Superintendent León Hosts Event To Kick-off Men of Color “Rising Coalition” Professional Development Program


Superintendent León hosted the first-ever Black Men Rising Coalition + Latino Men Rising Coalition development event at the Dr. Marion A. Bolden Student Center on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The event hosted in commemoration of Women’s History Month, intended to highlight influential women who are committed to ensuring there are sufficient numbers of men of color that are well prepared to be leaders within the district.

The Black Men Rising and Latino Men Rising Coalition initiatives, were both introduced in 2021 as new programs - created by Superintendent León to guide and support male teachers of color as they navigate the path to leadership. The initiative was publicized via district-wide newsletters that go out to Principals and Teachers, respectively. All who were nominated or interested in applying, were required to provide a recommendation from their current Principal while also already demonstrating leadership potential within their respective schools. With statistics currently at 8% and 5% of the teaching pool (3,000 teachers) consisting of males of color – this program has provided candidates an opportunity to apply to a rigorous master's program and acquire formal and informal leadership roles that lead to participation in the Superintendent’s Leadership Pipeline.

“The merging of BMRC + LMRC was a critical next step in the all too important task of identifying and preparing male leaders of color for our schools.” shared Superintendent Roger León. “The gentlemen in attendance have already written to me about the intentionality of this work and in particular the significance of the support they felt from the influential women leaders who volunteered their time to engage them as they tackled real world problems of practice. The collaboration and partnerships evidenced by this event will resonate in the district for years to come.”

The event was the first gathering of its kind - a combined meeting of the two cohorts with 14 candidates, a total of seven individuals representing each subgroup. Participants and Speakers included: Honorable Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Nicole Butler and Tiffany Jackson of the Prudential Foundation, Alejandra Ceja of the Panasonic Foundation, Aisha Glover of Audible, Michellene Davis, Esq. of the National Medical Fellowships, and Anzella K. Nelms of the Newark Board of Education.

Program candidates were engaged in a roundtable setup that allowed the speakers to coach the candidates as they grappled with critical issues facing the district. During each round, candidates were given a challenge that they needed to unpack on educational leadership and the role of men in color. Their perspectives, strategies, and ideas about the issues presented were then shared with the full group and documented for future exploration.