The Arizona Department of Education and our Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is proud to celebrate Pride month and the many contributions of LGBTQIA teachers and leaders in our education community. This week, ADE is excited to spotlight our Communications Director, Richie Taylor as well as share excellent resources to help you build a more inclusive community and classroom.
Richie Taylor is a native of Safford, a proud graduate of Arizona’s public schools, and a 2020 Flinn-Brown Civic Leadership Fellow. He started his career working in television advertising sales in Phoenix and later worked for the Maricopa County Human Services Department, leading communications and strategic planning work. Following his time working for Maricopa County, Richie worked as a communications manager for the New York City Mayor’s office before returning to his home state to serve as communications director for the Arizona Department of Education under the leadership of Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman.
Who or what inspires you to work in Arizona’s education community?
The teachers I had growing up in Safford, Arizona, made such a profound impact on my life, particularly my third and fourth-grade teachers. They treated me with respect and acceptance at a critical time in my childhood – a time I didn’t have many friends. Because of the kindness and respect that they showed me, I owe a lot to Mrs. McGaughey and Mr. Dunkerson. Every student deserves a caring teacher like them.
What is one way our classrooms can be more culturally responsive and inclusive?
One of the easiest ways is for schools to welcome all students and meet them where they are at in their lives. Creating a culture of acceptance and inclusion is critical to ensuring students feel safe and welcome to learn successfully. I was a better student because teachers like Mrs. McGaughey and Mr. Dunkerson took the time and effort to build that inclusive classroom environment.
Hear more from Richie Taylor in his recent interview on KJZZ’s The Show (22:30 on May 26th) where he talks more in-depth about growing up as a gay student in Safford, AZ.
Facing History and Ourselves: LGBTQ History and Why It Matters is a 50-minute lesson plan that includes teaching strategies, a material list, activities, and extensions. The lesson plan aligns with Facing History and Ourselves’ mission to heightens students’ understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice; increases students’ ability to relate history to their own lives; and promotes greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in democracy through rigorous historical analysis combined with the study of human behavior.
Facing History and Ourselves: LGBTQ History and Why It Matters
2021 Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade November 6th and 7th at Steele Indian Park Due – Tickets: https://wl.seetickets.us/event/Phoenix-Pride-2020/399000?afflky=PhoenixPride
Due to COVID-19, the annual Phoenix Pride Festival and Parade were rescheduled to the Fall. This year’s Phoenix Pride Festival will continue to be a two-day celebration designed to bring our diverse LGBTQ+ and allied communities together for a weekend of camaraderie and celebration of our past, present, and future, while raising funds for the Phoenix Pride Community Programs and educating the public about the existence and continuing civil rights battle facing our community.
AZCentral: Monica Helms, the creator of the transgender pride flag, is 'still amazed' to see it displayed
Any reference obtained from this blog to a specific product, process, or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the ADE of the product, process, or service, or its producer or provider. Any suggested lessons or classroom materials in these blogs do not supersede the curriculum and materials decided upon by local education agencies.