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Leading Together / Leading Alongside New Teachers of Color

ASCD – Jill Harrison Berg, Quayisha Clarke, and Emmanuel Fairley-Pittman |

School leaders must embrace these novice—and passionate—teachers as changemakers. In theory, they recruit teachers of color for the unique skills, perspectives, and experiences that they bring to the table and for the positive influence these teachers stand to exert on both students and colleagues (Carver-Thomas, 2018).

Yet, in practice, these teachers’ unique skills, perspectives, and experiences often conflict with preexisting cultures and structures; they can even be perceived as liabilities or threats by administrators instead of assets for organizational learning and change (Philip & Brown, 2020).

School leaders can retain and sustain teachers of color by looking out for these contradictions and reflecting on the role they can play in disrupting them.

Jill Harrison Berg is a leadership coach, school improvement consultant, and ASCD author. Quayisha Clarke is an elementary teacher in the Boston Public Schools and leds the Boston Teachers Union Leadership Policy Fellowship, Emmanuel Fairley-Pittman is an elementary teacher in the Boston Public Schools.