RALEIGH, NC (June 9, 2022) – Today, the Dudley Flood Center (“Flood Center”) announces its “reimagining” of the historic Jeanes Teachers program with the creation of the new Jeanes Fellows Program. Dr. Deanna Townsend-Smith, Senior Director of the Flood Center said, “When reimagining education, we must provide proven solutions of success with students and educators grounded in research and data to effectively contribute to the constitutional mandate of a sound basic education. Research shows a diverse teaching workforce benefits every student and contributes to maintaining the dignity, respect, and well-being of students and the school communities supporting them each day.” As one of the Flood Center’s first formal responses contributing directly to diversifying the teacher workforce, we will use a cohort model approach to intentionally respond to systemic issues of recruiting and retaining teachers of color, which will lead to better educational outcomes for each and every public school student.
In 1907, Philadelphia Quaker woman Anna Jeanes created a $1 million endowment – worth approximately $30 million in today’s currency – to be devoted solely to bringing talented black educators, primarily women, into black schools in the Jim Crow South. The Anna Jeanes Foundation (also known as the Negro Rural School Fund) funded positions from 1908 through early years of integration in white-controlled school systems for teacher leaders to do the “next needed thing” to improve schools and communities, affording them the opportunity to be entrepreneurial and flexible. The Jeanes Teachers made the schools the hubs of activity in rural communities, making sure that learning was relevant to the needs of the community. Jeanes Teachers also promoted the professionalism of teaching, providing curriculum development, teacher training, and school and district leadership.
Historian Ann McColl said, “these teacher leaders often served as de facto superintendents of black schools. Their unique approach to creating a path of meaningful freedom and an ethic of care for students and communities was lost during integration and the assimilation of roles with positions held by whites. The Jeanes Fellows reimagines this role.”
The Jeanes Fellows Program is designed to provide consistent and intentional infrastructure to support community-school relationships using an equity lens. The program will operationalize needed action from 3 foundational documents:
- The Leandro Action Plan: Sound Basic Education for All: An Action Plan for North Carolina, can be found here. A few key recommendations called for a qualified and well prepared teacher in every classroom and finance and resource allocation.
- DRIVE Task Force Final Report and Recommendations: a report with 10 key recommendations to increase teacher diversity. Recommendations include affordable postsecondary access, diversity goals for schools and districts, and support networks for educators of color.
- NC State Board of Education Statewide Strategic Plan: a plan grounded in the guiding principles of equity and the whole child with goals to eliminate opportunity gaps, improve school and district performance, and increasing educator preparedness to meet the needs of every student all to be fulfilled by 2025.
Dr. Anthony Graham, Chair of the DRIVE Task Force and advisory board member for the Dudley Flood Center once said that “transforming a system requires courage, imagination, and innovative thinking.”
The Flood Center is proud to be the incubator for the Jeanes Fellows Program. We continuously see the importance and potential of the Jeanes Fellows in supporting our students, educators, families, and communities. The leadership of the Jeanes Fellows in our communities will lead to increased access to opportunities for students and educators and bring truly inclusivity for kids. Honoring the history and impact of the Jeanes Fellows from the early 1900s is particularly poignant right now across our schools and districts.
Our namesake, Dr. Dudley Flood often says, “We have already studied the issue and understand clearly what students need to succeed in schools. As adults, we must have the will to respond through action.” Today, the Dudley Flood Center takes the “next needed action” through the establishment of this program to address teacher pipeline and diversity issues to ultimately expand opportunity and access for students and educators.
To learn more about the Flood Center for Educational Equity and Opportunity and to see a list of events and resources please visit www.ncforum.org/floodcenter and join us in the fight for equity, access, and opportunity in education.
For media inquiries, please contact Deanna Townsend-Smith at 919-781-6833 x114 or email@example.com.
About the Flood Center for Educational Equity and Opportunity
Launched in 2019, The Dudley Flood Center for Educational Equity and Opportunity (Flood Center) serves as a hub to identify and connect organizations, networks, and leaders to address issues of equity, access, and opportunity in education across North Carolina. The Flood Center aims to inform discussions on policies impacting equity & social justice, supporting and advancing equity-focused educator programming, and promote discussions around how schools are funded at the local and state levels, in hopes of achieving equity, access, and opportunity for every young person in North Carolina.
About the Public School Forum of NCSince 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of public schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at www.ncforum.org.