Renee Racette, Ph.D., is an education professional with 13 years of experience with the St. Louis Public Schools. Starting as a chemistry teacher in 2005, she loved supporting students in learning about acid/base titrations and the periodic table. However, she realized she could make a greater impact in the lives of children outside of the classroom and began her school leadership journey. Spending time in both neighborhood (also known as comprehensive schools) and magnet schools, issues of equity and the unequal impacts of policy were highlighted in real time before her. This proved to be the spark behind her decision to complete a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. The desegregation plans in place in the St. Louis region have created a distinct system of separate and unequal schools that remains deeply entrenched in the status quo. As a school leader, she felt the limits of this system and recognized that it was going to require a different kind of advocacy to make the impact she desired.
Dr. Racette is currently serving as a fellow at the Illinois State Board of Education where she works in the Center for Teaching and Learning. She is involved in a multitude of projects there including the Diverse Learner Ready Teacher initiative, the reauthorization of the state Perkins plan, the Equity Advisory Work Group, and supporting the Early Childhood Education Division in writing the FY20 ECE Block Grants.
EPISODE FIVE: Jessica Jones, "Unconditional Support & Inclusion for LGBTQ+ Youth"
Jessica Jones is a non-binary educator and activist specializing in contemporary literacies and LGBTQ+ justice. They have served as an educator in various capacities for ten years, with most of their career spent as a high school Language Arts teacher. Early in their teaching career, Jessica observed the numerous barriers that queer and transgender students face within our education system and was inspired to challenge these inequities through both student advocacy.and youth empowerment. It is Jessica’s strongly held belief that our work toward a socially just education system must include unconditional support and inclusion of our LGBTQ+ youth.
EPISODE FOUR: "Diversity Beyond the Numbers at New City School" with Thomas Hoerr, Alexis Wright, & Stephanie Teachout
Thomas R. Hoerr, Emeritus Head of School, New City School; Scholar In Residence, UM-St. Louis College of Education
In 1981, Tom became the head of the New City School in St. Louis, a school founded on a commitment to progressive learning and respect for human diversity. Under his leadership, New City began implementing the theory of multiple intelligences (MI) in 1988 and created the world’s first MI Library in 2006. New City hosted four MI conferences attended by hundreds of educators, and produced two MI books of lessons and articles. During Tom’s 34 years at New City, the school raised funds to renovate the building, expand the campus, refurbish the theater, build the MI library, and establish an endowment for need-based financial aid. He was given Emeritus status when he retired in 2015.
Tom Hoerr is now a Scholar In Residence at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he teaches prospective principals.
Alexis Wright, Head of School, New City School
Alexis began his career as a 5th and 6th grades science teacher at Rye Country Day School in Rye, NY, where he also coached middle school baseball and football. He eventually moved into a leadership role as Middle School Principal, before leaving to become Principal of the Middle School at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. After three years in that position, Alexis was recruited back to Rye Country Day School, where he served as the Assistant Head of School and Director of Financial Aid before moving on to Bank Street College.
Originally from New York City, Alexis earned his MA in Marine Affairs and Policy from the University of Miami and a BS in Human Ecology from Rutgers University. His wife Ali is a former upper school English teacher. Together they have two daughters, Morgan and Avery.
Stephanie Teachout, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at New City School
Stephanie has a BA from Indiana University and a Masters from Teachers College, Columbia University. Stephanie has presented at the White Privilege Conference and she is a facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League. She serves on the ISACS Equity and Justice Committee and NCCJ – St. Louis’ Board of Directors. Stephanie's curriculum has been highlighted in ASCD's Educational Leadership Magazine and on St. Louis Public Radio - KWMU.
LIVE from the Educators for Social Justice Conference: Terry Weiss on Building Counter-Narratives for Radical Healing and Hope
LIVE from the Educators for Social Justice Conference: Tiffany Taylor-Johnson on Building Counter-Narratives for Radical Healing and Hope!
LIVE from the Educators For Social Justice Conference: April Fulstone on Building Counter-Narratives for Radical Healing and Hope!
Join us for our special LIVE interviews of educators at the 2018 Educators for Social Justice conference, "Building Counter-Narratives for Radical Healing & Hope"
EPISODE THREE: Dr. Nancy Pitts-Lewis - "Equitable Classroom Communities & Mental Models" Instructional Coach, Hazelwood - S.T.E.M. TQ Facilitator, Washington University in St. Louis - Social Justice Entrepreneur
EPISODE TWO: Dr. Sarah Riss - "Exploring Whiteness in Educational Equity Work" - Former Superintendent of Webster School District - Trainer at Education Equity Consultants
EPISODE ONE: Dr. Tamara Wells - "Developing C.H.A.T. Academy: Children Having Academic Talks about languages, dialect, identity and culture" - 7th/8th Grade ELA Teacher, Hazelwood School District
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