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Watson College News

WCE Welcomes Principal Baruti Kafele for Conversations on “The Equity Mindset”

Sunday, May 09, 2021

The Watson College was pleased to welcome school leadership expert Principal Baruti Kafele for a series of virtual speaker events on the topic of equity in education in late April and early May.

A highly regarded urban educator in New Jersey for over twenty years, Principal Kafele distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader. He has written extensively on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, motivating Black males to excel in the classroom, and leadership practices for inspiring schoolwide excellence. His most recent book, The Equity & Social Justice Education 50: Critical Questions for Improving Opportunities and Outcomes for Black Students was published on May 26.

More than 100 Watson College faculty members, partnership teachers, students and staff attended Principal Kafele’s keynote presentation on April 27. During the event he challenged participants to ask themselves, ‘Do I bring an equity approach to my instruction?’

“Equity cannot solely be a set of practices. Equity is not just what you do. Equity is who you are,” Kafele said. “Equity recognizes that children must be met where they are and as they are. It is a reflection of the teacher’s humanity toward the students he/she serves. Student individuality, student cultural identity and student voice matter. Who you see and what you see in each student goes a long way toward who that youngster will become.”

Principal Kafele joined WCE’s PDS partnership teacher celebration on April 29. He also led a breakout session on school leadership with aspiring assistant principals and principals enrolled in WCE’s Master of School Administration program. On May 4, he joined Principal Sabrina Hill-Black and the staff at D.C. Virgo for a discussion on equity titled, “Just Level the Playing Field and Watch Me Excel!”

“It was a pleasure to host Principal Kafele as part of our professional community in the Watson College,” said WCE Dean Van Dempsey. “His presentations, perspectives and stories were quite well done and impactful across a range of audiences from interns to P-12 educators to university faculty and staff. Regardless of the audience and participants, I took away three critical points. One is the affirmation of the practices that have the greatest impact on children. A second was the sense of aspiration for being the best educators we can be. And a third was to accept the challenge of doing right as educators by all of our children.”

Bill Sterrett, Associate Dean in WCE’s Office of Teacher Education and Outreach, coordinated the series with support from PDS Director Somer Lewis and Assistant Director Jenn Hatch Knight, MSA Program Coordinator Kerry Robinson and D.C. Virgo Principal Sabrina Hill-Black.

View a video recording of Principal Kafele’s keynote presentation, Critical Questions for becoming an effective Equity Mindset Teacher.

Educators are also invited to participate in Principal Baruti Kafele’s live virtual discussions on race, equity and justice each Saturday morning at 11 a.m. Join the conversations on Twitter or Facebook: @PrincipalKafele or YouTube: Virtual AP Leadership Academy.

For more information, visit Principal Kafele’s website.