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The Counter Narrative Podcast Season 2, Episode 11: Interview with Kwame Sarfo-Mensah

The Counter Narrative Podcast Season 2, Episode 11: Interview with Kwame Sarfo-Mensah

Charles Williams | @_cwconsulting
January 18,  2021

In this episode, I chat with Kwame Sarfo-Mensah, a 14-year veteran urban educator and the founder of Identity Talk Consulting, LLC., an independent educational consulting firm that provides professional development and consulting services to K-12 school districts, educators, colleges & universities and educational non-profit organizations. He is also the author of two books: “Shaping the Teacher Identity: 8 Lessons That Will Help Define the Teacher in You” and “From Inaction to ‘In Action’: Creating a New Normal for Urban Educators”.

As a staunch ambassador and advocate for teacher empowerment, Kwame has spoken at numerous national education conferences and worked diligently to support the recruitment and retention of teachers of color in the education system. In January 2019, he was selected to be in the inaugural cohort of the InSPIRED (In-Service Professionals Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity) Fellowship, an initiative organized by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for veteran teachers of color to recruit students of color to teach in Massachusetts. As an InSPIRED Teaching Fellow, Kwame facilitated professional development workshops for aspiring teachers at universities Welcome to the Counter Narrative Podcast, a show designed to change the way we talk, and think, about education. By sharing stories of successes and triumphs, we aim to challenge the dominant narrative that often negatively portrays our disenfranchised populations.and has served as a guest speaker for non-profit teacher pipeline programs such as Generation Teach and Worcester Public Schools’ Future Teachers Academy.

A proud graduate of Temple University, Kwame holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.  He was honored as the 2019 National Member of the Year by Black Educators Rock, Inc. for his unwavering commitment to the advancement of the teacher profession.  Kwame’s work has also been featured in Edutopia, Education Post, WGBH News, The Educators’ Room, LLC., and Medium.

During our conversation we engaged in a controversial, yet needed conversation around the idea that educational systems were not designed for students of color. Kwame discusses the need for teachers to actually begin developing content rich, culturally responsive lessons so that all of our students are prepared to transition into higher ed or the workplace. He stresses that students of color are often not being developed as critical thinkers and thus contributors to society but instead being conditioned for compliance and obedience. Kwame suggests taking inventory of our students’ talents and developing opportunities for them to tap into that potential as opposed to adhering to narrow definitions of achievement. We also discussed the concept of advocacy and standing up for the students in our care. That it is our job, our duty to recognize our value and worth so that we are not intimidated to speak on behalf of our students when there exists injustice.

Charles Williams has served in urban education for 15 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal while working with students in grades PK - 12. He has developed innovative programs and structures that have resulted in successful schools in both Indiana and Illinois. He has also presented and spoken at numerous events. Charles is the founder of CW Consulting, an Educational Consulting Group, the host of the Counter Narrative Podcast, and the host of Real Educators Talk, a monthly discussion designed to engage educators in authentic conversations around education.


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