Kendra Racouillat, Senior Writer for Education Pioneers, tells us that there's a guy named William Jackson that every education leader needs to meet. Formerly known as Atlanta's highest performing science teacher, he has left the classroom in a quest to
teach kids and their parents about their value as people of color – and specifically as Black people – and what race means for them both in and far beyond school.
An Education Pioneers Alumnus and an Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow, William is the founder and Executive Director of
Village of Wisdom (or VOW), a nonprofit in Durham, North Carolina that supports Black families and their children to “develop the resiliency and self-confidence necessary to overcome the academic opportunity gap.” Through his work in founding and leading VOW, William is ensuring that Black children and their families have well-explored, positive racial identities to enable them to thrive in and outside of school and construct new systems to replace those that don’t serve them. “Imagine if your [white] child went to school, and eight months out of the school year, he learned about Black history, and Black leaders, and then one month out of the year, he’d learn about white history,” William says. Spending your day in a place where you learn about (and often from) people who don’t look like you, and who aren’t familiar with your culture is not only emotionally taxing, but also cognitively exhausting.