Deeply influenced by her very first teacher at Sanctuary Christian Academy, who was one of only four black educators throughout her K–12 years, Brianna Ross ’10, who was often the only student of color in the classroom, knew she was destined for a career in urban education, with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“When I began teaching, I was intentional about working specifically in communities of color,” Ross says, “because I believe it’s critical for our students of color to learn from teachers who share their perspectives, understand their experiences, and recognize the need to make an unwavering commitment to their success.”
At The Shipley School, Ross fell in love with American history, thanks to Upper School history teacher Charles Amidon and former Upper School history and interdisciplinary teacher Charlene Weigel. A former member of Shipley’s Students United for Racial Equality (SURE) and participant in the Will Trippley Tutoring Program, she now serves as Social Studies Department Chair and Equity Liaison—and teaches world history—at Deer Park Middle Magnet School in Baltimore County, Maryland.
“As Social Studies Department Chair, I support teachers in creating high-quality, engaging lessons that foster our students’ critical thinking, research, and literacy skills,” explains Ross, who holds a bachelor’s degree in applied developmental psychology and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as a post-master’s certificate in educational administration and supervision from Loyola University Maryland. “As Equity Liaison, I’m focused on interrupting teacher biases, beliefs, and practices that perpetuate inequities while working to build teacher capacity to create inclusive classrooms that reflect the strengths and interests of our students.”
Ross, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in urban educational leadership at Morgan State University, says she and her colleagues are committed to promoting equity and advancing anti-racist practices across all Baltimore County Public Schools by “incorporating more diverse perspectives, connecting historical topics to current events, and encouraging students to find solutions to real-world problems.”