Dr. Donna Randolph is a Consultant and Researcher at My New Journeys.
PEDC’s mission is to increase the diversity of the educator workforce & create a culturally relevant and sustaining education system here in PA. How do you push this work forward in your personal and/or professional capacity?
Have you worked on any projects or initiatives that positively impact the recruiting, mentoring, retaining, or promoting the well-being of BIPOC teachers? If so, how?
I am a former administrator, educator, and professor of color. In all aspects of my professional career, I have always encouraged, sponsored, and mentored youth, and young adults who wish to gain teacher certifications and leadership skills. Additionally, I have mentored pre-service and graduate scholars who are pursuing degrees in education. Specifically, I was a graduate liaison in the Color of Teaching organization at Millersville University. I assisted the Director, Dr. Miriam Witmer, with activities to support pre-service scholars of color who were attaining degrees in education at the University. To support these efforts, I attained a mentoring certificate and developed programs to assist the scholars in research, graduate school, and visitations to various out-of-state educational environments.
Currently, I co-lead an Affinity group, developed to support current Black Educators of Color. We meet quarterly to discuss challenges, personal wins, and strengths in our work, within various school districts in PA and other states. We have ongoing dialogues regarding the culture and climate in their educational institutions and districts, we have conducted common book reads, and exchange relevant articles and events related to BIPOC educator retention and recruitment.
Why are you passionate about increasing educator diversity?
As a member of an educational legacy family of color, I have always had a mission to support BIPOC scholars, pre-service educators, and current educators in predominately white school districts. I watched my parents, my brother, and other family members stand up to the value of teaching young scholars from the lens of a BIPOC educator. I grew up in this mission, continued the vision of support, and encourage the mentoring of retention in districts where our BIPOC educators have little or no support. My passion is innate and has been part of my rearing.
What challenges are you experiencing in this work?
Are there any regional (or statewide) specific challenges you are facing?
What are some of your needs?
The challenges have never shifted from years in this journey. There are always issues of valid feelings of inequalities, limited resources of support or Affinity groups, districts that question the need for support of BIPOC educators and paraprofessionals, and the micro/macro aggressions that surface with this type of work. I, personally, do not face overt challenges, as much of my work is contracted or offered in a manner that “they know I am coming.” Additionally, my credentials and my reputation, many times, precede my presentations, that “they” are ready. Current needs would be to develop more intense professional development series, have more conferences/summits throughout the state, and develop more research to support our work.
Are you affiliated with any other organizations working towards addressing the recruiting, mentoring, retaining, or promoting the wellbeing of BIPOC teachers?
The Summit for Social Justice-Millersville University is the current organization I am most involved with. Most of my work is consultative and independent. I am also involved with the School of Education-Black Educator Alumni-California State University, Northridge. Lastly, I am a consultant to the BSU at Millersville University in their quest to be heard and accepted as an organization for scholars of color.
How can people connect with you and continue to follow your work?