150 Voices

Explore unique stories from influential community members.

If you would like to share your Education Story, contact mevans@southerneducation.org 

“150 Voices” is an oral history project centered on Promoting a Solution-Centered Public Education Narrative

The collective voices of students, teachers, community members, and influencers sharing compelling and personal education stories along with what is needed most for high-impact change in our education system. 

Reimagine the Classroom

Brian Williams


Brian Williams of Georgia State University shares his powerful story of how disenfranchisement in the classroom motivated his journey to become an equity-centered educator.

The Juxtaposition Between the Haves and Have-nots in Education

Fred Frelow

SEF trustee and interim CEO, Dr. Fred Frelow, discusses the interplay between race and educational opportunity from a historical perspective, and the responsibility of educators in the fight for social justice.

The Imperative of College for All

Susan Whealler Johnston

SEF trustee, Dr. Susan Whealler Johnston, reflects on the sheer determination of her rural family to ensure college was accessible to each child. She discusses the transformative role college plays in lives, and the need for universities, boards, and policy makers to craft policy with an eye toward accessibility and persistence for all students.

Seeing Diversity As An Asset vs A Deficit

Warren Simmons

SEF trustee, Dr. Warren Simmons, discusses the need to see education in terms of equity, to reach not just nationally in our academic vision but globally as well, and the power in recognizing our diversity as an asset. 

Why the South, Why SEF

Leah Austin

Dr. Leah Austin discusses the history of the Southern Education Foundation and its close relationship and influence on education in the South. 

Your Story is Never Your Story Alone

Albert Sykes

Mississippi native and Executive Director for the Institute for Democratic Education in America, Albert Sykes, explains how teaching math to underserved kids is social justice, shares how that gift was passed to him, and how he in turn passes it on to others. 

Debunking the Model Myth

Amanda Assalone

Dr. Amanda Assalone confronts the persistent model-minority myth and what is needed to bring true equity to education. 

Public Education Absolutely Matters

Micah Evans

Micah Evans delves into the need to rethink funding priorities in the country to more fully support public educaiton. 

We’re Great Again When Education is Equitable for Every Student

Emily Kelly

Emily Kelly reflects on the many hardships people of color have experienced in America and how the current age, not the past, holds the potential to truly bring greatness by helping each child realize their potential.  

The Intangible Aspects of HBCUs

DeShawn Preston

Dr. DeShawn Preston discusses the subtle aspects of HBCU culture and pedagogy that provide such benefit to their students, yet are still too often overlooked by the mainstream. 

The Binary Equity Challenge in the South

William Berry

Advancing Public Education Fellow, William Berry breaks down how the Black & White focus in the South fails to capture the changing demographics of the region. 

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