Tia proudly walks the halls of the Malden Early Learning Center, a public preschool serving students ages 3- 5 years old. The students at the ELC are among the most diverse group (race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, and learning styles) of students in the state. It is beautiful to see children actively engaged in learning and playing with one another. At the ELC,  “The teachers are teaching in ways that you want a preschool to be.” Tia’s PSi Capstone was about re-envisioning how black and brown children could own their learning starting in preschool. And now here she is! “Sometimes I think I’m going to wake up and someone’s going to say, ‘Hey we made a mistake, you’re not supposed to be here.’ But I am here…and over time, we will make changes that will ensure 100% of our students are getting their educational and social emotional needs meet.

Malden is considered one of the most diverse cities in the US. As the demographics of the city changes, it is important the school district keeps up or stays ahead of the learning needs of its students.

When asked how PSi should prepare aspiring leaders, Tia didn’t miss a beat, managing people, specifically adults. Leaderships programs underestimate the importance of a leader knowing how to support their staff to ensure their needs are being met. It is a leader’s job to support and manage the staff so they can effectively support the students. Leadership programs should spend as much time on this topic as they do on budgets and systems. It’s about the kids, but the adults have to feel heard and valued.” Tia spends a lot of time listening, asking questions and listening some more. She acknowledges this is a tough job because there is a lot to manage. Change is hard for everyone and in this new landscape of change, Tia has to go slow. It will do no one any good if she came into the position kicking down doors and telling teachers they are wrong. Tia acknowledges the ELC is doing a good job. It is from this point Tia will work to actively engage staff and families to make the school great and accessible to all children (ages 3-5 years old) in Malden.

What book has Tia read and is talking about? The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee.