Before teachers could provide feedback through an array of tech tools like Classroom Dojo, Google Classroom, Nearpod, Quizizz, Flipgrid, or Seesaw, I used pen and paper to write notes to my students. Writing notes allowed me to go in-depth with feedback that I needed to resonate with my students. Once I finished the letter, I would inconspicuously slide it into their things during my planning period. Looking back, I wrote most notes about inconsistent behavior or grades. Since I taught students trapped by the black hole we affectionately call the tween years, I thought of any inconsistency as a mirror…

Life Principles of a Centenarian

The same day that I found out that I passed my school superintendent’s exam, my beloved grandmother entered eternal rest. My grandmother, Denolis V. Moore, was my person. She was my first friend, the person I most wanted to emulate, my second biggest cheerleader, and the most prolific figure in my life. Because of Covid-19, I had not seen my grandmother in an entire year. Even though she suffered from dementia, her death still caught me off guard. As the eldest grandchild, I felt a responsibility to help my mother and uncles with preparations for my grandmother’s funeral. They needed…

Photo by kyo azuma on Unsplash

My first administrative job was serving as the Associate Principal Teaching and Learning at The Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy (BOMLA). BOMLA, a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School in the heart of the southern sector of Dallas, was the first single-gender, male leadership academy in North Texas. In my third year in this role, I noticed that a significant number of the students were living in households without their fathers. By the same token, we had a large number of fathers that were invested and involved. …

Picture from JSTOR

Ms. Amster was my 7th grade Reading and Writing teacher. I don’t remember the first day of school or the last day of my 7th-grade year. In fact, all I remember is Ms. Amster’s exasperation with everything we did. I use the term “We” to capture the small, Black population in our rural, Central Texas town. To me, it seemed that if we even breathed in too deeply, she would lose it.

The conundrum for me was that I loved Writing and Reading class. At that age, I had pipe dreams of being a writer. Outside of class, I was…

Modern-Day Heretics, Antithetical Evangelists, and Religious Idolatry

I read an article in the paper that blew my mind. According to the article, Pastor Brandon Burden urged his congregants to prepare for the spiritual war that would occur after President Biden’s inauguration from the Kingdom Life pulpit, Sunday, January 18, 2021.

Modern-Day Heresy

Amid explaining how to maneuver around the legal parameters of killing a person who invades one’s home, Pastor Burden informed his congregants that his firearm was “locked and loaded.” He let congregants know that he was ready for whatever was to come his way.

The article stated that…

Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

I am fully persuaded the moment Vice President Joe Biden and senator Kamala Harris won the 2020 presidential election will become one of those pivotal historical moments that people reminiscently reduce to an exercise in historical logistics. Discussions about the announcement will begin with a very vanilla anecdote as an individual’s state, “I remember where I was the moment I heard that Joe Biden became the 46th president.” The reflective storyteller will end the said statement with, “I will never forget…”. We remember things in this way. …

Yard Signs like this are trending in affluent neighborhoods.

After Ahmaud Arbery’s death, I used Facebook’s cyber pulpit to make a bold declaration that we needed to reach across racial lines to stop the murders of innocent Black people. I suggested people from all sides (inclusive of nationalists, patriots, liberals, and conservatives) convene to address the unhinged societal racism and bigotry. I have a few friends who are bona fide activists that remain ready and willing to fight inequity battles. One of those friends, Bhavani, whose name means dispenser of justice, responded with a fevered affirmation, asking, “What are we going to do?” A few days later, Bhavani and…

Pathways, Pipelines, and Partnerships: Entry Points for the Teaching Profession in Texas

Photo by Francisco Delgado on Unsplash

Throughout the United States, there is a shortage of educators in rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and poverty-stricken areas. Annually, each state reveals data denoting content-related shortages. According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas schools are currently facing shortages in the following areas:

  • Bilingual/English as a Second Language-Elementary and Secondary Levels
  • Special Education-Elementary and Secondary Levels
  • Career and Technical Education-Secondary
  • Technology Applications and Computer Science-Elementary and Secondary Levels
  • Mathematics-Secondary

There are 1,247 school districts in Texas, 459 of which are characterized as rural districts. Rural districts face the ongoing dilemma…


Dr. Neely is a K12 school leader whose mission is to magnify all components that work together to improve school culture.

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