Teruko Doabshi-Taylor, assistant principal at Toomer Elementary School, knows first-hand what it’s like for people to use race and socioeconomic status as reasons for children not being successful. As a former foster youth, she experienced this from both teachers and social workers. That’s why she works to ensure every single child receives a quality education regardless of their race, class or culture.
“We must cultivate classrooms where students’ diversity is honored and respected, and we must teach students to be critical thinkers who advocate for change in their schools and communities,” said Ms. Dobashi-Taylor.
Steeped in equity work since she was a teengaer, Ms. Dobashi-Taylor continues that work every day at Toomer Elementary. As the co-creator and developer of the school’s weekly equity professional learning, she helps provide perspective into how teachers’ identity, school policies and practices, and implicit biases impact students.
When it comes to students, her main focus is on opportunities within the classroom, but Ms. Dobashi-Taylor also helps prepare them for life outside of school.
“Through empirical research, storytelling, and community building, I am always seeking action-based, research-informed materials to help shape our curriculum and to cultivate a climate that promotes equity,” said Ms. Dobashi-Taylor. “Learning about culturally responsive school leadership, aspects of social justice, and being trauma-informed is integral in growing and reflecting. Creating this deeper understanding also helps shape the work that needs to be done in schools and in our community.”
Ms. Dobashi-Taylor understands that this work is a marathon rather than a race, but she plans to run for as long as she can.
“With the community behind me and the vision of equity and racial justice in front of me, nothing can stop the fire that burns, which I believe will help to dismantle inequitable practices,” she said.