Legacies of Brown, Part 1

IRT Advisory Board Member Jasmine Ma, PA, ’23

Although Brown v. Board of Education is known as a landmark ruling that outlawed segregation in schools, it also caused a sharp decline in the number of Black educators and altered the cultural perceptions of the teaching profession. This series, Legacies of Brown, seeks to examine the consequences of Brown’s aftermath and provide a historical context for the founding and mission of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers.

*In this article, “minority” refers to Black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, American Indian, Alaska Native, and people of two or more races.

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IRT Welcomes Catherine Wong as Associate Director and Manager of Programs

Catherine Wong (she/her/hers) has been appointed Associate Director and Manager of Programs (ADMP) Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers,  an outreach program housed at Phillips Andover Academy, focused on diversifying graduate education and K-12 through higher education professions to include teachers, professors and academic leaders.

Ms. Wong is a lifelong educator focusing on teacher training, educational leadership and youth outreach while centering diversity, equity and inclusion. She is unwavering and uncompromising in her support of educators of color and first generation to college. She has long believed that it should be the norm, not the exception, that our students have well trained teachers, specialists, and school leaders, who are reflections of their lived experiences and communities. For Ms. Wong teaching and learning is not a top-down hierarchical process, but one of co-construction and connectedness. Her accomplishments were honored this past year as the City of Boston’s 2021 EXTRAordinary Woman .

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Brooks and Wong Present at NCORE 2022

The 34th National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in Higher Education was held on May 31 – June 4, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. This annual educational event is committed to fostering inclusion and the exchanging of ideas and expertise in higher education. IRT Executive Director LaShawnda Brooks and IRT Associate Director and Manager of Programs Catherine Wong were part of an NCORE-invited interactive panel discussion benefitting educators with anti-racist (AR)/diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) responsibilities.

(L-R) Joe-Joe McManus, Catherine Wong, Michael Benitez
Photo Credit: Melissa Toledo

Sustainable Transformation; Making Progress While Battling Changemaker Fatigue

Advisor, speaker and author Joe-Joe McManus and Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion & Associate Professor of Multicultural Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver Michael Benitez joined Brooks and Wong in this session on what changemaking looks like in higher education, real barriers to progress, and proven strategies for institutional transformation.

The panel engaged in critical dialogue with conference participants on the understanding and successful engagement in transformative work. The discussion revolved around the following questions:

  • Are you the changemaker you had hoped to be when you became an educator? 
  • Do you feel a disconnect between the change agency called for in your position description and the work you are expected to do in the role?  
  • Are you questioning how to persist in your role given the lack of resources, unrealistic expectations and resistance to change that you encounter on a daily basis?  

“I feel fortunate to be both a participant and presenter at NCORE for decades. Through NCORE I have met inspiring and diverse scholars, practitioners and community leaders. The work of diversity, equity and inclusion is not meant to be done in isolation. NCORE provides the vital and brave space to have difficult conversations, to battle back at divisiveness and to center cross racial solidarity. The NCORE community does not settle for the status quo, the way things have always been, instead it is an interdisciplinary community that values reimagining what has not yet been imagined.”

Catherine Wong
LaShawnda Brooks (via computer) and Catherine Wong
Photo credit: Melissa Toledo

“I was honored to participate in this session with three phenomenal leaders and advocates. Throughout our ongoing pandemic, change-making and community building are essential to establishing a just future. Through this incredible conversation with student leaders and education leaders, I am hopeful we can all own our relative power in the fight for systemic transformation.”  

LaShawnda Brooks

(L-R) Joe-Joe McManus, Catherine Wong, Michael Benitez
Photo Credit: Melissa Toledo

IRT Alumni and OWHL Book Project

The IRT is thrilled to announce an initiative to showcase IRT alumni texts within the online or physical shelves at the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL) at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.

We are excited to begin gathering this collection of publications which will serve as a repository and visual representation of the depth and breadth of IRT alumni contributions to scholarship at large, and we hope that you will participate. Sharing your published works both online or within the library will ensure that IRT scholars, Andover students, administrators, faculty and staff are privy to the contributions that IRT alumni are making across a variety of fields.

Please complete the survey to become part of this exciting initiative. If you have multiple publications that you would wish to showcase, please submit the survey as many times as needed.

IRT Alumni and OWHL Survey

r work on display at the OWHL? Please fill out the survey bel

Perseverance Pays Off

L. Virginia Martinez, IRT ’21

I will preface by saying that this is my experience and my journey, and everyone will have their own set of challenges and good and bad moments. While this journey was very long and often resulted in many tears, it was one of my most rewarding journeys. I joined IRT during my first gap year while an AmeriCorps Fellow. If I didn’t join in 2021, my gap year might extend more than two years.

My Journey

After my service year ended in July, I applied for my first “big girl job’, and I got it. While I thought this would be the most exciting time of my career, I was sadly mistaken. There is a long list of things that were red flags, even from my first day there. I had a weird feeling in my stomach on my first day, but I figured it was jitters, the rainy weather, or a mix of anxiety and excitement to have my first real job. Months later, I realized my instincts were trying to warn me. Shortly after I started, I was miserable, overworked, underrepresented, and depressed. I didn’t have much support at the job, except for three co-workers who I still communicate with. (Spoiler: I left after three months). I couldn’t take any PTO until my third month working there —I had to bill a certain number of units per week, I drove over 2k miles in my short time there, and I was frequently vocal about the lack of diversity in the organization and how my position as one of the few women of color there affected me.

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