Education Roundtable: How Can Schools Support the Leadership of Black and Latinx Girls

Education Roundtable: How Can Schools Support the Leadership of Black and Latinx Girls
Thursday, May 27

Watch Recording

On Thursday, May 27, we discussed what the Ready to Lead report means for teachers and administrators. The Ready to Lead report found that out of all ethnic groups, Black and Latinx girls were the most likely to say that having role models of the same race or ethnicity is very important. Yet more than 80% of the teaching force is White. Teachers of color have a significant positive impact on the leadership development of Black and Latinx girls, so how are schools recruiting and retaining them? How else can schools commit to cultural shifts to support Black and Latinx girls, who face teacher bias as a barrier to their leadership development? The panel was moderated by Dr. Charlotte E. Jacobs, author of the Ready to Lead report and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

To read more about the report, please visit

Sponsored by


  • Dr. Charlotte E. Jacobs, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education


  • Dr. Nadia Lopez, Author and Founder, Mott Hall Bridges Academy
  • Ileana Jiménez, Teacher, Activist, and Founder, Feminist Teacher
  • Nerferife “Ife” Bell, Chief Strategy Officer To Be



Charlotte Jacobs headshot Photography by Peter Tobia

Dr. Charlotte E. Jacobs, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Charlotte E. Jacobs, Ph.D. (she/her), is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her research interests focus on issues of identity development, race, and gender in education concerning adolescent girls of color, teacher education and equity, and youth participatory action research (YPAR), which led her to recently co-found the EnGenderED Research Collaborative. Currently, Charlotte is the Co-Director of the Independent School Teaching Residency program at Penn GSE. Additionally, blending her work with independent schools and YPAR, Charlotte is the research director of the School Participatory Action Research Collaborative at the Center for the Study of Boys’ and Girls’ Lives (SPARC-CSBGL). Charlotte proudly serves as a board member for the Girls Justice League, the Christina Seix Academy, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.



Nadia Lopez Headshot

Dr. Nadia Lopez, Author and Founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy

Dr. Nadia Lopez is pioneering a path of inspired leadership to show the world how underprivileged communities can beat the odds and create positive institutions that have a global impact. As the founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a New York City public school located in Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Lopez’s story became a viral sensation as millions of people around the world became inspired by the positive learning environment, high expectations, and growing success rate at a school right in the middle of one of the most under-served communities in America. She is a best-selling author of The Bridge to Brilliance, international speaker, and award-winning educator who was honored alongside First Lady Michelle Obama with the Black Girls Rock Change Agent Award. She delivered a TED Talk on why she opened a school to close a prison and is currently the Chief Visionary Officer of The Lopez Effect where she provides strategic planning and coaching to leaders and educators, as well as the co-founder of ElevatED BLK, which focuses on sustainability, personal development, and wellness.

ileana jimenez headshot

Ileana Jiménez, Teacher, Activist, and Founder of Feminist Teacher

Ileana Jiménez is the creator of Feminist Teacher, @feministteacher, and the hashtags #HSfeminism and #K12feminism. A teacher-activist for 25 years, she teaches Black and Latina feminisms, pedagogies, and curricula to high school students, teachers, and graduate students. Her doctoral research in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University focuses on critical feminist pedagogies in schools and feminist digital and school-based activisms. In 2011, Jiménez received a Distinguished Fulbright to work with queer youth in Mexico City. Globally, she has presented in Argentina, Australia, Greece, India, Mexico, and the UK. Jiménez has published in Youth Sexualities: Public Feelings and Contemporary Cultural Politics (2018); Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism (volume 1, 2016); Radical Teacher (vol. 106, 2016); and One Teacher in Ten in the New Millennium: LGBT Educators Speak Out (2015). She received her B.A. in English Literature at Smith College, and an M.A. in English Literature at Middlebury College.

Ife Bell Headshot

Nerferife “Ife” Bell, Chief Strategy Officer of To Be

Ife Bell proudly wears the title of a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, and a fifth generation entrepreneur. Her life is dedicated to expanding others’ capacity to bring their best self to every aspect of their life. She is a thought leader and coach with over 15 years of experience working with organizations, communities, education, and nonprofits, to increase business performance and develop strategies that focus on diversity, equity, and belonging. Ife is an organizational thought leader who can create effective strategies to increase outcomes in multiple industries. Her career track shows measurable success in working with organizations and C-level leaders to increase business performance, develop strategies that focus on leadership, and foster collaborative relationships. She is strategic in creating and delivering training across all levels of an organization. She has achieved multiple accomplishments in roles such as Chief Strategy Officer, Director of Possibilities, Community Partnership Manager, and District Community Coordinator, along with other successful business roles as Consultant and Founder. Ife’s academic credentials include a master’s degree in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change as well as a certified Facilitator and John Maxwell Coach. Her passion for providing guidance and effective solutions has driven her to pursue a Doctorate in Organizational Development and Change from Bowling Green State University and is expected to graduate in 2023.

She is at her best when facilitating learning, building collaborative relationships, and developing processes aimed at strengthening overall business performance, while leveraging the use of technology to create high-performing leaders and adequate infrastructures to improve. She is highly experienced in developing relationships with community leaders, educational leaders, executive-senior level leadership, and government agencies while identifying areas that result in
substantial changes and business growth. As a leader, multiple communities and organizations have relied on her attention to detail and big-picture thinking to facilitate learning, cultivate high-performing leaders, create project structures, manage budgets, and streamline processes to ensure deliverables are met. She is dedicated to building quality stakeholder relationships with value/purpose and has managed, trained, and developed competent teams of 60+ members. By blending her academic expertise with leadership and business acumen, Ife has championed initiatives that have contributed to a significant reduction in costs, increased staff knowledge, and enhanced company culture for entire organizations.

She has facilitated training and workshops as well as provide to consultancy services to clients across the globe in the United States, South Africa, and Chile, including Designed Learnings MasterClass Structure of Belonging with Peter Block, Chamber of Commerce, City of Cincinnati, The Institute for Educational Leaderships, Northern Kentucky University, Ohio School Boards Association, Facebook Youth Voice Summit, and StriveTogether.

As the mother of two and the favorite aunt to ten, her life mission is to expand others’ capacities to bring their best selves to all facets of their lives. Her future goals include continuing to lead transformative change in both communities and professional environments worldwide with leadership strategies capable of empowering growth while providing outstanding value. She would like to keep building strategic partnerships with organizational and community leaders to co-create innovative initiatives that enable individuals to reach their full potential while helping lift the community and organization to achieve new heights of equitable success.

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