Centering the voices, knowledge, and skills of Black and Latinx educators in educational research

A cohort of 20 educators and 20 researchers are participating in the design and implementation of an innovative equity-focused research process that positions Black and Latinx educators as research leaders.

Why do we need to shift power in educational research and development?

Black and Latinx educators must be better supported to lead conversations about improving educational practice, in particular for Black and Latinx youth. Their experiences, points of view, challenges, and curiosities must be centered in any research conducted to inform practice, policy, and innovation.

In contrast, however, educational research is typically driven by the needs and objectives of (largely White) researchers who bring their questions, gather data, and leave with the learnings. Too often, those learnings do not return to serve the very educators and students who informed the research.

About the Initiative

Shifting Power in Educational Research and Development (Shifting Power) aims to shift these traditional power dynamics that are inherent in many research and development (R&D) infrastructures. Shifting Power is a collaborative initiative between Remake Learning and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

At the start of the 2020-21 school year, 20 Black and Latinx educators will be paired with 20 researchers across institutions in Western Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Together, these teams will co-develop and implement research projects in the educators’ learning spaces. With the support of their research partner and a deeply place-based, emancipatory R&D infrastructure (based on the work of Dr. Temple Lovelace), participating educators will be positioned to lead and solve their own problems of practice.

In addition to their research projects, participants will engage in a number of learning opportunities hosted by the PittEd Justice Collective to grow in their racial consciousness and ability to lead conversations about education practice and research.

By providing connections, resources, and a platform, the participating Black and Latinx educators will be positioned to directly influence local R&D in education. As we learn together, it is the hope that this process will inform equity-centered R&D processes nationwide.

Participants and Progress

We are incredibly excited about our 2020-21 cohort of educators and researchers. They include 20 Black and Latinx PreK-12 educators, including classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, out-of-school providers and youth workers, as well as 20 university-based, non-profit, and independent researchers and learning scientists. Congratulations to these individuals!


Lisa Marie Benavides
Homewood Children’s Village

Candace Burgess
Pittsburgh Festival Opera

Alesha Clinton
Propel Schools

Alonna Cuffe
Propel Schools

Eduardo Fajardo
Pittsburgh Public Schools

Delana Flowers
Teaching Artist

David Hairston
Pittsburgh Public Schools

Shaasia Jackson
Pittsburgh Public Schools

Malimi Joram Kazi
Provident Charter School

Cynthia “Muffy” Mendoza
Homeschooling Parent

Jason Orr
Propel Schools

Lisa Pickett
Pittsburgh Public Schools

John Robertson
Pittsburgh Public Schools

Andre Samuel
The Citizen Science Lab

Sister IAsia Thomas
Pittsburgh Public Schools and Children’s Windows to Africa

Amil Nyerere Thomas Cook
Propel Schools

Ginger Thompkins
Pittsburgh Public Schools

Stacy Tweedy
Nazareth Prep

Deshanna Melinda Wisniewski
Hampton Township

Judith Williams-Wright
Propel Schools


June Ahn
University of California Irvine, School of Education

Laura Aldrete
Trying Together

Eleanor Anderson
University of Pittsburgh, School of Education

Christina Marie Ashwin
Chatham University

Kayla Booth
University of Pittsburgh, School of Computing and Information

Amanda Brown Cross
University of Pittsburgh, Office of Child Development

M. Beatrice Dias
Carnegie Mellon University, CREATE Lab

Kimberly Kris Floyd
West Virginia University, College of Education and Human Services

Caitlin Forbes Spear
University of Pittsburgh, Office of Child Development

Sarah Hamilton
Independent Researcher

Josie Innamorato
Allegheny Intermediate Unit

Shamya Karumbaiah
University of Pennsylvania, Penn Center for Learning Analytics

Kristina N. LaVenia
Bowling Green State University, School of Educational Foundations, Leadership & Policy

Channing L. Moreland, EdD, NCC
University of Pittsburgh, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS)

Rachel Robertson
University of Pittsburgh, School of Education

Candice C. Robinson
University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work

Edward Elkanah Scott Sr.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, School of Business

Sarah Selmer
West Virginia University, College of Education and Human Services

Jean-Jacques Ngor Sene
Chatham University, School of Arts, Science & Business

April Warren-Grice
Liberated Genius, LLC