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The podcast by education leaders for education leaders

Affirming Every Student's Humanity

Guest(s): Sharone Brinkley-Parker, Tracey L. Durant, Kendra Johnson, Kandice Taylor and Johari Toe
Date: 09/20/2021
Run time: 49:14
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- opens in a new tab share their thoughts on how we can all contribute to achieving equity.

Also, check out the authors' consulting services, Equity in Education Partners- opens in a new tab, focused on building the capacity of their clients to apply an intersectional racial equity lens in service of historically marginalized populations. 

Sharone Brinkley-Parker Photo

Sharone Brinkley-Parker

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.

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Tracey L. Durant Photo

Tracey L. Durant

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.

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Kendra Johnson Photo

Kendra Johnson

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.

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Kandice Taylor Photo

Kandice Taylor

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.

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Johari Toe Photo

Johari Toe

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.

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Peter M. DeWitt Photo

Peter M. DeWitt

Peter DeWitt (Ed.D) is the founder and CEO of the Instructional Leadership Collective. He was a K-5 teacher for 11 years and a principal for 8 years. For the last 10 years, he has been facilitating professional learning nationally, and internationally, based on the content of many of his best-selling educational books. 


DeWitt's professional learning relationships are a monthly hybrid approach that includes both coaching and the facilitating workshops on instructional leadership and collective efficacy. 

Additionally, in the Summer of 2021, DeWitt created a year long on-demand, asynchronous coaching course through Thinkific where he has created a community of learners that include k-12 educators in leadership positions. 


DeWitt's work has been adopted at the state level, university level, and he works with numerous school districts, school boards, regional networks, ministries of education around North America, Australia, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the U.K.


Peter writes the Finding Common Ground column for Education Week, which has been in circulation since 2011. In 2020 DeWitt co-created Education Week's A Seat At the Table where he moderates conversations with experts around the topics of race, gender, sexual orientation, research, trauma and many other educational topics. 


Additionally, DeWitt is the Series Editor for the Connected Educator Series (Corwin Press) and the Impact Series (Corwin Press) that include books by Viviane Robinson, Andy Hargreaves, Pasi Sahlberg, Yong Zhao and Michael Fullan.


He is the 2013 School Administrators Association of New York State's (SAANYS) Outstanding Educator of the Year, and the 2015 Education Blogger of the Year (Academy of Education Arts & Sciences), and sits on numerous advisory boards. 

Peter is the author, co-author or contributor of numerous books. Click on title to purchase. They include:
Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students (Corwin Press. 2012).

Flipping Leadership Doesn't Mean Reinventing the Wheel (Corwin Press. 2014)

Collaborative Leadership: 6 Influences That Matter Most (Corwin Press/Learning Forward).

School Climate: Leading With Collective Teacher Efficacy (Corwin Press/ Ontario Principals Council. 2017).

Coach It Further: Using the Art of Coaching to Improve School Leadership (Corwin Press. 2018). 

Instructional Leadership: Creating Practice Out Of Theory (Corwin Press. 2020).

Collective Leader Efficacy: Strengthening the Impact of Instructional Leadership Teams (Corwin Press. Learning Forward. 2021).

De-implementation: Creating the Space to Focus on What Works (Corwin Press. 2022). 

Leading with Intention - Developing self-awareness to fostering an unreasonable human interconnectedness to impact the school community (co-authored with Michael Nelson. Corwin Press. 2024).

Peter's articles have appeared in educational research journals at the state, national and international level. His books have been translated into numerous languages. 

Some of the organizations Peter has worked with are the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Learning Forward, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), University of Oklahoma, Cognition Education (New Zealand), Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), Victoria Department of Education (Australia), University of Rotterdam (Netherlands), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), the National Education Association (NEA), New Brunswick Teacher's Association (Canada), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Education Scotland (Scotland), Glasgow City Council (Scotland), Kuwait Technical College (Kuwait) the National Association of School Psychologists, ASCD, l’Association des directions et directions adjointes des écoles franco-ontariennes (ADFO), the Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario (CPCO), and the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), National School Climate Center, GLSEN, PBS, NPR, BAM Radio Network, ABC, and NBC's Education Nation.

Learn more about bringing Peter DeWitt to your school or district at petermdewitt.com

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Related Titles

Featured Publication
Humanity Over Comfort
How You Confront Systemic Racism Head On

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