Equity-Centered Leadership: Real Stories, Real Leaders
Effective leaders articulate the urgency for equity, along with the “why,” as they hold themselves and everyone in their school and district community accountable for a core belief that all children are capable of extraordinary things. Not only can all children achieve at exceedingly high levels, but all staff can develop the capacity to make that happen.
These equity-centered actions build school cultures rooted in trust and inclusivity, advance culturally responsive instruction, ensure equitable access to resources, promote equity of voice within the broader school community, and tap the next generation of future leaders “on the shoulder.” This kind of intentional leadership also creates the conditions in which high-quality teachers want to stay.
In honor of Black History Month, we’re bringing you stories of everyday school leaders who exemplify this kind of leadership. See how they are redefining what is possible.
How to cultivate positive school cultures
“Love is in the details,” explains Belicia Reaves, principal and New Leaders alum. Hear from three school principals on how they are bringing their shared vision to life. “The administrative team can’t be everywhere at all times, but we can empower teacher leaders to empower morale,” adds LaDonna Braswell, principal and New Leaders alum.
How to prioritize joy and student learning
One New Leaders alum and his team are building a learning environment where the adults and students want to be there. Read how he does it. “So many things in our culture,” Rictor Craig explains, “tell our Black and Brown boys that they can’t be happy.… We want to teach our boys that you have a right to be mad about some things. And you have a right to be joyous…to be a boy—to learn, to play, to be free.”
How to invest in yourself as a leader and a woman
In partnership with the Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women, our alumnae gain valuable insight on the challenges and opportunities of leaning into their authentic leadership as Black women during a two-day leadership summit. “I’m bold. I’m confident,” Jancie Jackson, former CEO, Chicago Public Schools, shares. “I encourage women to lead that way.”
How to elevate all voices in our communities
“How do I take the skills that I’ve learned from being a school leader and bring them to the community to make our community stronger?” reflects Jonathan Humphrey, a former principal and New Leaders alum. Read how he is mobilizing people in his community. “I think it’s our job as leaders to make sure we build structures to hear from people. That is how we affect change.”
Every school and district leader can advance equity and excellence during Black History Month and all year long. Here are self-reflection questions to strengthen your equity-focused leadership practices:
- How do my personal experiences shape how I approach equity in my school or school district?
- Am I using language that prioritizes equity?
- Does my school or district have a common definition of equity?
- Am I building capacity for others within the school or district to become equity-focused?
- Have I created the necessary systems and processes to support my team as we build a more equitable school?