Alana Jenkins (she/her/hers) finds her heritage in Gullah, an indigenous African American culture. In Gullah, the proverb “mus tek cyear a de root fa heal de tree,” roughly translates to “you must take care of the root in order to heal the tree.” As an experienced educator, Alana knows that students’ “roots” must be firmly planted in order for them to exercise agency and access the opportunities available to them. “Schools must help students cultivate a strong sense of self, allowing them to persist with rigorous academic material.”
Alana holds fast to the belief that community-centered schools are the cornerstone to achieving educational equity. She is drawn back to South Carolina by her ancestral lineage to found and lead such a school. The proposed school will leverage self-determination and self-actualizations inherent to the Gullah Geechee heritage. Through individualized plans of study, students will have access to college and career pathways that speak to the conservation and preservation of the cultural lineage, as well as the natural environment. “Our school will be an educational experience that affirms all parts of a student’s identity, teaching students of color about their legacy of resilience and strength. We will do this by forming a collaborative vision of student academic and non-academic success alongside the community.”
Most recently, Alana worked at Coney Island Prep in Brooklyn, NY, where she served as dean of students and as vice principal, managing teacher and curricular development. Prior to this, Alana spent a number of years as a classroom reading and writing teacher at high-performing public charter schools across New York. Alana received her master’s in teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education and holds a bachelor’s in English literature from Middlebury College.