1. How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
I am a firm proponent of the Collaborative Design Planning process. It allows me to facilitate diverse ideas while leading the team to a destination.
2. Name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as an educational leader.
My 5th-grade counselor, Ms. Warren, has had a significant impact on who I am as a leader today. Ms. Warren lived in my community, and I would be in awe to see her outside of school. For me, growing up in North Baton Rouge presented all of the challenges that come with low socio-economic status. Because of these challenges, I
would often fight in school. One day at school, I punched a 5th-grade classmate for teasing me about my off-brand shoes. Instead of suspending me from school, Ms. Warren sat me in her office, shared warm cookies, and encouraged me to apologize to my classmate. Ms. Warren then worked with me on alternative solutions to fighting. My experience with Ms. Warren was salient because it informs my current belief in social and emotional development and community-centered leadership as the core of my leadership brand. I keep in touch with Ms. Warren to-date.
3. What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader in the educational sector?
While there are many resources for educational leaders, I believe that it is essential for leaders to ask low inference questions of other educational leaders. It is also important that leaders become incessant readers. Additionally, I think leaders should seek mentorship from leaders with the skills and abilities they aspire to achieve.
4. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time or looking to pursue a leadership role?
Listen, listen, and listen. It is essential that aspiring leaders examine 'why' they want to be leaders. Reasons for becoming a leader should center around a personal mission that impacts the greater good.
5. Why do you think it's important for Black educators to participate in leadership programs such as Alliance for Diversity and Excellence?
Black educators thrive when they surround themselves with critical friends. Leadership can be a very lonely place. Additionally, for Black education leaders, there often exist double standards for what leadership excellence looks like. Therefore, in the interest of sustainability, it is critical that Black leaders co-exist in a supportive tribe.