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Leading for Equity: Using the Tools of Cultural Proficiency to Lift up Equity in Chaotic Times

Thursday, January 14, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

Leading for Equity

Presented by Dr. Stacie Stanley, Associate Superintendent, Eden Prairie Schools (MN), Tim Beekmann, Principal, Eden Lake Elementary School (MN), and Valora Unowsky, Associate Principal, Eden Lake Elementary School (MN)
Moderated by Dr. Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association 
AASA’s Leadership Network, providing premier professional learning for educational leaders

Watch the Recording Listen to the Podcast

Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.
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We are on a multi-month journey of supporting student learning from a distance across the nation. While school and district leaders have learned many takeaways during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is nothing more poignant than the bright light shone on the historical, insidious, and abundant inequities in the U.S. educational system. The impact of common problems existing in the brick-and-mortar milieu including high flight from schools and districts with high numbers of linguistically and culturally diverse students to schools with less diversity and more resources has exacerbated the impact on students in this distance learning context. Students living in urban and rural America are dramatically affected by variance access and opportunity.

While there are many reasons for inequities, including school funding protocols, inequitable access to the internet, and disproportionate distribution of technology devices, school and district leaders are in a position to learn from this experience and take intentional steps to eliminate many of these disparities. Although educational research is replete with benefits of equitable leadership, school transformation and educational policy to combat the impact of conditions of poverty, the system is clearly falling short of meeting the needs of all students. Join this session to learn how the Tools of Cultural Proficiency may be used as a framework for leveling the learning field for all students regardless of zip code, home language, and ethnic or racial backgrounds. Dr. Stacie Stanley, Associate Superintendent of Eden Prairie Schools (MN) and co-author of Leading While Female: A Culturally Proficient Response for Gender Equity, will discuss intentional steps to addressing many disparities. Eden Lake Elementary School Principal, Tim Beekmann, and Associate Principal, Valora Unowsky, will share application aspects of the Tools of Cultural Proficiency inside the schoolhouse gates.

Essential questions for discussion include:

  • What can school leaders learn from the pandemic experience that will make sure intentional steps are taken to eliminate disparities?
  • How can schools transform to combat the impact of conditions of poverty and meet the needs of ALL students?
  • How can Tools of Cultural Proficiency frame action steps for leaders at all levels?

Viewers will learn about strategies to address systemic disparities and inequities in order to benefit all students. This recorded presentation will be of particular value to school superintendents, K-12 school and district leaders, and aspiring leaders.


Stacie StanleyAbout the Presenters

Dr. Stacie Stanley serves as the associate superintendent of Eden Prairie Schools, which is located in Minnesota just outside of Minneapolis. She has served in a variety of education roles including paraprofessional, math teacher, school principal, and director of curriculum, assessment and instruction. Dr. Stanley’s entire career has been dedicated to eliminating barriers that prevent marginalized students from thriving in school. Dr. Stanley is the co-author of Leading While Female: A Culturally Proficient Response for Gender Equity. She is a fierce advocate for ensuring women (especially women of color) are able to move into executive leadership roles. She earned a doctorate degree from Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she researched the impact of intercultural development on K-6 administrative leadership practice. Dr. Stanley is a senior training associate at the Center for Culturally Proficient Educational Practice, and graduate school adjunct faculty at Bethel University in Minnesota. She and her husband enjoy being empty nesters, power walking, and spending time with their grandchildren.


Tim BeekmanThis year marks Tim Beekmann’s 29th year with Eden Prairie Schools. He began his professional career as a first-grade teacher and over the next 15 years taught second, third, and fourth grades as well. The next six years were spent as the educational coordinator responsible for scheduling, student placement, assessment, curriculum resources, and co-facilitating professional development. In 2013 Tim became the associate principal at Eden Lake Elementary and the lead principal the following year which is the position he currently holds today. Tim believes everyone within the school community is responsible for creating and promoting an inclusive, positive climate and culture. He states, “We must be intentional, focused, and aligned in our instructional practices to have equitable outcomes for all.” Tim also serves as a board member for the local non-profit food shelf and resource center for residents of Eden Prairie and the surrounding communities.


Valora UnowskyValora Unowsky has dedicated her career to eliminating achievement disparities. She is passionate about literacy education, serving as a reading specialist, literacy coach, professor, and consultant. Her dedication to urban schools led her to Saint Paul Public Schools, where she served as the elementary literacy lead for the second-largest public school district in Minnesota. Recently, Ms. Unowsky accepted the position as Associate Principal at Eden Lake Elementary in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where she works closely with teachers to improve outcomes for all students through equitable and culturally relevant curricula and instruction.


Valerie TruesdaleAbout the Host

Dr. Valerie Truesdale joined AASA early in 2019 as the assistant executive director responsible for guiding leadership development services and programs. With years of experience in the superintendency and roles in instructional technology, she knows that AASA’s Leadership Network can be a substantial resource for school leaders trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing delivery of K-12 education.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the Leading for Equity community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


The AASA Leadership Network drives superintendent success, innovation, and growth, shaping the future of public education while preparing students for what’s next. We are the largest, most diverse network of superintendents in America. Passionate and committed, we connect educational leaders to the professional learning, leadership development, relationships, and partnerships they need to ensure a long career of impact.



Thursday, January 14, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
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