As some of you know, I left U.S. News and World Report in May. I spent the summer and early fall consulting for a handful of clients in the educator preparation and education equity spaces, while managing a cross-country move from Maryland to Austin, Texas. (If you’ve ever tried to move across the country with children, you know it’s been quite an eventful summer, getting registered for schools and settled in our new house and managing the emotions of a 9-year-old struggling on and off with bouts of home sickness.)
Though I’ve kept a relatively low profile throughout the summer, I’ve been working hard and keeping busy — surprise, surprise :). In addition to consulting, I’ve joined a local equity, diversity and empowerment commission; am helping to lead a research team to examine the impact of childhood criminalization and make policy recommendations for educators to adopt to help combat the trend; and am co-leading efforts to launch a district-wide network of advocates who will fight for equity in education in our district and hold district leaders accountable, while serving as liaisons to families who may need additional advocacy support. As part of this effort, I’m working to develop digital guides for parents to help educate them on the issues and tactics they need to know to properly advocate for their children. I’ve joined two national, foundation-backed committees on equity and civil discourse, and I’m humbled and excited about the impact I have the opportunity to make on both the local and national landscapes.
I’ve also started covering education for the Austin Chronicle and am looking forward to seeing my first piece — on disparities and biases in how students are identified for Gifted and Talented programs — published in the next week. I’m currently preparing for presentations in Milwaukee at the International Colloquium on Black Males in Education (November 5–7), and San Antonio at Education Trust’s Equity Matters summit (November 8), both centered around the findings from my research for “Let’s Stop Calling it an Achievement Gap.”
As if that weren’t enough (and because I believe in work-life balance, even when “life” actually means “more work”), I’ve written a couple of local profiles for SoulCiti — completely outside of my writing norm — and started a monthly whiskey education series, for which I serve as organizer and host. And I’ve put together a 12-week program for little Black girls in the Austin area that affirm their identities as Black girls while exposing them to a range of topics, from career exploration to etiquette to self-esteem and healthy relationships, which will kick off in the spring semester.
I’m also excited to announce that I recently accepted an offer to join the Texas Charter School Association as the organization’s Vice President of Communications. I’m looking forward to helping to shape the narrative around these schools and the individuals they serve and employ, and helping TCSA strategize around the way they want to present themselves to the public. I’m planning to keep doing all of the things I’ve been doing throughout the summer, with the exception of the individual consulting projects, and am looking forward to fitting all of these pieces together to continue the fight for a more equitable and just education landscape for all of America’s students, but particularly for those who look like mine.
Onward with love,