Sharif El-MekkiFounder and CEO, The Center for Black Educator Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania​


    To build on the success of our Freedom Schools Literacy Program, the Center for Black Educator Development will develop a national campaign to: (1) Engage Black and Latinx high school and college students by creating and leading a coalition of partner organizations to recruit and advocate and develop an Educator Pathway Model (EPM)/#Black/Brown Educator Revolution campaign that is culturally affirming for Black and Brown students; (2) Codifying and expanding clinical experiences (Freedom Schools, Liberation Academy, and Dual Enrollment) and virtual experiences (speaker series, book club, etc.) to students across the country. Develop the capacity to directly run FSLA/LA and Dual Enrollment in expansion cities and/or support licensees to run them through an RFP process; (3) Developing collaborative and scalable ‘to and through’ strategies with educator preparation programs and school districts. Identify and augment support systems for future Black educators to transition through college; (4) Launching a national marketing campaign. Develop a Teaching for Social Justice Campaign/Black/Brown Educators Rising awareness and recruitment campaign focused on building teaching identities for high school and college students.


    The Center exists to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural backgrounds and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve. The Center is developing a nationally relevant model to measurably increase teacher diversity and support Black educators through four pillars: Professional learning, Pipeline, Policies, and Pedagogy.  

    So far, the Center has developed ongoing and direct professional learning and coaching opportunities for Black teachers and other educators serving students of color. The Center also carries forth the freedom or liberation school legacy by hosting a Freedom School that incorporates research-based curricula and exposes high school and college students to the teaching profession to help fuel a pipeline of Black educators. 

    Prior to founding the Center, Sharif El-Mekki served as a nationally recognized principal and U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow. El-Mekki’s school, Mastery Charter Shoemaker, was recognized by President Obama and Oprah Winfrey, and was awarded the prestigious EPIC award for three consecutive years as being amongst the top three schools in the country for accelerating students’ achievement levels. The Shoemaker Campus was recognized as one of the top ten middle school and top ten high schools in the state of Pennsylvania for accelerating the achievement levels of African-American students. El-Mekki is also the founder of the Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice, an organization dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and developing Black male teachers and educators. El-Mekki blogs on Phillys7thWard, is a member of the 8 Black Hands podcast and serves on several boards and committees focused on educational and racial justice.