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Season 2, Episode 3: A Black Man’s Classroom

We’re talking about how to address barriers that keep Black men out of the classroom.

Air Date: January 31, 2023

Host Jonathan Santos Silva speaks with leaders and educators from Brothers Liberating Our Communities (BLOC) in Kansas City, MO about making teaching a sustainable career for Black men. 

Inspired by the work of Sharif El-Mekki from the Center for Black Educator Development (you may remember him from this season’s first episode!), BLOC began curating professional development for Black men in education. Through connection, development, and engagement, the team has retained 100% of BLOC members. Founder Cornell Ellis and the team at BLOC hope that one day all students will have access to equal representation and revolutionary Black male educators.


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About The Show

Host Jonathan Santos Silva (South Dakota ‘10) will sit down with innovative nonprofits from across the country that are committed to attracting, training, and retaining BIPOC educators. Each episode will feature thoughtful conversations about how organizations are investing in and providing careers where BIPOC staff can flourish.

Meet The Host
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Jonathan Santos Silva (South Dakota ‘10)

Jonathan Santos Silva is the Founding Executive Director of The Liber Institute and creator and host of The Bored of Ed, a podcast that amplifies the voices of inspiring BIPOC educators who are changing the face of education. He has provided technical support to South Dakota’s Native American Achievement Schools and has served as a school founder and principal, instructional coach, and education consultant.

Featured In This Episode
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Cornell Ellis, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Brothers Liberating Our Communities

As Co-Founder, Cornell works toward the organization’s goal to increase the number of Black Male Educators in the education systems. Cornell was born and raised in Kansas City, MO and teaches African American History to juniors and seniors. It is important to Cornell that all students receive the opportunities they deserve to be successful.

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Spencer Hardwick (Dallas-Fort Worth ‘11), Senior Managing Director & Chief of Staff at Teach For America Kansas City and BLOC Co-Founder

Prior to joining TFA staff, Spencer was a 5th grade math teacher at the Ewing Marion Kauffman School in Kansas City. He also worked at Goldman Sachs as an institutional sales analyst in New York, NY. Spencer is also a TFA alumnus and taught in Dallas through the Uplift Education charter school network during his corps years. He graduated from Harvard in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and a citation in French.

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Julian Johnson-Marshall, Educator Programming Manager for BLOC

Julian is a hip-hop-loving, Bible-believing, and love-sharing father, teacher, and preacher. He is a native of Kansas City, MO, teaches 11th and 12th grade English, and also serves as Community Partnerships Liaison for Kaye’s Learning Corner. It is important to him that in all areas of his professional practice, young people have the opportunity to discover and demonstrate their most authentic identity.

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Billy Rushing, Senior at DeLaSalle Education Center

Billy was born and raised in Kansas City, MO and has attended DeLaSalle for the past two years. After graduation, he plans to go to college to pursue his nursing degree so he can help people get and stay healthy.

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