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NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT | Diversity In Leadership Institute

The Diversity in Leadership Institute seeks to expand its support of Black and Latinx K-12 administrators in California through the development of a network that not only addresses the professional aspects of leadership but the overall well-being of education leaders. Our ultimate goal is to support and retain a thriving workforce of educators of color.

Boulder Fund support will be used to launch the DLI School Leader of Color Network (SLOCN). The program will be a “curated” community comprised of DLI fellowship graduates and leaders from our Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (RDEI) partnership organizations. The SLOCN will advance school leadership diversity and support the holistic development of leaders of color by providing ongoing opportunities to engage in meaningful work in the following areas: RDEI, School Leadership Training, Career Development, Policy and Advocacy, Mental Health, and Self Care. Additionally, the SLOCN will further advance organizations to improve their RDEI work, by building a network of school leaders of color who support one another, expanding the pool of talented leaders of color for schools to recruit from, and providing a brave space for leaders of color to engage in authentic conversations about successes, challenges and inequities they face without judgment.

About the Founder

Dr. Laura McGowan-Robinson began the work of mentoring and retaining diverse school leaders while serving in the role of Senior Vice President of Regional Advocacy and later as Chief Operating Officer at the California Charter Schools Association, which later spun off the Diversity in Leadership Institute into its own 501(c)(3). Before serving as the group's COO, McGowan-Robinson founded and served as Executive Director of Crown Preparatory Academy, a middle school in South Los Angeles, which is now part of the STEM Prep Schools network. A life-long educator, McGowan-Robinson began her teaching career as a Chicago Public Schools teacher before moving west and becoming a high school English teacher and literacy coach with the Los Angeles Unified School District.

McGowan-Robinson earned her Bachelor’s degree in English/Rhetoric from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, a Master’s Degree in Instructional Leadership in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and her doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University.

The mission to support Black and Latinx people to become school leaders is the culmination of a dream that began on a field in Mississippi before McGowan-Robinson was even born. Named after her grandmother —Laura Woodley, who had to drop out of school in the 6th grade to pick cotton, clean the homes of white people, and help care for her siblings after her mother's untimely death — McGowan-Robinson's family preached the value of education. Though her grandparents never finished school, McGowan-Robinson's grandmother was a voracious reader and natural teacher and was the catalyst for her granddaughter's career in education. In 2010, McGowan-Robinson founded a school in her grandmother’s honor (Laura means "crown"), and today, she continues her mission to help Black and Latinx children succeed, both in and out of the classroom.


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