What is your name, what role do you play in education, how long have you been in education?
Joyelle Naomi is a Home Educator. Joyelle also holds the title of Founder and CEO of the Black Home-Schooling Sustainability Initiative and Founder and CEO of Denver Independent School (DIS). Joyelle has been home schooling her own kids for seven years.
Why do you think education is important?
First and foremost, it is important to be self-educated [being educated about who we are as individuals]. Education is learning about others and the world around us, which enables us to develop our own views about the world. It also helps us establish our purpose and how we want to move throughout the world. Self-education and learning about others lead to participation in the world in a way that is rooted and grounded in purpose.
What do you love most about your role in education?
I am grateful for being able to have a vision and being able to implement that vision. My vision is deeply rooted in wanting to come alongside others to help add to the education sector, especially the black community. I am passionate about adding voice to the conversation around school choice. We (as a black community) typically frame school choice in terms of charter, private, and public schools. We rarely think about the possibility of home educating our children and the immense amount of benefits that comes with it, specifically for black children. I love being able to be in this position and having others who believe in my vision while pouring in resources and knowledge. I love being able to implement change!
What is the best advice you have received about impacting the education sector?
Include those who you are serving in the decision-making process. It is important to not be in the position where you believe you know what is best for others, instead truly form a community. Forming the community is more than being a leader, it is also being able to learn. It is still important to allow those who you are serving a true voice! It is important to include them in process instead of speaking on their behalf.
What advice would you give the younger generation about their education?
You have permission for education to be individualized. There is power in your voice and it is important to determine what you want to learn. Let go of the quote-unquote “should’s” around what education is and have the courage to explore all of your questions and curiosities. Understand that learning happens any and everywhere.
Interview By Melvin Whipple
I oversee the Black Homeschooling Sustainability Initiative, a program of the Denver Independent School. We identify barriers that prevent Black homeschooling families from accessing their right to home-educate their children and partner with local organizations to provide equitable solutions to those barriers.