Leadership Policy
Educators of Color Need More Support
December 31, 2016
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Dr. Diarese George

As an educator of color, especially a male, sometimes I feel like I am on an island waiting to see the next educator of color like me.  I teach at a high school where I am the only male African American educator among six other educators of color on the staff.  After participating in three different educator fellowships, I realize that the experiences of being in the classroom and participating in a teacher leadership resemble one another:  there aren’t many educators of color in either.  That’s not to say that there aren’t any in the education profession because there are.  However, at times when there needs to be a collective body or voice present for educators of color, it is lacking, specifically in areas regarding policy and advocacy.

There are several organizations that advocate for increasing the diversity pipeline of educators in Tennessee. However, there are few that explicitly support educators of color.  With the increasing number of diverse students in the state, it is important to identify issues that educators of color face in the profession and provide support, resources, and solutions so that they can remain in the profession.   The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) fills this void.  This is an organization that I am developing aimed at amplifying the voice, presence, and support for educators of color while remaining student-centered and solutions-oriented.  Through this approach, it is desired that educators of color will increase in recruitment numbers, leadership roles, and recognition while producing positive learning outcomes for all Tennessee students.

One of the current primary initiatives is to establish a teacher leadership council of educators of color who represent diverse backgrounds and regional locations in Tennessee.  This council will be charged with identifying problems affecting educators of color and the students they serve.  Additionally, it will be developing solutions and resources, identifying organizations and current work to align with and support, and advocating for increased understanding of cultural perspective between educators of color and all Tennessee students.  A near future initiative is to establish the Educators of Color Leadership Conference, which will provide an opportunity for educators of color to convene and discuss solutions to issues that trouble the profession, acquire professional development, and receive resources for further support.

If you are interesting in getting more information about TECA or how to support its efforts, please feel free to contact me at diarese@tneca.org.  

Diarese has taught Business courses at Clarksville High School for the past three years. In that time, he has served as a lead instructor for the school’s career Academy, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and an Academy lead in cross­-curricular collaboration for project­-based learning. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course, and a district­-wide Professional Development facilitator for Microsoft Excel training. Diarese holds a BBA in Marketing and Management and M.A. in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University, MBA from University of Phoenix and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. He also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging his colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

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