Student News

Doctoral students Eldrin Deas, William Jackson finalists for national award

Two School of Education doctoral students – Eldrin Deas and William Jackson – are among 10 who are being considered for a national award, recognizing work in pursuing equity in education.

Deas and Jackson are finalists for a $10,000 award from Education Pioneers, a national nonprofit that recruits professionals with diverse skills and backgrounds into non-teaching leadership positions throughout K-12 public education. Both men are alumni of the group’s EPic fellows program in which participants are provided support aimed at encouraging continued work in addressing equity issues in education.

Both Deas and Jackson were Education Pioneers Fellows in 2013.

The 10 finalists are being considered for Education Pioneers’ $10,000 Scott Morgan Award. Two runners-up will receive $2,500 each. Prize money will go to advance initiatives in the winners’ organizations, or to support their leadership development to increase opportunity and equity for underserved students.

The winners will be announced at Education Pioneers’ National Conference, Nov. 15-16, in San Francisco. Education Pioneers will also showcase the work and impact of all 10 EPic alumni.

The Education Pioneers board of directors created the Scott Morgan Award in 2013 in honor of the organization’s 10-year anniversary and the organization’s founder and CEO, Scott Morgan.

Eldrin Deas

Eldrin Deas

Deas, a Ph.D. student in Cultural Studies and Literacies, began his career as a math teacher in Georgia, and then became a math test developer in Washington, D.C. He later served as an assistant director of the Centennial Scholars Program in North Carolina and as an analyst for the Connecticut State Department of Education.

He has since become an education consultant and researcher, as well as a member of the education committee for My Brother’s Keeper Durham, where he is responsible for developing strategies to ensure boys and young men of color graduate high school.

Serving as a researcher for the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina, Deas is investigating the implementation and impact of a new turnaround plan—the North Carolina Transformation program—for low-performing schools across the state.

William Jackson

William Jackson

Jackson, a Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology, Measurement and Evaluation, is the founder of Village of Wisdom in Durham. VOW is a nonprofit organization that works with families to protect black children by organizing and mobilizing families committed to the healthy development of black youth.

For two years, Village of Wisdom has provided students with opportunities to celebrate their personal genius through cultural events, parent workshops, and field trips, and empowered black families. Jackson also aspires for his organization to help establish an ecosystem where black parents share decision-making power over their child's school with school leaders.

Most recently, Jackson and Village of Wisdom began to engage families in a program called “Black Genius” in which they work to help children navigate systemic racism. Through Black Genius planning, black children hone their growth mindsets, become more aware of their interests, deepen their cultural and racial self-esteem, expand their ability to navigate cultural spaces, and develop strategies for establishing trust with individuals they love.