"Every child deserves a Black teacher"

Welcome, Fellows!

The upcoming 2017 – 2018 school year will be the kick-off for the first group of Black Teacher Project fellows. We selected a dynamic group of mid-career teachers working in the Bay Area who have committed to this three year program. Together, this learning community will engage in ongoing classroom-based inquiry with structured support to build their leadership capacity and improve their student outcomes.

Kampala Taiz-Rancifer

I feel education is one of the most important civil rights issue affecting us today.  Closing the opportunity gap is what drew me to teaching. I want to help students build a strong foundation so they can achieve their maximum potential.

Kampala Taiz-Rancifer participated in the Black Leadership and Sustainability Institute in Oakland and will be continuing to build her teaching practice in the our fellowship program. She keeps the words of Nelson Mandela in mind to guide her teaching: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Abram Jackson

I’m drawn to an interdisciplinary humanities approach to teaching as a strategy to remind students of the infinite parts of self they can utilize and build to better understand themselves as humans. In an ever-changing and dynamic world, I believe this knowledge is essential for personal liberation and societal progress.

Abram Jackson will be focusing on curriculum building and classroom instruction while being in a learning community with other Black teachers in the fellows program.  He participated in this summer’s Black Teacher Leadership and Sustainability Institute in Oakland. A quote that inspires him comes from Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo: “Reading the world always precedes reading the word, and reading the word implies continually reading the world.”

Elena Njemanze

A California native, Elena has been teaching at OUSD for 7 years. She is passionate about creating an inclusive, supportive learning environment for her students that fosters community within the classroom and promotes learning. She especially enjoys bringing mindfulness and wellness into the classroom and doing yoga with her students.

A participant in the Black Teacher Leadership and Sustainability Institute earlier this summer, Elena Njemanze will be digging deep into classroom management during her fellowship. A quote from Aristotle inspires her teaching practice: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” as well as this African proverb: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Julius Hampton

I strive to teach my students with a heart filled with compassion, patience, and love. At the end of the day, I want them to better understand themselves and each other, and to be equipped with the tools to make this world a more socially just and sustainably place. 

Julius Hampton has been a teacher leader throughout last year and also showed up for the Black Teacher Leadership and Sustainability Institute this summer. During the fellowship program, he will be working on fine-tuning his instructional skills in the classroom and developing his educational leadership capacities. Julius is inspired by the words of Maya Angelou: “Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself.”

Joya Brandon

Being an educator has been one of the most rewarding accomplishments in my life. Watching young people engage with content in a way that awakens their consciousness is a joy to see and to be a part of.  

Joya contributed to our programming last year by hosting events in her classroom and by consistently showing up to events, including the Black Teacher Leadership and Sustainability Institute. She will be continuing her teacher-leadership in the fellows program by reaching out to create meaningful relationships with Black teachers in Oakland to support and uplift one another. Joya is inspired by the vision of Frantz Fanon and this quote: “Mastery of language affords remarkable power.”

Victoria Angelle Eley-Harris

Pan Africanist :: Wholistic Healer :: Panther Cub :: Transnational 

Victoria was a part of the San Francisco Inquiry Group last year and came to the the Black Teacher Leadership and Sustainability Institute this summer. With the support of the fellows program, she will be continuing her professional development and education. She is motivated by the words of the Honorable El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X): “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.”

L’aurelei Durr

Teaching is a way that I can give back to my community and give students access to tools in order to reach their goals in life.  

L’aurelei participated in last year’s Oakland Book Study Group and attended the Black Teacher Leadership and Sustainability Institute this summer. During her fellowship, she will be developing her leadership skills and reflecting on her teaching practice within this learning community to become a more effective advocate for Black educators.  L’aurelei finds inspiration from a Marian Wright Edelman quote: “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

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