I’m a black male elementary teacher, and I’ve just finished my first year working for a black principal. It’s been incredible. I’m fortunate to have worked with school leaders of all races and genders. But perhaps because of his life experiences, my current principal has a certain mix of rare qualities that have created a powerfully positive working environment for me.
It hasn’t always been that way in my teaching career. I’ve felt sidelined, misunderstood, and disrespected at some of the other schools where I’ve taught. It’s just the opposite in my new job.
The first day of our planning week last August was eye-opening. I was immediately struck by the diversity of the school faculty and staff. Each department and grade level had people from various backgrounds. People of color are a huge part of the leadership and resource teams. I had never witnessed anything close to this kind of staff makeup in my 12 years teaching. I could see that staff diversity is a key pillar for my principal in creating a healthy, equitable school culture.