Tara Ranzy, Founder & Chief Culture Officer
I am a certified educator with an extensive background in teaching, leadership, curriculum design and professional development. I have successfully mentored children and adults as a founding administrator, consultant, middle and high school teacher at two KIPP Schools and as the founding principal of Building 21 High School—part of a world-class education movement committed to eliminating the achievement and opportunity gaps between children living in economically distressed and highly resourced environments. These experiences have helped me understand the importance of: 1) viable, socially relevant professional learning opportunities for educators, and 2) building healthy school and district cultures in which they may thrive.
In 2008, I founded The School of Life (SOL), an organization that provides:
organizational culture, change management and improvement support to help individuals in schools and school districts create healthy cultures
workshops that will challenge teachers and leaders to address the unconscious attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that affect personal growth and development as well as on-the-job performance
The School of Life, LLC believes careful attention to how we develop our own character, social, emotional and intellectual skills is synonymous with student achievement, because educators who work hard to become better people will build better schools that will prepare better students who will make a better world. This ideal is reinforced not only by the professional lessons I have learned teaching and leading in shoddy facilities with poorly defined curriculum goals and a lack of pertinent resources and support, but also by my own experiences growing up in poverty and attending low-quality schools. The lessons that I have learned both in and outside of the classroom served as a catalyst for the creation of The SOL.
As a teacher, I have learned to keep children at the center of teaching and learning; to recognize their agency and to build the curriculum around their experiences, the classics and 21st century skills. As an administrator, I have learned that effective leadership is the ability to organize others to use their own power to make the changes they want to see in their worlds. As the daughter of a third generation housekeeper—and as a first generation college student, pioneer of schools, transformation agent and human being—I have learned that a great leader must be able to manage change, distribute power, delegate effectively, model learning from failures, celebrate successes, and inspire others to be the constant not the variable.
My publications include "From Night John to Sundiata: A Heritage Based-Approach to Engaging Students in Literacy" from Teacher College Press’s Practicing What We Teach: How Culturally Responsive Literacy Classrooms Make a Difference. I have been featured in Addressing Culture Makes a Difference in Bridging Literacy and Equity: The Essential Guide to Social Equity Teaching. I'm currently working on a history project entitled "Liberation Arts: US History Through the Eyes of Underrepresented Groups."
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and Masters degrees in Elementary Education as well as Educational Leadership. I am thrilled about the prospect of serving as a leader and thought partner for your organization.