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The Journey...

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While serving as a school principal, Tiana observed how classroom management profoundly impacts a teacher’s ability to teach and the student’s ability to learn. Intrigued by her discoveries of old information, she began to immerse herself into research, lecture, classroom instruction, and field studies related to intercultural competence, Restorative Justice practices, response to discipline, and classroom management techniques, and how these impact student outcomes. 

In 2008, Tiana began her journey on how to implement effective classroom management, as she was part of a committee at Kennedy Primary Academy in South Bend, IN. Tiana wrote, and was awarded, a South Bend Educational Foundation Grant called the “Culturally Responsive Teaching Project”. Tiana also wrote and was awarded a grant from Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, IN. These grants allowed her to initiate the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and begin a conversation about culturally responsive teaching with her fellow teachers at Kennedy Primary Academy. 

In 2009, under the leadership of the world-renowned social innovator in intercultural communication and conflict resolution, Dr. Mitchell Hammer, Tiana successfully completed her training to become a qualifier for the IDI. In the same year and following years in South Bend Schools, Tiana initiated and implemented workshops with her peers and colleagues at Monroe Primary Center, Harrison Primary Center, and faculty and staff at Marshall Intermediate Center on intercultural competence and Culturally Responsive Teaching.

 

In 2010, Tiana began to dig into the professional learning community aspect of education and its impacts on educating students. Through this decade, she has led and continues to lead several professional developments on Cultural Proficiency, using the Intercultural Development Inventory, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Character Education, Restorative Justice practices, Coaching for Results, and the Center for Teacher Effectiveness Time to Teach Model. As an IDI Qualifier, she has also held individual sessions with clients interested in their intercultural development, as well as led workshops with educational institutions. 

The professional learning communities on diversity, equity, and inclusion continue in 2020, as Tiana more recently administered the IDI to the board members, district administrators, and building principals of South Bend Community School Corporation as a part of the district's Department of Justice Federal Compliance Action Plan.

 

More recently, Tiana is a contributing author in the riveting book Fighting the Good Fight: Narratives of the African-American Principalship, by Dr. Isaac Carrier and Dr. Aaron Griffen. Currently, she serves as the Chief Academic Officer for Benton Harbor Area Schools in Benton Harbor, Michigan and serves as a coach for new teachers to the education field for the Edifying Teachers Coaching Network.     

 

While she aspires to create equitable educational environments where students and teachers thrive, she relishes the time she spends with her three sons and family. As a mother, school mom, community activist, and urban school educator, Tiana fervently believes that the student-teacher relationship and the teacher's will to gain a holistic understanding of the children they are serving is the critical piece overlooked in urban school settings.

It is her life’s mission to share what she has learned and continues to learn about building truly diverse and inclusive communities and organizations. 

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