Category: The Exit Interview

Blaxodus: Branta Lockett, the 5280 Freedom School, Exit Interview 10

Branta Lockett moved through her educational odyssey at the highest levels. W.E.B. DuBois would have absolutely drafted her for his Talented Tenth All Star Team. Highly Gifted and Talented, International Baccalaureate, Brown University, she brought her sterling credentials to Denver, hoping to be the difference for all students, especially Black students.

Her first two years as a Denver teacher were, simply put, “great.” But by year three, things began to unravel. She witnessed disproportionate disciplinary actions taken against Black boys. Still new to the work, she became a voice of advocacy for students and community. Her evaluation scores took a jarring dip. She changed roles, and found no support in any of them. Between COVID-19 and anti-Black dynamics within the union, she took the leap.

The 5280 Freedom School, inspired by the Civil Rights era’s Mississippi Freedom Schools, launched first as a summer program. After having their charter initially rejected, they are poised to open their doors in “Harlem of the West,” the Five Points neighborhood.

This story is at once a cautionary tale and a call to action. Learn more at; follow them on socials @5280freedomschool.

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The Exit Interview 09. Coming Back Different with Jacci Cradle

Jacci tells us her story of coming full circle. With her love for whom we in education consider as “littles,” she tells her journey as a childcare center owner who, with a heart for doing more for her community, begins her work as a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director in a Denver Metro Area organization. Listen in as Jacci describes her story and advice for Black folks in the early learning space.

“Don’t Ever Downplay My Accomplishments”

The Exit Interview premiers with the story of Sataira Douglas.

When she came into the teaching game, Sataira was a highly regarded rising star in teaching. In a profession that struggles to recruit, let alone retain, Black teachers, Sataira was sought after by multiple school districts.

The situation decayed quickly. Microaggressions and macroaggressions. Gaslighting. Frozen out by colleagues. Rumors. Blamed for colleagues health problems. Invisible labor. The stress on family and community members who watched her struggle and still hold her head high. Belittled publicly in front of colleagues.

And still, Sataira came to work. Told herself “it could be worse.” Worried what would happen to her students if she left. Staying for a community of parents and children that she felt a bond with. Hold your head down. Just do your job.

And yet, “I knew I was going to quit by October.”

But through the pain and professional harm done to her, Sataira found a way to rise. To discover her power. To learn exactly how much was too much.

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