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How Welcoming is Your School? A Frank Discussion About Recruiting and Retaining People of Color

Guest(s): Howard Fields and Darryl Diggs, Jr.
Date: 10/03/2022
Run time: 41:46
Season 4, Episode 3

The historical knowledge and experience that longtime staff members have is often unparalleled. Therefore, the high turnover rate we are seeing today, and frankly always for some schools, is nothing less than devastating for school communities. When we add on to that retaining teachers of color, the effects are multiplied. This episode’s guests, Darryl Diggs and Howard Fields, speak candidly about the conditions in many schools that make some black and brown staff members feel unwelcome. They ask leaders to consider whether they are asking some groups of people to leave too much of themselves at the classroom door or signaling that certain perspectives are unwelcome. In other words, does a leader’s school culture and environment truly align with their diversity goals. They also urge leaders to get think outside of the box regarding recruitment efforts: flipped job fairs, apps that link applicants and organizations via phones, the best questions to determine fit and more.

Howard Fields Photo

Howard Fields

International speaker and presenter, Dr. Howard E. Fields III currently serves as an Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Adjunct Professor.  He is the author of the book, How to Achieve Educational Equity, co-founder of Black Males in Education St. Louis (BMESTL) and EduOpenings.com. As an educational thought leader, his perspective and focus on remaining student-centered, yet equity-focused, along with an innate ability to create and implement strategic solutions for organizations has made him a sought-out speaker, writer, and consultant. Dr. Fields’ unapologetic leadership and authenticity played a key role in being recognized as the 2020 National Elementary Distinguished Principal from Missouri.

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Darryl Diggs, Jr. Photo

Darryl Diggs, Jr.

Dr. Darryl S. Diggs, Jr., started his career in education as a Middle School Science Teacher and transitioned into a High School Assistant Principal and then into the Building Principalship. Now, Dr. Diggs is the Assistant Director of Equity and Teaching and Learning for the Special School District. Dr. Diggs is the cofounder to several ventures and a non-profit.

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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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