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About Carole Collins-Ayanlaja

Dr. Carole Rene’ Collins Ayanlaja, a native of Indianapolis, IN and a Chicagoan for three decades, holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is a parent, teacher, educational leader, and researcher.  A commitment to educational success for k-12 students through effective teaching and authentic equity-driven leadership is the hallmark of her professional career.

She began her educational career as a Chicago Public Schools 6th and 8th grade teacher in the Latinx community.  In 1998 she launched her leadership journey in suburban Cook County, soon thereafter joining Chicago Public Schools.   Prior to joining higher education in 2016, Dr. Collins Ayanlaja served as a public education leader for over 25 years in the capacity of elementary assistant principal and principal; high school assistant principal and principal; district director of curriculum and assessment, chief academic officer, chief assessment officer, and superintendent in Chicago, Suburban Cook County (IL), Ohio, Iowa, and Connecticut.

Currently, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, College of Education, Eastern Illinois University, Dr. Collins, as she is frequently called, prepares graduate candidates for the principalship and superintendency in the state of Illinois. Her research incorporates intersectionalities of race and gender in educational leadership and schooling experiences.  Carole promotes democratic engagement for diverse children and families in equitable learning environments that propel anti-racist pedagogy and inclusive practices.

Dr. Collins Ayanlaja engages in broader community work by partnering with schools, community organizations, and businesses to strategically plan, develop, and implement culturally responsive practices by building staff capacity to engage with families and propel programming that ensures access and equity.

Her greatest gift and accomplishment are that of being the mother of one young adult son, who recently graduated from Lake Forest College, her alma mater.  Carole is full of gratefulness and gratitude to her Creator for the intellectual capacity and opportunity to be a contributor to our collective field of education.

Show Highlights

  • Culturally responsive leadership
  • “Who are you?”
  • Facing history when leading
  • Strategies to deal with challenges
  • Critical questions to ask ourselves as leaders
  • Public relations and social issues

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Additional Resources

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Transform your school and your classroom with these best practices in equity

Leading Equity delivers an eye-opening and actionable discussion of how to transform a classroom or school into a more equitable place. Through explorations of ten concrete steps that you can take right now, Dr. Sheldon L. Eakins offers you the skills, resources, and concepts you’ll need to address common equity deficiencies in education.


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