Meet Our Newest Team Members

Transforming Education’s essential antiracist whole child focus requires a team of knowledgeable, dedicated, student-centered individuals who can work with partners to shift systems and policies to better serve young people. We have grown our team with equity-minded professionals who have years of experience as thought leaders on key topics of whole child development and educational equity. Join us in welcoming Senior Partner dr. alicia nance, Lead Partner Bavu Blakes, and Lead Partner Sarah Stone!

dr. alicia nance | Senior Partner

What brings you joy and energy outside of work?
Mi familia and friends, co-conspiring with young people, keeping a connection to land (my toes in the soil and soil under my nails), learning from plantitas, the beach (salt and sunshine on my skin), self-care, music and dancing, Julie mangoes and cheeses of all kinds, being active (running, triathlons, quad roller skating, gymnastics, CrossFit), my spirituality and faith, being creative, my two fur babies, books and reading, learning and growing, doulaing, community organising and honoring my elders and ancestors.

What is your self-care routine?
Writing in my gratitude journal, reading the Bible, connecting with loved ones and new people, slowing down and appreciating the small moments and things, being active, growing food, dancing and listening to music as often as possible, Kemetic yoga, Ayurvedic healing, somatic healing, spiritual herbalism and energy work, eating natural foods, embracing silence and listening to the Divine in nature.

What is one book you would recommend to our readers, and why?
I love books and reading so much that I am recommending two books.
My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem is a great introduction to somatic healing and abolitionism. It leads us on an exploration of how racism is not about the head but about the body, and how it affects us all, regardless of how we are racialized. This book focuses on processes for healing, an essential, often omitted part of the conversation, through a new understanding of white supremacy as body-centered.
The Power Manual: How to Master Complex Power Dynamics by Cyndi Suarez supports the development of an analysis of the concept of power,  with a focus on the dynamics of domination and liberation. There is a lot of confusion between the struggle for power and the quest for liberation. A thorough understanding of power and mastering power dynamics is an essential skill for change agents, as we often forget that in any conflict there is a tendency to become the mirror image of one’s opponent.

Bavu Blakes | Lead Partner

What is one book you would recommend to our readers, and why?
I would recommend Gholdy Muhammad’s “Cultivating Genius” not only because it is a thrilling read and stellar presentation of a viable framework for educational equity at the classroom level, but also because it leverages primary source documents to pose classic (albeit undervalued and underutilized) solutions to modern problems. “Cultivating Genius” reminds me of how much literature and research has been available to us for hundreds of years, if only we have the eyes to see it.

What brings you joy and energy outside of work? 
I am joyful, energized, and inspired when my wife and children are joyful, energized, and inspired. When I see their curiosities being fed, their creative genius on display, their challenges being faced, their smiles and laughter … these all count as small, crucial wins in my constant undertaking of improvement as a husband, father, and family member. Arts, literature, adventure, nature, and sweat also bring me great joy and energy.

What is one piece of advice you have for educators in this moment?
Education is way more important than school!

Sarah Stone | Lead Partner

What is one book you would recommend to our readers, and why?
One book I would recommend is Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward. This book is rich, layered, deeply human, and illuminates familial connections and what it means to know.

What is something an educator said to you or taught you that has stuck with you for years?
There are two things that have deeply stuck with me over the years from my previous educators: 1. Practice feeling comfortable being uncomfortable 2. Do what you say you will do for teachers, parents, and students.

What is your life’s motto?
My life’s motto is “Learning and Unlearning.” I feel so lucky to recognize that growth is always available.

Resource Spotlight

30 Days of Mental Health
(Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project, August 2021)

Event of the Month

Helping Educators Lead Through Crisis
FuelEd Schools
September 28th, 2021

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