Solidarity in the Struggle: The Profound Effect of Having a Conscious Black Principal

The experience of having a conscious Black principal who demonstrates socio-political solidarity with Black and Brown communities can have a profound effect on the careers of Black teachers.

Gemayel Hazard writes in Education Week about his experiences as a Black man teaching in schools. He juxtaposes the alienation and disconnect he felt at one school with a principal who did not identify with the struggles of the community he served with the experience of working in a school with a Black principal who was committed to equity and justice.


Many studies show that Black teachers often bear an invisible tax which can lead to disillusionment and high turnover. The immensely positive impact of Black teachers on Black student outcomes is substantial so the avoidable churn of Black teachers has a colossally negative impact on student achievement. 

Our experiences as Black administrators as well as our history with having community-focused Black principals was a major catalyst for our decision to launch the Center for Black Educator Development.

It was inspiring to know that Gemayel found a school community that was committed to educational, racial, and social justice. He is committed to leading his classroom for years to come. A lot can be learned from his experiences.

You can find the article here. 

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About the author

Sharif El-Mekki

Sharif El-Mekki is the principal of Mastery Charter School–Shoemaker Campus, a neighborhood public charter school in Philadelphia that serves 750 students in grades 7-12. From 2013-2015, he was one of three principal ambassador fellows working on issues of education policy and practice with U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.

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