Dedicated to Education
In the summer of 2020, as the nation was rocked to its core by the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, of Breonna Taylor, and the brutal lynching of George Floyd, as millions took the streets in protest, a group of educators grassroots organized the National Educators for Antiracism Conference. This was an international week-long event, and it started as a small book club in an English department in a suburb of Boston. In a matter of weeks the small book club grew into an international event that convened thousands of educators from all 50 states and 24 countries to discuss how we as teachers and leaders would respond to the moment. When all was said and done, the conference lasted a week--24 hours of online gatherings led by some of the nation’s leading scholars on antiracism: Dr. Bettina Love, Dr. Luis Leyva, Dr. Lagerett King and other leading scholars. All in all, the national conversation was led by 22 brilliant Black, Latinx, and Asian American scholars who helped scores of educators re-evaluate their teaching and envision new more equitable practices. As a result of the conference, the organizers founded the nonprofit Educators for Antiracism.
Educators for Antiracism is an educator's source for the practical tools needed to inform, support, and carry out the work of creating antiracist classrooms, schools, districts, and teacher education programs. We are a bridge between the educators doing the work, communities of color, and scholars who can point us towards sound, best practices. Our work consists of the following: (1) producing webinars and an annual conference, (2) developing research, (3) developing new educator resources, and (4) reviewing and promoting excellent educator antiracism resources, books, and programs.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. Kandice Sumner
Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg
Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy
Dr. Keisha Siriboe
Dr. Kandice Sumner
Dr. Kandice Sumner (she/her) is the Co-Executive and co-founder of Educators for Antiracism. She has been a successful urban and suburban public school teacher and leader for over ten years in the Greater Boston Area. While born and raised in urban Boston she graduated from a suburban school system via the METCO program (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity); the longest running voluntary desegregation program in America. Dr.Sumner graduated from Spelman College Phi Beta Kappa with departmental honors and is the feature of the documentary film “Far From Home”, and author of the TedTalk "How America's Public Schools Keep Kids in Poverty." She is regularly called upon to facilitate difficult conversations about race, education, gender and equity and is the sole facilitator for the RACE (Race Achievement Culture and Equity) professional development series. Dr. Sumner’s doctoral research was a Critical Black Feminist Autobiography that examined the lived experiences of a participant in METCO and calls for further work to be done in the socio-emotional, mental and racial identity development of Black individuals matriculating predominantly white institutions. She has also been a mentor in various youth programs throughout the Greater Boston Area. Going from being one of a few Blacks in her school to learning at a historically Black college to teaching in underserved and predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods of Boston, Kandice has spent a lifetime traversing the lines of race, class and gender.
Joana Chacon (she/her) is an English teacher, co-executive director of her school's human rights council, and the co-executive director and founder of the new nonprofit Educators for Antiracism. In the summer of 2020, she led the organizing effort for the first annual National Educator’s Antiracism Conference. She has been an educator in Boston and Seattle for over 10 years. The daughter of activist Salvadoran immigrant parents, she was instilled with a strong sense of civic action early on. This sense was galvanized through her work as a Martinez Foundation Fellow, studying race and equity in schools in the company of educators of color. Joana is committed to spreading the message of anti-racism throughout the education world.
RESEARCH COMMITTEE DIRECTORS
Dr. Kerry-Ann Escayg
Dr. Escayg's research focuses on anti-racism in early childhood education as well as children and race. As a social theorist, Dr. Escayg has utilized elements of Critical Race Theory, Black Feminist Thought, and Anti-racist Education to offer new exegeses on children's racial identity development, including strategies to promote positive racial identity among Black children; a research-derived protocol to assess children's play; and an anti-racist approach to U.S. early childhood education. Her recent publications have highlighted and interrogated the ways in which whiteness, as a system of racial privilege, functions in early childhood contexts. Central to Dr. Escayg's work is a commitment to racial equity in the early years and the holistic well-being of children of color, and Black children in particular.In addition to her scholarly and activist pursuits, Dr. Escayg writes short stories, poetry, and children's literature. While her children's literature center on equipping children with social and emotional skills such as positive self-identity, honesty, and self-acceptance, her adult creative works are poignant counter-narratives: echoes of past anti-colonial/anti-racist resistance merging with current travails and triumphs. "Racial pride begets resistance; and resistance is power" (Escayg & Kinkead-Clark, 2019).
Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy
Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy is in her fifth year as Dean of the School of Education at American University. Previous to this role, she served as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (central administration) and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs (in the School of Education) at Johns Hopkins University. Previous to her time at Johns Hopkins, she was an associate professor at the University of Maryland College Park and Director of the School Counseling Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Dean Holcomb-McCoy is the founder of AU’s Summer Institute on Education, Equity and Justice and the AU Teacher Pipeline Project, a partnership with the District of Columbia Public Schools and Friendship Charter Schools. This year, she is collaborating with AU colleagues to create an antiracist curriculum for teachers-in-training and with her SOE colleagues, she launched an antiracist school leadership graduate certificate program this fall. Dean Holcomb-McCoy is an American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow for her significant contributions in counseling research/scientific achievement and from 2014-2016, she was a consultant to Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative.
Dr. Keisha Siriboe
Dr. Keisha Siriboe is a public speaker with a fierce commitment to literacy education. She is the first African-American to graduate with a MA degree from Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China, and a Ph.D. from the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Keisha is a globally respected scholar with several academic awards to her name. She has served in leadership capacities within the American Education Research Association (AERA) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Education 2030 Project. Through her TED Talks, international leadership, and early childhood research, she brings a diverse and unique perspective to her work within literacy education. She has researched adult-child reading aloud and worked with parents, caregivers, and educators in the United States, Australia, England, China, and Hong Kong SAR over the last ten years. Professionally, Dr. Keisha returned to the United States in 2019 to work as a Director at Reading Is Fundamental, the nation's oldest literacy non-profit. In 2020, she launched Dr. Keisha Cares, in response to the unprecedented shift in education and the urgent need for adult skill building to help mitigate the growing inequalities amongst disadvantaged communities. Dr. Keisha provides research-based solutions to reduce stress and mental health issues through a literacy medium of adult-child reading aloud. Utilizing a joyful learning approach, she provides adults with content designed to help them dismantle feelings of stress, frustration, fear, anxiety, and educational trauma that can hinder learning. Curated books are carefully selected to model how serve and return relationships can create stress shields for adults and children that can be applied successfully across income levels.
Laila Kabani, a Muslim immigrant, started her teaching career at the Islamic School of Seattle in 2006 after receiving a Masters in Islamic Studies from India (2002 – 2004). She spent over six years working predominantly with an African immigrant/refugee student and parent population teaching Islamic studies to high school and middle school students for two years and then helping launch the Upper Elementary Islamic Montessori program where she subsequently continued to teach Lower Elementary for the next few years. In between, she spent two summers training to be a Montessori Elementary Teacher at the Montessori Education Institute of Pacific Northwest (MEIPN 2008-2010)). She fell in love with Montessori education for its commitment to education for peace and social justice by creating respectful, inclusive classrooms, celebrating diversity in all its forms. Kabani went on to earn a Master’s degree in Teaching (Elementary Education & ELL Endorsement 2012-2013) from the University of Washington where the program was especially focused on social justice issues in education. She was awarded a Martinez Fellowship for her graduate studies which supports candidates of color in the field of Education. Since 2013, she has been working at the Woodinville Montessori School as an Upper Elementary Montessori Teacher. She has also been serving on the board of The Islamic School of Seattle (now called Cherry Street Mosque) for the past two years. This year, due to the unusual circumstances created by Covid-19, she is taking a break from teaching to take care of her family of two little children and a husband. She is very excited to be a part of Educators for Anti-racism and is looking forward to learning and connecting with like-minded educators.
Angelica, a former STEM Integration Program Manager and teacher, has approached her career with the goal of creating equitable access to STEM learning for all. She has developed structures and experiences to promote growth in STEM for both teachers and students. Through her professional journey, she has managed a National Science Foundation Grant, hosted professional development experiences and planned and executed a variety of schoolwide STEM events. She continued working towards equity in STEM learning by creating authentic, relevant and engaging project-based learning experiences and curriculum for teachers and students. She both authored and co-authored middle school science curriculum for Educurious. Now, as a Digital Learning Coach for the Kent School District, she is focused on digital equity by building capacity towards effective digital learning. She works alongside Teacher Librarians/Technology Integration Specialists to improve student engagement and access in digital tools and learning through skills, opportunity and empowerment.
Diane Pollard is beginning her 27th
year of teaching. She began her career teaching first grade in Uniondale, NY, the school system in which she grew up, a vibrant community of Caribbean, African American and Central American
families. She moved up to Central
Massachusetts shortly before the birth of her second child in 1994 and taught middle school reading for 12 years. In 2011, she was hired as a literacy coach/specialist for the Newton Public Schools, and is now in her third year of teaching 6th grade English. Diane is deeply thankful for having had the experience of both attending and working in schools where white people were in the minority. As a result, she has made a priority of exploring and applying opportunities to incorporate anti-racist approaches and resources into the middle school curriculum. This past summer, she volunteered for the Educators for Anti-Racism
conference and participated in a anti-racism writing proposal project for Newton FORJ (Families Organizing for Racial Justice.) Diane is excited for the pportunities which lie ahead to further support educators in their pursuit of anti-racist practices, but more importantly for the students who will benefit from them.
Divina Clark is the eldest daughter of Filipino parents, Brigido and Melendrina Bolibol, with three younger siblings. She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii where she grew up until her family moved to Lacey, Washington when she was nine years old. Divina graduated from The Evergreen State College with a Masters in Teaching degree with a teaching certificate in K-12 Visual Arts, and a Bachelor in Arts degree in 2017, with emphasis in Art and Education that also included a course in grant writing. Additionally, Divina attained a two-year degree in Business and Office Administration with a focus in accounting which she utilized in her career in the field. She has 20 years of work experience in the local and state government sectors, non-profit organizations, and in a public school district administrative office. Divina is also an accomplished, professional artist and is specialized in painting, mosaic and printmaking. She is also a teaching artist where she volunteered in the Olympia School District as an art docent and taught art in elementary schools, along with providing private art lessons to children and adults. To learn more about her background in the art profession, please visit her website at: www.divinabcreations.com. Divina is passionate about social justice education. She hopes to integrate such learning in her pedagogy as an art educator, as well as advocate for a strong, equitable art education for all students that is supported and sustainable.