Sharif El-Mekki

Sharif El-Mekki is the Founder and CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development. The Center exists to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural backgrounds and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve. The Center is developing a nationally relevant model to measurably increase teacher diversity and support Black educators through four pillars: Professional learning, Pipeline, Policies and Pedagogy. So far, the Center has developed ongoing and direct professional learning and coaching opportunities for Black teachers and other educators serving students of color. The Center also carries forth the freedom or liberation school legacy by hosting a Freedom School that incorporates research-based curricula and exposes high school and college students to the teaching profession to help fuel a pipeline of Black educators. Prior to founding the Center, El-Mekki served as a nationally recognized principal and U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow. El-Mekki’s school, Mastery Charter Shoemaker, was recognized by President Obama and Oprah Winfrey, and was awarded the prestigious EPIC award for three consecutive years as being amongst the top three schools in the country for accelerating students’ achievement levels. The Shoemaker Campus was also recognized as one of the top ten middle school and top ten high schools in the state of Pennsylvania for accelerating the achievement levels of African-American students. Over the years, El-Mekki has served as a part of the U.S. delegation to multiple international conferences on education. He is also the founder of the Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, an organization dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and developing Black male teachers. El-Mekki blogs on Philly's 7th Ward, is a member of the 8 Black Hands podcast, and serves on several boards and committees focused on educational and racial justice.

Posts By Sharif El-Mekki

Independence Has Always Been a Day Late and a Dollar Short for Black People, But Schools Can Change That

Ed Note: This post was originally published in 2023. What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? Frederick Douglass On June 19, 1865, two years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation...

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1972 Gary Declaration Was A Call For Equality That Remains Unanswered

More than five decades ago, some 10,000 Black leaders gathered for the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana. What came to be known as the Gary Convention of 1972 was an inflection...

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Black Teachers Make Their Colleagues Better Educators of Black Students

Black teachers are powerful. Black teachers propel the learning and broader success of their students. New research shows that they also improve the racial competency of their white colleagues....

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School Leaders, What are You Doing About Your Schools’ Racial Bias?

It’s 8:45 a.m. on a Tuesday. Do you know where your school’s culture is on the continuum of cultural proficiency? Is it trending towards proficiency or cultural destructiveness? Where (in your...

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4 Ways We Can Support Muslim Students During Ramadan and Year-Round

When I attended Overbrook High School, a neighborhood public school in west Philadelphia, in the 80s, it felt like there were few Muslims there and I was related to all of them. With my maternal...

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Here’s What Teachers of Color Need From Their Principals

We need Black teachers. We need brown teachers. We need Indigenous teachers. We need more teachers of color across the board. More than half of public school enrollees are students of color, but...

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