In today’s environment, schools and universities have become the epicenter of cultural and political conflict. Amid the chaos, it’s clear is that students of color need safer, culturally affirming, inclusive classrooms where they feel like they belong. Leaders of color are uniquely qualified to provide this support, as they know firsthand what it takes to thrive in environments fraught with racism, classism, and sexism — overcoming systemic barriers and challenges that many of their White peers do not endure. This lived experience fuels their work to meet their student’s academic and social-emotional needs and ensure that all students leave the P-12 school system with the tools to succeed in college and career. Research shows that having a racially and culturally diverse workforce in leadership positions is beneficial for all students, particularly for students of color, who often excel in environments with leaders, faculty, and teachers who look like them.
Representation in key leadership positions sends a powerful message that people from all backgrounds are valued and have equal opportunities to succeed. Having people of color in leadership helps break down barriers and challenges stereotypes, creating a more inclusive environment where everyone feels heard and respected and it. What’s more, having leaders from diverse backgrounds serve as role models for students and staff, inspiring confidence and motivation to pursue leadership roles themselves.
Our campaign, “Leading with Excellence” (#LeadingWithExcellence), highlights the important role that Black and Latino faculty, district leaders, principals, and teachers play in ensuring that all students have what they need to thrive. That type of excellence is what will propel this nation to protect our students and protect our democracy.
“Windows and mirrors … students should be able to see mirror images of themselves leading classrooms. But if they’re students of color, they just get windows and are constantly seeing other people.”
—High school principal, East coast
Leading with Excellence Video Series
Educator and School Leadership Diversity
Today’s student body is more diverse than ever — and this trend will only continue. However, only 20% of teachers are people of color, and the number of leaders of color is in the single digits. Research shows that students of color benefit from having an educator who looks like them, but it also has a positive effect on all students, regardless of race or ethnicity. As advocates, we must highlight how educators of color are leading with excellence and how diversifying the educator workforce helps reflect students’ growing needs to learn in a culturally rich and academically rigorous setting.
Very Few Black Women Lead School Districts. These Superintendents Are Using the Power of Sisterhood to Change That
Ed Trust and the School Superintendents Association (AASA) co-hosted the event, called “Black Women Superintendents Are Leading With Excellence,” that highlighted research on the experiences of Black women superintendents and the need to increase the share of Black women in the educator pipeline and in the upper ranks.
Developing a High-Quality and Diverse Principal Pipeline
A good principal raises student outcomes, cultivates accepting communities, closes academic gaps that separate students of color from their peers, and ensures classrooms are staffed with strong teachers from diverse backgrounds. It is more important than ever that schools have exceptional leaders at the helm.
5 Things State and District Leaders Can Do to Advance Strong and Diverse School Leadership
School leaders really matter. School leaders play a fundamental role in recruiting and supporting strong educators, driving rigorous instruction, creating school cultures that are inclusive and inviting, and working toward positive academic outcomes.
Is Your State Prioritizing Teacher Diversity and Equity?
Access to a racially and culturally diverse teacher workforce is beneficial for all P-12 students, particularly for students of color, who often thrive in classrooms led by teachers who share their racial and cultural background.
Educators of Color Make the Case for Teacher Diversity
Research shows that all students, regardless of race or ethnicity, benefit socially, emotionally, and academically from a diverse teacher workforce. Yet, teachers of color are more likely to experience burnout and leave the profession at higher rates than their White peers.
Rethinking Layoff Policies to Protect Teacher Diversity
The “national teacher shortage” has dominated news headlines for months, with states and districts investing resources toward ensuring vacancies are filled. Many are using this opportunity to address long-standing shortages of teachers of color by investing in strategies to increase the diversity of the education workforce.
“Faculty diversity and a sense of belonging are key components of student success, and studies demonstrate that overall graduation rates for students of color are positively affected by it.”
Source: American Council on Education, “The Importance of College Presidents Encouraging the Hiring of Diverse Candidates.” American College President Study (ACPS) 2017.
According to EdTrust’s research, all college students benefit from having diverse faculty. Black and Latino students are going to college in greater numbers and they are more likely to graduate when they have faculty who look like them and can serve as positive mentors and role models. White students who interact with faculty members from diverse backgrounds are more likely to develop deeper cross-cultural and critical-thinking skills and greater levels of empathy, which are essential for success in today’s multicultural world.
Faculty Diversity and Student Success Go Hand in Hand, So Why Are University Faculties So White?
Faculty diversity plays a key role in college student completion and can have a major impact on students’ sense of belonging, retention rates, and persistence.
The Difficult Pathway to Faculty Diversity, by the Numbers
Recent studies show the benefits of academic faculty diversity for all students. Yet, the professoriate is still mostly White and bears little resemblance to the student population it serves.
Faculty Diversity Plays a Central Role in College Completion
The U.S. population is more diverse than ever, but college and university faculty are still overwhelmingly White. Faculty representation, hiring, and tenure equity at universities over time shows little to no progress has been made toward increasing faculty diversity in American higher education.
Our partners play a key role in showing how educators lead with excellence and the steps needed to diversify our nation’s educator workforce. Please check them out.
Center for Black Educator Development
Through the Center’s teaching pathways, professional learning, and policy & advocacy, we are rebuilding the national Black teacher pipeline that was systemically dismantled.
Black Teacher Collaborative
The Collaborative exists to create the conditions so that for every Black student, there will be challenging, affirming, and innovative learning environments staffed by a critical mass of high-quality Black educators equipped to maximize shared racial identity learning experiences over the course of their elementary and secondary education.
National Association of Black School Educators (NABSE)
The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization devoted to furthering the academic success for the nation’s children — particularly children of African descent.
The Aspire Alliance
Aspire Alliance works toward increasing the diversity of STEM faculty across the nation by engaging a growing network of partners to support systemic change in the STEM higher education system.