Board of Directors
Stephan (Seattle, WA)
Dr. Blanford recently completed a 4-year term of service as an elected director on the Seattle School Board, providing leadership for a 54,000 student, $1.5 billion urban school district. He was elected with a mandate to lead for excellence and equity and has worked closely with parents, teachers, administrators and the community towards those twin goals.Stephan holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and a Masters in Public Administration (Nonprofit Leadership), both at the University of Washington. His research interests center on the waysin which leaders advance equity issues in schools and communities. He co-owns Lighthouse Consulting, which offers research, evaluation and management services to universities, school districts and nonprofit organizations across the state.Dr. Blanford has appointments as a lecturer at the College of Education and the Evans School of Public Administration on the University of Washington campus, has been published in local and national periodicals and journals and has presented his research in classrooms, central offices and before large audiences throughout the state. He was recently appointed to newly elected Mayor Jenny Durkan’s transition committee, is a member of the Board of Directors of United Way of King County, and serves on a number of community boards. Married to Janet Blanford, a teacher and educational administrator, he is the doting father of a high school freshman.
Eileen (Springfield, VA)
Embrace Diverse SchoolsEileen’s commitment to the strengths of diversity was inspired by the education of her children at one of the most diverse high schools in the United States, with students from wide-ranging races, ethnicities and economic backgrounds, hailing from nearly 90 nations. Eileen’s award-winning book, Debunking the Middle-Class Myth: Why diverse schools are good for all kids, inspires honest dialogue on how diversity enriches education for every student. Her latest book,Innovative Voices in Education: Engaging Diverse Communities– praised as an “essential resource” – shares strategies from 17 ground-breaking educators and community leaders around the world in passionate first-person accounts.ild the school’s crumbling community support and turn it into a vibrant focal point of its multicultural community. The school’s success was highlighted in global media and earned her multiple awards.
Matt (NYC, NY)
Matt Gonzales is an educator, an advocate, and a policy analyst. He is Director of the School Diversity Project for New York Appleseed, a non-profit social justice center that advocates for integrated schools and communities in New York City and State. He coordinates a citywide coalition of advocates called the NYC Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation (ASID). He is the Policy Coach for the youth advocacy group IntegrateNYC, and works directly with NYC school and district leaders supporting their efforts towards integration. Matt sits on Mayor de Bill Blasio’s School Diversity Advisory Group, along with a Statewide Advisory Board on Equity, Integration, and Diversity for the New York State Board of Regents. He is a former special education teacher at Bancroft Middle School in Los Angeles, and earned his Masters in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2016. He earned his Bachelors in Urban Education and a Special Education Teaching Credential from California State University, Los Angeles.
Noliwe (Ithaca, NY)
Dr. Rooks is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work explores how race and gender both impact and are impacted by civic culture, social history and political life in the United States. She is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Cutting School: Privitization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education (New Press, 2017). Her earlier books are: Hair Raising: Beauty, Culture and African American Women; Ladies Pages: African American Women’s Magazines and the Culture that Made Them and White Money/Black Power: African American Studies and the Crises of Race in Higher Education.Rooks received her B.A. from Spelman College where she majored in English and her M.A. and PhD degrees in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She is currently the Director of American Studies at Cornell University where she is also an Associate Professor in Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Andrew (Amherst, MA)
CO-FOUNDER EmbraceRace I’m a dad to Lola and Lena, a partner to Melissa, a son, a friend, a social justice worker and long-time racial justice guy, a black man of Jamaican origins in the United States, born on the 4th of July.I have good friends, decent health, two lovely, healthy girls, a wonderful partner, and nice degrees from elite institutions. Most members of my immediate and extended families live solidly middle class lives at a time when fewer and fewer people can claim that. I’ve been able to do work meaningful to me for a long time and do it alongside good people whose examples inspire me. With what I know, and the examples of people everywhere I look doing heroic work to push back against injustice, racial and otherwise, it would be obscene for me not to lend my effort to that struggle.
Sarah (Hamden, CT)
Sarah is committed to transforming school systems so that a sound, basic education and self-actualization are available for all students regardless of race, class, family structure, or gender. Her experience in education reform and advocacy ranges from teaching ESL in District 7 of the South Bronx, working with The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies as an educational consultant, conducting educational research for Sesame Street’s Plaza Mexico, and organizing for restorative justice practices with Teachers Unite. Two years ago, she co-founded IntegrateNYC4me with six students from her high school advisory class. She is committed to building democratically elected committees of students within the city, state, and national departments of education so that every young person can co-create, inform, and sustain the integrated schools that they attend.