School First

Tawanda C. Owens, Ph.D.

Cultural Change Consultant.

I am a strategic senior leader with more than 20 years of experience in the field of education, and I'm dedicated to helping educational institutions change, particularly through the lens of Diversity, Equity, Justice, and Belonging (DEJB). The responsibilities I played as a manager and leader for DE&I at the Universities of Iowa, Colorado at Boulder, and Utah are among the many rewarding professional experiences I've been fortunate enough to have. In leadership teams, professional development, and strategic visioning for public, independent day and boarding schools, as well as an international independent boarding school, I have enjoyed creating deliberate adjustments. Delivering practical and systemic workplace solutions that enhance DEJB is my stated goal.
I am completely committed to supporting the growth of leadership skills in order to help workplaces become more collaborative and raise awareness and a sense of belonging for the benefit of all. Even though I recognize how difficult DEJB's work is, I take solace in the fact that giving grace in space is crucial. I really believe that in order to create a more just society in the future, it is essential to meet people where they are right now since everyone comes to their understanding from very different beginning points.

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Cities we have worked with include

San Francisco
Los Angeles
New York
Washington DC
In the midst of the dual-pandemic, COVID and the murdering of Black people, my family and I relocated from Salt Lake City, Utah, to the Maryland region. My decision was well- planned and timed because I wanted to combine my love for DEJB and my enthusiasm for K–12 education. Although I had a happy and fulfilling career in higher education, I soon realized that the K–12 sector, where I worked as a career/counselor, 8th-grade teacher, and coach, was where the core of my work was. I have devoted my life to being a supporter, educator, and mentor who encourages children to be their best self and I look forward to cultivating our next generation of leaders.
Last but not least, I am extraordinarily grateful of the opportunity I have to influence not just the lives of other kids, but also our own. My husband, Windell, and I have been blessed with three amazingly talented, kind, and intelligent children and a loving and protective Yorkie. Our favorite times include beach trips, biking, hiking, skiing, and looking forward to impromptu "dad jokes". My family is my core, and they are the reason I'm committed to doing this work. As a forever optimist I am aware of and believe in the strength of our humanity as well as in the fact that, given the appropriate circumstances, we can and will coexist in harmony.