McWoods’ and KTOC’s efforts for equity


Sophia Beckmann

Kirkwood Teachers of Color has sponsored the Kirkwood Black Lives Matter Peace Walk, the Glory Run/Walk Virtual Marathon and the ongoing Kirkwood Educational Equity Speaker Series. See below for more information on upcoming Speaker Series events. Peace walk photo by Sophia Beckmann.

“I have a saying — ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ So then find out. Read books. Get involved. Participate.”

Roberta McWoods, Master Mentor of Kirkwood Teachers of Color (KTOC), has led recent efforts to promote equity within KSD. One main event was the Kirkwood Black Lives Matter Peace Walk on June 6, 2020, organized by McWoods, Pioneer Pathways Principal Romona Miller and Executive Director of Equity Wellness and Inclusion in KSD’s Office of Student Services Dr. Shonda Ambers-Phillips. According to McWoods, the peace walk was planned in less than a week, and a few thousand people participated, a turnout far larger than McWoods expected. 

“We wanted people to be able to speak out, use their voices and just bring awareness to the issues that were going on,” McWoods said.

Another event hosted by KTOC was the Glory Virtual Run/Walk Marathon throughout October. The marathon fundraised over $33,000, and the proceeds will begin a fund for annual scholarships to Kirkwood students of color.

There are two upcoming KEESS webinars open to the community, Jan. 19, 2021 and April 22, 2021. Click image to enlarge for more information.

McWoods and Ambers-Phillips also moderate the Kirkwood Educational Equity Speaker Series (KEESS), which began in January 2020. The first three speaker series events occurred in-person prior to COVID-19 shutdowns and were only open to KSD educators. However, the series resumed in the summer as webinars open to the community as well. Since its initiation, there have been 12 speaker series events. There are three speaker series webinars scheduled in 2021, two of which are open to the community.

According to McWoods, hers and KTOC’s endeavors are not strictly planning and hosting events. McWoods said she mentors teachers of color within the district and works with the superintendent, principals, teachers and parents of students to provide resources for those who need them. From organizing events to mentorship to a piece of advice, McWoods maintains the goal of achieving equity.

“It’s never over. Equity never stops. Equity doesn’t quit. Because if you don’t live it every day, then sometimes you forget, until something else comes back again.”