Educator Karanja Crews has a calling to change the way teachers reach their students. Through his 12 years of professional teaching experience, he has made his teaching culturally relevant and empowering to students of color.
For the last five years, he has helmed the Teaching with Purpose conference, which shares these insights with other local educators. The event has grown from attracting 10 attendees to bringing in more than 500 and highlights the work of nationally renowned educators.
Crews spoke with The Skanner News about the recent conference, the current state of equity in local education and his plans to continue this work. Here are excerpts of that interview, edited for space and clarity.
The Skanner News: First and foremost, how did the conference go?
Karanja Crews: It was an awesome weekend, awesome high energy. I think people really left empowered and charged up, which is the goal.
TSN: What workshops did your attendees seek out?
KC: Dr. Chris Emdin, his work around hip hop pedagogy and reality pedagogy, he was a huge draw. Tim Wise was a huge draw, just in terms of the keynote speaker.
We had a dynamic speaker from New Jersey, named Principal Kafele; he did a dynamic workshop around his 50 principles of leadership. Yeah, I think those were pretty much the draw. Pedro Noguera’s workshop drew people too. Basically, the workshops are about how to reach kids in different ways and to be more culturally relevant in your practice.