Education isn’t just about learning, it’s about celebrating differences and fostering inclusivity.

As CEO of Ascend Public Charter Schools, Recy Dunn’s story encapsulates the transformative power of personal experiences and the resounding impact they can have on one’s pursuit of educational justice and identity exploration. Raised by a mixed-race couple in Texas, his upbringing propelled a lifelong quest to understand identity amid societal complexities, stemming from racial prejudices and fueling his mission to reshape the educational landscape to address disparities in access and opportunities based on race.

An enlightening turning point surfaced in his life upon encountering a Langston Hughes poem, a moment that ignited a fire within him, setting him on a trajectory of exploring education’s potential in shaping identities and fostering an environment where differences are celebrated rather than marginalized. His insights highlight the complexities of navigating educational paradigms and emphasize the urgency to embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure a thriving educational ecosystem.

May Dunn’s voice resonate, sparking action in each of us, as we collectively endeavor to shape a more inclusive, diverse, and excellent educational landscape for generations to come! 

Show notes:
👨‍👩‍👦 Recy’s childhood: growing up in a mixed-race family in Texas and experiencing racism and prejudice.  01:34
🎓 Understanding identity and race: the transformative power of education. 04:18
🗽 ”There has to be more to this world”: moving to NY in a few days. 08:07
🔄 Career shift: from customer services to becoming a recruiter. 12:06
🚀 Entrepreneurial ventures:  launching a tutoring startup and expanding to LA. 18:54
👥 How John Deasy and Bill Hite influenced his work: Prince George’s superintendent and deputy superintendent. 24:25
🌟 New beginnings: transferring to the New York City Department of Education and working in DOA.  29:03
🏫 Opportunity to serve communities that look like him: from being explicitly college prep to being an organization that’s focused on educating kids and students. 38:03
🌱 Generational navigation: when your students are the priority. 44:59
🕰️ Words to younger self: Recy’s reflections and life advice. 47:55
🌎 Recy’s RONdering: Taking over the world. 49:13
🎖️ Ascend’s impact: empowering 6,000 students in Brooklyn. 50:30

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What is Ronderings?

In season one of Ronderings, Ron talks to his guests about their superpowers, including career advice, diversity, mindset, wellness, and leadership. Ron grew up in New York City, and has been coaching and leading executive searches for the last five years, taking what he has learned from 15 years in corporate, higher education, government, and non-profit contexts. He and his wife are obsessed with reality television, and Ron also moonlights as a men's personal stylist and group fitness instructor. Ron says, "I believe in the power of intuition and deepening one’s self-awareness and impact on others. I believe in the power of connection and transparency. I believe that we must dismantle systems of oppression and racism to recover our fullest humanity. Most of all, I believe our power to change the world starts from changing ourselves first."