Zariah Nicole is a young Black woman raised by her maternal great-grandmother and grandmother in a low-socioeconomic, Black neighborhood in a colorblind medium-sized city. Her journey through education is easily perceived as a successful counter-narrative of a Black child born to teen parents. While Nicole’s academic performance spelled S-U-C-C-E-S-S, she achieved this success at the cost of being her full authentic self. From this realization, learning grew from a reality escape to a vehicle for change.
Broadly, Nicole is concerned with the experiences and education of Black folx. Her previous research has looked at education as a pseudonym for socialization and its effect on Black women’s self-actualization. Following her experience as an elementary reading teacher in Houston, Nicole has a vested interest in exploring how we can better hold space for Black language in reading curriculum (seeing as most standardized exams/worksheets use AAVE to represent incorrect English). Her current project leans on the theories of womanism, fugitivity, and co-mentorship to understand how fugitive co-mentorship can co-create a fluid Black space that welcomes the full being, knowledge, and expressions of female Black K-12 teachers for mutual empowerment, learning, and care as a refuge from the violent afterlife of school segregation.