Tauheedah Baker-Jones is Atlanta Public Schools’ first chief equity and social justice officer. She developed and now oversees the district’s Center for Equity and Social Justice and the district’s equity framework. She shared some of her experiences and learnings, as well as reflections on how districts can enable equity officers to be successful, with The Learning Professional. Highlights of that conversation follow. On being the district’s first chief equity and social justice officer: When I first started in this role, I encountered some resistance. To counter it, it was important to help people see that equity work is not a zero-sum game, and that this work is not about baiting, shaming, and guilt. All of us were born into this current system, none of us

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Recommendations for supporting equity leaders

  1. Establish a clear understanding of and commitment to equity goals, and align your mission and policies with those goals.
  2. Allocate resources for an equity officer and equity team as well as for their learning and development.
  3. Embed equity in every department in the district, and empower the equity officer to build relationships across departments.
  4. Position the equity officer as part of the senior leadership team, and give the officer voice and decision-making power.
  5. Together with the equity officer, build relationships with the community, and communicate your equity vision and goals.

Source: Anderson, J. (2021). 5 ways to support equity leaders. Usable Knowledge.


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Image for aesthetic effect only - Suzanne-bouffard
Senior Vice President, Communications & Publications | + posts

Suzanne Bouffard is senior vice president of communications and publications at Learning Forward. She is the editor of The Learning Professional, Learning Forward’s flagship publication. She also contributes to the Learning Forward blog and webinars. With a background in child development, she has a passion for making research and best practices accessible to educators, policymakers, and families. She has written for many national publications including The New York Times and the Atlantic, and previously worked as a writer and researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Duke University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. She loves working with authors to help them develop their ideas and voices for publication.

Categories: Equity, Leadership, Learning systems/planning, Resources, System leadership

The Learning Professional

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