Diversity in staff resonates with students


Message to Jackson on back of senior photo from former student, Gavyn Mitchell. Photo courtesty of John Jackson

Tyvon Smith, In-Depth Editor

Entering the 2018-2019 school year at Omaha North, the diversity in staff has increased from the previous year alone. Eight African American educators have either been placed in a position of administration or promoted into being so, where the change is noticeable.

Former English teacher at Omaha North, John Jackson, has been employed through Omaha Public Schools for two years. This year, Jackson has switched from being an English teacher to being the teacher for Nebraska College Preparatory Academy, ‘NCPA’. Still in the building, he feels he has a commitment to stick to.

“I now see it is as my duty and obligation to be a part of a movement towards growth in this profession,” Jackson said.

Majority of the students that connect with Jackson are African American or Latino. When Jackson became the NCPA teacher for Omaha North, they were doubtful of having a Black teacher.

Jackson believes it is important to have staff that reflects the student population.

“There is still more work to do in that area, but the more opportunities we have to provide our students to see themselves as servant-leaders. It creates where students can see themselves in an environment with a position of leadership,” Jackson said.

Jackson finds it normal that where there is a predominantly Black student population, the ratio of Black educators is irrational, as there are more educators not of color in general.

“As Wiley was the only African American male counselor in Nebraska,” Jackson continued, “I’m inspired by his legacy which serves as an ensample of the work that is led to be done.”

Ayesha Station has been a business educator and DECA adviser with at Omaha North for four years, where she is now a Dean of Students.

“I have always told my students that no matter what field they pursue, they always have to know how to sell themselves and build their brand,” Station said.

As a Dean of Students, Station hopes to have more self-awareness of how student behavior in students impacts their future goals and decisions.

Station plans to be a resource guide for assisting those who may struggle through their path as being a first generation student as she was.

“With North having a large number of African American students, my goal is to be a role model that reveals that hard work and education can open many doors,” Station said.

Physical Education teacher Michaela Dailey has been an educator through OPS for nine and a half years.

Dailey is excited that Omaha North’s staff is becoming more diverse, both in academics and athletics.

Being an African American educator for Dailey is unique at Omaha North, noting that African American educators in Nebraska is rare as is.

“In my opinion, this is a major issue, part of it because we don’t have enough Black adults going into education,” Dailey said.

Dailey believes a factor that goes into having few Black educators in North Omaha in general are comes from discredit behind Omaha Public Schools.

“If there were more Blacks going into the education field, I’m sure there would be more Black educators in North Omaha schools,” Dailey said.

The small amount of African American educators in the Omaha area are being dispersed amongst all schools.

“We have to take at ourselves,” Dailey said.

Dailey’s passion for educating youth led her to furthering her education in receiving a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

“I would like to challenge any of my people who are interested with giving back to our youth to get involved in education,” Dailey said.

Majority of the students that Dailey coaches and teaches are African American.

“One of my greatest strengths is building good relationships with my students and athletes,” Dailey said.

Dailey believes African American students are naturally drawn to her.

“I am a woman of color, also being that we come from the same cultural background,” Dailey continued, “I have a better understanding of them.”

Dailey feels her teaching and coaching results with interaction and keeping them motivated, through relation as well.

“My student athletes know that I am dedicated to their success academically, athletically, and in life,” Dailey said.

Working with the youth for Dailey is more than teaching and coaching, “it’s about teaching them to be successful adults in life and building lifelong relationships,” Dailey continued, “they are our future.”