DR. CHRISTINA KISHIMOTO | AUGUST 2023
This August, as another school year gets started, I cannot help but think about the beautiful children and youth who will be filling our classrooms and school campuses. In the United States, today more than 50% of our students are students of color. This is both the now and the future for our entire population – a mosaic of the world in our public schools and in our workplaces. This means that as we start the school year, we should see leadership in our schools, districts, and boards that reflect the increasing diversity in our youth.
That is why this month, I am so excited to have the opportunity to speak with Dr. Charlene Williams, the recently appointed Secretary of Education for the State of Oregon. A seasoned education professional, Dr. Williams is set to become the first Black woman in Oregon’s history to helm the state’s Department of Education, having previously served as deputy superintendent for Evergreen Public Schools. Williams is primed to advance equity and student success across the state. Although she faces significant challenges, including the fallout from pandemic-related changes in the education system, Williams is a leader who sees a bright future for Oregon schools, offering new hope for the state’s diversifying student population.
According to Krista Parent, Deputy Executive Director of the Coalition of School Administrators, only nine of the superintendents in 216 school districts and education service districts in Oregon are people of color, and only 49 are women, well below the national averages in both categories. Please listen to my conversation with Dr. Williams about this and much more.
I am also thrilled about the launch of our women-only network for education leaders in PK-12 school systems. The Flamboyan Network provides a supportive space for collaboration and learning that complements and amplifies the equity-focused work in which we are all engaged. This very month, on August 30th, we are featuring a discussion with Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez on Equity as a Civil Right: a discussion on the implications of the Sheff vs. O’Neill case, settled in 2022.
Membership in The Flamboyan Network is free and is available for women in PK-12 public education leadership roles. Stay tuned as we will be opening additional networks for women in other roles. If you are a Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Executive Director, Principal, or Assistant Principal, please join us under the shade tree in The Flamboyan Network. Click the button below to get started!