Isaiah R. Walker on Recruiting and Retaining Black, Indigenous, Educators of Color

Key Points

  • For recruitment, look for a growth mindset and for how the talent receives feedback.

  • Educators have to also be lifelong learners. Over time, this also positively improves conditions for the students. 

  • Be super intentional about your bench. (Instructional assistants)

Isaiah Walker KIPP Academy Retaining Educators of Color

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, Deion Jordan is joined by Isaiah Walker, principal at KIPP Philadelphia Prep Academy, where he manages and mentors multiple Principals in Residence. 

Isaiah started his teaching career at Saint Charles Borromeo School in Harlem, teaching middle school science. He then transitioned to Newark to teach middle school English language arts at Great Oaks Charter School. Later on, Isaiah spent five years working with KIPP focusing on building teacher coaching and leadership development with KIPP NYC and KIPP School Leadership Programs. As a leader in his building and the KIPP network, Isaiah developed multiple at-risk intervention programs to address social and emotional issues for students that are being used throughout the organization and across the country. Isaiah holds a B.A. from Columbia University, has studied and received certifications from Cornell University and Harvard University, and is currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania.

I think the sentence I want to leave folks with is it’s not okay to be okay. It’s not okay to be basic — you’ve got to aspire to excellence and our kids deserve that.

Isaiah Walker


Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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