Episode #127: Amplify the Voices of All Students with Hedreich Nichols
Hedreich Nichols is an author, educator, and consultant helping educators and districts amplify the voices of all students. Hedreich’s YouTube series and podcast, SmallBites, further help campuses amplify student voices by focusing on equity in education. Between SmallBites and her work as a writer, Hedreich works to help educators create more culturally responsive classrooms and campuses. Her Cherry Lake trade titles “What is Antiracism?” and “What is the Black Lives Matter Movement?” provides teachers with materials to help students understand systemic inequities; and her upcoming Solution Tree title, Finding Your Blindspots, provides educators with guiding principles to help them create more inclusive, welcoming campuses for all students.
As a speaker at conferences like VASCD, MASCD, CUE, etc. Hedreich provides educators with inspiration and a safe space to move beyond conversations around race; giving them hands-on, research-based strategies that can be immediately implemented.
When not working, Hedreich plays Mom to @SwissChrisOnBass, godmother to her friend’s fur baby, and vegges out on Instagram puppy videos. Hedreich received her Master of Education in educational technology at Texas A&M University.
Hedreich met me and my son, Andrew, at the Deeper Learning Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in August 2021. We had a wonderful time learning and playing together. Hedreich did an amazing keynote on the first day. For this podcast, Hedreich added several stories about her life that I wanted to share with you here.
Your family growing up
I grew up in the house with my mom, grandmom, and great grandmom. Ours was a house full of laughter, music, and a lot of stories. My great-grandmom and mom especially told the stories of their youth, of coming of age in a time that seemed very different from mine. “Mommie” was born before the turn of the 20th century and the stories she told were from a time when lynchings were a regular occurrence. She herself was a landowner who operated a small store with her husband, “Boss” who had played in the Negro leagues before Black athletes could play major league sports. She also learned never to look White people in the eye and to “stay in her place” unless she wanted to see her husband lynched or her home burned to the ground. Louisiana was not a safe place for people who looked like us. The stories she told of people living in, being freed from, or escaping enslavement were told to her first hand. Those were stories I heard snatches of while pretending not to “mind grown folks’ business”.
My grandmother, a child of the great depression, managed to survive and even study nursing at Xavier University at a time when many Black people could not access K12 education, much less college.