MEA F.I.R.E.: REA Network Program


The Minnesota Educator Academy is excited to offer a unique volunteer opportunity to grow and serve within its F.I.R.E. program (Facing Inequities and Racism in Education). We are looking for a cohort of 20-24 individuals from around the state to participate in a yearlong training journey to become Racial Equity Advocates (REAs).

This year’s cohort of participants will be the first group to pilot the training, and educators who complete the program will have the opportunity to train the next cohort of REAs. Ultimately, FIRE aims to have a robust network of REAs supporting learning communities throughout the state.

If you are interested in participating in this program, review the following materials thoroughly; if you feel you are a good fit for the REA program, please complete the Interest and Experience Questionnaire. If you are interested in the REA program, but are not able to commit to the requirements, please consider training as a Community Storyteller, and complete the F.I.R.E. engagement survey

If you have additional questions, email F.I.R.E. coordinator Jen Kohan at jen.kohan@edmn.org.

Program outcomes

REAs will be able to:

  • Serve as a supportive peer for colleagues who are working to develop an anti-racism growth mindset
  • Deliver professional development and facilitate community learning experiences related to racial equity
  • Participate in conflict resolution and restorative justice efforts within learning communities; these communities may include colleagues, administrators, local leaders, parent, and students.
  • Examine equity issues with others (admin, staff, students, parents, community partners)
  • Create an environment for members of learning communities that is safe enough for risk taking, yet challenging enough for stakeholders to push themselves and each other; a “brave space” is essential for meaningful growth.
  • Select and utilize resources available for training
  • Engage in reflective practice and conscious self-care

REAs will be trained in the following content areas:

  • Personal identity and intersectionality exploration
  • Assessing equity needs within communities
  • White privilege and unconscious bias
  • Intercultural competence (participants will take the IDI assessment, and receive individual feedback)
  • Myth busting (affirmative action, reverse racism, etc.)
  • Methods for interrupting racism and microaggressions
  • Critical Race Theory (CRT) and institutional racism in education
  • Trauma-informed, restorative practices
  • Reconciling discomfort and non-closure
  • Application, organizing, and action for change

Participant Requirements:

Support for and understanding of the principles of EdMN FIRE’s work and appropriate and ethical representation of EdMN FIRE to the public.

Knowledge of current research on racial equity/social justice, theory, coaching, and best practices for providing equitable educational programming leading to closing existing achievement gaps. 

Knowledge and experience in providing professional development or coaching in the areas of equity, multicultural education and ability to address how race, class, sex, and other forms of bias impact schools and the achievement and experience of students. 

Ability to seek multiple perspectives and facilitate difficult conversations. 

Ability to maintain confidentiality.

Good listening, planning and task-oriented skills, with an ability to follow through with assignments in a timely manner.

Excellent relationship-building skills, experience, and comfort working with diverse people from different racial backgrounds, from various communities, with different levels of formal education, and with a variety of decision-making authority.

Ability to organize and facilitate meetings, public education events, presentations, and community forums and discussions.

Ability to represent EdMN FIRE with confidence and poise.

Critical thinking and analysis skills, e.g., a capacity to analyze problems and design potential solutions to problems.

Openness to evolving responsibilities.

Proficiency in digital communication.

Experience using social media, including Facebook and Twitter, as organizing and communication tools is a plus.

Ability to travel to offsite meetings. Education Minnesota reimburses travel expenses, including car mileage. 
Reasonable capacity to accommodate work hours that will fall outside of Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Preferred Qualifications:

Individuals with lived experiences bring important expertise. 

Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with educational leaders and diverse members of the school community. 

Excellent presentation, interpersonal and communications skills (oral and written) required for preparation of training materials and related documents. 

Ability to apply technology to design and deliver equity training and development.

Training Calendar:

REAs must be fully available for all dates listed. CEUs will be provided for all training (total = 50.5 hours). By completing the Interest and Experience Questionnaire, you are confirming attendance at all listed dates.

All training sessions are required, except as indicated where these is a choice of dates/events.

All travel and expenses will be covered by Education Minnesota (including substitute costs).

Event/Format Time/Date Training Hours
Group convening – intro 10 a.m.-12 p.m., July 18 4
Summer Seminar All sessions, July 31 3
  All sessions, Aug. 1 4.5
  All sessions, Aug. 2 3
Personal webinar/In-person IDI debrief At your convenience, August-September 1
MEA Conference All sessions, Oct. 19 5
Twin Cities Social Justice Ed Fair All day, Oct. 20 8*
MRA training TBD, Oct. 21 (1-2 alternate dates will also be available) 5
Webinar/face-to-face training 5-6:30 p.m., Nov. 14 1.5
Race Equity EdCamp 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 13 8*
Webinar/face-to-face training 5-6:30 p.m., Feb. 13 1.5
Spring retreat 12-1 p.m. the following day, March 23-24 (overnight) 10
Personal Coaching At your convenience, April-May 4

* REAs are only required to attend one of these two events (though attendance at both is encouraged)

Special Note: Please consider your prior commitments. If you are in a degree program, or working on National Board Certification, you may want to consider waiting a year or two. If you already feel stretched thin, please carefully consider your capacity to commit to this program. We have a limited number of spaces available for this first cohort.

Interest and Experience Questionnaire:
1.    Why are you interested in training and serving as a Racial Equity Advocate?
2.    Describe your experience with anti-racism equity work. Please be as specific as possible.
3.    In your experience, what are the biggest challenges regarding race equity in education?
4.    Please describe your own racial equity journey. How have you come to understand yourself through this work, and how has your journey informed the way you move through the world?
5.    What are you hoping to gain from this opportunity?

The REA Interest and Experience Questionnaire can be accessed online at: www.bit.ly/rea-qs. Applications submitted through the online form linked above will be accepted until June 12.

If you have additional questions, please email F.I.R.E. coordinator Jen Kohan at jen.kohan@edmn.org