Leading for Racial Equity

Earlier this year, RePublic Schools launched its five core values which include: Lead for Racial Equity, Strive for Excellence, Create Joy, Become Better Together and Pursue Growth. In the midst of being part of the Black Lives Matter movement, RePublic has been leaning into its core value of Lead for Racial Equity. 

Shared below are thoughts from two members of the RePublic community.

Lynzie Smith, Principal at Smilow Prep – Jackson, MS region

RePublic, this year, has launched five core values. As an organization, we are prioritizing Lead for Racial Equity. How have you seen RePublic Schools lean into this core value since the summer/start of the school year?

The work that the talent team is doing around making sure the talent protocol is equitable continues to be a place where I see growth from RePublic in leading for racial equity. In past years, I watched as many Black leaders had to interview for positions or prove themselves for positions that whites did not have to. That wasn’t equitable. I also watched people get selected for positions based on convenience or popular choice, eliminating the opportunity for others who were potentially more qualified from applying. 

This year, the talent team has been intentional about internal applications for network positions. As a result, I’ve seen more Black leaders step into roles that Black people have never had in this organization. I am also proud to see my teachers applying for positions that in years past they would not have even known about. Before, teachers would have just been told about the person who was stepping into the role without even knowing the position was available. 

 How does this core value resonate with you and your work at RePublic?

I’m a Black woman from the South. My life has been full of disadvantages. I joined RePublic years ago because it was a network invested in shattering those disadvantages that scholars who looked like me faced. The core value of Lead for Racial Equity resonates with me because RePublic needs work in the area of racial equity and has to get it right because of what we stand for! 

I’ve also experienced very specific disadvantages at RePublic linked to my race and sometimes my gender. And while those experiences have left scars, I believe the work that RePublic is doing now around equity has begun the healing process for me and lots of other Black people and women in this organization. Not only that, but newcomers are seeing a better RePublic and that makes me happy. To see that WE are making this organization better for future educators and as a result, better for families that we serve.

 What is something that you’re hopeful for or looking forward to seeing at RePublic as the organization continues to grow and Lead for Racial Equity?

I want to see more Black people sitting on the Senior Management Team. Period. There’s a direction this organization is going and in order to get there, space has to be made not just for the voices of Black people, but also for positional power. I think as we see the combination of Black voices and perspectives get more air time coupled with Black people gaining positional authority within this organization, we’ll see wholesome and necessary improvements beyond short lived initiatives.


Kathy Stroud, Teacher at Liberty Collegiate Academy – Nashville, TN region

RePublic, this year, has launched five core values. As an organization, we are prioritizing Lead for Racial Equity. How have you seen RePublic Schools lean into this core value since the summer/start of the school year?

RePublic Schools is setting the bar to do the work of ‘unlearning’ racist ideologies through education, empathy, compassion, and grace. RePublic has made a commitment to Lead for Racial Equity by aligning with the Black Lives Matter movement while investing in teachers through professional development and coaching conversations. All of this, along with their continued work in the DEI coalition, make leading for racial equity a core value that lives in every classroom across the district. 

 How does this core value resonate with you and your work at RePublic?

It means a lot to me to work for and have my daughter educated in a school system that strives for racial equity. I truly believe that racism is a learned behavior that is taught and/or programmed by the white supremist culture from which we all matriculate. I also believe that it can be ‘unlearned.’ Personally, I have had to unlearn a great many things that just didn’t sit well with my own moral compass. I am honored to work for a school system that pushes me to grow and help others towards growth because our scholars deserve the best version of our teacher selves. 

 What is something that you’re hopeful for or looking forward to seeing at RePublic as the organization continues to grow and Lead for Racial Equity?

I am hopeful that the work of today with our teachers will bleed into our classrooms with our scholars so that they can see their value and worth while realizing their full potential. I feel privileged and hopeful to #beintheroom where these discussions are happening. I am excited to partner with other professionals, in both professional development and in the DEI coalition and to work against systemic racism in schools. 

There truly is no neutrality in racism. You are either actively working against racism, or you are contributing to the status quo of racial inequity by remaining silent and doing nothing. As a teacher and as a parent, I support the Black Lives Matter movement and I am here for the cause. We rise together by lifting others because our scholars deserve the best!