March 20, 2023

Community Action Team: Eliminating Barriers for Prospective Teachers of Color

By Matt Hager

While nearly 35% of students in Minnesota identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color, the teacher workforce across the state has remained at a stagnant 5% throughout the past decade. We know that systemic barriers prevent many people of color from becoming educators each year.

EdAllies is committed to working with impacted aspiring educators to identify ongoing barriers and gaps in support that keep candidates from joining the workforce, and providing actionable recommendations on how best to break those barriers down and improve current practice. This year, EdAllies will work to identify and remove these barriers alongside our community. In January, EdAllies launched the 2023 Community Action Team. This team is composed of seven people of color who seriously considered entering the K-12 teaching profession but ultimately decided on another career path.

They are meeting regularly from January through June 2023 and will:

  • Share and hear stories of cohort members’ experiences with the teacher pipeline, helping us to identify trends and problem areas in teacher recruitment;
  • Dig into state and national data, and help to identify what contributes to the trends seen; 
  • Through a facilitated process, identify and research policy solutions to develop community-led recommendations for change to be implemented by school leaders and policymakers to improve recruitment and retention efforts

After the final meeting in June 2023, the group will develop a report of their findings and recommendations to share with schools, legislators, advocates, and members of the public.

Meet the 2023 Community Action Team

Marquita Common

Marquita is an Operations Lead bringing over a decade of experience in the public and non-profit sectors. Marquita began her career volunteering for local elections, working in afterschool programs across the twin cities, and working alongside various nonprofit organizations in Minneapolis. This early involvement in community assisted in increasing Marquita’s awareness of public service, transparency, equity, and community led solutions.

Danyal Clark

Danyal Clark is the Director of Operations  for K-8th grade scholars at 21st Century Academy in North Minneapolis. In this role she provides leadership support to the scholars, provides a warm and caring atmosphere for scholars, assists program scholars, individually or in groups, with homework and related activities, and prepares activities that are developmentally appropriate for the age of the scholars. Also in her role she communicates weekly with 21st Century Academy families as well as conducting school visits to monitor and stay on top of the scholar’s progress while in school. 

Daniel Hodges

Daniel has been a nonprofit professional for over 10 years as an administrator, performing arts educator, and fundraiser. Through his work, he’s dedicated to giving young people what was given to him—opportunity and the resources to succeed. Daniel began his career in St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked in program development and fundraising for organizations like Jazz St. Louis and the Center of Creative Arts. Most recently, he worked in development for MacPhail Center for Music, the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and Planned Parenthood. Daniel holds degrees in English and Communication Studies and Theatre from the University of Sioux Falls and a master’s in Performance Studies from Washington University, St. Louis. He’s also a professional actor, singer, and a dedicated high school speech and debate coach at Apple Valley High School.

Jocelyn McQuirter

Jocelyn’s background pays homage to a lineage of Black educators who emphasize(d) knowledge is power, and to rise, we need each other. As an African American and product of Minneapolis Public Schools, Jocelyn is an alumna of Clara Barton and North High School. McQuirter’s a project manager at Hennepin County where she leads behavioral health projects including multimillion dollar investments funding culturally specific mental health providers, pioneering community engagement practices, and managing a mental health awareness campaign. 

Winter Oloafe

Bio to come.

Crown Shepherd

Crown Shepherd is an author, publisher, bookseller, and reading advocate. Shepherd has dedicated her life to closing the illiteracy rate within the Black community. Shepherd believed if you can read, you can learn, if you can learn, you can grow, and if you can grow, you can be anything!

Broderick Williams

Broderick Williams is currently a lower school educator at 21st Century academy located over north Minneapolis. With over a decade of educational experiences, Broderick has showcased his skill sets with some of the most illustrious Freedom schools, facilitating and volunteering work, College accredited courses and training yearly to sharpen teaching skills and also serving on the ministry board at the local church. While navigating the new career choices Broderick still facilitated educational spaces amongst highschoolers with “The Minneapolis Youth Congress”  and learning Exclusively from Alex Pate’s “The Innocent Classroom Workshop”.

At the Capitol, Dual Credit Programs Fail to Make the Cut

Read More

A Big Session Lies Ahead for Kids. What Are We Working On This Year?

Read More