We’re interested in how to make racial justice change in education systems. We examine the day-to-day realities of individuals and groups in US school districts who are striving to lead for equity. We pay particular attention to how leaders across systems challenge and transform status quo decisions. We look for how they work to foster racial equity and justice.


District-level equity leadership has emerged as a new priority in PreK-12 school settings. A growing number of school districts are hiring equity directors, however there is little research on this position and their work.

We strive to reduce inequities in school districts by developing a robust understanding of how district administrators collaborate to transform systems to be more just.

Ultimately, we want to expand and strengthen learning opportunities for children and youth of color.


Our team works to challenge power inequities that are common in research collaborations. We approach the work as learners, striving to embody humility, constantly questioning what’s equitable and why.

Phase I- 2016 to 2020

In our initial study of equity directors across the country, we sought to learn what they did, and how they experienced the work. We identified four different ways the role is configured. We found that the role was predominantly occupied by BIPOC, especially Black women. We learned that the racial and historical context profoundly shapes how the work unfolds and spreads across a system. 

Phase II- 2020 to 2024

We are honored to be the recipients of a multi-year grant from the Spencer Foundation that will enable us to do work deeply with three US school districts. We’re striving to understand how and why equity work began, how key actors move, and how this work spreads across systems.