The Bull City Community Schools Partnership has officially onboarded four new Community School Coordinators, who will be absolutely crucial to implementing the Community School model in its first year at Club Boulevard Elementary, Southwest Elementary, E.K. Powe Elementary, and Lakewood Elementary. Hope Valley is moving forward with exciting parent engagement intitiatives and strengthening the relationships between parents and staff.
All four schools who went through a rigorous hiring process over the summer did so with elected, diverse and dedicated hiring committees to get admin, parent, and staff perspectives on this position. The coordinators will serve as a bridge between school and community, and as champions for racial equity, authentic engagement, and the six pillars of the Community School model. Each coordinator will be participating in the National Education Association’s credentialing course for new Community School Coordinators, and have access to the National Community School Coordinators Network as they navigate their first year in this new role.
We are so excited to enter this new phase, and grateful for the support of the Community Alliance for Public Education, the Durham Association of Educators, Durham County Commissioners, the Durham Board of Education, and of course Durham Public Schools district administration, whose willingness to collaborate with one another is making this pilot program possible.
Meet the Coordinators!
“I am excited to be a part of the Bull City Community Schools Initiative serving as the Community School Coordinator at Club Blvd Elementary. I have a BS in Childhood Education and an MA in Anthropology in Ed. Since moving to NC in 2008, I have worked work with universities and non-profits to support literacy for both children and adults. I am also a member of the Durham Mayor’s Council for Women. When I’m not at work, I am either with my family or at a community meeting or I might be at a community meeting with my family. I am really looking forward to supporting parent leaders in schools and helping folks learn and talk about race and racism and how it is impacting our communities.”
“I moved to Durham from Asheville, NC, my hometown. Before I became a Community School Coordinator I was a Tzedek Social Justice Fellow at the YWCA of Asheville. During my fellowship I wrote grants, facilitated racial justice workshops, and had the opportunity to learn about and explore different social justice issues and topics. Beforethat, I served in AmeriCorps for two years as a School Engagement Coordinator with Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC at Jones Elementary in Asheville. At Jones I connected students and families with resources, served as a liaison with different community partners, advocated for Black and Brown students and families, and supported racial justice efforts in the school. I’m also an organizer and focus most of my organizing on Black liberation and queer liberation in the South. I’m so excited to be a Community School Coordinator at Southwest Elementary because I believe that we can, and must, make schools a place where ALL students can succeed. I think that the Community Schools model gives us the opportunity and tools to build trust and connect with students and families who have historically been left out or pushed out by inequities in education. I’m very inspired by the work I see folks in Durham pushing forward and I’m looking forward to building power and community here.”
“My name is Evelyn Ponce. I am from Venezuela. I am married and have a 9 month old daughter. I have worked with organizations throughout my career that have focused on helping children succeed. I worked with Advocates for Children’s Services (a project of Legal Aid that works to break the school to prison pipeline), the Youth Organizing Institute in Raleigh, as well as Juntos (a program at NC State that helps Latino middle and high school students succeed). I have also worked with Child Protective Services and with Wake County Public Schools as a Social Worker. As someone that grew up in Durham, I am excited to be a part of this work because I want to see Durham Public Schools succeed in giving all students the opportunities and support they need to graduate and go on to be successful adults. Durham has such a diverse population and I think that the Community School model is a perfect fit for the needs of this community. I am thrilled to be a part of this work!”
“I’m Daniela Sanchez, the new Community School Coordinator at Lakewood Elementary. I was born in Mexico, but grew up in Colorado for 16 years. Fort Hays State University, in Kansas, is my alma mater and I moved to North Carolina in 2013. Needless to say: I love to travel, experience new cultures and to learn from those around me. I also really enjoy making others laugh. My faith is incredibly important to me and Bear Lake, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, is my favorite place to retreat to. One of my greatest passions is empowering children to realize and live into their potential and I’m so excited to be able to be a part of that at Lakewood Elementary! Some of the most influential people in my life were the teachers that saw my potential, when I couldn’t see it myself. I believe I now have the opportunity to give back, in similar ways, through the Community Schools model, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”