The Jeanes Fellows Program is a partnership between the Dudley Flood Center and the Innovation Project (TIP) designed to provide consistent and intentional infrastructure to support community-school relationships using an equity lens.
The program will operationalize needed action from 3 foundational documents:
- The Leandro Action Plan: Sound Basic Education for All: An Action Plan for North Carolina can be found here. A few key recommendations called for a qualified and well-prepared teacher in every classroom and finance and resource allocation.
- DRIVE Task Force Final Report and Recommendations: a report with 10 key recommendations to increase teacher diversity. Recommendations include affordable postsecondary access, diversity goals for schools and districts, and support networks for educators of color.
- NC State Board of Education Statewide Strategic Plan: a plan grounded in the guiding principles of equity and the whole child with goals to eliminate opportunity gaps, improve school and district performance, and increase educator preparedness to meet the needs of every student, all to be fulfilled by 2025.
The Jeanes Fellows program will recapture the energy, passion, and dedication that the original Jeanes teachers brought to supporting education through unique roles in our most historically marginalized communities. Rooted in the historical Jeanes teachers program, the modern-day Jeanes Fellows will address the next needed change to advance strategic equity efforts across North Carolina in 2022.
2023-2024 Jeanes Fellows
Why should your district be a part of the Jeanes Fellowship Program?
Professional Learning Opportunities
Districts benefit from Fellows participating in professional learning opportunities from trusted and reputable organizations. Fellows leverage these learning experiences to develop equitable and strategic strategies to address prevalent systemic inequities.
A Network for Collaboration
Fellows are a part of a network that facilitates meaningful collaboration between districts. Districts benefit from cross-district collaboration and support.
Fellows learn to develop, sustain and leverage intentional and inclusive community partnerships to address systemic inequities that benefit each student and family.
Recruitment & Retention Strategy
The Fellowship program offers districts the flexibility to recommend a fellow who has the potential to embody the description of a Jeanes Fellow. This may be someone who is in an already established role or a new hire.
As a part of the program, each Fellow receives a stipend as an incentive to cover any related expenses to their program participation.
Equity-Centered & Strategic Thought Partnership
Each district can leverage a network of organizations and educators for thought partnership, collaboration, or guidance in developing equitable & strategic strategies to address cross-cutting inequities.
If interested in hosting a Jeanes Fellow in your district, contact us at JeanesFellow@ncforum.org.
Historical Perspective: Jeanes Supervisors
During the Jim Crow era in the American South, Jeanes Teachers, otherwise known as Jeanes Supervisors, were women of color who functioned as superintendents for black schools. Often beginning with little more than a school building and a single educator, Jeanes teachers worked tirelessly to benefit their communities through improving public health, living conditions, and teacher training. They developed self-improvement and canning clubs and did whatever was most needed in their communities. Jeanes teachers were driven by the informal motto to do “the next needed thing.”
Jeanes Teachers were funded through the Negro Rural School Fund, established by the Anna T. Jeanes Foundation in 1907 with an endowment of $1 million. Jeanes appointed an impressive list of educators and other leaders of the time to the fund’s board of trustees, including appointing Booker T. Washington as the chairman. The money from this fund was used to provide salaries for Jeanes Teachers and to support their efforts to strengthen their communities and schools.
By 1909 -1910, there were 129 Jeanes Teachers operating in thirteen southern states. In 1915, after a plea from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina had thirty-six Jeanes teachers, more than any other state.
Virginia Estelle Randolf was the first Jeanes Teacher and was a native of Henrico County, Virginia. Virginia began teaching at the age of 18 in the one-room schoolhouse, Mountain Road School. Understanding her community’s needs, she formed an authentic connection between the school and the community she served. She made her school the center of light and life in the community. She grew Mountain Road School into the Virginia Randolph Training School, which served 235 students, including 75 high school students. By the end of her first year, Mrs. Randolph had impressed the Jeanes Fund’s board with her work and dedication and became the standard for those who would later become Jeanes Teachers.
Carrie Jordan acted as a Jeanes supervisor in Durham, NC, from 1923 -1926. She was the wife of Dr. Dock Jackson Jordan, a North Carolina Central University professor, and taught at Hillside High School before her position as a Jeanes Supervisor. Jordan, seeing the need in her community, developed a curriculum to prepare Black children for the world, including designing a curriculum for Black children that focused on geography, spelling, and nature study. For example, recognizing that the students in the community lacked knowledge of geography, Jordan solicited funds from the Black community and Black Teacher’s Association to purchase maps, globes, and travel magazines. These materials motivated her students to accomplish new tasks. Seeing the need to celebrate students’ achievements, Jordan raised $1500 for countywide commencement services and took the highest achievers to Central to encourage them to attend college. While Jordan accomplished so much during her tenure as a Jeanes Supervisor, In 1926, she chose not to continue as a Jeanes supervisor.
Annie Wealthy Holland was a pioneer in creating teacher-leadership positions for people of color in North Carolina. Taking advantage of funds from the Jeanes Foundation, Holland worked across the state to encourage local school districts to hire a Jeanes Teacher/Supervisor to lead instruction in the segregated schools for blacks. Before this role, she served as a Jeanes Teacher in Gates County Schools, where she immersed herself in the school and community, including cultivating agriculture clubs that would help the community be more self-sufficient and foster community pride. A unique feature of the Jeanes Fund was to encourage these teacher leaders to develop ties to the community and to do the next needed thing – with great autonomy for determining the needs in curriculum, pedagogy, and other initiatives that would improve the lives of the students and the community. Despite the difficult conditions related to being a woman of color in the Jim Crow South, the Division head, N.C. Newbold commented: During Mrs. Holland’s work as State Supervisor of Negro Elementary Schools, she traveled throughout North Carolina meeting county superintendents, boards of education, leading white people and Negroes on many different occasions and in many kinds of work. In a high degree, she was a peacemaker and organizer of real ability.” Ms. Holland also was the “guiding star” in creating the North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers in 1928. The association honored her ten years later by planting a tree at Shaw University. The now stately Annie Wealthy Holland tree and bench below continue to welcome all visitors at the entrance of the University.
How Dare We Call It Small (PodCast)
Ann McColl talks with North Carolina Teacher of the Year Eugenia Floyd about the genius and courage of the Jeanes Teachers – Black educators, primarily women – who led efforts to improve Black schools and communities in the Jim Crow South. In describing present-day challenges and the courage necessary to do the right thing for students, Ms. Floyd brings the past to the present.
How Dare We Call it Small is a podcast exploring and celebrating the courage and genius of people – present day and our ancestors – who inspire us to see what is possible.