Pat Savage-Williams

I have been excited to participate in the National SEED Project. I attended the training for the National SEED Project in the summer of 2009 (SEED 23) and I have co-facilitated the year-long SEED in my school district for the past four years.

I received my B.A. degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I continued my studies there as a graduate student and earned a Masters in Educational Psychology. I also earned a Type 75 Educational Administration Certificate from National–Louis University.

I currently live in the Evanston-Skokie, Illinois community, with my husband and two daughters. As an African-American family, we discuss race often in our household. We have had many discussions with our children about race throughout their childhood. My daughters are currently 18 and 21 and attend Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.

As an educator for 35 years, I have worked with students from pre-school through grade 12. I have been a school psychologist for 25 years in Evanston, Illinois. I am currently working at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois as a special education coordinator. New Trier Township High School’s student population of 4000 students is predominantly white with a total non-white enrollment of approximately 15 percent.

The SEED program at New Trier is well established and has run for 20 years. As a participant of the year-long SEED seminar during the 2006-07 school year, I appreciate the benefits of the program and continue to be challenged to reflect on my experiences and the experiences of others around issues of oppression and privilege. The tools I have acquired as a participant and facilitator are invaluable. I share my stories and listen to others as my understanding and knowledge deepened. Since my co-facilitation of SEED at New Trier, SEED has become a two-year experience at New Trier. SEED I offers an opportunity for personal reflection on identity, race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

I realized the need to encourage participants to take these reflections, combine them with relevant theory and best practices, and apply them to the work they do with students every day. Therefore, year two of SEED (SEED II) is about implementing the insights and knowledge gained from SEED I into the things we do in school on a daily basis. In my co-facilitation of the New Trier year-long SEED seminars I never cease to learn and grow from the many readings, stories and SEED activities.

I am happy to serve as a SEED summer staff member for the New Leaders’ Week. My first experience as SEED summer staff was in 2012. I look forward to continuing, as I expect to find the experience full of its own new and unique set of challenges, which will add to my understanding and learning and help me develop new skills and options for actions.

— Cheryl Robinson, Supervisor, Office of Minority Achievement, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia

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