her BA in secondary English education from St. Ambrose University and her MEd in curriculum and instruction from American College of Education. She is currently pursuing an EdD in diversity and equity in education at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Briana is the 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year.
133) "Breaking Down the Intersection of Sports & DEI" (Dr. Jen Fry)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming Dr. Jen Fry to the podcast to learn about her early childhood, how she developed her love for sports, making the transition from college coach to a career in speaking and educating the masses about social justice issues within the sports arena, and so much more! To learn more about Jen's work, you can visit her website at jenfrytalks.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@jenfrytalks).
BIO: Dr. Jen Fry (she/her) is Sports Geographer, 3x founder, and sought-after speaker and educator. She owns JenFryTalks, a social justice education firm that explores the intersection of conflict and DEI. Jen facilitates conversation and skill-building with organizations and teams of all sizes. She is a veteran volleyball coach with over 15 years of experience coaching at the collegiate level. She received her PhD in Sports Geography from Michigan State University (GO GREEN!).
Recently, Jen co-founded Hyreable, a career development company helping BIPOC professionals in the world of sports. She is also moving her group movement platform, Coordle, to market. Coordle is an intuitive, feature-rich app and web platform that serves as a central hub for all your real-time information, communication, logistics, and needs as you move your group.
132) "Centering Afro-Franco Experiences in the French Classroom" (Ben Tinsley)
In this episode, I welcomed my good friend Ben Tinsley to the podcast to talk about his upbringing in Long Island, NY, how he developed his passion for learning French, his own evolution as an educator, and the importance of incorporating the counterstories and lived experiences of Afro-Franco people into the French curriculum. To learn more about Ben's work, you can visit his website at afrofranco.com or follow him on Instagram and Twitter (@afrofranco2). BIO: Ben Tinsley is a French teacher, curriculum developer, and educational consultant specializing in the centering of Afro-Francophone culture and voices. With undergraduate concentrations in French and African American Studies from Temple University, a Master’s degree in Literacy from Rosemont College, and experiences in both urban charter and independent schools, he continues to pursue and develop equitable content and pedagogy for all language learners.
131) "The Dancer Teacher" (Alexia Pendleton)
In this episode, I had the honor of chatting with dancer teacher extraordinaire Alexia Pendleton to learn about how she navigates her life as a Kindergarten teacher by day and a dancer/choreographer by night. She also opens up about prioritizing her mental health to combat her childhood trauma, which has had a significant impact that on both her personal and professional life. To learn more about Alexia, you can visit her website at linktr.ee/thedancerteacher or follow her on Instagram (@thedancerteacher).
Alexia Pendleton is a kindergarten teacher in Atlantic City, NJ and 2020 Teacher of the Year. Her philosophy is educating and elevating the whole child. She has been an educator for over 6 years and values community, culture, and creativity. Relationship building and engagement is also the foundation of her classroom.
Alexia started dancing in elementary school and fell in love with hip-hop. After choreographing a senior piece in high school, she knew she wanted to continue teaching hip-hop to others. After graduating, Alexia started teaching at studios throughout South Jersey.
While in college, she danced for the Stockton All Starz Dance Team and served as one of the teams choreographers. She graduated with degree in Psychology and went alternative route to become a teacher. However, never gave up on my passion for dance!
She has choreographed for weddings, Quince’s and everything in between. She also instruct adults in hip hop fitness. Alexia brings dance everywhere she goes from the classroom to the studio. She is passionate about dance and the joy it brings to herself and others.
130) "Teaching Writing as a Tool for Liberation" (Kyley Pulphus)
For this episode, I had the pleasure of welcoming I'm honored to welcome Kyley Pulphus to the podcast to talk about her educator journey, growing up as a child in New Orleans, her love for writing, her mission to support teachers and students to interact with writing as a liberatory practice, and so much more! To learn more about Kyley's work, you can visit the We Scribbin' website at wescribblin.com or follow her on Instagram (@wescribblin). BIO: Kyley Pulphus is the founder and principal of We Scribbin'. Born and raised in New Orleans, Kyley grew up in the Lower 9 ward where she still lives down the street from her mama. She received her BA in Communications from University of New Orleans, and her MFA in Film Making from Florida State University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a Literacy Education focus. Kyley is an award-winning children’s film writer/director. After working in children’s television in Los Angeles, she returned to New Orleans to pursue a career in education. She was a skilled classroom teacher and teacher coach. Kyley was also a teacher consultant for the Greater New Orleans Writing Project, and was the founding program director at 826 New Orleans, the youth writing nonprofit. Under her stewardship, Kyley supported thousands of young people in strengthening their writing skills. She oversaw the publishing of 30 books of youth writing, worked with dozens of teachers, and facilitated many professional development workshops. Kyley has received several honors, most recently being awarded the International Literacy Association’s Helen M. Robinson Grant. She was also recognized as one of Gambit's 40 under 40 and a Millennial Educator of the Year Finalist. Outside of work, Kyley enjoys spending time with her loved ones, a good snowball, and dancing, especially to brass band music. LINKS: Instagram Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts
129) "Ph.D = Persistent & Humanly Divine" (Ashley Lipscomb)
In this episode, I had the honor of chatting with Ashley Lipscomb to learn about her educator journey, overcoming multiple 'no's and "Ph.D rejection offers, the inspiration behind the Institute of Anti-Racist Education, her faith journey, and so much more! To learn more about Ashley's work, you can visit the Institute of Anti-Racist Education website at antiracisted.org or follow the Institute on Instagram (@antiracistedinstitute) BIO: Ashley Y. Lipscomb has a wealth of experience working with, motivating, and advocating for students and educators. After working as a teacher for five years and serving as a youth minister for eight years, Ashley has developed specialized interventions for her students, contributing to her success as an information literacy and language arts teacher at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown, NJ. During her time in the classroom, Ashley advocated for the expansion of the language arts curriculum, leading to the incorporation of young adult literature that portrayed the Black experience. She also worked closely with school administrators to address pipeline issues contributing to the lack of a representative teaching staff. A graduate of Hampton University (BA English and Master in Teaching), Harvard Divinity School (MDiv) and Montclair State University (Certificate in Supervision), Ashley has participated in and spearheaded several committees focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in both K-12 and higher education settings. She provides DEI consulting to students in the Diversity and Inclusion Management Course at the Harvard Extension School.
128) "Navigating Motherhood & Edupreneurship" (Deana Forbes)
In this episode, I had a chance to catch up with Deana Forbes to learn about her newest business venture, Dailey Learning Academy, a home daycare business for children aged 2-5 in the Fredericksburg, VA area. She also opened up about early childhood in Danville, VA, discovering her love for teaching, navigating the rigors of motherhood and edupreneurship, and so much more! To learn more about Deana's work, you can visit her website at socialstudiesscholar.com or follow her on Instagram (@socialstudiesscholar).
BIO: Deana Forbes, also known as "The Social Studies Scholar", is a history teacher, curriculum designer, presenter, full time boy mom and so much more! Teaching Black history, teaching truth, fostering the joy in education and sharing Black stories are all important to her! I enjoy helping other teachers do the same inside and outside of their classrooms! Growing up in a small town called Danville, VA, Deana was involved in all kinds of clubs, sports and teacher cadet programs. A group of her friends and her led at risk middle school girls in a group called Empowered Young Women United. That solidified her desire to teach at the middle and high school level. Fast forward, Deana earned a partial athletic scholarship to Attend James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, VA and be on the women’s track and field team. There, she recieved my B.A in history and Master or Arts in Teaching 6-12 Social Studies. While attending JMU as a student-athlete, Deana developed her passion for sharing Black stories and teaching truth. She even discovered that she enjoyed creating classroom resources from scratch to use in her student teaching experiences. She had the most wonderful experience in the College of Education and learned so much from her professors. Upon graduating from JMU, Deana has served as a high social studies teacher and assistant track and field coach within the Prince William County Public School district, and, most recently, has started her own home daycare business, Dailey Learning Academy, which will serve children aged 2-5 in the Fredericksburg, VA area. Deana has previously collaborated with brands and companies like Quizlet, NPR, In These Times, Play Black Wall Street and Flora Maria Shop to add to her mission of fostering the joy in education and sharing Black stories. LINKS: Instagram Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts
127) "New School Year, New You" (Kayland Lamar)
To kick off Season 3, I'm honored to welcome Kayland Lamar to the podcast to share her educator journey, the launching of her personal development coaching business, and how she uses her personal self-care journey as a vehicle to support educators and professionals to prioritize their mental health and personal development. To learn more about Kayland's work, you can visit her website at kaylandlamar.com or follow her on Instagram (@kaylandlamar) or Twitter (@KaylandLamar). BIO: Kayland Lamar is a Personal Development Coach who specializes in helping professional women create sustainable self-care systems that push them to show up for themselves consistently both inside and outside of the classroom. As an educator with 10+ years of experience, she has seen it all. Because of her own personal battle with burnout, she has developed a particular skill set that allows her to strategically support highly successful women as they navigate work-life balance. As a Personal Development Coach, her goal has always been to equip high performing women with skills and strategies rooted in intentional self-care and meaningful boundary setting. Working with successful career women is Kayland's absolute passion and she believes that every woman deserves to prioritize their wellbeing unapologetically. LINKS: Instagram Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts
126) "The Sneaker Principal" (Uche L. Njoku)
In this episode, I had a great conversation with Uche Njoku about his early life in Nigeria, his evolution as an educator, and what ultimately pushed him to resign from his principal role after a long, successful career. To learn more about Uche's work, you can visit his website at sneakerprincipal.wordpress.com or follow him on Instagram (@snkrprincipal), Twitter (@SNKRPrincipal), and LinkedIn.
BIO: Hailing from Inglewood, California and a native of the Igbo tribe of southeastern Nigeria, Uche Njoku became a high school special education teacher and dean of students in the Bronx in 2005 through the New York City Teaching Fellows program. Starting in 2016, he served as a principal, first at The School of Mathematics, Science and Technology through the Arts (I.S. 318) in the Bronx’s District 12, and then as the principal of John Jay School for Law in the Brooklyn North High Schools District. Uche is a member of the inaugural cohort of The Gray Fellowship for Principal Excellence, and a member of the 2021 cohort of The Cahn Fellows Distinguished Principals Program. He is also the first principal to serve as a member of the board of directors of PENCIL, a New York City not-for-profit organization founded with the goal of raising awareness about public education by inviting civic and business leaders into New York City public schools. Uche holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Media, with an allied field in African and African-American studies from the University of Rochester, as well as advanced degrees, including a masters degree in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. Uche is an avid digital content creator, which includes The Sneaker Principal Podcast. A space for educators and allies working on closing the achievement gap in urban communities.
125) "The EmanicpatED" (Dr. Crystal Menzies)
In this episode, I'm honored to welcome Dr. Crystal Menzies to the podcast to talk about her personal journey in education, the founding of The EmanicpatED, her collaborative research work with the Maroon communities, and how teachers can incorporate Black historical counternarratives into the curriculum. To learn more about Crystal's work, you can visit the EmancipatED website at emancipatededucation.com or you can follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter (@emancipate_ed).
BIO: Crystal Menzies, PhD (she/her) is an educator of Black and Brown youth, a postdoctoral researcher studying cultural community wealth, and the founder of EmancipatED. A former culturally responsive teacher in urban schools, Crystal aspired to teach her students about ways of being and thinking that did not center whiteness. However, she quickly realized that it would take more than being a “good teacher” to dismantle the systems of oppression that led to the systemic violence she and her students experienced.
In an effort to tell a more expansive story of the Black experience across the Diaspora that didn’t perpetuate trauma narratives, Crystal traveled the globe to learn about the rich history of resistance and liberation movements that are often made invisible in our collective history books. Drawing on her Guyanese and African American roots, the legacy of Black educators, educational psychology, liberatory pedagogy, and African-Diasporan history, Crystal founded EmancipatED to uncover our hidden Black history.
Through research-based educational products that center Black communities, Crystal hopes to create environments in which Black people, as a collective, can find joy, empowerment, and community through multi-generational learning. Her flagship product is an exploration kit that shares the stories of Maroon communities, which offers Black and Brown families a model for how to navigate as liberated beings within oppressive systems. She lives in the Bay Area (or the Yay area as she affectionately refers to it) and enjoys reading, Marvel movies, and daydreaming of Black Futures.
124) "Counternarratives in the K-12 Classroom" (Estelle Bougna Fomeju & Christopher Clyde-Green)
In this special episode, I got the chance to interview Christopher Clyde Green and Estelle Bougna Fomeju to learn about their personal journeys in education and the power of counternarratives in K-12 education. To learn more about Christopher and Estelle's work, you can check out their information below:
Christopher Clyde Green - WEBSITE (chrisclydegreen.com); TWITTER (@ccgreen)
Estelle Bougna Fomeju- WEBSITE (tissiconsulting.com); INSTAGRAM (@sallyspoetry)
BIO: Estelle Bougna Fomeju is a pan-African Consultant in Education passionate about history, geopolitics, cultural inclusion, antiracism and indigenous worldviews. She founded Tissi, a consultancy in education for social change based in Mali, that works with schools and organizations worldwide. Her areas of expertise are education project management, culturally-inclusive and antiracist capacity building for educators, decolonial curriculum development and instructional design. Before founding Tissi, Estelle worked as a Senior Project Manager for a network of African international schools, where she managed the creation of IB schools in Mali and Botswana. Estelle was born in Cameroon and grew up in Guinea, Chad, and Mali then moved to France and the US for university. She graduated from Sciences Po Paris with a Masters in International Development in 2015. In 2021 she obtained a MED in Advanced Teaching from the University of People in partnership with the International Baccalaureate. With her work, she hopes to help fulfill the promise of education, that of equipping young people with adequate tools to analyze, question, and transform their environment.
Christopher Clyde Green currently teaches IB Language A: Literature, Language and Literature, as well as TOK at Ecolé International de Genève (International School of Geneva) & Institut Le Rosey. Being an advocate for the International Baccalaureate he has been a IB examiner and reader for the past five years. A citizen of both Britain and Jamaica, he has previously taught at Oporto British School in Portugal and Mill Hill School in the United Kingdom. He is an alumnus of the University of London (Royal Holloway) and Cambridge University (Homerton College).
Besides teaching, he has written professionally for various media outlets on music, education and culture and previously worked professionally in the entertainment industry as a writer and an actor.
123) "Disrupter University" (Dr. Erica Glover)
In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Erica Glover to learn more about her personal journey in education, her love for basketball, the founding of Disrupter University, and so much more! To learn more about Dr. Glover's work, you can visit the Disrupter University website at disrupteruniversity.com or you can follow her on Instagram, Twitter (@drericaglover), and LinkedIn.
BIO: Dr. Erica Glover is a servant of education, committed to equity and inclusion. Throughout her career in education, Dr. Glover has worked as an educator, administrator, and also within Human Resources. As a Disrupter, Dr. Glover’s experiences reflect a common thread of one common theme: ensuring access and opportunities for marginalized groups of people. During her time as an educator, Dr. Glover supported students learning in self-contained units, as a result of behavioral concerns and emotional disabilities. She recognized the inequities faced by students placed in her classroom, and worked to provide her students more equitable learning opportunities, where students were able to experience teaching and learning with peers.
As Dr. Glover transitioned into her role as an administrator, she remained dedicated to standing for equity and inclusion among students, teachers, and colleagues. She developed programs to support peer-to-peer mentorship, book clubs for educators within the building, alternative to suspension programs, and parent groups to support building initiatives. All the while, Dr. Glover supported colleagues with the process of reflecting on instructional practices and strategies to grow both students and educators. In 2017, Dr. Glover earned her doctorate degree in Urban Education, from Cleveland State University.
With an emphasis on Policy and Planning, Dr. Glover has transferred her learning into reimagining the ways in which we socialize future teachers (current students and pre-service teachers), and in-service teachers. Within her more recent role as a Recruitment Manager, Dr. Glover continues to develop innovative systems and processes to recruit and retain underrepresented populations of people in education. Dr. Glover is also a former Division I athlete, playing semi-professional basketball for several seasons. Her experiences as an athlete led her to coach and train youth for twelve years. During this time, she also began a boys AAU basketball program, to provide youth from urban communities the opportunity to compete without the financial burden to commit. Through AAU programming, Dr. Glover was also able to provide players with educational support needed to advance as a student-athlete in college.
122) "Teaching Black History to K-2 Students" (Dawnavyn M. James)
In this episode, I had the honor of chatting with Dawnavyn James to learn more about her educator journey, the creation of The Black History Club, her upcoming book "Beyond February", the importance of teaching Black History through children's books at the early childhood level, and so much more! To learn more about Dawnavyn's work, you can visit her website at linktr.ee/queendomteach follow her on Instagram (@queendomteaching), Twitter (@queendomteachin), and LinkedIn.
BIO: Dawnavyn James is an early childhood and elementary educator. She has taught kindergarten, fifth grade, and all the grades in between. She graduated from Stephens College with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She previously taught kindergarten for the Columbia Public School District and is now pursuing her doctoral degree full-tme at the University of Buffalo, where she also serves as a fellow for the Center for K-12 Black History and Racial Literacy Education. Dawnavyn also is the creator of The Black History Club and is passionate about embedding Black histories into curriculum. Dawnavyn’s recent publications include Motivating Writers Through Blogging and A Recipe for Young Historians of Black History.
121) "How to Best Prepare for College during the Pandemic" (Sheila Akbar)
In this week's episode, I had the honor of interviewing Sheila Akbar to learn about her journey in education, her love for poetry, her transition from being a Harvard pre-med to an education entrepreneur, and helpful tips for parents and high school students who preparing for college. To learn more Sheila's work, you can visit the Signet Education website at signeteducation.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.
BIO: Sheila Akbar joined the Signet team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings. Sheila loves both teaching and learning, and finds nothing more rewarding than working closely with students to overcome the challenges they face. After graduating from Harvard in 2002, Sheila spent two years working in financial services before continuing her academic career, which culminated into two doctorates. She brings her significant business and academic experience to bear on her current role at Signet. Her skills include speaking to every client to craft a tailored solution for their needs, managing the administrative team, and providing educational thought leadership for the company. Sheila holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University.
120) "Changing the Narrative about Antiracism in Schools" (Kathy Lopes)
In this episode, I'm honored to have Kathy Lopes come on the podcast to talk about her journey in education and social work, the release of "Change the Narrative", how school leaders and administrators must engage in antiracist work within their school communities, and so much more! To learn more about Kathy's work, you can visit her company website at inklusionconsulting.com or follow her on Instagram, Twitter (@kathylopes21), and LinkedIn.
BIO: Kathy Lopes is a licensed clinical social worker and educator with decades of experience working in education, mental health, non-profit, and government sectors. She began her career as a school social worker in both Boston, MA and Washington, DC, and is now settled back in her home state of Massachusetts where she has held numerous managerial and administrative roles in the field of social work and education. Throughout her career, equity and inclusion have remained an integral part of her leadership and strategic planning priority. Currently, she is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Newton Public Schools and holds a longstanding adjunct faculty role at Simmons University School of Social Work, teaching courses on racism, policy and leadership. She is a sought-after guest lecturer and public speaker on topics of cultural humility, equity, anti-racism and social justice.
119) "Open Windows, Open Minds" (Afrika Afeni Mills)
In this episode, I welcome my good friend Afrika Afeni Mills to the podcast to discuss her new book, "Open Windows, Open Minds", the pros and cons of writing in the white gaze, what it means to be pro-human, and so much more! To learn more about Afrika's work, you can visit her website at afrikaafenimills.com or follow her at Instagram (@open_windows_open_minds) and Twitter (@AfeniMills).
BIO: Afrika Afeni Mills is an Education Consultant and the author of Open Windows, Open Minds: Developing Antiracist, Pro-Human Students with Corwin Press. She works with colleagues, teachers, coaches, and administrators to transform instructional practices. Afrika has been featured on podcasts, blogs, delivered keynote addresses, and facilitated sessions at conferences both virtually and across the United States. Afrika believes that all educators can be motivated, engaged, dynamic practitioners and leaders when provided with the support needed to create student-centered, culturally responsive learning environments that inspire wonder and creativity and nurture diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging from an antibias, antiracist, pro-human mindset.
118) "Real Men Teach" (Curtis Valentine)
In this episode, I welcome Curtis Valentine to the podcast to share his journey in education, his earlier life as a Peace Corps volunteer, the founding of Real Men Teach, and so much more! To learn more about Real Men Teach, you can visit the organization's website at realmenteach.com or follow them on Twitter (@RealMenTeach2) and Instagram (@realmenteach).
BIO: Curtis Valentine is Co-Director of the Progressive Policy Institute's Reinventing America's Schools Project. Curtis comes to this position with over 15 years experience in local, state, federal, and international education policy. Curtis currently serves as Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park and as At-Large member of the Prince George’s County (MD) Board of Education. Prior to joining the Progressive Policy Institute, Curtis served as Consultant to the National Council on Teacher Quality. In the past, Curtis served as Executive Director for State Relations with Connections Education, a virtual K-12 public school provider, where he directed state level education policy in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maryland, and Virginia. Prior to joining Connections Education, Curtis was International Affairs Fellow (IAF) with the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Curtis was the first IAF posted to the Education Department where he served in Secretary Arne Duncan’s Office of International Affairs.
As a fellow, Curtis promoted American economic competitiveness by examining the education reform efforts of four developed countries (Finland, Poland, Canada, and South Africa). Curtis is a graduate of Morehouse College and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. At Harvard Kennedy School’s Commencement, Curtis received the highest student honor: the Robert F. Kennedy award for excellence in public service for his work in post-Katrina New Orleans. After graduating from Morehouse College, Curtis joined the Peace Corps and traveled to South Africa where he led a professional development-training program for primary school educators. After two years, Curtis returned to the Maryland and became an 8th grade Language Arts Teacher. A former appointee to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board in Maryland, Curtis is a Contributor to the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, The Atlantic, the National Council on Teacher Quality Blog, and the Council on Foreign Relation’s Renewing America blog. Curtis is married to Dr. Daria Valentine, a Middle School Principal, and father to Curtis and Ivy Valentine, both public school students.
117) "The Identity Conscious Educator" (Dr. Liza Talusan)
In this episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Lisa Talusan to learn about her journey in education, growing up as a second-generation Filipino-American, and her book, "The Identity-Conscious Educator". To learn more about Liza's work, you can visit her website at lizatalusan.com or follow her on Instagram (@ltalusan), Twitter (@ltalusan), and LinkedIn.
BIO: Dr. Liza (LIE-zuh) Talusan (taLUS-ahn) is an educator, speaker, leader, writer, leadership coach and parent. With over 25 years of experience in PreK-20 education, Liza is an engaging facilitator in conversations about diversity, anti-racism, bias, privilege and power and creates environments that allow for people to discuss these difficult topics openly. Through her direct work with organizational leaders, staff, students, teachers, and communities, Liza empowers individuals to create a more inclusive organization, environment, community and team. Dr. Talusan has been invited to more than 350 organizations across the country and internationally to deliver keynote addresses and facilitate dialogue groups, training workshops, to develop strategic planning, support change management, and empower leaders. Having achieved her Professional Certified Coaching (PCC) level credentials, Liza helps clients set and achieve goals by tapping into what it means to lead a goal-centered life. Additionally, Liza is certified in the Intercultural Development Inventory, a tested assessment to guide teams in developing greater cross-cultural capacity and determining pre-and-post DEI outcomes.
Liza is the recipient of numerous awards including "Best 40 Under 40"; NASPA Region I Mid-Level Professional Award; NASPA APIKC VIP Award; Asian Women for Health's Peer Leader Award; Promise in Action Mentoring Nominee; Network for Equity, Excellence in Education Award; the REAPA (AERA) Dissertation of the Year Award; the Harriet Buescher Lawrence Prize from Connecticut College; and a number of institutional grants: Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Child Development from Connecticut College, Masters of Arts in Higher Education Administration from New York University, Ph.D. in Higher Education from University of Massachusetts Boston, Certificate in Human Resources, Stonehill College, PCC Coaching Credentials, ICF Certified Coach, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching
Liza's cumulative research interests include the experiences of historically underrepresented and excluded populations; Asian American and Pacific Islander issues; socialization to graduate programs; navigating academic parenthood; cross-racial solidarity movements; recognizing and reducing unconscious bias; and the impact of federal financial aid policies. Liza's dissertation, "The Formation of Scholars: Critical Narratives of Asian American and Pacific Islander Doctoral Students in Higher Education" is available on ProQuest. Her new book “The Identity Conscious Educator: Building habits and skills for more inclusive schools” is published by Solution Tree Press and available at all bookstores. Liza's Top 5 StrengthsQuest Themes are Achiever, Maximizer, Discipline, Activator, and Connectedness. She is someone who is driven, results-oriented, effective and organized, engages others to reach their potential, and practices the principles of community and human connection.
116) "Fostering Identity & Character Development in Schools" (Rebekah Macden)
In this episode, I'm honored to have Rebekah Macden come on the podcast to share her journey in education, life as an international educator, the origin of the Maracujá program, and the need to foster identity and character development in our schools. To learn more about Rebekah's work, you can visit her website at rebekahmacden.com or connect with her on Instagram (@rebekahmacden and @maracujaeducation), Twitter (@rebekahmacden), and LinkedIn.
BIO: Rebekah Macden is a dynamic international educator, consultant, speaker, and writer. Rebekah is also the co-creator of Maracujá, a character-driven SEL program that continues to have a life-changing impact on thousands of students in several schools around the globe.
Growing up as a first-generation immigrant in a small Midwestern town in the USA played a monumental part in the shaping of Rebekah’s multifaceted identity. Coming from a rich cultural heritage and a loving family of musicians, singers, ministers, educators, and social workers, Rebekah’s passion for impacting others whether in mass numbers or 1-1, has been generations in the making.
A visionary and innovative educator with 18 years of experience, Rebekah has developed and implemented student-centered programs that have had a transformative effect on students' lives and educational journeys. She is a powerful and engaging keynote speaker, thought leader, panelist, and facilitator of virtual and on-site training.
As a fierce advocate for joy, purpose, and identity, Rebekah’s mission is to transform the world of education by empowering others to find their unique voice and walk in true freedom.
115) Inclusive Classroom 101 Panel Discussion (Françoise Thenoux, Craig Martin & Destiny Clarke)
For this special episode, I'm excited to have the following three panelists lead this important discussion about using intersectionality as a tool to humanize diverse student identities and create classroom spaces that are inclusive, equitable, and foster a sense of belonging:
Craig Martin is an experienced, award-winning school leader and a managing partner for CCM Education Consulting Group. Through his company, he partners with school leaders and organizations by supporting them in creating inclusive and student-centered learning environments.
TWITTER - @CraigCMartin12
WEBSITE - https://www.craigcmartinleads.com
Françoise Thenoux is an ABAR consultant, as well as an ESL and Spanish educator with almost 20 years of teaching experience. While working as an ESL teacher, she helped Latinx families understand the benefits of bilingualism via workshops and conferences. She is a passionate advocate for equitable, inclusive, social justice-oriented World Language curriculum. Francoise shares her passion and resources with a wide community through social media as "The Woke Spanish Teacher".
INSTAGRAM - @thewokespanishteacher
TWITTER - @TWSteacher
Destiny Clarke is a former middle and high school English teacher who now serves as the Founder & CEO of DiscoverED with Destiny. Through her company, Destiny helps educators use equitable and LGBTQ+ inclusive strategies to create communities of care for LGBTQ+ youth. She is also the host of the Closeted History podcast.
INSTAGRAM - @discoveredwithdestiny
TWITTER - @discoveredwdes
WEBSITE - https://www.discoveredwithdestiny.com
114) "Textured Teaching & Multicultural Classrooms" (Lorena & Roberto Germán)
For the first time in our podcast's history, we are featuring our first married educator couple, Lorena & Roberto Germán. In our conversation, they shared about their collective journey in education, the founding of their company Multicultural Classroom, the importance of incorporating culturally sustaining practices into our classrooms, and so much more! To learn more about the Germáns' work, you can visit their website at multiculturalclassroom.com or follow them on Instagram (@multiculturalclassroom) and Twitter (@nenagerman). BIO: LORENA: Lorena is an immigrant from Dominican Republic and raised in the U.S. She attended public schooling from first grade through high school. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Communication from Emmanuel College and her Master of Arts in English from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English. She is an advocate for the practice of a culturally sustaining pedagogical approach in education. Lorena has been in the field of education, working in various settings, since 2001. Her extensive experience in myriad of settings ranging from extracurricular youth work to community spaces to the traditional classroom equips her to offer sound advice on strong teaching practices. Specifically, her classroom experience has been as an ELA teacher from grades 6th through 12th. Lorena has held educational leadership positions at the department level, school-wide level, and in the larger district level from designing curriculum to strategizing for improvement. She is the Chair of the National Council of English Teacher’s Committee Against Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English and she’s a co-founder of #DisruptTexts. She’s also Director of Pedagogy at EduColor. ROBERTO: Roberto Germán is a Dominican-American native of Lawrence, Massachusetts. He is a product of Lawrence Public Schools, Central Catholic High School, and the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence. As Director of the Middle School at Headwaters School, he brought inclusivity and social justice ideas into every aspect of his work there. Before that, he supported the opening of Magnolia Montessori For All, Austin’s First Public Montessori School, serving as Director of Student Affairs and Services. Previously, Roberto served as Assistant Principal at the Guilmette Middle School in Lawrence, MA. Prior to that, he served as Director of Multicultural Affairs and Community Development for seven years at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, MA, where he led the school in fostering a culture that promoted social justice and equity. During his tenure at SJP, he was also a basketball coach and Spanish teacher. Mr. Germán is an alumnus of Andover Bread Loaf and an active member of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network. His role within ABL and with the BLTN is at the center of ABL’s educational justice work within the public schools, youth, and community organizations. When he was twenty years old, Roberto introduced and co-led a spoken word movement in the city of Lawrence that took the city by storm from 2001-2003. This movement became the beginning of a writing revolution that inspired young people in the city of Lawrence to find their voices through the arts, particularly spoken word poetry and rap. He accomplished this with his former performing arts group, the Soul Kaliber Movement, and by his ability to collaborate with diverse organizations and individuals. Roberto's teaching experience includes serving as an English teacher at Lawrence High School and as a Spanish teacher at St. John’s Preparatory School. He holds a Master’s Degree from Boston College’s Lynch School of Education in Educational Administration and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English, from Merrimack College.
113) "Controlling Our Narratives as Educators" (Patrick Harris II)
For this special episode, I caught up with the one and only Patrick Harris II to learn about his unique journey in education, his new book, "The First Five: A Love Letter to Teachers", and the important of controlling our personal narratives as educators in the midst of this Great Resignation period. To learn more about Patrick's work, you can visit his website at itspatrickharris.com or follow him on Instagram & Twitter (@PresidentPat).
BIO: Patrick Harris II is a Black queer writer, storyteller, and middle school humanities teacher. He has won multiple national teaching awards for his leadership and innovation in the classroom, including recognitions from NCTE, ASCD, and ILA. Teaching and creating is only part of who Patrick is. He is a big brother, a cat dad, lover of all things horror, a WWE fanatic, and is obsessed with scenic hikes.
112) "Latinas with Masters" (Christina V. Rodriguez)
In this episode, I had the honor of interviewing Christina Rodriguez to learn about her journey in education, her Nicaraguan upbringing, life as a Latina in academia, the founding of Latinas with Masters, and so much more! To learn more about Christina's work, you can visit the Latinas with Masters website at latinaswithmasters.com and/or you can follow her on Instagram (@latinaswithmasters) and Twitter (@latinaswmasters).
BIO: Christina V. Rodriguez is a first-generation Nicaraguan-American Latina with a multi-cultural and equity-minded mindset with a commitment in creating equitable opportunities for Women of Color in Business, Housing and Academia. Christina received her Bachelor's degree in Latino/a Studies from San Francisco State University and went on to receive her Master's degree (MBA) with an emphasis in Marketing at Notre Dame de Namur University. She is a currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership and provides 15+ years of marketing experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. When Christina is not working on Latinas with Masters or doing research for her dissertation, she enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two children, including their family dog Frijol.
111) "Culturally Relevant Teaching for Emergent Bilinguals" (Lizette Roman)
In this episode, I had the pleasure of welcoming my good friend Lizette Roman to the podcast to share her educator journey, as well as engage in a conversation about engaging our emerging bilingual learners in a culturally responsive manner within the classroom. She also shares how growing up as a first-generation Cuban-American has shaped her development as an educator. To learn more about Lizette's work, you can follow her on Instagram (@educating_with_love) and Twitter (@lizetteRoman13).
BIO: Lizette Roman is a certified bilingual educator in one of the most heavily integrated school districts on Long Island, NY. The need for specialized, actionable teaching methodologies that can be implemented into the classroom became a pressing need, in order to effectively teach & connect with her students. Her classroom environment has been created so all students feel and know they are respected and that their individual needs will be met. Walking into her bilingual classroom, Lizette finds a variety of flexible seating arrangements, evident Sheltered Instruction Operation Protocol strategies & planning, differentiated instruction, flipped classroom & student lead 21st century lessons infused with technology! In addition to teaching her students the material necessary to progress through their studies, she also works to equip them with life skills that challenge many children of non-English speaking parents. She teaches them how to set goals for themselves, bring in a financial advisor to teach students about financial awareness, teach students how to handle conflict-resolution & to listen like a diplomat! Lizette also works to help advocate for parents by regularly meeting with them, speaking with them on the phone, to connect them to community resources for things like legal advice, or helping them communicate with medical professionals on behalf of their children. She strives to help them advocate for their children in the classroom which includes making suggestions on how to better help their children meet their individual needs, how to prioritize goals & setting them up for success with proper study skills & organization skills. Her main focus as a teacher is to build up her students & teach them self-love, providing them with the social & emotional confidence so they can feel confident in their ability in the classroom. It’s from this place that Educating With Love was born. Lizette believes, with the right tools, teachers can do the same for their students. As both a speaker & consultant she is available to come to your educational facility or education conference to teach others how to implement these practices and strategies into their classroom. The goal of Educating With Love is to empower teachers to reach & teach their students with new confidence.
110) "Building Antiracist Children as Parents" (Britt Hawthorne)
In this episode, I had the special honor of interviewing Britt Hawthorne to learn more about her educator journey, life as an antiracist momma, and her new book, "Raising Antiracist Children: A Practical Parenting Guide". To learn more about Britt's work, you can visit her website at britthawthrone.com or follow her on Facebook & Instagram (@britthawthorne).
BIO: Britt Hawthorne (she/they) is an antiracist educator, teacher, speaker, visionary, and advocate. She is the current PBS Children’s Media and Education- Educator and Community Engagement: Antiracist and Anti-bias Consultant and Advisor. She also serves on the Association Montessori International/USA Human Rights and Social Justice Committee and works with the Sankofa Learning Center, an African-centered learning ecosystem, in New Haven, Connecticut.
She is committed to raising a generation of antiracist children by centering families of the global majority and fostering equitable learning environments for students and children of all ages and backgrounds. Britt’s work moves the idea of equity in education from a goal to reality. She partners with action-orientated educators to create classroom environments that are inclusive and equitable for all learners. Britt was an antiracist educator in the classroom but was pushed out of teaching when her two Black sons experienced educational racism. Now, as an anti-racist facilitator, she creates spaces where the intersection of education and social justice may be explored. Her honest and inspiring journey to create space, documented on Instagram, has since garnered over 100k engaged readers as well as a deeply committed online community.
109) "Fighting Ableism at the K-12 & Higher Education Level" (April Boyce)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming April Boyce to the podcast for a deep dive into the significant impact of ableism at both the K-12 and higher education level. To learn more about April's work, you can visit the Beyond Inclusion website at gobeyondinclusion.org or follow her on Instagram (@gobeyondinclusion) and Tiktok (@ms.april_)
BIO: April Boyce is a doctoral student and researcher based in Seattle, WA. She has been in the field of education for over ten years, serving as an early childhood educator, K-5 accessibility specialist, and adjunct professor for racial equity coursework. After working with students with disabilities, she became increasingly frustrated with the inequities and injustices my students faced within the education system. She began advocating for anti-racist and anti-ableist education through social media but was distracted by the noise of those not yet ready to engage in this work. April sensed the urgency to continue professional learning at a deeper level, so she created Beyond Inclusion to reach educators that are open to the possibilities of a more equitable education system.
April's goal for Beyond Inclusion is to engage anti-racist/anti-ableist educators through learning opportunities that enable them with the skills to liberate every child. They welcome all teachers, specialists, and administrators at every stage of the journey to become more anti-racist/anti-ableist professionals. This is a space for educators to build connection, engage in the process of inquiry, and empower one another to reflect and transform our own practice and school communities. Through our collective work, she knows that meaningful change can be made in education.
108) "Lead With Truth" (Dr. Qiana O'Leary)
In this episode, I welcomed Dr. Qiana O'Leary to the podcast for a conversation about her personal journey in education, the founding of Minty Educational Services, the impact of Black women in educational leadership, and much more! To learn more about Dr. O'Leary's work, you can visit the Minty Educational Services website at minty-es.org or follow her on Instagram (@mintyes20).
BIO: Dr. Qiana O'Leary is an Assistant Professor for the Texas A&M University System and the co-founder of Minty Educational Services, a former administrator for charters and public schools, and a Social Justice educator. She co-created and produced a web series highlighting the success of Black Educators teaching unique and creative lessons for students called BlackademX. Dr. O’Leary is dedicated to transforming schools by mentoring school leaders as they examine issues of equity, inclusion, and racism in their effort of becoming agents of radical school reform.
107) "Faith, Joy & Motherhood" (Camille Joy)
106) "Liven Up Your Library" (Julia E. Torres)
In this episode, I had the honor of chatting with teacher-librarian extraordinaire Julia E. Torres about her personal journey in education, her evolution in librarianship, the current banned books controversy impacting schools during the pandemic, and so much more! To learn more about Julia's work, you can visit her website at juliaetorres.com and you can also follow her on Instagram & Twitter (@juliaerin80).
BIO: Julia E. Torres is a veteran language arts teacher and librarian in Denver Public schools. She is a teacher/activist committed to education as a practice of freedom. Her practice is grounded in the work of empowering students to use Language Arts to fuel transformative resistance and social progress. Julia has been awarded the 2020 NCTE Colorado Affiliate Teacher of Excellence award chosen as a 2020 Library Journal Mover and Shaker, and serves educators as a member of the ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE) Board of Directors, Educolor Collective Steering Committee member, Book Love Foundation Board Member and Co-founder of #DisruptTexts. Through her work with The Educator Collaborative, and other organizations, Julia facilitates workshops and professional conversations about anti-bias/anti-racist education, social justice, and culturally sustaining pedagogies in Language Arts, as well as digital literacy and librarianship. Her work has been featured in several publications including NCTE’s Council Chronicle, NPR, AlJazeera’s The Stream, PBS Education, KQED’s MindShift, NY Times Learning Network, The Chicago Tribune, ASCD’s Education Update, Rethinking Schools, School Library Journal, and many more. Her forthcoming co-authored title Liven Up Your Library will be published by ISTE in 2022.
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/identitytalk4educatorslive/
Apple Podcasts - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/identity-talk-4-educators-live/id1509599570
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/23k0HRkXxi1OJSahtqS7xO
Google Podcasts - https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8xMDNjZGQ2Yy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw?sa=X&ved=0CAMQ4aUDahcKEwiA6NSi6rT1AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ&hl=en
Anchor - https://anchor.fm/identitytalk4educators
105) "Abolishing Anti-AAPI Narratives In Our Schools" (Tony DelaRosa)
104) "Finding Your Purpose as a School Leader" (Dr. Ian Buchanan)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming long-time education leader Dr. Ian Buchanan to the podcast to share his personal journey in education, his process for developing strong leaders through his company The Nia Education Group, his perspective on the current state of educational leadership during COVID-19, and so much more! To learn more about Dr. Ian's work, you can visit his company's website at niaeducationgroup.org and/or follow him on Twitter (@docianbuchanan).
BIO: Dr. Ian Buchanan, President/CEO of Nia Education Group, has committed almost three decades in service of students, organizations, families and communities. “Dr. Ian” has an impressively broad range of leadership, coaching, teaching and professional development experiences. His work has primarily been in the sectors below: - Traditional Public School District Leadership (St. Louis Region) - Public (Portfolio) Charter District Leadership (Achievement School District-Tennessee) - Informal Science Education Leadership (National Science Foundation, St. Louis Science Center) - Education Nonprofit Leadership (Teach For America-St. Louis, Inspire STL) - Higher Education Administration (Harris-Stowe State University) - Adult Basic Education (The School of University City – Adult Education Program) - Board Leadership (Jamaa Academy, IamESTL Foundation) Capacity-building is a skill, passion and gift for Dr. Ian. This commitment to capacity-building is driven by two guiding principles. The first guiding principle is “To whom much is given, much is required.” Ian recognizes his level of access, opportunity and capital. He leverages that and decades of experience, technical skills and passion for change to help individuals and organizations reach their fullest potential. The second principle that undergirds the work at Nia Education Group is the West African concept, ubuntu. Loosely translated, in means, “I am because we are.” Nia Education Group understands that we can only achieve transformative change if we embrace a commitment to a collective responsibility. We do our work with the belief that our commitment to our clients will translate into structural and systemic change.
103) "The International Impact of Anti-AAPI Racism" (Jessica Wei Huang)
In this episode, I had the chance to chat with Jessica Wei Huang and learn about her personal journey in education, her socialization process as an Asian-American, the current state of anti-AAPI racism internationally, the dire need for cross-racial and cross-ethnic solidarity during the pandemic, and so much more. To learn more about Jessica's work, you can visit her website at jessicaweihuang.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@huangjaz).
BIO: Jessica Wei Huang has eighteen years of combined teaching and leadership experience. She believes that facilitating cross-cultural and diverse conversations around personal identity, cultural difference, and systemic inequities is a powerful way to build community and understanding in educational settings in order to drive systemic and dynamic change in school settings. She has co-facilitated professional development for school districts and non-profits in creating and sustaining a culture of equity and anti-racism and is also a certified coach for ACSA (Association of CA School Administrators). She is currently based out of Singapore.
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/identitytal...
Apple Podcasts - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast...
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/23k0HRk...
Google Podcasts - https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0...
102) "Radical Love & Liberation in Education" (Dr. Melanie Dillett-Dukes)
In the final episode of 2021, I bring on my good friend Dr. Melanie Dillett-Dukes for a timely conversation about the importance the radical self-love and liberation as educators. We also discuss her life abroad as a United Nations baby, how she navigated her multiple identities as a Black woman, the release of her debut book, "My Freedom Journey"', and so much more! To learn more about Dr. Dukes' work, you can visit the BeyondFree website at beyondfreellc.com or you can follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram (@maddukes).
BIO: Dr. Melanie Dillett-Dukes is passionate about creating brave spaces for diverse groups of people to engage in discussions, empower action, and create change. Growing up outside of the United States for 15 years of her life, as a United Nations baby, gave her great insight into the intricacies of varying perspectives and their connection to practices and ideologies of people. With 20 plus years in the educational arena, Melanie has taught school-aged children from preschool to high school, founded her non-profit Creative Community to ignite student voices, coached teachers on culturally relevant pedagogy, designed curriculum, analyzed statewide data systems, and facilitated diversity, inclusion & equity workshops for adult professionals.
To deepen her contemplative practices, she has completed intense training on Cognitive Based Compassion Training (CBCT) through Emory University. Her experience as an Equity Facilitator Fellow through CREATE, deepened her skills to facilitate conversations and create actionable items around identity, systemic oppression, and anti-racist work. In her current role, she is leading equity work with over 110 teachers and staff members and the parent/guardian community. Melanie’s ability to listen for understanding, empathize, and to connect with others translates easily into developing organic and holistic coaching strategies that fosters growth mindsets and stimulates environments for people to thrive.
Over the many years of working in traditional education and facilitating sessions in equity, social justice, and anti-racist work in corporate and educational arenas, has revealed the deep need for healing and reconciliation. Motherhood and the deep desire to restore hope to people has led her on this journey of liberating the minds of people and creating platforms to create viable solutions to breaking systems that bind our true selves.
Dr. Dillett-Dukes graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in education from Spelman College. She fostered her skills in curriculum development when she earned her Masters of Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Melanie remained at Columbia to complete her Education Doctorate in International and Transcultural Studies with a specialization in Family and Community as Educator. She has inherited her mother’s green thumb at a later stage in life, enjoys cooking her father’s Belizean dishes, and watches her children embark on their unique journey of life in pure amazement.
101) "A FRESH Approach to Culturally Responsive Teaching" (Dr. Stephanie Boyce)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming Dr. Stephanie Boyce to the podcast to share her personal journey in education, the founding of The FRESH Classroom, the release of her new book, "The FRESH Classroom: Why Culturally Responsive Education Can't Wait", the evolution of scholarship around culturally responsive teaching, and so much more! To learn more about Dr. Boyce's work, you can visit The FRESH Classroom website at thefreshclassroom.com or follow her on Instagram (@freshclassroom and @dr.srboyce) and Twitter (@Fresh_Classroom).
BIO: Dr. Stephanie R. Boyce is an edupreneur driven by her passion to reshape the educational landscape by making culturally responsive teaching a way of life. For the last decade, Boyce has focused her studies and work on matters of racial justice and equity for historically marginalized people with a focus on educational spaces. She currently serves as the Chief Education Officer of Stephanie Boyce & Associates, LLC., the parent company of The FRESH Classroom, Professor & Director of the Writing Program at Paul Quinn College, and Lecturer of African American Studies at the University of Houston.
Dr. Stephanie Boyce’s ironic journey along the path of academia was anything but typical, having taken her from being a rebellious student in at-risk schools to teaching and leading in at-risk schools, and eventually serving as a researcher and advocate in the same schools. By the time her journey is half complete, she will be added to a list of phenomenal innovators who advocate tirelessly for the millions of students who may otherwise be left voiceless in classrooms across America.
In addition to her work within educational institutions, Dr. Boyce works as an educational advocate partnering with allies in the fight for equitable policies and legislative priorities for ALL. In a world where the complicated processes and verbose industrious jargon cause many citizens, especially those in marginalized groups, to disengage with the legislative entities that govern them, Dr. Boyce’s goal is to demystify complicated systems and show ALL people entry points into engaging with the political processes and collaborating with elected officials to ensure equitable outcomes for students and distribution of resources and opportunities.n addition to her work within educational institutions, Dr. Boyce works as an educational advocate partnering with allies in the fight for equitable policies and legislative priorities for ALL. In a world where the complicated processes and verbose industrious jargon cause many citizens, especially those in marginalized groups, to disengage with the legislative entities that govern them, Dr. Boyce’s goal is to demystify complicated systems and show ALL people entry points into engaging with the political processes and collaborating with elected officials to ensure equitable outcomes for students and distribution of resources and opportunities.
100) "The Joe Clark Tape" (Vernon Thompson Jr.)
In this week's episode, I welcomed hip-hop educator Vernon Thompson Jr. to the podcast to share his personal journey in education, the making of "The Joe Clark Tape", the emergence of hip-hop pedagogy in education, and so much more! To learn more about Vernon's work, you can follow him on Instagram & Twitter (@vernonsthompson). You can also purchase "The Joe Clark Tape" right now on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Clark-Tape-Explicit/dp/B08V53DZ77) and Apple Music (https://music.apple.com/us/album/the-joe-clark-tape/1550842836).
BIO: Vernon Thompson graduated from Quinnipiac University with a BA in Marketing. He was the school’s first Division 1 walk-on to receive a scholarship. He also served as the Assistant Basketball Coach at Albertus Magnus College leading the school to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. He received his Masters in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities from Southern Connecticut State University. He completed his 092 Educational Administrators certification at the University of Bridgeport. He has taught in the Bridgeport Public school district for 14 years. In the 2018-2019 school year he served as Assistant Principal at Hartford Public High School, he is currently the Assistant Principal at Warren Harding High School. As a teacher he utilized community organizing and community relationships to advocate for Bassick students and families. He has made himself known as a Hip Hop Educator, utilizing Hip Hop Visual Arts to send positive messages to the urban community. His videos have received over 120,000 views. His most recent project titled "The Joe Clark Tape" has received nearly 10,000 streams in the last two months.
99) "A Principal With P.E.A.R.L.S of Wisdom" (Fatihah Abdur-Rahman)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming award-winning principal Fatihah Abdur-Rahman to the podcast to share her inspirational journey into education, overcoming homelessness as a teenage mother, navigating the waters of educational leadership as a Black woman, and so much more! To learn more about Principal Rahman's work, you can follow her on Instagram (@principal_rahman) and subscribe to the Born to Win in Education podcast.
BIO: Fatihah Abdur-Rahman is a passionate and dedicated educational leader who is committed to academic excellence. She views education as a way to defy societal challenges that impact urban communities. Rahman’s desire in urban education was ignited while working as an assistant teacher at a Camden Head Start over twenty years ago. There she interacted with elementary students who were performing below their grade level, which prompted her to pursue a BS in Elementary Education. Rahman is a servant leader called to serve those who experienced many of the challenges she faced and overcame. After graduating from Oakwood University in Alabama, she returned to Camden ready to serve as a teacher in Camden City Public Schools. In her first year as a teacher, she made tremendous gains with her students, and was selected by her colleagues as Parkside Elementary School’s teacher of the year.
Some of her accomplishments include: being selected in 2008 by the Camden City BOE to pursue an MPA in Educational Leadership at Rutgers University. She also was the first educator from Camden, NJ to travel to South Africa with the Rutgers South Africa Initiative. Fatihah has served as an educator, School administrator, PLC facilitator, NJ trained mentor, and Camden PLUS resident. Rahman is currently completing the coursework for her Doctorates degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment at Walden University, and plans to graduate in the near future. Fatihah attributes her professional achievement to education.
As a visionary, Fatihah Abdur-Rahman sees beyond the here and now and recognize the potential in everyone she is called to serve. Rahman holds a high bar, and yet believes in providing high level of support for teachers and students. Through her implementation of social emotional learning programs, culturally relevant curriculum, and community driven approach, Ms. Abdur-Rahman envision a school where all of her students are valued, challenged, and prepared to break cycles and close gaps. Ms. Abdur-Rahman is also a transformational leader who sees herself as an agent of change. One of her goals is to re-envision the culture of parent and community engagement for the development of the whole child. It is her belief that education equality and equity can and will be achieved for all students.
Fatihah Abdur-Rahman is change the narrative for many of her scholars. Not only is she changing the narrative, Fatihah is doing it in a short amount a time. In her tenured as principal at Forest Hill, Ms. Abdur-Rahman ran a Reader Are Leader Pop Up story time in the park to combat the summer reading slide. She engage families with her book giveaways at her Water Ice Wednesdays. During the school year, she opened her doors to the community with her Leaders are Readers series, Pearl to Wisdom Tea, and "Knot" for Me boy program that shared with young men those things that are "not for me" (drugs, gangs, bullying, etc.). She and her school community faithfully give and serve food at various shelters for women and families on what she calls Thankful Thursday. In years to come, she plan to have a greater impact through her various partnership and mindset that her scholars are born winners. They will win!!!!
98) "More Than a Music Teacher" (Franklin Willis)
This week's episode is dedicated to all the music educators who are making a positive impact in schools all over the world! I had the honor of interviewing award-winning music teacher Franklin Willis to learn about his journey in education, how Music came into his life, the importance of culturally relevant teaching in the music classroom, and so much more! To learn more about Franklin's work, you can visit his website at fwillismusic.com or follow him on Instagram (@fwillismusic and @princerhythmcompany).
BIO: For more than a decade, educator, and leader, Franklin Willis has served the students and families of the Metro Nashville Public Schools community. Through music, Willis has educated, mentored, and developed young minds to be forward thinking contributors to society. A servant leader specializing in authentic culturally relevant teaching, empowering student contributions, and developing teachers to reach their full capacity, Willis finds true joy when at the service of others. As Elementary Music Coach for MNPS, he equips teachers with instructional support and necessary resources to strengthen their professional acumen and enhance their classrooms. This includes shepherding colleagues and teachers through the reality’s students are faced with around equity, inclusion and racism.
Through his work, he has developed a passion in the cultivation of musicianship for young minds as every child has musical potential and deserves a music teacher who will see the best in them. Willis believes that music education is a vital tool to teach students about other cultures, create community, and inspire a love for learning. Willis consistently uses his network to provide opportunities for students to utilize their passion for music for all to see. This includes producing music videos and stadium performances at CMA Fest, a four-day music festival in Nashville, TN. Willis has created and facilitated professional development sessions for music teachers of all grade levels sharing his unique and relevant teaching practices. He consistently collaborates with colleagues, community organizations, local businesses, colleges, and universities to advocate for the importance of music education in our schools as well as developing curriculum that will lead to higher engagement from students.
Through his work Willis has received national recognition for his commitment to student learning, his passion for the profession and his innovative teaching practices. He is a three-time recipient of the CMA Foundation Music Teacher of Excellence Award. ('16, '18, '19). Willis is a children’s book author and graduate of the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Music in 2009. In 2012, he earned the Master of Education Degree in Nonprofit Leadership from Belmont University. Most recently Willis completed the Education Specialist Degree with an emphasis in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technological University.
97) "Decolonizing International Schools" (Kevin Simpson)
In this episode, I had an awesome conversation with veteran international education leader Kevin Simpson about his personal journey in education, life as an international educator, the need to diversify the international teaching force, and so much more! To learn more about Kevin's work, you can visit the Association of International Educators & Leaders of Color website at aieloc.org and/or you can follow him on Instagram (@kdslglobal) or Twitter (@GlobalKdsl).
BIO: KDSL Global is an education consulting company launched by Kevin Simpson in 2016 in the USA and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Simpson and his team have served thousands of schools, organizations, educators, and leaders worldwide in over 25 countries. The majority of this work in education has centered on American curriculum schools. Since 2008, Simpson has been focused on education in the MENA region, assisted numerous schools with accreditation, training, development, and served as a thought partner to investors on school start-up projects. Simpson is co-founder of the UAE Learning Network and leads the GCC ASCD Connected Community. In addition, he has co-authored papers on American curriculum in the MENA region with a focus on Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, social studies, the arts, and the history of American Education in the UAE. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and a Master of Education degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University (USA).
96) "Rising Up Against White Supremacy & The Politics of Academia" (Dr. Crystal Marie Fleming)
In this episode, I had the honor of interviewing bestselling author and critical race sociologist Dr. Crystal Marie Fleming. In our conversation, she shares about her childhood and humble beginnings, her time at Wellesley College, her new book, "Rise Up!: How You Can Join in the Fight Against White Supremacy", her evolution as a scholar in academia, and so much more! To learn more about Dr. Fleming's work, you can visit her website at crystalfleming.com and follow her on Twitter (@alwaystheself).
BIO: Crystal Marie Fleming is a critical race sociologist, the author of three books and an internationally recognized expert on racism and antiracism. Her work empowers people of all backgrounds to become change agents and dismantle white supremacy. She is Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at SUNY Stony Brook where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on racism and ethnic relations, sociological theory and qualitative methods. Dr. Fleming’s passion for speaking truth to power and promoting social transformation infuses her scholarship, writing and pedagogy. She earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in Sociology from Harvard University and graduated with honors in Sociology and French from Wellesley College. Her research appears in leading journals such as Social Problems, The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Poetics, Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and Mindfulness.
Her first book Resurrecting Slavery: Racial Legacies and White Supremacy in France (Temple University Press, 2017) uses critical race theory and qualitative research to significantly advance scholarship on racism in France and Europe. The book marshals ethnographic data, archival research and in-depth interviews with French activists and Afro-Caribbean descendants of slaves to consider how commemorations of enslavement and abolition both challenge and reproduce the racial order. Her critically acclaimed primer, How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy and the Racial Divide (Beacon Press, 2018), combines memoir, critical race theory, social commentary and satire to debunk common misconceptions about racism. The book earned a starred Kirkus review and has been widely praised as essential anti-racist reading by everyone from Publisher’s Weekly to Bustle, ESPN/The Undefeated to the Los Angeles Lakers, Buzzfeed, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and MarketWatch. Dr. Fleming's latest book, RISE UP! How You Can Join the Fight Against White Supremacy, is a YA nonfiction work that explores the roots of racism and its modern day legacies while empowering young people with actionable ways to create a more just and equitable world. It will be published in October of 2021 by Henry Holt for Young Readers. She is currently co-editing a fourth book, Beyond White Mindfulness: Critical Perspectives on Racism, Health and Wellbeing, forthcoming with Routledge and completing a fifth project, Words to Remake the World: A People's Dictionary for Social Change, under contract with Beacon Press.
A public intellectual known for her frank talk and insouciant humor, Crystal's provocative writing, lectures and workshops engage a wide array of scholarly and social topics, from racism and white supremacy to pop culture, spirituality, feminism, sexuality and philosophy. Her work and commentary are regularly featured in a range of national and international media, including Courrier International, The Sunday Times, France24, Agency France Presse, Newsweek, Vox, Black Agenda Report, The CBS Sunday Morning Show, The Root, NPR, and the New York Times among others. She is represented by literary agent Michael Bourret and Outspoken Agency for keynotes and speaking engagements.
95) "All This Math" (Akil Parker)
In this episode, I had the honor of speaking with fellow Math educator and Pan-African scholar Akil Parker. In our conversation, we touched on his personal journey in education, how attending HBCUs shaped his development as an educator, the founding of his company All This Math, the role that mathematics can play in the Pan-Africanism movement, and so much more! To learn more about Akil's work, you can visit the All This Math website at allthismath.com or you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter (@allthismath)
BIO: Akil Parker retired from the School District of Philadelphia in 2018 to grow and develop his math tutoring and educational consulting company, All This Math, LLC. He works diligently to empower youth through mathematics education. He worked in Philadelphia Public School classrooms as a math teacher for over 15 years, teaching courses ranging from pre-algebra to calculus, including state-standardized test prep and SAT/ACT prep. He has transitioned from working on the front line in the classroom to working behind the scenes as a math tutor, preparing students to perform well in their classrooms. Even in a different capacity, his goal has remained to empower youth to understand mathematics as a viable tool for student benefit. His own children have inspired him to expand his mathematics teaching and tutoring beyond the classroom.
94) "Fighting for Anti-Colonial Education in Our Schools" (Nicole Butler-Hooton)
In this episode, I had the honor of welcoming 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year Nicole Butler-Hooton as my special guest. In our conversation, Nicole shares her personal journey in education, how she centers her identity as an Indigenous educator in the classroom, her educational advocacy work throughout her home state of Oregon, transitioning from the classroom into her new role as a Teacher mentor for this new school year, and so much more! To learn more about Nicole's work, you can visit the CCSSO website at https://ntoy.ccsso.org/2021-state-teacher-of-the-year-oklahoma-jena-nelson/ or follow her on Instagram (@nbutlertoy2021) and Twitter (@ButlerHooton).
BIO: “Be the Change you wish to see in the world,” by Mahatma Ghandi, is the quote that best describes 2021 Oregon Teacher of the Year Nicole Butler-Hooton. She is a thoughtful, connected, loyal Native American woman who believes in the value of family, friendships, community, and growth. She exemplifies living each day to its fullest. Born into a minority family where neither parent graduated high school and raised in a small coastal town, Butler-Hooton’s personal drive to excel at the highest level resulted in her success in high school academics, sports, college, and in her personal and professional life. Butler-Hooton earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon (UO) in sociology with a minor in ethnic studies, and she was a recipient of the Sapsik’ʷałá grant, provided to high-performing Native American students striving to earn their Master’s degree in education. Upon receiving her Master’s, she secured a job in the Bethel school district teaching second grade at Irving Elementary in Eugene, Oregon, where she has taught for 15 years. Irving Elementary boasts a supportive community, which has empowered and affirmed Butler-Hooton’s vibrant, inclusive, and culturally competent teaching style. Her colleagues, families, and students respect her well established classroom culture. Each day she teaches and transforms the lives of her students and families. Butler-Hooton’s primary professional goal is to build rapport and make a positive difference. Butler-Hooton is involved in the Oregon Indian Education Association, Eugene Education Association, Northwest Christian University consortium, UO elementary education, and the Bethel School District professional learning community for culturally sustaining practices.
93) "Transforming Schools with Restorative Justice" (Neha Sobti)
In this episode, I had the honor of interviewing Transformative Justice practioner and educator Neha Sobti. In our conversation, Neha shares about her personal journey in education, the need to decolonize restorative justice practice in our schools, life as a queer South Asian woman while engage in antiracist education work, and so much more! To learn more about Neha's work, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@nehajoya).
BIO: Neha Sobti is a Transformative Justice practitioner, anti-racist school leader, scholar and poet. She supports educators in creating school communities grounded in relationships, healing, care, and culturally sustaining practices. She dreams and leads conversations about dismantling systems of racism in schools while supporting you on your journey to adopt anti-racist and transformative practices. Neha is currently a Doctoral Student at New York University in the Department of Administration, Leadership and Technology. She writes on topics of school discipline and transformative/restorative justice in education.
92) "What is White Supremacy Culture?" (Dr. Tema Okun)
In this episode, I had the special honor of welcoming Tema Okun to the podcast to talk about her personal journey in education, her evolution as an antiracist scholar under the mentorship of the late Dr. Kenneth Jones, the publishing of her widely used article, "White Supremacy Culture", the need for white educators to transition from performative ally to active co-conspirator, and much more! To learn more about Tema's work, you can visit the White Supremacy Culture website at whitesupremacyculture.info or you can follow her on Instagram (@okuntema) and Twitter (@TemaOkun).
BIO: Tema Okun has spent over 30 years working with and for organizations, schools, and community-based institutions as a trainer, facilitator, and coach focused on issues of racial justice and equity. Dr. Okun currently co-leads the Teaching for Equity Fellows Program at Duke University, which works with faculty seeking to develop stronger skills both teaching about race and racism and across lines of race, class, and gender. She was a member of the Ed