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Podcast with Angela Taylor
“Ask me Anything” with Angela Taylor
Angela Taylor has been a school leader for more than 20 years. Prior to taking the helm at Park Day School in 2020, she served as the Head of School at Convent Elementary (K-8 girls division) at the Convent & Stuart Hall Schools in San Francisco, where she worked and taught for nearly two decades. She and her husband Shaw have been proud and active Oakland residents since 1997. Angela is committed to progressive education, and to stretching students to meet the challenge of leading transformational change in a world that is becoming more and more polarized and fragmented. A longtime educator before moving into school leadership, Angela started her career as a teacher at the esteemed progressive school, The Children’s School, in Atlanta, GA. She has a B.A. in Child Development from Spelman College in Atlanta, and an M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
September 3, 2020
September 17, 2020
September 24, 2020
October 1, 2020
October 8, 2020
October 15, 2020
Dear Park Day Families,
The last time I formally addressed this community back in October immediately following my appointment, my message was full of excitement, gratitude, and hope. Almost eight full months have passed and during that time, the world has completely changed. Against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, our nation is literally erupting with collective pain, frustration, and rage. My message now is that we have to meet our present moment.
Like so many, I have been grappling for the last two weeks with this most recent lynching of an unarmed black man at the hands of a police officer. Watching the video of George Floyd’s last moments on this earth impacted me at a cellular level. He could have easily been my husband, my cousin, my nephew, or even me. For me, this is not an intellectual exercise.
As a black woman working in predominantly white spaces, I have been struggling with how to grieve, how to varnish my anger, how to lead, and how not to allow myself to slip into despair. Aside from my deep faith, the thing that is keeping me focused is that in my role as an educator. I get to touch the future through every teacher and student I impact. Citizens across this country are protesting not only the death of George Floyd but police killings of black and brown men over the course of centuries and true to form, it is young people who are taking the lead.
In less than 30 days, I will have the honor and privilege of leading Park Day. While I am still full of excitement, gratitude, and hope, there will be a lot on our collective shoulders. We will have to start the school year with health and safety protocols that will change how we exist in community. We will have to lean into the Park Day promise to “prepare students to be informed, courageous, and compassionate people who shape a more equitable and sustainable world” by deepening our social justice focus on systemic racism and activism even for our youngest learners. Nimbleness and agility with delivering a quality Park Day education whether live or remote will be key.
I have appreciated the thoughtfulness and foresight of Erik and the Board of Trustees who activated an early transition process for me which started back in late March. I feel confident in a smooth “passing of the baton” come July 1 because of the dedicated educators, engaged students, and passionate parents and guardians of Park Day.
I am looking forward to getting to know you and your hopes and dreams for Park Day as we start this first year together. I wish your families a safe and restorative summer.
Dear Park Day Community,
I am so pleased to be joining the Park Day community and honored to partner with all of you as we co-create the future of this exceptional school. Park Day is truly a transformational, child-centered oasis in the middle of Oakland!
My visits to campus during the search process confirmed and underscored the school’s strong reputation. Park Day has been and continues to be a beacon of progressive education where social justice and student voice and agency are foundational. Each person I had the opportunity to meet brought what I had heard and learned about the school to life. I met joyful and engaged students who are passionate about making a difference in the world. I met teachers united in their commitment to deeply knowing their students and cultivating in them a sense of obligation to the larger community. I met an administrative team focused on maximizing and harnessing the collective wisdom and expertise of the teachers and staff. I met passionate parents and guardians who embrace the mission and are invested in the success and sustainability of Park Day. In total, I encountered a close-knit community who is leaning and stretching towards its future and I am thrilled to be invited to be a part of that future!
Thank you to the search committee, its co-chairs, Noam Ragins and Manisha Patel, and to the Board Chair, Germaine Hunter, not only for their professionalism and care they showed throughout the process but also for their confidence. I am also grateful to the faculty, staff, parents, students, and board members I have met for their openness, candor, and for showing me the beauty of the community they love so much. My husband, Shaw, and I have lived in Oakland for over 20 years and we are both excited about being a part of positive change in our own backyard. We look forward to meeting you as we visit over the coming year and when we formally join the Park Day family in July 2020.
Incoming Head of School