Calandra Sales (she/her/hers) was taught the value of education at an early age. Her college- educated parents understood that quality education was the great equalizer. As a classroom teacher, Calandra quickly recognized that her experiences as a school-aged child were very different from those of her students. It became her life’s mission to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education and a clear path to college. “As a teacher, I realized that it was my responsibility to ensure my students were successful. There was no plan B; their success began and ended with me.”
As Calandra moved into school leadership, she was alarmed to find that her personal investment in her students was not the norm across all classrooms. An Alabama native and current resident of the state, Calandra is a Character and Equity Fellow in the Build Track of the BES Fellowship and also participating in the New Schools for Alabama School Founders Program as she seeks to create the anti-racist educational experience that Alabama students deserve.
“I want to found a school that disrupts the inequitable practices that continue to isolate and disadvantage children of color and communities experiencing poverty. Our school will focus on developing children’s character and exposing them to equitable opportunities and rigorous instruction. Because our students will be affirmed, celebrated, and challenged, they will become change agents who are equipped to continue to improve their communities.”
Calandra most recently served as the director of leader development at IDEA Public Schools in Tampa, FL where she was responsible for coaching and developing first-year principals and aspiring leaders. Prior to this, she was an assistant principal in Decatur City Schools in Decatur, AL. Before becoming a school leader, Calandra spent over 18 years in the field of education as a curriculum specialist, instructional coach, content and assessment director, and a classroom teacher. Calandra received her bachelor’s degree in biology and mathematics education from Alabama A&M University and holds a master’s and doctorate in education and educational leadership from Clark Atlanta University.