I enjoyed working locally in Idaho at the WCA Youth REPs Retreat.


Hey Advocates,

On April 13, Ralph Yarl, a 16-year-old US teenager, was shot and wounded after knocking on the wrong residence in an attempt to pick up his two younger siblings. I'm saddened to hear about this, and I'm praying for his recovery and the community in Kansas City.


Over the weekend, I enjoyed working locally in Idaho at the WCA Youth REPs Professional Development Retreat. The Youth REPs inform the WCA prevention programs, create awareness campaigns, and lead efforts to educate their peers. Their peer-to-peer advocacy aims to educate young people and raise awareness about important issues around dating violence, sexual assault/harassment, and bullying. Their mission is to shift harmful social norms in order to ensure that everyone in their communities thrive in safe, healthy relationships. 

I worked with this fantastic group of high schoolers (primarily seniors) to develop their advocacy skills, awareness, and knowledge for supporting their community. I love working with student groups as they are our future changemakers 🙂

Here's some of the feedback that I received:

Hey there Sheldon!

The kids had such a great time and really enjoyed your presentation. I asked the kiddos for some feedback about the retreat overall, and I thought I would share their thoughts on your presentations! :D

What are some of your thoughts about the Leading Equity presentation (Dr. Sheldon Eakins):

  • I thought his presentation was really thought-provoking and important! I thought the three hours would feel like a drag but what he had to say was important to learn and I'm glad he was there.
  • I LOVED SHELDON. He was super cool, the information was great, and I loved how conversational it all was. I feel like a better human after having listened to his presentation.
  • I think it was fascinating the personal experiences he and his family have faced. It made me sad for them but the more awareness we have the bigger change we can make.
  • I learned a lot about my own bias and privilege and it was super cool to learn from someone that cared so much about what he was doing.
  • He gave me some really great insight and I'm glad that I will be able to confront microaggressions without getting aggressive myself.
  • I loved him!!!!! He was so nice and helpful and just generally had really good information and discussions
  • I really loved how personable and interactive Mr. Eakins was. It was really interesting and engaging.
  • My favorite presentation, I enjoyed the conversations we had, and he was a very great speaker
  • So so important, I loved how it was more like a conversation and less like a presentation
  • I liked this one the most because I learned the most during it.

Shannon Montaño (she/her/hers) Prevention Program Specialist


I'd love to speak to your youth in person or virtually. Some of my most popular conversations include student empowerment, peer support, motivation, and advocacy. If you are interested, let's chat!

I also want to send a shoutout to Dr. Angie Barfield and her team at the Black Students of California United. We did three virtual sessions "Out of Sight, Out of Mind, How Implicit Bias Impacts the Way We Serve Our Students," "Dealing with Racial Slurs," and "Do Black Lives Matter."

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the honor of participating in the STEM CON and Beyond 2023, Hosted by Kerry Tracy of Feel Good Teaching. My speech was entitled "The Asset-Based Approach: Unlocking the Potential of Every Learning."

Session Description

In education, we often look at students from a "let's give them what they don't have" approach. This is a deficit mindset to have. Rather than focusing on students' deficits, such as lower reading scores, learning loss, and statistics, we can embrace students where they are and build from there. In this session, Dr. Eakins will discuss what it means to view students' individuality and talents as assets. Additionally, Dr. Eakins will discuss teaching strategies for asset-based pedagogy. This session is ideal for K-12 educators.



Next week, I'll work with the Downingtown Area School District, Kansas City University, St. Louis Public Schools, and speaking at the Black Educational Advocacy Coalition Conference in Champaign, IL.

Let's chat if you are looking for an engaging speaker to work with your students or staff! I'm currently booking for the summer and 2023-24 school year.


Those are my thoughts this week. Make sure you check out Monday's podcast episode next week.

Have a great weekend,


Book Dr. Eakins

Check out what the LEC has to offer!

P.S. Would you take a moment to write a review of my book on Amazon?


Sign Up For the Weekend Voice

Every Friday you can expect a small and informative message from the Leading Equity Center. The Weekend Voice is meant to challenge your thoughts of education today and to provoke you to take action in your schools.