See Who Made Brightbeam's 2021 List of Rising Women

Mar 31, 2021 12:00:00 AM


For Women’s History Month, we asked readers on social media to nominate the women who are changing education for the better. It was hard to cut the nominees down to just 21 rising women for the #21in21 campaign. These women are changing the game for kids. 

#21in21 #RisingWomen 

  1. Naomi Shelton, @NaomiSheltonDC
    Shelton took over as CEO of the National Charter Collaborative in January 2021. Her career has touched basically every corner of the American education system, with “policy, advocacy and programmatic initiatives” all on her resume. Learn more about where Shelton and the National Charter Collaborative plan to take child advocacy this year and beyond. 
  2. Sonja Santelises, @SonjaSantelises
    Santelises is in her second stint running Baltimore’s public school system. In the middle of the last decade, she took on a national-facing role at The Education Trust where she and her team helped educate the U.S. on the need to boost academic achievement for low-income students and students of color. Learn more about her “blueprint for success” here
  3. Dr. Rhonda Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant, @childshining
    Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant is a children’s book author, known for her twin books “Black Boy Shining” and “Black Girl Shining.” Beyond her creative work, Tsoi-A-Fatt Bryant “is a researcher, educator, and advocate in child and youth development.” Learn more about all her work here
  4. Karen Mapp, @karen_mapp
    As a senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Mapp is one of the nation’s preeminent thinkers on how to best teach our kids now and in the future. Her work in family engagement and family autonomy is top-notch. Learn more about her work here
  5. India Johnson, @IndiaHuiEd
    Johnson has worked all over the education sector. As the founding school leader of Thrival Indy Academy, she has an active, day-to-day hand in making things work for kids’ learning. But she’s also a writer and coach, among wearing other hats, so check out her website for more
  6. Keeanna Warren, @KeeannaWarren
    More than just a school leader, Warren has taught at every level of the K-12 education system. “Growing up, school was not a safe place for me,” she told BuzzWorthy, LLC in an interview. Learn more about how she’s making schools safe for students of color now. 
  7. Sharon Liszanckie, @SLiszanckie
    Liszanckie runs Boston Prep, an innovative charter school in Massachusetts that goes through grade 16. The school uses a pie chart with six slices, each representing one kind of student success, to determine how their kids are doing. Check out more about what Liszanckie’s team does here
  8. Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson, @DrJoyBJo
    Most of us are familiar with STEM, short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Some of us are familiar with STEAM, which adds arts to the curriculum. What Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson suggests is something even deeper to help kids learn even better. Learn more about Eq-STREAM here
  9.  Constance A. Lindsay, @Dr_ConstanceL
    An education policy researcher, is perhaps best known as a co-author of “Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in the Classroom.” 
  10. Jennifer Veguilla, @JenVeguilla
    Veguilla, a college professor in suburban Chicago, has run digital hubs for young creatives for the last decade. She’s worked with those in the student debt strike movement to teach young borrowers their rights before they enter into student loan agreements. Learn more about her work with Debt Collective Chicago here
  11. Isis Spann, @fun_oflearning
    Spann credits her childhood school environments with helping her develop into a healthy adult despite the poverty she was born into. These days, she runs FUNdamentals of Learning, LLC. Learn more about how they “raise social & cultural awareness” here
  12. Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, @ZakiyaChinyere
    As the National Director of Activism at the brightbeam network, Sankara-Jabar focuses on what the experiences of black boys in schools tells us about anti-black racism in American society, and the transformation of parents of color into movement builders. Learn more about her child activism work here
  13. Lindsey Jensen, @ILTOY2018
    Awarded the 2018 Illinois Teacher of the Year prize, Jensen has elevated herself these last few years as a national voice on child justice. She’s taken her work on the road as a professional speaker, too, where she brings her knowledge about education to wider (and powerful) audiences. Learn more about where she’s going from here
  14. Jaraux Washington, @JarauxW
    Focused on the inspirational side of helping educators improve their craft, Washington has lit up Twitter with smiles—and fierce insistence in kids’ abilities to learn and do extraordinary things. Go ahead and give her a follow here
  15. Dr. Tonia Holmes-Sutton, NBCT, @tholmessutton
    Holmes-Sutton knows that teachers don’t come out of teacher prep programs fully formed. That’s why she’s in charge of Teach Plus Nevada, to build up that state’s teachers throughout their careers. Learn more about “enriched learning” for teachers here
  16. Monica Washington, @TexasTOY2014
    The 2014 Texas Teacher of the Year, Washington has been an author and advocate for students around the nation for years. She goes around the country to speak with teachers organizations and offer trainings. Check out her writing for Education Post here
  17. Jay Artis-Wright, @civilwright1
    Parent Revolution executive director Artis-Wright is a policy expert who cut her teeth in the entrepreneurial charter school sector of California. Learn more about what she calls “the power of parents” here
  18. Natasha Trivers, @NatashaTrivers
    Trivers has been with Democracy Prep Public Schools for nearly a decade. She rose from her original assistant principal position to become the network’s chief executive officer. Learn more about why she’s thrilled when her students do “things they believe in.”
  19. Angela F. Allen, @drallenPHA
    The head of school at Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Prospect Hill Academy Charter School, Allen is all about the idea of “we.” She says it’s built into everything they do at Prospect Hill. Learn more about this “communal feeling” here.
  20. Beth Anderson, @BethAndersonPCA
    Since her stint with Teach For America during the first Bush administration, Anderson has learned a lot about what works for kids’ learning. That led her to found the Phoenix Charter Academy Network in Massachusetts. Learn more about how she’s “tackling poverty-generated social and economic issues that create barriers between older youth and the economic freedom that comes from educational achievement.”
  21. Kelisa Wing, @kelisa_l2teach
    Wing is an author and educator at Walden University’s doctor of education program. She has contributed to the brightbeam network for years. Check out her pieces for Education Post here

Ed Post Staff

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