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Education Policy Fellowship Program

EPFP Learning Team Session -

Equity and Opportunity to Learn

March 12, 2018

12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kellogg Center, MSU

This session will provide you with a landscape based on research and local context around issues that address equity and opportunity to learn in the school environment. As an inherent right of every child in America, educators, parents, and other members of the community must share a common interest in the educational success of each child and in the role of education within our democratic society. We will be hearing from two experts in the field, Dr. Terah Venzant-Chambers and Dirk Weeldreyer.

Team:Beth Rice, Corrie Mervyn, Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell, Jeff Vanderlaan, Jessica Gillard, Matt Shastal, Taylor Guarnaccia, and Tina Tribu


Dirk Weeldreyer is in his first year as Executive Director of the School Equity Caucus, an association of approximately 200 school districts across the state of Michigan. The Caucus advocates for legislative and regulatory policies that will provide equal educational opportunity for all Michigan students, particularly through the provision of adequate and equitable funding for our ISD’s and K-12 public schools.

Previously, Dirk served as superintendent of Fennville Public Schools for more than nine years, and as principal of Martin Middle/High School for five years. Prior to that, he taught high school social studies for 16 years at Jenison Public Schools, where he served as sponsor or advisor for numerous student organizations, coached 19 seasons of basketball, and led six student trips to Europe. Throughout his 30-year career in education, Dirk advocated strongly for outstanding educational opportunities that are equally accessible to every child.

Dirk is a graduate of Hope College, with masters degrees from Nazareth College (Kalamazoo) and Western Michigan University, and an education specialist degree from Grand Valley State University. He grew up as the son of a school administrator in Mattawan, Michigan, where his father was elementary principal for nine years and superintendent for thirty-one.

The School Equity Caucus is dedicated to ensuring an adequate and equitable educational opportunity for all children and youth in the State of Michigan. The Caucus will work in cooperation with other associations, groups, and interested citizens to assist the Governor, State Legislature, and State Board of Education to initiate appropriate policies, legislation, and support systems.

Terah Venzant Chambers is an associate professor of K-12 educational administration. Her research interests include post-Brown K-12 education policy and urban education leadership. Specifically, she is interested in the ways within-school segregative policies influence African American students? academic achievement and school engagement, as well as the price of school success for high-achieving students of color (racial opportunity cost). She has been an associate editor for several journals and currently serves on the editorial boards of AERJ, JRLE, and Urban Education. She has previously served as a Congressional Fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) with placements in the Office of Rep. Diane E. Watson (retired) and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.