MEA FIRE: REA Cohort Program

The Minnesota Educator Academy’s member-driven program for Facing Inequities and Racism in Education aims to disrupt systemic racism and racial inequities in Minnesota’s education system. 

The FIRE program will lead the state’s educators in a movement to live equitably and practice recognizing and responding to inequities and injustices. The FIRE program includes the Racial Equity Advocate cohort program and a series of professional development modules for educators to grow an anti-racism mindset and opportunities to engage with Education Minnesota’s members to interrupt and dismantle institutional racism.

The REA cohort is a two-year program that works to create a network of educators dedicated to helping members grow in their own racial equity journeys and to expand their anti-racism mindset. At the end of the training, REAs will be empowered to work as union members to activate change at the building level and beyond.

Possible outcomes include: 

  • Functioning effectively as part of an interracial cohort of people who are courageous with each other, committed to reflecting on and improving their own practice and modelling communication skills and processes that disrupt the institutional privilege of whiteness and advance equity.
  • Developing and delivering professional development for Education Minnesota members that is designed to grow racially equitable classrooms by facilitating growth of individual racial consciousness and intercultural competency.
  • Using a racial equity lens to advocate for the rights and protection of educators working to develop anti-racist mindsets and practices in their classrooms, with a special focus on supporting educators of color and advocating that their rights and needs are respected and advanced.
  • Challenging systems of oppression that are personal, local and immediate. 
  • Examining unionism through a racial equity lens.
  • Continuing to participate in a network of racial equity advocates committed to dismantling racism.

If you feel the Education Minnesota Racial Equity Advocate program can advance your anti-racism work and you can commit to its goals, please complete the application.

Participant requirements

Support for and understanding of the principles of EdMN FIRE’s work and appropriate and ethical representation of EdMN FIRE to the public.

Knowledge of current research on racial equity/social justice, theory, coaching, and best practices for providing equitable educational programming leading to closing existing achievement gaps. 

Knowledge and experience in providing professional development or coaching in the areas of equity, multicultural education and ability to address how race, class, sex and other forms of bias impact schools and the achievement and experience of students. 

Ability to seek multiple perspectives and facilitate difficult conversations. 

Ability to maintain confidentiality.

Good listening, planning and task-oriented skills, with an ability to follow through with assignments in a timely manner.

Excellent relationship-building skills, experience, and comfort working with diverse people from different racial backgrounds, from various communities, with different levels of formal education, and with a variety of decision-making authority.

Ability to organize and facilitate meetings, public education events, presentations, and community forums and discussions.

Ability to represent EdMN FIRE with confidence and poise.

Critical thinking and analysis skills, e.g., a capacity to analyze problems and design potential solutions to problems.

Openness to evolving responsibilities.

Proficiency in digital communication.

Experience using social media, including Facebook and Twitter, as organizing and communication tools is a plus.

Ability to travel to offsite meetings. Education Minnesota reimburses travel expenses, including car mileage. 

Reasonable capacity to accommodate work hours that will fall outside of Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Preferred qualifications:

Individuals with lived experiences bring important expertise. 

Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with educational leaders and diverse members of the school community. 

Excellent presentation, interpersonal and communications skills (oral and written) required for preparation of training materials and related documents. 

Ability to apply technology to design and deliver equity training and development.

Training calendar

Participating in the REA cohort is a (minimum) two-year commitment. 

Throughout the first year, REAs will have opportunities to reflect on race and racial equity via a variety of monthly activities, including readings, journals and discussions. This will become our platform to grow our own sense of community – a brave space for members to speak their truths, support and learn from one another, and self-reflect. This will be done in person (four times) and online (approximately once per month). 

During year two, members will work on implementing their own unique action plans within their building, district or local. In-person meetings will be a rarity during this time. However, during the action plan implementation process, members will have access to networking with fellow cohort members on both our Google Classroom and Facebook group pages. After the second year, REA members will be expected to present their findings at Summer Seminar of 2021. 

REAs must be fully available for all dates listed. CEUs will be provided for all training (total ~48 hours). By completing the application, you are confirming attendance at all listed dates.

All training sessions are required, except as indicated with an asterisk (*). All travel and expenses will be covered by Education Minnesota (including substitute costs).

Event Time/date Location Training hours
Cohort kick-off 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 MEA conference, Saint Paul RiverCentre 6
January meeitng 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11
EdMN office, 41 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul 5
March meeting 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 13
9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, March 14
EdMN office, 41 Sherburne Ave., St. Paul 5
May celebration/next steps 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, May 2 TBD 4
Action plan implementation 2020-21 school year Your building/district/local ~12
Member Rights Advocate (MRA) training* Various Various  
Train-the-trainer* TBD TBD 1
Representative Convention* April 24-25 DoubleTree, Bloomington 4
Restorative Circle training* TBD TBD  
Various conferences (White Privilege Conference, Institute for Teachers of Color, etc.)* TBD TBD  


* optional training opportunity
** Please note, other optional training opportunities could arise throughout the year.

If you have additional questions, please email FIRE coordinator Jonathan Kim at jonathan.kim@edmn.org.