Our hearts are heavy. Over the weekend, violent hate crimes ravaged communities in Buffalo, NY and Dallas, TX. In Buffalo, a white man opened fire and killed 10 people in a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood. He targeted this neighborhood in order to intentionally harm the Black community. In Dallas, police are investigating a series of shootings in Asian-run businesses. Please join us in remembering and honoring the victims and sending love and healing to these communities. Let us say the names and learn the stories of each community member lost.

Aaron Salter, Jr.
Ruth Whitfield
Pearl Young
Katherine “Kat” Massey
Roberta A. Drury
Heyward Patterson
Celestine Chaney
Andre Mackneil
Geraldine Talley
Margus D. Morrison

These senseless deaths are a result of fear and ignorance, a fear that pervades corners of America. As the murderer explained in his writings, he travelled 200 miles to kill innocent Black Americans because of his belief in the “Great Replacement.” This conspiracy theory claims that white people are being intentionally replaced with people of color for economic and political gain. The origins of this theory can be traced to French nationalism in the early 1900s, later adopted and promoted by white supremacists. Today, we can hear the idea advanced in some public discourse.

This is fear grounded in racism, fear of being a minority in a nation that historically mistreats people in the minority.

We can fight fear through education. After all, hate is learned. I wrote those words three-and-a-half years ago after the murders of 11 people worshipping at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. I said them after the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Sun Cha Kim. These latest hate crimes are another reminder to look to the Anti-Defamation League’s Pyramid of Hate as proof that hate is not inevitable. At the very base of the pyramid are the behaviors stereotyping, making insensitive remarks, and fears of difference. If those behaviors are not squelched, if they are not prevented, if they are not addressed in our schools and communities, they can escalate into acts of bias, into violent acts like those we saw last weekend.

As educators, it is our responsibility to teach young people of all ages to recognize, respect, and celebrate our differences. It is also our charge to see, name, and talk about the richness in our difference. We can fight hate with an understanding of and appreciation for people different from ourselves.

Every single one of us, from the seat we are in and the skin we are in (especially our white brothers and sisters or those, like me, who have proximity to whiteness), is called to action to continue leveraging our platforms and spheres of control and influence to address this ugliness.

Indeed, education is our most powerful weapon against history repeating itself again and again and again.


Nancy B. Gutiérrez, Ed.L.D.

Lead Executive Officer & President

Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez is President & Lead Executive Officer (LEO) of The Leadership Academy, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and developing culturally responsive school and school system leaders to create the conditions necessary for all students to thrive. Since 2003, The Leadership Academy has done work in more than 375 school districts, state education departments, and education organizations across the country, reaching over 12,000 educators in 39 states.

Nancy began her career as a teacher and principal in her home community of East San Jose, CA, where she was the founding principal of Renaissance Academy, the highest performing middle school in the district and a California Distinguished School. Nancy also led the successful effort to turn around the district’s lowest performing middle school. She was named the UC Davis Rising Star and Association of California School Administrators’ Region 8 Middle School Principal of the Year in 2010. In 2014, Nancy joined The Leadership Academy and served in various roles before being named President & CEO in October 2018. Prior to her tenure with the Leadership Academy, Nancy launched a program for executive leadership advancement for the New York City Department of Education that led to superintendent certification.

Nancy is a Fall 2019 Pahara-Aspen Education Fellow and was named one of the top 100 most influential leaders in education in New York in 2020. In 2023, Nancy was named San Jose State University’s Distinguished Alumna.

Nancy is a graduate of the inaugural cohort of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Doctor of Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) program and is a graduate of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Aspiring Superintendents Academy. She has served as an adjunct professor for NYU, Teachers College and American University as well as an expert guest at various Harvard Principals’ Center Institutes. Nancy is a frequent keynote speaker and has authored numerous pieces on education leadership for publications including Education Week, Kappan, The74, Learning Forward’s Learning Professional, District Administrator, and Hechinger Report. She is also the co-author of Stay and Prevail: Students of Color Don’t Need to Leave Their Communities to Succeed, a revolutionary guide to disrupting harmful mindsets and practices in our schools to ensure that students can thrive in their home communities.

Nancy is a member of the Board of Directors at the Hunt Institute, brightbeam, and Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC), and serves on the Latinos for Education teaching team.

Find Nancy on Twitter @nancybgutierrez or LinkedIn.