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Season 2, Episode 4: Healed Teachers Heal Students

We’re talking about building and sustaining communities of care so that teachers of color can thrive.

Air Date: February 14, 2023

Host Jonathan Santos Silva speaks with Dr. Wenimo Okoya, Founder of Healing Schools Project. Based in Newark, NJ, the non-profit intentionally centers the experience of BIPOC educators, believing that when interventions are built around those furthest away from systemic privilege, educators, and students of all backgrounds benefit. Healed teachers heal students. 

Healing Schools Project helps educators from around the country collectively address toxic school cultures that cause burnout and steer them out of the classroom. By creating school cultures that value community care over self-care, Healing Schools Project helps teachers and students thrive by building healthy and sustainable school environments.


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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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Wenimo Okoya (she/her) (New Jersey ‘09), EdD, MPH, Founder and Executive Director of Healing Schools Project

Dr. Okoya is an advocate for building bridges between the health and education sectors. Her career began as a classroom teacher in Newark, NJ and it was through her students that she learned that upward mobility for people of color can only be achieved by changing the way systems operate. She has linked research and practice to build programs that promote well-being in school systems and holds affiliations with NYU Steinhardt, Teachers College Columbia University, and Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. While her experiences since leaving the classroom run wide and deep, her sweet spot is working with schools, organizations, and individuals to enhance their adoption of anti-racist, healing-centered practices.

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Sharmaine Lewis (New Jersey ‘08), Principal

After attending high school in a small town in New Jersey & graduating 3rd in her class, Sharmaine was admitted into the Honors Program in college. She majored in Statistics & Mathematics and discovered that she was indeed unprepared for college. She pushed through to earn her bachelor’s degree and this struggle propelled her into doing her part to close the opportunity/achievement gap. Sharmaine joined Teach For America, earned a Master’s in Secondary Math Education and a second master’s degree in Educational Leadership. 

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