Founding Principal, Crossroads Preparatory Academy
Kirsten Brown-Persley is committed to equipping students with the educational tools necessary for them to pursue any path they desire. Ms. Brown-Persley graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute for Urban Education (IUE). Since graduating from the IUE, Ms. Brown has led professional development sessions for educators across the country for UMKC, Teach for America, Kansas City Teacher Residency Program, and the Kauffman Teacher-Leader Fellowship.
Ms. Brown-Persley completed the Leading Educators Fellowship program and has completed her Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She was also an Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Fellow at the University of Missouri-Columbia. In 2017, Ms. Brown-Perlsey began her work as Founding Principal of Crossroads Preparatory Academy.
Ms. Brown-Persley is currently pursuing her E.d.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Kansas (KU).
Who is a Black hero or heroine that has motivated you in your career? / Who are you celebrating this Black History Month?
A Black heroine that motivates me in my career is Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was in the business of getting into what John Lewis coined as “good trouble”. She was unapologetic in her pursuit to bring about liberation, even if it meant risking her life and circumventing laws. She risked her life and worked tirelessly to help others realize their dream of freedom. I believe that education has the power to liberate and that society has an obligation to do whatever it takes to ensure that all are afforded the opportunity to have the best education that equips students to realize their dreams. It is my aim to fight until all students have equitable access to the liberating power of an effective education.
How has the history of Black and African American people in Kansas City impacted the work that you do?
The history of Black and African American people in Kansas City has impacted the work that I do because Kansas City has such a rich Black history that I can draw upon for inspiration whenever I need to be re-grounded in my work. Black people are resilient and mighty and ingenious. The 18th and Vine District has so many examples of the greatness of Blackness housed in one district. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, for example, houses so many powerful stories of these attributes that remind me that all things are possible and that I can persevere and thrive despite any challenge and setback I may face.
What is the most essential work that must be done to ensure equity for Black students in Kansas City?
I believe the most essential work that must be done to ensure equity for Black students in Kansas City is ensure that students are equipped with the vision, plan, and skills to realize their dreams. Over the years, I have seen too many students lose sight of the big dreams they had when they were younger because they were ill-equipped to realize their dreams due to a lack of a plan and the requisite skills and knowledge needed to succeed in realizing their dream. Educators must know their students well and must be responsive to their goals by working alongside students to create a strategic plan of action that will enable them to know the steps needed in order to move towards their dreams. One way in which this can happen is through authentic learning opportunities that equip students with the skills, supports, and experiences that will better prepare them for the future they envision.
What is a cause or organization that you would encourage KC citizens to research this black history month?
An organization I would encourage KC citizens to research this Black History Month is the Parent Leadership Training Institute Kansas City (PLTIKC). Although this organization is not specific to the Black community, it is a powerful organization that Black parents can participate in so that more parent voices can be amplified in order to bring change and awareness around issues that matter most to parents. PLTIKC puts parents in the driver’s seat so that they are trained to take their rightful spot at the tables in which decisions that impact children are made. PLTIKC equips parents to become high impact advocates so that they are guiding decisions, policies, and practices that impact the children in their community and beyond.