I get my play on, too.

Hey Advocates!

We’ve been hanging out for a while now, but I have never really formally introduced myself. Since I plan on being around for a while, I think it’s time for you to know more about me, as a person. 

First and foremost, I love my Southy-ness! You may see a “Bless your heart” at some point in “The Weekend Voice”. I hail from the mighty state of Arkansas, but the Peach State (Georgia) raised me. My husband, Adrian, my four children, and I are bicoastal residents - residing in both Phoenix, AZ and in Covington, GA (“The Hollywood of the South”). 

In the words of one of the greatest women I know, Dr. Bettina Love, I wanted to do more than survive, so I set myself on the path of getting into “Good Trouble” (The Honorable and Beloved Congressman John Lewis), by becoming a Special Educator and a Certified School Counselor. As an architect of dreams and a guardian of aspirations, I am a very proud Diversity and Equity school leader. I am fiercely determined to ensure that every student, under the sound of my voice and within my view, has the freedom to dream big, reach high, and soar without fear of judgment or limitation - their own and others.

Now, before you give me any kudos, let me just let you know. I had absolutely NO desire to enter education. I didn’t desire to enter any parts of an education space, in the pursuit of an education career. I didn’t mind being a student, but I didn’t want to have any students. My beautiful grandmother bestowed this title upon me a long time before I ever accepted it…when I say a “long time” believe me it was a LONG time. I did everything but go into education. The way I avoided teaching and anything dealing with teaching was at a level unheard of. I wanted to get paid. I wanted to be respected. I wanted to be appreciated. Teaching just didn’t sound glamorous and it definitely didn’t sound like it paid. Nope. That was not for me. 

But you know what they say about having plans and God (or the Higher Power) laughing. Just know it’s so true. Life happened; and, before I knew it, I was in somebody’s classroom advocating for someone’s baby like they were my own child. 

I started this adventure, in 2010, and I’ve been going strong since. Don’t get me wrong. While it’s been one of the best choices I’ve ever made in my life, I’ve dealt with many hard days and a lot of sleepless nights, while existing in the world of education. This profession is not a joke. This is more than a job. It is heart work and hard work. You have to be in it for the right reason and you have to be a leader who serves and who apologizes and who is willing to learn and who is willing to grow and who is willing to laugh at your mistakes and who is willing to say “I don’t know” and who is willing to accept people where they are so you can move them where they desire to be and who is willing to disrupt systems and advocate for all students.

Now, just like I stand on business about breaking barriers in the realm of education, I get my play on, too. In my world, playlists know no boundaries, and every tune is an anthem of possibility. I enjoy musical fusions (Nipsey, Beyoncé, Marvin, Jhené, Tupac, Erykah, Jill, Kirk, and Joss), culinary delights (Feed me…but not in lieu of giving me my credit, because education is real good about giving you a jean and pizza day instead of a paycheck - that’s another topic for another day!), travel, all things #TrueBlue Spelman College and Atlanta, and giving back to my community. 

My mission in life is simple: to serve and to uplift others, to make the world a little bit brighter, and to make sure that all students know that their heartbeat matters. So if you're ever in need of a dose of inspiration, a deep dialogue about culture and creativity and authenticity and the pure joy of being unapologetically a Black Woman and a Black Woman Educator, a sprinkle of wisdom, or just a friendly face to brighten your day, come and see me or email me. In the footsteps of the powerful poet, Nikki Giovanni, I’m mining the human soul for undiscovered strength—I intend to continue blazing a trail of empowerment and enlightenment wherever I go.

Written By: Sholanda Smith, Content Creator Leading Equity Center


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