Meet the Founder,

Wenimo Okoya, EdD, MPH .

 

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Why heal teachers?

Hi, I’m Wenimo — founder of Healing Schools Project. 

Record numbers of teachers across the country are at breaking point, feeling they have no choice but to leave the profession. The stress teachers of all backgrounds are under is plain to see, and educator burnout is commonplace. Already dire, the pandemic exacerbated this dramatically.

I started my career as a classroom teacher in Newark, New Jersey. This experience gave me unique insight into the challenges that educators of color face in the school system.There was more to come through. 

George Floyd’s murder and its aftermath brought matters to a boiling point — deepening the trauma of educators of color. My colleague Ginelle and I knew we had to act, so we started holding virtual healing circles to create supportive spaces for ourselves and our teacher friends and colleagues. We quickly realized how much this work was needed, and its potential to help teachers and schools on a larger scale.  

In 2021, as a fellow at the Robin Hood Foundation, I turned this offering into a venture — Healing Schools Project was born. Today we are a team of 5 that partners with schools, districts and charter management organizations across the East Coast to support teachers individually as well as on systemic levels. 

My doctoral dissertation explored the adoption of trauma sensitive practices in schools. I link my research with practice to promote sustainable systems change, supporting educators and students across the country. My insider’s perspective into the challenges teachers face fuels my purpose everyday – to bring healing to our unsung heroes shaping the future. 

a black woman with gold circular earrings, glasses and braids laughing