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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 M. DeWitt, EdD is a former K–5 teacher (eleven years) and princi­pal (eight years). He is a school leader­ship coach who runs competency-based workshops and provides keynotes nationally and internationally, focus­ing on school leadership (collaborative cultures and instructional leadership), as well as fostering inclusive school climates.

Additionally, Peter coaches school-based leaders, directors, instructional coaches, teacher leaders, and school-based leadership teams both in per­son and remotely. In summer 2021 Peter created a yearlong on-demand asynchronous coaching course through Thinkific where he has fostered a community of learners that includes K–12 educators in leadership positions.

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

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

Additionally, Peter is the editor for the Connected Educator series (Corwin) and the Impact series (Corwin), which 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 he sits on numerous advisory boards. Peter is the author, co-author, or contributor of numerous books, including the following:

·       Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students (Corwin, 2012)

·       School Climate Change (co-authored with Sean Slade; ASCD, 2014)

·       Flipping Leadership Doesn’t Mean Reinventing the Wheel (Corwin, 2014)

·       Collaborative Leadership: Six Influences That Matter Most (Corwin/Learning Forward, 2016)

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

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

·       Instructional Leadership: Creating Practice Out of Theory (Corwin, 2020)

·       10 Mindframes for Leaders: The Visible Learning Approach to School Success (edited by John Hattie and Ray Smith; Corwin, 2020)

·       Collective Leader Efficacy: Strengthening the Impact of Instructional Leadership Teams (Corwin/Learning Forward, 2021)

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

Some of the organizations Peter has worked with are the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), Arkansas State University, EDUTAS, University of Oklahoma, 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), the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC), National School Climate Center, GLSEN, PBS, NPR, BAM Radio Network, ABC, and NBC’s Education Nation.

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