Visiting scholar: Terri N. Watson

BY MICHELLE KEARNS

Portrait of Terri Watson.

“If we’re going to tackle racism, I think schools are the best place to start.”

Terri N. Watson is an associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Human Development at the City College of New York. This year she joins GSE as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar with the Center for Diversity Innovation.

Her work is informed by critical race theory and Black feminism, and her research focuses on school leadership for social justice. She aims to help transform schools into more just, caring, loving and equitable spaces as she collaborates with educators to improve the educational outcomes and life chances of historically excluded and underserved students and families.

“If we’re going to tackle racism, I think schools are the best place to start,” she said. “What are we doing now to dismantle the walls that segregation has created? It’s literally killing us ... We can’t normalize Black death.”

Before earning her doctorate, she worked as a middle school teacher in Harlem. She has a 22-year old daughter who graduated from Tufts University this spring. As a native of New York City, she was eager for the opportunity to come to Buffalo and explore schools and practices in this part of the state.

“I’d like to spend the year working with students, parents and school leaders,” Watson said. “I think schools have to be the hub of the community. When I was younger, our lives revolved around school. We have to bring that back.”