Equity and Excellence in Our Schools

In a partnership with Albany State University and The Wallace Foundation, Dr. Stephen Peters and Dr. Mark Wilson hosted a series of webinars during 2020 and 2021 to explore Equity and Excellence in Our Schools.

On this page, you’ll find:

  • Recordings of each of the five sessions (see above);
  • Recordings of each of the five follow-up sessions we held with our practitioner panels;
  • A study guide for leadership teams, school systems, or administrative teams to use the resources provided in their own video study.

Episode One.

How do we provide what our students need? How do we lead with equity and excellence? In this episode, Tommy Welch (Chief Equity and Accountability Officer for Gwinnett County Schools) and Kerensa Wing (2020 National Principal of the Year, NASSP; Principal of Collins Hill HS, Gwinnett County School) join hosts Stephen Peters and Mark Wilson in an exploration of equity and excellence in our schools.

Equity and Excellence: Tommy Welch and Kerensa Wing

Equity and Excellence: Baron Davis and Michael Duncan

Episode Two.

What happens when super, superintendents get together to talk about equity? Take a look below at the full-length session of “Equity and Excellence in Our Schools.” Superintendents Baron Davis (Richland Two, Columbia, SC) and Mike Duncan (Pike County, Zebulon, GA) joined hosts Stephen Peters and Mark Wilson in the latest episode of the series, sponsored by Albany State University’s Educational Leadership Department and The Wallace Foundation.

Episode Three.

What a session! If you want to see passion for education and hear examples of how to bring learning alive, you’ll want to watch this powerful session featuring Dr. Latrisha Chattin, Director of the Susie King Taylor Community School in Savannah, GA and Cicely Lewis, Media Specialist at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County Schools, GA.

Dr. Chattin’s school is built intentionally to study equity and social justice and these ideals are in the forefront of the curriculum at SKTCS.

Cicely Lewis was named the 2020 National School Librarian of the Year and is the founder of “Read Woke”, an international effort to increase readership of books written by and for all children.

Equity and Excellence: Latrisha Chattin and Cicely Lewis

Equity and Excellence: Rebecca Atkins and Alicia Oglesby

Episode Four.

The authors of “Interrupting Racism”, Rebecca Atkins and Alicia Oglesby, join Stephen and Mark to discuss their book, counseling during and after a global pandemic, and how we serve the needs of students in the upcoming school year.

Episode Five.

Nic Stone, Author, Joins Us for Equity and Excellence

NY Times Best-Selling Author, Nic Stone joins us to discuss her best sellers Dear Martin and Dear Justyce and to share her experiences that led her to be an acclaimed young adult author. Nic, a native of Georgia and a graduate of Spelman College, is one of today’s leading Young Adult authors and leads the way in lending stories that offer an opportunity for many of our students to read about characters that are like them.

Our Follow Up Sessions

After each of our sessions with thought-leaders, we called on different groups of practitioners to discuss those sessions with us. Our strategy was to model the conversations that school and/or system teams might have about providing opportunities for all students. These panels are part of our effort to: 1) share presentations from leading educational thought leaders; 2) demonstrate a panel conversation around that presentation; and 3) encourage school leaders to have your own conversations with your administrative team, leadership group, or entire faculty.

Here are those sessions, which, as it turned out, are awfully powerful in their own right. Give them a watch and see what you think!

Follow Up 1:

Jon-Erik Jones (Superintendent of Quitman County Schools), Liz Raeburn (Principal of Bryan County MS/HS) and Amy Thornton (Principal of Callaway Middle School) join hosts Stephen Peters and Mark Wilson to discuss Equity and Excellence in Our Schools. This panel is a follow-up to our though-leader presentation from Tommy Welch and Kerensa Wing the previous week.

Follow Up 2:

Superintendents Baron Davis and Michael Duncan delivered a masterclass on school leadership in our second episode. We brought on an all-star panel to discuss what they’d heard, and model how to effectively do a video study. Derick Austin (Putnam County Schools), Bronwyn Ragan-Martin (Early County Schools), and Amy Thornton (Troup County Schools) have a great conversation with Stephen and Mark.

Follow Up 3:

After an energizing session with Latrisha Chattin and Cicely Lewis, we brought in a panel of principals to connect with the learning. In this follow up, we’re joined by Cheryl Clark (Carroll County Schools, GA), Jim Finch (Mary Persons HS, Principal) and Moneak McCrary (Taylor County HS Principal).

Follow Up 4:

Our practitioner panel (Colleen Jones, Ithica Elementary School; Basil Marin of Chamblee Charter HS; and Torian White, South Effingham HS) talked about counselors, success for all students, and leading effective schools in this follow up to our session with our counselor/author friends Rebecca Atkins and Alicia Oglesby.

Follow Up 5:

In our season’s finale, we were joined by Donna Moss (from New York), Rotonya Rhodes (Greene County, Georgia), Linda Lumpkin (SWGA RESA), and Amy Thornton (Troup County Schools). Our final session was one of our best… Hosts Stephen and Mark together in person with a class of administrators, and a great recap from some of the leaders who were with us throughout the series. You can watch it here!

Resources for Growth:

From Episode One:

Video Clips to Use In Your Own Study

In episode one of “Equity and Excellence In Our Schools,” Tommy Welch and Kerensa Wing were our guests. This clip is designed for individuals or groups after watching the original episode.

From these four segments, you and your team can discuss:

1. What have been the effects of the pandemic on your efforts toward equity at your school?

2. What role do expectations of the adults in the school play in our equity efforts?

3. What’s working for you at your school? What are your points of progress in your journey of equity and excellence?

4. What pathways are you building for your students that lead to doors of opportunity for them?

From Episode Two:

On March 16, we had an exceptional session on Equity and Excellence with Superintendents Dr. Baron Davis (Richland District Two, Columbia, SC) and Dr. Mike Duncan (Pike County, GA).

From the session, we’ve pulled out some highlights and put them together in this reel for you and your team or faculty to use as conversation starters in your own exploration of equity and excellence in your school and system.

Here are the segments you’ll find in the video and some questions to get you started:

Segment One: Defining Equity. Watch the first clip and reflect on Dr. Davis’ statement: before we could work on equity, we needed to define it, and we define it as every student receives the opportunities and supports he/she needs to maximize his/her gifts and talents as they pursue their pathway to purpose. In what ways do you agree with Dr. Davis? In what ways do you do those things with/for students in your school/system? In what ways do you need to do differently to live up to that definition?

Segment Two: The Need for Equity Policies. Does your school/system have an equity policy? Watch the segment. In what ways did having an equity policy begin to improve conditions for students?

Segment Three: “How Are The Children?” This powerful segment explores the idea of collective care and responsibility. In what ways does your school/system exemplify the idea of ‘the children’ and their well-being existing as a priority? In what ways would that mindset make your school/system different?

Segment Four: From Knowing to Doing Dr. Duncan shares the idea that many students in poverty are terrific problem solvers and benefit when school is based on doing rather than knowing. He warns that shift won’t make everyone happy. Is your school/system a place of knowing, or a place of doing? How do you move it in such a way that it meets your students where they are?

Segment Five: The Courage to Lead. Dr. Peters poses this question… how do you find the courage to lead your school/system towards a more equitable existence? Watch the video… this part is longer than most segments because, it’s so rich in thoughts there wasn’t a good place to cut! After you watch the video, reflect on your school/system. What must you do to have the courage to lead? Where might you gain that courage? With whom can you work to make it less daunting?

Segment Six: What Are the First Steps? Rotonya Rhodes from Greene County GA posed the question during the live session, what are the first steps towards leading a school/system of equity. Watch the video. Listen to Dr. Davis challenge all of us as he says “you first have to check your own heart.” How is yours? In what ways do you need to change the way you think? How deeply are you committed to equity? Finally, Dr. Davis reminds you that many see equity as something that results in them having something taken away from them. That mindset is tough to battle, but he shares encouragement, but a reminder that equity work will probably leave some bruises. Are you ready for this work? With whom can you partner to better engage in this work?

From Episode Three:

Want to have a conversation with your team as a follow-up to the incredible webcast featuring Dr. Latrisha Chattin and Cicely Lewis?

Watch the video above for eight brief clips from the full session with the following questions that you can use to drive your conversations.

1) Listen to what Cicely Lewis is leading at Meadowcreek HS (and actually all over the world!). What are the efforts regarding equity that are happening in your classroom and your school?

2) Visible Equity. Please watch the clip from Cicely. Who is reading at your school? Who isn’t? What are you doing to increase reading among all of your students? Dr. Peters frequently says that literacy is the antidote to poverty.

3) Watch the clip, listening to Cicely discuss how the conditions have been developed for the equity work at Meadowcreek. Now, discuss “the principal’s touch” of school culture. How effectively does your school culture support efforts for equity for all?

4) Please watch the clip and listen to how Latrisha seeks representation in the curriculum. How are you doing with this? How might you do better? How do students feel when they rarely see people who look like them in the books they read or the history they learn?

From Episode Four:

Click on the video to launch into another tab or window.

Rebecca Atkins shares her “Five Ways to Utilize School Counselors Effectively.” Take a look at the video, and then consider, in what ways can better utilize our school counselors support efforts for more equitable opportunities and outcomes for our students?

Take time to watch Episode Four and talk about how you’ll support the mental health and social/emotional needs of both your students AND your faculty/staff this year.

From Episode Five:

In Episode Five, Dr. Donna Moss, former administrator and current educational consultant, shares a powerful set of points school and system leaders can use in examining their practices to ensure all of their students have what they need to be successful.

A great way to use this material is to watch episode five, and then use Dr. Moss’ points, displayed here, as a framework for your conversation in your school or system.


Donna J. Moss, Ph.D.

Moss Consulting/Administrator



29 June 2021

  1. Identify systemic and institutional barriers and practices that negatively impact
    students having equitable education opportunities.
  2. Focus on student work and learning and increase the use of portfolios to address
    instructional gaps that have occurred for the last year for student groups.
  3. Continue technology use and ways to provide access to the internet that were put in
    place during 2020-2021.
  4. Look at social justice gaps and inequities that exist for families and students and
    develop innovative ways to deal with them (e.g., access to food, clothing, laundry
    facilities, etc.).
    • Watch and share W. Kamau Bell series (i.e., United Shades of America on
      CNN and YouTube) that focuses on depth of racism, inequity, and social
      justice in all aspects of life and society in the U.S. — including his shows that
      deal with education.
  5. Address social emotional needs of students, families and staff and provide services
    using staff, Advisory Time, Parent Academies, meeting sessions, etc.
  6. Address how to better provide curriculum, instruction, and learning (e.g., address
    student learning modalities; increase interdisciplinary learning; integrate literacy in
    all instruction areas; update curriculum maps, etc.).
  7. Provide a curriculum that addresses the culture and history of students in the
    classroom as learning is not equitable if it does not provide students with a view of
    themselves in the culture and history being taught in all subject areas — We cannot
    leave out history and cultural achievements of groups of people be they Blacks,
    Hispanics, Native Americans, Women, or others and say learning is equitable.
  8. Have courage in making difficult and possibly controversial decisions and changes
    in the plans developed during summer 2021 that impact programs and students
    during 2021-2022 if the Delta variant continues to increase exponentially casewise as it currently is doing.