Partners

Jamie Almanzán
Partner

Jamie Almanzán is a facilitator, teacher, curriculum developer and leadership coach currently working as an Equity Leadership Coach and the owner of The Equity Collaborative in Oakland, California. Prior to leading The Equity Collaborative he held the position of Senior Coach at the National Equity Project, in Oakland, CA. Jamie has also held the position of Director of Learning and Teaching at Pacific Educational Group in San Francisco. He has focused his career on working with school and district teams to create more equitable learning environments. His goal is to incorporate observation, collaboration, and changing instruction to best meet the needs of underserved populations, particularly African American and Latino students. Jamie is involved in systemic school reform initiatives and is responsible for the development and facilitation of leadership seminars for state, regional and district teams across the country. Jamie leads professional learning and coaches in a wide range of schools and districts in California and nationally.
View Jamie’s keynote address at the 2012 School Improvement Network Innovation Summit.

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Graig Meyer
Partner
Graig Meyer is a social worker, educator, and youth development specialist working as an Equity Leadership Coach and partner in The Equity Collaborative. He has sixteen years of experience leading equity work in public schools. Additionally, Graig was the director of the nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate program. He also served as the Director of Student Equity and Volunteer Services for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro (NC) City Schools. Graig was one of the co-creators of the Student Six: Strategies for Culturally Proficient Classroom Practice, which has been nationally recognized for its innovative use of student voice to train teachers in research based best practice. Additionally, he works with school districts and non-profits nationally from his base in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Graig is also a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. View Graig’s keynote address at the 2012 School Improvement Network Innovation Summit.
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Aaron Johnson
Partner

Aaron is a teacher, administrator, higher education faculty, and an author, currently working as an Equity Leadership Coach with the Equity Collaborative. He has twenty years of experience in public education and has served as a classroom teacher, principal, director of instruction, and assistant superintendent with a commitment to equity in public school environments. He most recently served as the assistant superintendent for diversity, equity, and inclusion in a public school district. Aaron has presented at several local, regional, and national conferences with an emphasis on developing literacy for African American students in schools. He is the author of the Teachers College Press book, A Walk in Their Kicks: Literacy, Identity, and the Schooling of Young Black Males. He is the creator of the Black Male Literacy Paradigm, which is a framework used by schools to engage Black youth in school literacy practices. Aaron is also active in the Detroit area and started the non-profit, The American Literacy Society, whose vision is to engage citizens in literacy to participate in the democratic process.

Associates

Bettina Umstead
Associate

Bettina Umstead believes that every child is born with a purpose and immense potential yet the impacts of systemic racism create significant barriers for children of color to thrive. Upon graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Grades Education, she sought opportunities to fight for equity in education. She worked for 10 years at Student U, a community organization that uses the power of education to build a just and equitable Durham, walking alongside Black and brown families on their journey to and through college. Under her leadership, 100% of students graduated from high school and 90% matriculated to post-secondary education. Her direct service work led to her interest in systemic change to have a greater impact on the lives of students and families. In 2016, Bettina was appointed to the Durham Public Schools Board of Education where she currently serves as Board Chair. She enjoys serving in her community, spending time with family and friends, and cheering for the Tar Heels.

Danya Perry
Associate
Danya Perry serves as the Director, Equitable Economic Development with Wake County Economic Development (WCED) and Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.  In this role, Perry supports efforts to ensure economic development in Wake County’s most vulnerable communities.  This includes increasing economic mobility, workforce development, strengthening municipal economic ecosystems, and supporting small businesses.  Prior to WCED, Perry worked for Communities In Schools (CIS) of North Carolina as the Vice President of Support Services and has served as a education and community advocate for the past twenty years.  In this capacity, Perry has assisted many organizations in their mission to ensure academic proficiency, provide a conducive learning environment, and mobilize the community around youth.  Perry has co-authored several books - “Preventing Violence & Crime in America’s Schools:  From Put Downs to Lock Downs,” which speaks to the need for early prevention and “The Secrets for Motivating, Educating, and Lifting the Spirits of African-American Males.”  Perry has also served as a national consultant for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Gang and Violence Reduction Project.  This project seeks to provide states with the tools necessary to intervene and eradicate gang activity.
Miya Hayes
Associate

An exemplary educator with rich and varied experiences, Miya is a trailblazer in the educational field.  After teaching bilingual kinder in rural Texas, she worked for a national company integrating technology into secondary classroom instruction.  From there she began work in college access, equity and inclusion at UC Berkeley with a focus on low-income, first-generation college bound, and/or historically underrepresented students and their families.  In her near 18 years with the University, Miya has honed expertise in working with schools and districts (locally and across the state) in developing, promoting and sustaining college-going culture to support all students in their post-secondary choices.  Specifically, this work involves curriculum and course development for a-g approval, teacher, counselor and adviser coaching, and training.  She has continued to break new ground working with major districts and organizations in California as well as at the University level to develop and implement policies and practices to support for African American students to and through post-secondary institutions. 

Mary Hannula
Associate

Mary Hannula is a high school social studies teacher, facilitator, culturally relevant curriculum trainer, and equity coach/lead teacher currently working at Roseville Area High School, located in the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolitan area. Mary also facilitates equity trainings with The Equity Collaborative led by Jamie Almanzán and Graig Meyer. Mary has focused her career on reducing the opportunity gap for marginalized populations. Recently, her coaching has focused on transforming curriculum through guiding teachers in the use of an absent narrative lens. This year she will lead equity trainings and coach teachers on both the high school and district level to use race-based conversations to change practice. Mary is passionate about creating systemic educational change. She has presented and facilitated at conferences in Minnesota and nationally.