Any intellectual pursuit requires engagement with students and learning that reflects their lives, the times they exist, and the futures they seek to dream. We, as educators, are endowed with the privilege, not the right, to collaborate with students to understand how their experiences are opportunities to learn complex material. Without studying them, material alongside youth, we remove ourselves from the existence of our futures. – A.F. Brown, 2022

Educator. Researcher. Leader.

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Dr. Ayanna F. Brown earned her B.S. from Tuskegee University in Secondary Education Language Arts; M.Ed in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership; Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Interdisciplinary Studies: Language, Literacy, and Sociology. Her career in education spans both public and private organizations, including teaching Middle-Level English Language Arts and leading college readiness planning for urban youth with a consortium between Vanderbilt University and Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Dr. Brown served Elmhurst University for fifteen years as an Associate Professor of Education and Cultural Studies and University Ombudsperson for four years.

Dr. Brown is the inaugural Associate Vice President of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) and professor at Erikson Institute: Graduate School in Early Childhood in Chicago, Illinois. Her research examines discussions of race in secondary school settings and how the discursive aspects of dialogue contribute to racial literacies 
in situ.  

Ayanna is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles, several book chapters and is the co-editor of 
Critical Consciousness in Curricular Research: Evidence from the Field and has presented her research nationally and internationally. She is the editor of Racial Literacies Informed by the Sociopolitical and Sociocultural Contexts for Youth, a special issue book published by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  

She is actively involved in several national grants, and the Co-Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation grant, RESULT, which works to increase the number of STEM majors to become teachers using literacy and culturally responsive education as a catalyst for thinking about teaching in everyday life. Brown along with her colleagues have recently been awarded a 1.3 million dollar NSF Grant, PRIDE, to continue to work toward increasing diverse teachers of STEM focusing on literacies and culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogies.

Dr. Ayanna F. Brown is a 2023-2028 Fellow with the Midwest & Plains Equity Assistance Center and engages in research and advocacy nationwide and has presented her scholarship on four continents.

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