Student News

Doctoral student Eldrin Deas wins Education Pioneers award

Eldrin Deas, a School of Education doctoral student, has been honored by Education Pioneers, a national group that recruits and supports professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on problems in education.

Deas was honored Wednesday (Nov. 16) with the Education Pioneers’ Scott Morgan Award. Ten alumni of Education Pioneers’ fellows program were finalists for the award. Another UNC School of Education doctoral student – William Jackson – was among the finalists and was named one of the two runners-up for the award.

Both Deas and Jackson were Education Pioneers Fellows in 2013, participating in a program in which participants are provided support aimed at encouraging continued work in addressing equity issues in education. More than 3,000 people have completed the Education Pioneers Fellowship.

Education Pioneers 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. The Scott Morgan Award comes with a $10,000 prize, and the runner-up award with $2,500. The prize money is intended to advance initiatives in the winners’ organizations, or to support their leadership development to increase opportunity and equity for underserved students.

The winners were announced at Education Pioneers’ National Conference in San Francisco.

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

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.

All Education Pioneers alumni currently working in public education at any level were eligible to be considered for the alumni recognition program and the Scott Morgan Award. In addition to assessing alumni applicants’ work and impact on underserved students, Education Pioneers assessed how applicants work, including how they reflect Education Pioneers’ core values, including courage, optimism, collaboration, action, and diversity, equity and inclusion.