Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Remembering Rita F. Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion

The video I'm sharing below is a short presentation delivered by Rita F. Pierson, during one of the TED Talks sessions focused on education.  I kind of stumbled upon this last night when I was browsing some of the featured education-related talks.  The message resonated with me, as I thought about my brief time in the classroom, as well as my time working with older youth and families involved with the child welfare system.  One of the central messages is that relationships are at the heart of the learning process.  If you really want to create an environment that helps youth tap into their great potential, start with making a meaningful connection.

When I began searching for more information about Rita earlier this evening, I was stunned and saddened to learn that she just transitioned from this physical world on Friday.  I didn't know of Rita and her work before Saturday.  The power of her spirit is very powerful, however, as I could sense from her presentation, and I can only assume will clearly live on through the people who's lives she touched.  My heart goes out to her family and friends, and all of those who have been touched by her spirit.

While I plan to do some more research on her life and work, I wanted to share the presentation for starters.  More likely to come...

A brief bio for Rita Pierson is provided just below, as posted on TED.

Rita F. Pierson, a professional educator since 1972, taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She was a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. In each of these roles, she brought a special energy to the role -- a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it was modest.

For the past decade, Pierson conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. Focusing on the students who are too often under-served, she lectured on topics like “Helping Under-Resourced Learners,”“Meeting the Educational Needs of African American Boys" and "Engage and Graduate your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts."


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  1. I always re-watch this video to keep me going in this profession. I did not know she had passed. That makes me so sad! But, I’m glad I continue to share her words as they are so important in the world of education. Thank you!

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