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VPM Discussion Guide: Creating Equitable Education Systems

Progress and Promises
Image: VPM

The education of youth and young children is a vital component of dismantling racism. Hear about strategies that schools are developing to address systemic racism and serve our students equitably.

The Panelists

Shadae Harris

Dr. Shadae Harris
Chief Engagement Officer, Richmond Public Schools

In her role as Richmond Public Schools Chief Engagement Officer Dr. Shadae Thomas Harris focuses on building authentic relationships with families and community partners. She has spent her career working towards educational equity for all students, especially communities of color and those who have been underserved.

Dr. Harris completed her Doctorate of Education Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and had collaborated with Richmond Public Schools (RPS), Virginia’s Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Virginia Governor's Children’s Cabinet to implement policy and program improvements for RPS students whose education has been interrupted due to a court charge.

Dr. Harris earned a Bachelor’s in Education and Child Study from Smith College and holds a Master’s in Education from Harvard University. She served as an elementary school principal and began her career as a 4th grade teacher.

(Photo: Caleb Keiter)

Tomika Ferguson

Dr. Tomika Ferguson
University Administrator and Professor, VCU

Dr. Ferguson’s research centers on the intersection of race, gender, sport, and educational equity, with a focus on the professional development of P-16 leaders regarding inclusive, equity, and antiracist praxis.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Ferguson serves as the assistant dean for student affairs and inclusive excellence at the School of Education and an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership. Previously, at James Madison University, she was the director of noncredit programs and community partnerships in Outreach & Engagement and an instructor for the College of Education.

Dr. Ferguson is the founder of the Black Athlete Sister Circle, a holistic development program for Black women student-athletes. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in American studies and African-American and African studies, and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University – Bloomington.

(Photo: Owen Wachter)