Principals Share Advice on Addressing Racial Bias in Schools

In two audio interviews, principals of color talk with Education Week about how they address bias and cultural competence within their schools.

Principals Share Advice on Addressing Racial Bias in Schools

At a time when students of color now comprise a majority in the nation’s schools, the supply of principals, much like the teaching profession, remains overwhelmingly white. In the following interviews, assistant editor Ross Brenneman talks with two principals of color about how they mitigate bias within their schools, infuse cultural competency into instruction, and use their life experiences to anchor their leadership.

Special Collection: Beyond Bias: Countering Stereotypes in School

"Know what's happening in the news, because you need to know about what kids are coming in here every day dealing with."

Carmen R. Killingsworth is the principal of Pioneer Elementary School in Bolingbrook, Ill. Killingsworth, a former special education teacher, recently delivered a workshop at a Washington conference for the National Alliance of Black School Educators about how to address issues of bias when they come up between administration and faculty.

"I was very well behaved, so I think I was overlooked in a classroom of 30-something students, and as a result I really didn't learn to read until very, very late."

Laura Yee is the principal of Georgetown Day School's Lower School in Washington. Georgetown Day is an independent school that prides itself on cultural competency—students learn about the word "privilege" at an early age, and teachers are encouraged to address cultural issues related to bias with their students.

Interviews By: Ross Brenneman, Education Week | Photos: T.J. Kirkpatrick & Alyssa Schukar | Design & Visualization: Ross Brenneman & Stacey Decker

A version of this article appeared in the February 17, 2016 edition of Education Week