Jen Cort is an education consultant in the areas of equity, inclusion, diversity and justice. In this podcast, Jen opens up a "third space"— a place outside our familiar home and work environments — in order that we might begin to engage in some of the provocative questions that need to be addressed. Listen in as Jen speaks with some of the leading thinkers and doers in the field.
Bringing Restorative Practices Into Schools With Jen Williams
Jen Williams (she/her) is a middle school counselor in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her tenure in middle school education spans two decades and includes a state board position for the Pennsylvania Association for Middle-Level Education. Mrs. Williams earned her M.Ed from Villanova University and her M.S. from The International Institute for Restorative Practices. She is the author of Peacekeepers: Empowering Youth Using Restorative Practices.
Ideas for connecting equity work and mathematics ft. Nate Bridge, Kentaro Iwasaki & João (John) Gomes
Nate Bridge is Haverford School Math teacher and has taught in international schools. Principally interested in systemic changes to education and school culture that would result in more equitable outcomes such as Criterion-Based Grading for student assessment and Rank Choice Voting for electing student leaders. Twitter: @schoolmrbridge https://natebridge.wixsite.com/teaching
Kentaro Iwasaki- The son of Japanese immigrants, Kentaro Iwasaki knew from a young age that he aspired to become a teacher. He was a high school math teacher and department head for 16 years and led his department in dismantling the tracked honors math program, resulting in an increase of AP math enrollment by 400% and increased passing rates on AP math exams among students of color. Kentaro then served as the Associate Director of Learning and Teaching at non-profit ConnectEd for 7 years, where he trained over 1000 math teachers in creating collaborative classroom learning environments. Kentaro holds a doctorate in education leadership from Harvard and holds a BA from Stanford. He received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2011 and is a National Board Certified Teacher.
João (John) Gomes (he/him/his)
Born in Lisbon, Portugal, John moved to New Jersey at a young age. With degrees from BS in Math and Computer Science with a Minor in English from Fairfield University and an MSEd in Education, Culture, & Society from Penn. Math teacher and Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at The Agnes Irwin SchoolJohn wants everyone tied to the school community to see him learning and growing in real time. He wants everyone to know they belong. He makes mistakes. Twitter: @JoaoGomes84
Afrika Afeni-Mills consultant and diversity director discusses privilege, religion, and continuing to learn
Afrika Afeni Mills is the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with BetterLesson and an Education Consultant. She is the author of 'Letter to White Teachers of My Black Children' a blog on Teaching While White that went viral, and an upcoming book. Afrika works with colleagues, teachers, coaches, and administrators to transform practices. She has been featured on podcasts, blogs, delivered keynote addresses, and facilitated sessions at conferences across the United States. She will also be publishing a book with Corwin Press in 2022. Afrika believes that all educators can be motivated, engaged, dynamic practitioners and leaders when provided with the support needed to create student-centered, culturally responsive learning environments that inspire wonder and creativity and nurture diversity, equity, and inclusion.
School Diversity Practitioners Share Their Expertise with Bobby Edwards and Camille Simone Edwards
Camille Simone Edwards, Consultant With a Coach’s Approach believing in the infinite power of courage. With a strategic course of action, she partners with clients to create new pathways to their short/long-term goals related to personal + professional development. Camille Simone trains clients on how to use courage as the foundational tool to change their lives and then to fiercely maintain it. Camille Simone is excited to meet clients who are seeking to be coached in the learning areas of leadership development, culture, team building, diversity, inclusion, vision, goal setting, and interpersonal communication. Camille is also the Director of DEI at Friends Academy of Long Island New York, a school that she has consulted for across the last 12 years.
Bobby Edwards has been a leader in independent school DEI efforts for 35 years. He was one of the original 1986 participants at what is now known as the NAIS People of Color Conference, where he attended as a new Admission Officer from Phillips Academy (Andover). During his 20 years of service at Andover, Bobby rose to be the Senior Associate Dean of Admission and spent his last decade at the Academy as the Dean of Community and Multicultural Development. Bobby moved on to serve as the Director of the DC KIPP to College program. In 2008, Bobby joined the McLean School community in Potomac, Maryland, as the Assistant Director of Admission and Director of Financial Assistance. He went on to serve as the Head of the Lower School and now holds the position of Director of Community Inclusion and External Relations. Bobby is also a resident faculty member at the annual summer Diversity Directions Independent School Seminar. Bobby has presented on DEI issues at a number of conferences and is a contributing author to the AISNE Guide to Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color, and AISNE’s Thriving in Independent Schools: A Guide for Teachers of Color.
Queer and Trans Affirming Mental and Sexual Health Advocacy
LGBTQ+ advocates and facilitators Bex Mui and Emily Schorr Lesnick talk with Jen about supports for LGBTQ+ youth, from mental health to sex ed to spirituality, and how they are connected. They’ll share insights from their youth workshop, which shares a variety of perspectives on gender, sexual orientation, and relationship structures and supports students in both reflecting on their own identities, and in advocating for the LGBTQ+ affirming sexual health curriculum they need and deserve.
Bex Mui is a biracial, queer, cis femme organizer and consultant committed to the work of LGBTQ affirmation at the intersections of education, spirituality, and sexuality. She is a returning Third Space guest and core founding member of Nourish: An Emerging Ministry Collective, and founder of @HouseOfOurQueer on Instagram. Bex has supported school, district, and national LGBTQ-inclusion and social justice initiatives and has developed equity-themed professional development workshops for students, faculty, administrators, and families. Instagram @ItsBexNow and @HouseOfOurQueer, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rmui17/, Linked in:https://www.linkedin.com/in/bex-mui-12318b60/
Emily Schorr Lesnick (she/her) is a white educator, facilitator, and theater maker who has worked in independent schools for 10 years. She is the co-creator of How We GLOW, a piece of interview theatre that explores lgbtq+ youth identity, which has performed at over 30 schools and community spaces. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter @eschorrlesnick. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-schorr-lesnick-she
The duality of responsibility and accountability ft. Nishant Mehta
Over a career spanning two decades, Nishant has worked on behalf of K-12 schools of all types on issues of leadership, culture, strategy and change management, and equity and justice.
At Storbeck Search, he heads the firm’s Independent Schools practice, recruiting transformational leadership for private, charter, and mission-driven schools across the country. In addition to his active role in executive-level searches, he offers consulting on strategy and DE&I, as well as leadership and governance coaching and training for education and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining Storbeck, Nishant served as Head of The Children’s School (TCS), an independent JK-8 school in Atlanta that was lauded in 2017 as a “model to follow” for innovation by NAIS’s Independent School magazine. In addition to his leadership of TCS, Nishant has twice co-chaired the NAIS People of Color Conference, served on the faculty of the Student Diversity Leadership Conference and the Diversity Leadership Institute, authored articles for NAIS publications, served on the NAIS and the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) boards; led workshops on topics such as equity and inclusion and governance and school leadership at national and regional conferences, and was the founder of The Children’s School’s Master Class in Inclusive Leadership, a summer leadership opportunity designed specifically for women and people of color. Since 2018 Nishant has served each summer as a faculty mentor of the NAIS Institute for New Heads, where he coaches new heads of school.
Nishant grew up in Mumbai, India, and came to the United States as a junior in boarding school. He has lived in four countries and is fluent in several languages. Based in Atlanta, he serves on the advisory boards of the Woodruff Arts Center's Alliance Theatre and the Children’s Museum of Atlanta, and on the boards of NBOA, Asheville School, and the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA). He is a former board chair of the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE). Nishant also serves as a script advisor to the show Sesame Street, and he is the founder of The Inclusive Leader Book Club which meets monthly to discuss issues of equity and inclusion in school cultures and communities.
Early in his career, Nishant spent five years at St. Alcuin Montessori School (now Alcuin School) in Dallas, serving as International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, and teacher. He went on to teach humanities at The Allen-Stevenson School in New York City before taking the role as Assistant Head of School and Middle School Head at Alexandria Country Day School in Alexandria, VA.
Affirming, inspiring and honest. If you do or want to do justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work, this is a MUST listen.
Had a training through work with Jen and it was very informative and helpful
Jen is awesome.
Anyone I the education world can benefit from Jen’s work. I am listening and learning.