Representation matters. Especially for Black children and the images they witness including in their classrooms. During Teacher Appreciation Week, Black women superintendents discussed the education pipeline in Washington D.C. The panel called, “Black Women Superintendents Are Leading With Excellence” featured Dr. Angel Nash and Denisa R. Superville. The women, along with other superintendents, spoke about the rampant racism in their careers. They also discussed the need for Black women in leadership roles, and Black women supporting each other while teaching the youth. 

Discrimination In The Education System

Photo credit: Christina Morillo

Nash is the program officer for The Wallace Foundation in New York City. She revealed there are more Black women teachers compared to superintendents, according to The Education Trust. She also noted students of color excel when they see themselves in school leaders and teachers. According to Nash, Black children who learn from a Black educator for a year are less likely to drop out of school.

Balancing Sisterhood and Education 

Nash believes Black women teachers and leaders should unite with each other and school districts for communal purposes. Several superintendents including Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, said she depends on the group of women for support. After the Governor of Maryland threatened her with criminal charges for an academic scandal, Black superintendents offered her therapy and reassurance.

Representation Matters In Young Lives 

Photo credit: Christina Morillo

These Black educators refuse to allow generational curses to impact youth. Santelises reveals young children are “dying from a lack of hope.” She wants to combat the cycle of trauma in the Baltimore community. Melanie Kay-Wyatt, superintendent of Alexandria City Public Schools, recounted a moment when a young student gleefully pointed out her natural hair. She says moments like that have pushed her to continue down the path of leadership.