Dr. ebony Elizabeth Thomas
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas taught elementary language arts, high school English, and creative writing in public schools for several years after graduating from Florida A&M, a historically Black university in Tallahassee, Florida. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2010, she returned to her master's degree institution, Wayne State University, as an assistant professor of Reading, Language, and Literature in the College of Education. In July 2012, she came to Penn GSE, where she is Assistant Professor in the Division of Literacy, Culture, and International Education. Her program affiliation is Reading/Writing/Literacy.
In her work, Dr. Thomas synthesizes postcolonial, critical, and critical race theory with data from her empirical research in classrooms to examine the ways that literature, media, and culture are positioned in schooling and society today. Dr. Thomas’s program of research is most keenly focused on children’s and adolescent texts (broadly construed), the teaching of African American literature, history, and culture in K-12 classrooms, and the roles that race, class, and gender play in classroom discourse and interaction.
Dr. Thomas has published her research and critical work in Harvard Educational Review, Review of Research in Education, Race Ethnicity and Education, Journal of Children’s Literature, Journal of Teacher Education, Research in the Teaching of English, Qualitative Inquiry, Linguistics and Education, English Journal, The ALAN Review, and Sankofa: A Journal of African Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Her work has also appeared in Diversity in Youth Literature: Opening Doors Through Reading (ALA Editions, 2012), her co-edited volume Reading African American Experiences in the Obama Era: Theory, Advocacy, Activism (Peter Lang, 2012), and A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives (University of Illinois Press, 2009).
Dr. Thomas’ early career work received the 2014 Emerging Scholar Award from AERA's Language and Social Processes Special Interest Group, as well as Honorable Mention in the 2012 NCTE Promising Researcher Award competition. In 2014, she was selected as a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2016, she was invited to be part of the advisory board of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Task Force on the Teaching of Racial History in the United States.
Her expertise on race and representation in children’s and young adult literature has been sought after nationally and internationally. She has been interviewed by MSNBC, the BBC, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Chicago Tribune, to name a few. She was a former reviewer for Kirkus’ children’s book section, and in 2015, wrote a regular review column for the Los Angeles Times. Currently, she and her graduate students select Penn GSE’s Best Books for Young People annually, an award that is receiving attention from publishers.
Dr. Thomas is a former NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color Fellow (2008-2010 Cohort), served on the NCTE Standing Committee on Research (2012-2015), and was elected by her colleagues to serve on the NCTE Conference on English Education's Executive Committee (2013-2017). She is currently Chair of the NCTE Standing Committee on Research, is outgoing chair of the Literacy Research Association’s area on Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Text Analysis, and is incoming co-editor of Research of the Teaching of English. Her forthcoming book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination in Youth Literature, Media, and Culture (New York University Press, anticipated 2018).
Dr. Marcelle Haddix
Dr. Marcelle Haddix is a Dean’s Associate Professor and chair of the Reading and Language Arts department in the Syracuse University School of Education and a nationally-recognized literacy scholar committed to centering Black literacies in educational practices and spaces. She directs two literacy programs for adolescent youth: the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban middle and high school students within and beyond school contexts, and the Dark Girls afterschool program for Black middle school girls aimed at celebrating Black girl literacies. Haddix’s work is featured in Research in the Teaching of English, English Education, Linguistics and Education, and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and in her book, Cultivating Racial and Linguistic Diversity in Literacy Teacher Education: Teachers Like Me. Her awards and recognitions include the American Educational Research Association Division K Early Career Award; the National Council for Teachers of English Promising Researcher Award; and the NCTE Janet Emig Award. She is the President-elect of the Literacy Research Association. She earned a Ph.D. from Boston College, a master’s degree in education from Cardinal Stritch University, and a bachelor’s degree in English education from Drake University.
For Dr. Haddix, yoga, wellness, and healthy living are deeply personal and political. Known as The ZenG, she is a 200-hour certified registered yoga instructor who specializes in yoga for underrepresented groups and for community-based organizations. She also practices veganism and healthy, soulful living. Her goal is to bring yoga to more communities of color and to challenge the misrepresentation of people of color and yoga, healthy living, and healthy eating. Why ZenG? Her sistafriends nicknamed her ZenG because of her blissfully zen yet “I don’t take no mess” attitude. She is unapologetic about living well and creating spaces for people of color to honor and care for their bodies and each other. Her community engaged approach to yoga and wellness culminates in yoga and writing retreats for women and couples of color, yoga and mindfulness workshops in urban school contexts, and regular yoga classes and sistercircles in her community. Follow her at www.zengyoga.com
Quote: “Self-care and self-love are part of the work and our commitment to our communities. We can’t care for and love on others if we don’t first love and care for our selves.”
DEIDRA M. BAILEY
Deidra began her career in education as a 2009 Teach For America (TFA) corps member in the DC Region. After spending five years at Anacostia Senior High School in Southeast DC, teaching special education and math she joined the staff at DC International School (DCI) as a founding teacher. Deidra continued her time in the classroom teaching math and supporting students with disabilities in grades 6 - 8 for two more years. Beginning in school year 2016 - 2017, she moved into the role of Assistant Principal for the 9th grade at DCI, serving the wonderful class of 2020! She currently is the Assistant Principal for both the 9th and 10th grade at DCI. Outside of school, she is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusiveness Facilitator for Teach For America Summer Institute, supporting the development of first year teachers during their summer institute. In her spare time, she serves as a member of the leadership team for DC Education Coalition for Change, a community organizing group made up of families, students, educators and friends of education that organizes around the needs of students in the District. Deidra holds a B.A. in Government and International Politics and a M.Ed in Special Education, both from George Mason.
Quote for Black students, staff, and faculty:
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ― Frederick Douglass
Going into her tenth year as a school psychologist, Tenika currently works with high school students in order to assist with educational and mental health needs. As a school psychologist, she collaborates with teachers, nurses, counselors, administrators and parents in order to ensure the well being of her students.
My hobbies include baking, painting, reading and listening to various genres of music.
For more information about Tenika's baking skills and deliciously tasty cakes check out campbellscakery.com.
Quote for Black students, staff and faculty:
“Work hard for what you want and make it happen!”
DR. ADRIENNE DIXSON
Dr. Adrienne Dixson's primary research interest focuses on how issues of race, class and gender intersect and impact educational equity in urban schooling contexts. She locates her research within two theoretical frameworks: Critical Race Theory and Black feminist theories. Dr. Dixson and her colleague, Celia K. Rousseau-Anderson, edited CRT in Education: All God's Children Got a Song (2006, Routledge) one of the first book-length texts on CRT in education. Most recently, Dr. Dixson is interested in how educational equity is mediated by school reform policies in the urban south. Specifically, Dr. Dixson is interested in school reform in post-Katrina New Orleans, how local actors make sense of and experience those reform policies and how those policies become or are "racialized."
Hobbies: Traveling abroad, attending music festivals
Quote to students, faculty, and staff:
won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
-Lucille Clifton, 1993
Dr. Terrell Strayhorn
Dr. Terrell Strayhorn is Professor and Founder/CEO of Do Good Work Educational Consulting, LLC, an educational consulting/research firm committed to using the power of research to ensure student success. Most recently, Strayhorn was Professor and Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) at The Ohio State University, where he served on the faculty for 7 years. Prior to that, he was on the faculty at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and founding Director of the Center for Higher Education Research & Policy (CHERP). He was worked at the Council of Graduate Schools as a research associate, as well as the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Policy at the University of Virginia. Author of 10 books, more than 100 journal articles, and many book chapters, Dr. Strayhorn is one of the foremost authorities on college student success and sense of belonging, especially for historically underrepresented populations. A highly-regarded scholar and speaker, Strayhorn has given hundreds of keynotes and lectures at colleges and conferences across the globe. His scholarship drives policy and practice across the country, including campus strategic plans, new summer bridge programs, and cutting-edge approaches to meeting students’ academic, social, and basic needs today.
Hobbies: Dr. Strayhorn is a trained musician, jazz pianist, and soulful vocalist. Apart from analyzing data, writing books and articles, or traveling the country to speak at conferences/institutions, Dr. Strayhorn spends his time deeply involved in church and music activities. He serves as Minister of Music for all churches in his district, sings on the praise team at his local church, and has been an ordained minister since the age of 15. Apart from his two kids (Aliyah and Tionne), Strayhorn is the proud “parent” of 2 yorker pups: Teddy (6 years) and Tiger (1 year).
Quote to students, faculty, and staff: #DoGoodWork! If you focus on doing good work, success is destined to come and you’ll always feel good about what you did. But, as my grandmother taught me: “Love many, trust few; learn to paddle your own canoe.”
EdEddie Lovett serves as the founding Dean of Students for Latin College Preparatory Charter School in Atlanta, Georgia. A strong believer in restorative justice and the academic and personal growth of students, Lovett works to ensure that the culture of the school is strong and that the environment is conducive for learning and personal growth. Lovett loves his students fiercely and has worked to ensure the school's culture is not one of zero tolerance and excessive suspensions, but love and reflection.
Hobbies: In his spare time, Lovett enjoys spending time with his wife and sons, going to football and baseball games, playing with his dogs, reading, and playing/watching sports.
Quote to students, staff, and faculty: The true goal of educating black scholars is not that they are able to pass tests or get into high-achieving schools, it is that they have an understanding of who they are, the power that they possess and that together we are stronger. As educators, it is our job to provide our scholars of color with the tools not to pass the test but to change the way in which things are assessed.
Dr. Toby Jenkins-Henry
Conducting research that focuses on race, gender, equity, and culture within education environments we are excited to have Dr. Toby Jenkins as our Blackademic of the month! Dr. Jenkins’ work also examines in how culture affects leadership and one’s sense of social commitment. In addition to being an Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University, Dr. Jenkins has published two books and produced several book chapters and papers. Prior to becoming a faculty member, she served as an higher education administrator and diversity practitioner for 10 years. Dr. Toby Jenkins has absolutely made her mark as a scholar-practitioner in the academy.
Take a few minutes to learn more about the works and awesomeness of Dr. Jenkins at her site here.
Hobbies: Toby is basically down for anything outside of the academy. She is a breast cancer survivor also living with Lupus, so she is focused on fully experiencing life: nature walks, hikes, live music, poetry slams, foodie frolics, travel, cuddles with her husband and playing with her two-year old son Kai.
Quote to students, staff, and faculty: Don’t spend your life searching for heroes-become one!
Camille Fair Bumbray
Despite society’s efforts to criminalize, marginalize, and dehumanize Black girls, Camille Fair Bumbray is committed to highlighting the #blackgirlbrilliance that exists inside each Black girl. A mother, wife, educator, and doctoral student, Camille recently launched her organization, Black Girl Brilliance, dedicated to empowering and elevating Black girls socially and academically through mathematics and mindfulness education. She and a team of dedicated educators meet with a group of girls on Saturdays to teach everything from SAT prep to life skills. Her own academic work focuses on the social and emotional experiences of Black girls in mathematics classrooms. Camille embodies the educator and scholar most of us wish we had growing up. Be more like Camille.
Hobbies: With four children and a doctoral program, it's really hard to have a hobby but I really love traveling, particularly to warm tropical destinations. When I'm able to steal time for myself, you'll find me at a bikram yoga or an African dance class.
Quote for students, staff, and faculty: Kwame Ture said we must have an "undying love for our people" and this is true because if not us...then who?
Dr. Prentiss Dantzler
In our nation’s current state of division, Dr. Prentiss Dantzler is committed to creating a more inclusive, democratic society. Originally from the city of Philadelphia, Dr. Dantzler currently serves as an Assistant Professor at Colorado College. His research focuses on housing policy and community development, social inequality, racial politics and urban history, and neighborhood change and urban development. We truly appreciate Dr. Dantzler’s passion to not only teach students holistically, but also his commitment to produce knowledge that will hopefully , “Change how people view themselves within their environments and to question the ways we can all operate to create a more inclusive, democratic society.” (Prentiss Dantzler)
He is absolutely one of our favorite scholars on the rise and we’re excited to honor Dr. Dantzler as out February Blackademic of the month!
Hobbies: My biggest hobby is dancing. If I am not in a hip hop, popping, locking, house or dancehall class, I am at a battle reliving the "You Got Serve" era. Outside of that, I am into spoken word events as well as testing out the outdoor life of living in Colorado. Lastly, I enjoy meeting up with friends for drinks and conversation about political banter and social issues. Such things truly feed my soul.
Quote for Black students, staff and faculty: “I have always thought that what is needed is the development of people who are interested not in being leaders as much as in developing leadership in others.”
- Ella Baker
Dr. Rayshawn Ray
In a time where U.S. racial tension is publicly higher than it’s been since the ‘60s, Dr. Rashawn Ray’s work speaks to a critical need. Through his books, scholarly articles, courses, and YouTube channel, Ray seeks to confront racial and social inequality head on. Dr. Ray brings context to and drops knowledge on current events, including the NFL’s history of ignoring domestic violence, police brutality, and this year’s [draining] presidential campaign.
Hobbies: “I enjoy spending time with my family, coaching my kids' ball teams, watching movies, and exercising.”
Quote for Black students, staff and faculty: "Do the work that you know is important to the people who you most want to represent, even when people try to tell you it's not. Then figure out how to disseminate your work to those people to impact their lives."
JADE T. PERRY
Serving as a student affairs higher education professional and writer, Jade Perry is definitely a force to be reckoned with. She slays the blogging world on her site Jadetperry.com where she tackles topics such as spirituality and career.
On her blog Jade Perry states, “My mission is to offer information, ideas, & counter-cultural narratives that will empower readers to thrive and to lovingly & creatively challenge secular and sacred systems toward greater levels of inclusion! (With occasional shenanigan posts along the way because joy and laughter are important).”
Essentially, she’s everything!
I'm most likely doing outlines for my blog Jadetperry.com or reading new books when I'm not at work. I'm really beginning to enjoy meditation - I've found that I'm getting better at sitting still and exploring my interior world. It's taught me to take a moment and check in when everything else gets so busy. In addition, I always enjoy looking for new music to listen to - live instrumentation preferred - but I'll go with anything that exhibits a level of expertise in the craft. Some of my earliest memories involve the creative and performing arts. So, I take music and the arts (in general) pretty seriously. I really enjoy sharing music that I find classic or innovative.
Quote for Black students, staff and faculty:
"I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend-to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I saw in theory then a location for healing".
- bell hooks (1994), Teaching to Transgress, p. 59
dr. Kimberly griffin
Dr. Kimberly Griffin is the epitome of #blackgirlmagic. She was Autumn’s undergraduate McNair mentor and Tiffany’s graduate professor and therefore holds a special place in both of our hearts.
Dr. Griffin is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research interests include the access and retention of graduate students and faculty, Black students and faculty, the influence of faculty-student mentoring (which she clearly also lives by), and the access and experiences of Black immigrants amongst a myriad of other things.
Hobbies: “I've been a reader since I was a kid, and still will stop everything for a great novel. I love a workout that requires my complete focus - it takes my mind off of work and everything else. Right now it's all about yoga. Cooking calms me and brings me so much joy. Maybe I just like food - my husband and I take just about any experience to eat well! We also love to travel and see live music and theater. We are supposed to be taking up gardening . . .we'll see how that goes!”
Quote for Black students and faculty:
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
- The Prayer of Oscar Romero