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Dr. Dugan's journey to education and advocacy

Imagine being listened to, affirmed, and challenged. Imagine a learning space where the experience leads to agency for self and nurtures community actualization. Imagine being pushed to think about the impact of historical context on our current reality while envisioning a new future and developing the skills and knowledge that will help get us there. Imagine experiencing passion, purpose, and possibility every time we are connected. This is the experience that educator Dr. Jamila Dugan seeks to create.

With over 15 years of educational expertise, Jamila's journey through life from adversity to empowerment fuels her passion for shaping lives as a dedicated educator. Standing on the shoulders of her ancestors, inspired by incredible colleagues, and consistently striving to grow, she seeks to create learning experiences that transform us.

Liberatory education is deeply personal to Dr. Dugan because of her experience as a K-12 student and a proud woman resident of East Oakland, CA. She experienced firsthand what it meant to be loved by and misunderstood by educators. She excelled in the early grades but, just like many students, her trajectory shifted as she matriculated through school.

High school brought personal challenges, pushing Jamila to the sidelines of inequity and exclusion. Despite attending advanced classes, she faced a disconnect between her needs and the support she craved. Rather than nurturing her potential, educators focused on surface behaviors, leaving her feeling out of place.

At just 15, Jamila's life took a pivotal turn when she failed out of high school and was enrolled in a Pan-African school that prioritized identity development, rigorous academics, and self-love.

Guided by inspirational mentors focused on personal development and community actualization, she not only began to understand her worth but unleashed her drive to create liberatory experiences for all.

This drive led her to continue to advance her studies, including completing a dissertation study focused on the relational factors that contribute to the success of African American students in schools.

These experiences form the soul-stirring foundation of Jamila's leadership and coaching style. They drive her commitment to radically dreaming about the possibilities of liberatory education, challenging systemically low expectations for Black and other marginalized students, and bringing out the best in every individual she interacts with. Jamila's unique journey informs her approach to developing educators, emphasizing empathy, understanding, and the transformative impact of affirming mentorship on both educators and students alike.

Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Education Leadership for Equity from the University of California, Berkeley; a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University; and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Fresno State University. As a writer and speaker, Jamila focuses on carrying on the tradition of planting seeds of inspiration for educators to enable the next generation to grow and flourish.



Looking to be inspired?

Learn with Jamila over at Joysource! See the latest workshops and communities of practice that Jamila and her team are leading at

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