Read the remarkable story of Dr. Chuck Herring, a trailblazer in the realm of education and community service. As the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the South Fayette Township School District near Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Herring has dedicated his life to fostering safe and culturally-responsive environments within schools.
Dr. Herring co-founded SHOUT, a groundbreaking initiative that ensures that every student, faculty member, and staff member feels valued and respected. In 2021, Dr. Herring's outstanding contributions were recognized on a grand scale. He was lauded as the Educator of the Year by the State of Black Learning and received the prestigious title of Innovative Educator of the Year from the Pennsylvania School Board Association.
Through his initiative with Howard University on Project OTIS (Operation Teacher [of Color] Irrigation System), he continues to champion the cause of a diverse teaching workforce. Join us as we delve into his inspiring journey, exploring the transformative power of education and the boundless spirit of giving back.
What’s an urgent issue facing education?
I believe an urgent issue facing education today is the deliberate dissemination of nebulous talking points by certain individuals with the intent to sow confusion and doubt about fundamental educational principles, which were once considered irrefutable. For instance, I recently encountered a speech where an individual openly advocated for cultivating a universal distrust in public schools to further their own agenda. Such tactics escalate fear and anxiety among the public, leading them to make decisions contrary to their own and their children’s well-being. It's essential to understand that anxiety often peaks when knowledge is lacking. Therefore, I strive to counteract this fear by equipping people with clear and accessible information to debunk the misinformation they encounter.
What is one industry book that a newcomer must read?
One industry book that a newcomer must read is "THE GAP and the GAIN" by Dr. Benjamin Sullivan and Dan Hardy. This book emphasizes the importance of measuring success by recognizing the progress made towards achieving a goal, rather than focusing on what remains. For instance, if one sets a target of 10,000 steps a day and achieves 8,000, it's crucial to celebrate those 8,000 steps rather than dwelling on the 2,000 missed. The underlying message is that while we often aim for an ever-shifting ideal, we should take pride in our progress and not get disheartened by not reaching perfection
What is your favorite quote?
I've always been drawn to the words,
'Be grateful for what you have while you work for what you want.'
This quote encapsulates the essence of both gratitude and perseverance. It reminds us to have a thankful heart for our current blessings, while also motivating us to keep pushing forward towards our aspirations. For example, if I'm aiming to write a book, this quote nudges me to appreciate the chapters I've already penned, while keeping the bigger picture in mind.
Share one teaching strategy that works for you.
For me, effective teaching isn’t just about imparting knowledge but also about recognizing the potential learning moments from my students. My favorite teaching strategy is to meld my knowledge with the perspectives and experiences of my students. This collaborative process not only enhances the learning experience but also promotes an ecosystem where everyone is both a teacher and a learner.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is co-founding a student-led advocacy group named SHOUT (Social Handprints Overcoming Unjust Treatment) in the fall of 2019 alongside two high school seniors. SHOUT has played an instrumental role in pioneering culturally-responsive and safe environments within our school district for students, faculty, and staff. Essentially, it's a blend of leadership training within an advocacy setting. The students have been acknowledged by the US Senate and Allegheny County, established SHOUT chapters in other districts, penned a book titled "RAISE YOUR VOICE: The Stories of SHOUT", organized an annual Uncommon Conference on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, represented as student ambassadors at the United Nations’ Eradicate Hate Global Summit, and curated district events like Culture Week, A Tour of Latin America, and our annual Handprints Heal Footprints.
You can view the impactful work of SHOUT through these linked videos:
LinkedIn - ChuckHerring
X (formerly Twitter) - @chuckherring
Facebook - ChuckHerring
IG - chuckherringspeaks
1000 Spotlights: Why We Give reflects our mission of giving back, to mentor and to inspire those around us. Through a series of interview questions, we explore intrinsic motivations behind why we give, and talk with those inclined to make a difference in the lives of others. If you are involved in charitable activities, volunteer and paid academic engagements or in community service, we want to talk to you.
Write to us to nominate someone exceptional who is making a difference in extraordinary ways.
1000 Spotlights is part of UGSI that also owns SpeakerPost.com, a free social impact global platform that connects educators with industry experts and with other educators for volunteer guest speaking in college classrooms. If you are looking for a guest speaker for a student-focused event, or want to explore ways to share your career journey with students, please reach out and request your free invite code via SpeakerPost.com.