Highlighting Dane County’s African American K-12 Leaders

Torsie Judkins
Wingra School

Schools Attended

• Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY   

• North Carolina Wesleyan University, Rocky Mount, NC  

What being  Head of School means to me

To me, being a Head of School/Principal means leading with vision and compassion, fostering an inclusive environment where every student thrives. As a Black leader, I bring diverse perspectives, challenge inequities, and inspire change, ensuring our school community embraces and celebrates diversity in all its forms.

Sheba Mays
Akira Toki Middle School

Schools Attended

• Tennessee State University

• Concordia University Wisconsin

What being  Head of School means to me

To be a Principal is to be a servant leader. It is to be a visionary with a clear plan that benefits and prospers all that I serve. It means to show up as selfless, committed and authentic. It means connection, community, consistency, and culture. It is me.

Vanessa Kent
Kennedy Elementary

Schools Attended

• University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin

• Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, New York

What being  Head of School means to me

Being a Principal means inspiring educators to be the best version of themselves for our children. It is bringing joy to the work environment on a daily basis, while maintaining high expectations for all in our community. Our students deserve high quality leadership who ensure that they are leaving our schools as literate, successful individuals. We do this by partnering with families and community members.

Dr. Larry Love
Badger Ridge Middle School

Schools Attended

• University of Wisconsin – Madison

What being  Head of School means to me

As a Black middle school principal, I stand as a testament to the power of representation. In a landscape with few Black educators, I believe firmly that seeing someone who looks like you in leadership fosters aspiration. Ultimately, my role as principal means I am responsible for creating an environment where my students feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to achieve their full potential.

Jeffrey Stovall
James C. Wright Middle School

Schools Attended

• University of Northern Iowa

• University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin

• National Louis University

What being  Head of School means to me

Being a principal, means that I get an amazing opportunity to positively impact scholars, families, staff, and the community with a holistic vision for all. As the principal I am awarded the opportunity to create an individual personalized relationship with all scholars, staff, and families. 

Dr. Jeffrey B Copeland
Sennett Middle School

Schools Attended

• Bethune-Cookman University

• Troy State University

• Argosy University

What being  Head of School means to me

The honor of being a principal is a position of significant leadership and responsibility within a school community. The following are some elements of what being a principal entail:

1. Educational Leadership: Principals are responsible for setting the school’s goals and mission. Principals monitor mandated curriculum, establish academic expectations, and ensure teaching and learning is aligned to district and state guidelines.

2. Administrative Management: Principals oversee the day-to-day management of the school’s finances, personnel, scheduling, and facilities. To keep the school operating efficiently, Principals must provide a welcoming and inclusive school environment where all staff and students feel important, safe, and supported.

Dom Ricks
Kromrey Middle School

Schools Attended

• University of Wisconsin Madison; BA in Sociology 2014 , MA in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis 2018

What being  Head of School means to me

Being a principal means making students feel seen and creating systems that give them the best chance of success. Students deserve for schools to be transformational and the only way a student who needs it to be is willing to learn from you, is if they know you are there for them.

Daniel Kigeya
Madison West High School

Schools Attended

• University of Wisconsin-Madison

What being  Head of School means to me

Working at Madison West is not just a job; it’s a calling; a mission. My role is guiding and assisting scholars with their goals and empowering them. It means helping shape identities as scholars, equipping them with skills, and allowing for creativity. As a proud graduate of Madison West, I am deeply committed to giving back to this institution that laid the foundation for my college and career success.  

Becky Peterson
Marquette Elementary

Schools Attended

• UW-Madison

• Edgewood College

What being  Head of School means to me

Being a principal means nurturing each individual’s unique gifts and talents and fostering an environment where all stakeholders—students, staff, and families—feel comfortable, respected, and acknowledged for their true, authentic selves. Ultimately, I want to see scholars use their unique abilities to take charge of their education and change the world. 

Candace Terrell
Southside Elementary

Schools Attended

• University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin

What being  Head of School means to me

It means being given the opportunity to create an atmosphere with a shared vision of excellence. The ability to create a high quality teaching and learning experience that is accessible for all students. This experience transcends all barriers allowing students with all backgrounds to be successful. This foundation expands into creating windows of opportunity to a visual of endless possibilities for them. 

Alex Thompson
Sherman Middle School

Schools Attended

• University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

• National Louis University

What being  Head of School means to me

Being a Principal is a responsibility to guide the education of a community of people. 

“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better” – Carter G. Woodson

Victor Chukwudebe
Capital High School

Schools Attended

• University of Illinois

• Oakland City University

What being  Head of School means to me

My role as principal is one that I take seriously.  I view this as the last opportunity for my students to explore career and college options without debt.  I understand that this educational experience shapes scholars’ outlook for many years to come.  In my position, I’m elated to have students experience minority leadership at Capital High.