When I was in 7th grade my math teacher, Mrs. Katrina Rich, made the decision to place me in Algebra I for 8th grade math despite what the data on paper said about me. That single discretionary decision to place me in a high school course in middle school changed the trajectory of my life. It put me on the “college-track” and gave me access to opportunities that many other students in my neighborhood didn’t get. I wanted to be a change agent like Mrs. Rich, so I decided that I needed to become a math teacher.
After earning my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, I began my career as a high math teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). Throughout my 20-year career in public education I have had the privilege to serve in several leadership capacities: Academic Facilitator, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, Principal, and District Administrator. Throughout all these roles I have had a front row seat to see how certain inequities have been built into the public education system to create barriers for many of our black and brown students. In my district, I was known as a “turnaround” administrator for my work in improving academics outcomes for all students at schools deemed ‘Low-Performing” by the NC department of Public Instruction.
For the last three years in CMS, I had the opportunity to serve as an EOS site lead at my school. Even though I had years of equity work under my belt, EOS brought a level of intentionality and accountability to the work. They worked beside my staff as we looked at our own unconscious bias and how those play out in the multiple systems and processes, we had used in our school culture for year. Through this work we were able to increase college access by 11% in our first year by engaging with our Partnership Director doing this work. This experience energized me to want to do more with school leaders across the country to ensure all students have access and the opportunity to experience success in coursework that can effectively prepare them for life after high school.
When I’m not working on Equity you can find me at home in Rock Hill, SC tackling some of my other favorite roles: husband to Brandon, favorite uncle to my nieces and nephew, and friend to many. We enjoy anything outdoors and of course my guilty pleasure of watching reality TV.