September 20, 2021
Season 2, Episode 4:
To prioritize all students' dignity as humans sometimes requires us to step outside of our comfort zones. In order to achieve racial equity, we have to interrogate and dismantle the structures that currently maintain the inequitable status quo. This is messy, uncomfortable work - and yet it's entirely necessary to accomplishing our goals. In this episode, the six authors of Humanity Over Comfort share their thoughts on how we can all contribute to achieving equity.
Also, check out the authors' consulting services, Equity in Education Partners, focused on building the capacity of their clients to apply an intersectional racial equity lens in service of historically marginalized populations.
Dr. Sharone Brinkley-Parker has presented on topics of leadership, curriculum and standards, and equity and access in education while consulting with several entities. She has facilitated sessions in conjunction with Maryland Cultural Proficiency Conference, National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE), Maryland Multicultural Coalition Conference, and UnboundEd. While facilitating sessions and providing development, she has supported the expansion of educators, leaders, and educational internal and external stakeholders in the areas of standards-aligned instruction, strategic leadership, culturally responsive instruction, and cultural proficiency.
Dr. Brinkley-Parker is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. She was educated in the public school system and has earned degrees from Morgan State (B.S. in health education; Ed.D. in urban educational leadership with a concentration in social policy) and Towson (M.A.) universities. Her dissertation study examined the lived experience of suspension on African American male students. She has more than 20 years’ experience as an educator, where she has served as a teacher of middle school ELA, math, social studies, and writing and of high school algebra. She has also been a grant writer, MESA coordinator, grade-level chair, assistant principal, principal, and district-level administrator with two separate school systems within the state of Maryland.
Dr. Brinkley-Parker is one of six founding members of Greater Baltimore Health Improvement Initiative, a community-based group seeking to empower communities within Baltimore City around health responsibility through education, advocacy, and action. Additionally, she is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
She is also a founding partner in Equity in Education Partners, an organization that works to dismantle structural and systemic racism, sexism, classism, and ableism to ensure access for multi-racial/multi-ethnic communities. Dr. Brinkley-Parker is the proud mom of two beautiful daughters, Sage and Sijya, and SheeShee to the amazing Karter. The passion she exudes as a result of experiencing motherhood drives her passion for facilitating equity work to ensure all students have equitable access throughout their educational career; this is what compels us to make the invisible visible and champion for the voiceless.
Author: Humanity Over Comfort
Dr. Tracey Lynette Durant has over 20 years of experience in the educational and non-profit fields having worked as a specialist, director, executive director, program administrator, and learning assistance coordinator. She has most recently held roles where she has been responsible for leading systemwide initiatives designed to promote the utilization of equitable practices, systems, and structures that ensure positive educational outcomes for students. A graduate of Western Senior High School, Dr. Durant holds degrees from Sojourner-Douglass College, Coppin State University, and Morgan State University.
Dr. Durant is a founding partner with Equity in Education Partners, focused on capacity building to dismantle systems of oppression that operate in social services organizations. She is an equity instructor with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity providing professional development focused on improving underserved populations’ access to and success in educational and training programs that lead to high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand careers. She is also a licensed consultant with the Standards for Excellence Institute where she provides coaching and support to non-profit organizations in the State of Maryland.
Some of her accomplishments include being selected as the Millers-Coors/100 Black Men of America Ice Cold Leader, named one of the Daily Record’s Top 100 Women and a Leading Woman, Sojourner-Douglass College Distinguished Alum, and the inaugural recipient of the CollegeBound Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Durant’s current professional and community service activities include board chair, Child First Authority; board chair, Chimes Foundation, Inc.; president, Maryland Multicultural Coalition; advisory board member, Positive Schools Center; and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is married to Bruce Jr. and the proud mother of Cheyenne and Bruce III.
Author: Humanity Over Comfort
Dr. Kendra V. Johnson’s preferred pronouns are “she” and “her.” She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Lincoln University, PA. While working the in the field of education, Dr. Johnson went on to earn her master’s degree in administration and supervision from Johns Hopkins University, a juris doctorate with concentrations in public interest and business law from the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a doctorate in urban educational leadership, social policy from Morgan State University. Dr. Johnson is licensed to practice law in the states of Maryland and New Jersey. Accordingly, Dr. Johnson comes to this work with rich and dynamic experiences in education and law. Before serving as a community superintendent, she served as a science teacher, science department chairperson, assistant principal, assistant to the area superintendent, principal, area assistant superintendent, Title I coordinator, instructional director, assistant superintendent, a chief academic and innovation officer, an assistant superintendent for equity, and superintendent.
Dr. Johnson brings experiences from multiple educational settings over the past 25 years: large, mid-size, and small districts; urban and suburban districts; and racially, socio-economically, and linguistically diverse districts. Dr. Johnson draws from these authentic experiences to inform her work with students, parents/guardians, educators, and community members. In particular, she honors the voice of children, and believes their voice should serve as “the expert voice” when attempting to effectively program for them. Dr. Johnson and co-author Dr. Lisa Williams wrote the book, When Treating All the Kids the Same Is the Real Problem (Corwin, 2014). This book and related leadership, equity, social justice, access, and opportunity topics serve as the content for Dr. Johnson’s consulting and executive coaching with non-profit organizations, public schools, and private/independent schools. Dr. Johnson’s commitment to dismantle systems of oppression and actively advance social justice continues to evolve through her experiences as an educator, pro bono attorney, consultant, unapologetic “let’s be who we say we are” advocate, lifelong member of the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., and founding partner with Equity in Education Partners. She resides in the Baltimore area with her partner, Reginald.
Dr. Kandice Taylor is a goal-driven experienced school administrator who has achieved success and recognition for improving student outcomes in schools identified as “challenging.” She demonstrates skills in analyzing issues, improving student achievement outcomes, building community among staff to change the climate and culture of the school environment, and building capacity in teacher leaders. Dr. Taylor has received state-level citations for her school transformation efforts and county-level honors, including the 2018–2019 Secondary Principal of the Year award.
Dr. Taylor has over 20 years of active leadership experience in public and higher education with the past 10 years focused on transformational leadership while building capacity among aspiring leaders. She has served as a teacher, an assistant principal, an assistant to the assistant superintendent, and a principal. Dr. Taylor also works as a lecturer and mentor principal for graduate students at Morgan State University and has served as a consulting principal for Towson University. She is also a founding partner in Equity in Education Partners, an organization that works to dismantle structural and systemic racism, sexism, classism, and ableism to ensure access for multi-racial/multi-ethnic communities.
Dr. Taylor received a B.S. in telecommunications from Morgan State University, an M.A. in leadership in teaching and English from Notre Dame of Maryland University, and an Ed.D. in urban education with a social policy concentration from Morgan State University.
Author: Humanity Over Comfort
Ms. Johari Toe is a public school administrator who is an advocate for all students, parents, teachers, and stakeholders. Ms. Toe is dedicated to creating a purposeful, equitable, rigorous, and engaging learning environment for all children. She was educated in the Baltimore City Public Schools and upon completion of high school, she enrolled in college. Ms. Toe holds a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University and a master’s degree from Towson University.
Ms. Toe has over 20 years of experience in the field of education. She has been a classroom teacher at the middle school level, instructional coach, professional developer, Title I specialist, assistant principal, and principal in various school systems in the state of Maryland. In addition to her professional experiences, she has worked with multiple non-profit organizations and is a current board member with the Child First Authority. Ms. Toe has invested in the theory and practice of how to create equitable work environments though the avenue of professional development. Some of the topics cover studying and presenting professional developments to diverse audiences, discussing equity and education, Doors Wide Shut: Strategies to Identify Deficits in Parent Involvement, Transitioning From Voice to Action: Strategies to Improve Parent Involvement, Using Climate Data to Discover Hidden Voices, Social Workers: A Key Element in Building Successful Inclusive School Communities, and There Is Power in Focusing on Student Groups.
Author: Humanity Over Comfort
Dr. Lisa Williams is a career educator having held the position of teacher, mentor, university professor, and Title I director, and executive director of equity over her career in education. She has bachelors’ degrees in biology and psychology, an M.A. in psychology, and a doctorate in Urban Educational Leadership with an emphasis in social policy. She has presented at the local, state, and national levels on topics related to improving outcomes for marginalized student populations. Her career in public education spans nearly 20 years. Her dissertation study examined Response to Intervention (RTI) and the performance of students attending Title I schools.
Dr. Williams is a consultant with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) as well as her independent company, EMCS. In her consulting work, she has provided guidance for schools and school systems in the areas of anti-racist organizational development, racial equity, gender equity in STEM, leading for equity, school transformation, and culturally responsive practices. Dr. Williams has served as a subject matter expert with the U.S. Department of Education Department of Career, Technical, and Adult Education division related to equitable access in STEM/CTE. She serves as a board president for Restorative Response Baltimore, an organization that provides guidance and support for Restorative Practices and Community Conferences to decrease violence and create inclusive environments across the Baltimore Metropolitan Area.
Over her career as a public school educator and administrator, systems transformation toward equitable access has been her focus. Toward that end, she has engaged in program creation (created two certificate programs in educational equity and cultural proficiency with two local Maryland Institutes for Higher Education) that help build staff capacity to actualize inclusive schooling behaviors. Her first book, When Treating All the Kids the Same Is the Real Problem (co-authored with Dr. Kendra Johnson) was published by Corwin in 2014. Dr. Williams is the proud mom of a son, Andrew, who is the daily inspiration for her work for all children.
Peter DeWitt (Ed.D.), a former school principal in Upstate, NY, previously taught elementary school for 11 years. His syndicated blog, Finding Common Ground, is published by Education Week and he is a freelance writer for Vanguard Magazine. Peter has traveled the world, developing content, visiting school sites, influencing policy, and presenting with John Hattie. He has worked with educators at schools, districts, educational service centers, and educational organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officials. His presentations focus on school leadership, school climate, as well as safeguarding LGBT students and other social justice topics.
Increase your racial equity capacity for transformational change.
The years 2020 - 2021 will be remembered for COVID-19 and racial injustice. COVID illuminated long-standing structural inequities. Increased media focus on police brutality helped fuel a protest movement that underscored the urgency of the moment. In schools, non-profits, and various business sectors, conversations about race and institutional racism are becoming increasingly common. However, most of these conversations are performative and do little to disrupt the status quo.
The authors of Humanity Over Comfort aim to move beyond the transactional response of using only conversations to respond to structural inequalities. Alternatively, the authors advance tools that promote transformational change that eliminates the access and opportunity gaps for Black and Brown individuals.
Transactional responses to racism perpetuate marginalizing narratives and outcomes and do little to support the humanity of a community, including White members. This book will guide readers towards transformational change to build a system that supports the restoration of our collective humanity.
Read and engage with us on the latest and best practices in education and professional development.
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