What happens when you feel unseen, unheard, and left out of most of the decisions about your education? Well, if you are Dr. Gess LeBlanc you spend your career raising up the voices of marginalized, diverse students.

Gess is a colleague of mine at Hunter College, and I’ve admired his patience, commitment to equity, and his engaging speaking and teaching style for all the time we’ve worked together. On this week’s podcast, that admiration has only grown. It’s rare that someone as brilliant and insightful centers their work on the raising up the perspectives of others. Gess is the real deal, and even if you aren’t in the field of education, you’ll learn a lot about Great Work this week.

Gess’s book “Who’s in my classroom” is a guide for educators (and all people) to understand the experiences of students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, primary languages, and learning abilities. With stories written by the students themselves (through a collaboration with Youth Communication), Gess’s work is absolutely Great Work.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Why Gess’s commitment and approach to Great Work deepened and changed when he became a father and husband.
  • How he is able to his Great Work while maintaining a happy and healthy home life and marriage
  • Why his work has always sought to find silenced voices and bring those perspectives back into the conversation.

About the Guest:

Gess LeBlanc, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and former Chair of the Department of Educational Foundations and Counseling Programs within Hunter College’s School of Education and is a co-founder of Hunter College’s Urban Center for Assessment, Research, and Evaluation (UCARE). For over 20 years, he has worked in the fields of teacher and leadership preparation. A developmental psychologist, Dr. LeBlanc’s research investigates the impact of developmentally and culturally responsive teaching on school climate. This research has been published in both psychological and educational journals and has garnered awards from the Spencer Foundation and the American Psychological Association. Dr. LeBlanc is a sought after speaker on the topic of developmentally and culturally responsive teaching and is the author of Who’s In My Classroom?: Building Developmentally and Culturally Responsive School Communities published by John Wiley & Sons.

As an expert in the field of child and adolescent development, he has served as an educational consultant to various school districts, state agencies, and non-profit organizations including the New York State Department of Education, the New York City Department of Education, the Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District, the Lakeland Central School District, the Valley Central School District, the Highland Central School District, the Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the Orange-Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Studies, the Boys Club of America, Harlem Center for Education, Inc., Prep for Prep, City Year, Inc., Roundabout Theatre Company, and the Arthur Miller Foundation.

In addition to being recognized for his research, Dr. LeBlanc has been recognized for his teaching and service in the field of teacher and leadership education. He is a past recipient of Hunter College’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Hunter College School of Education’s Harold Ladas Award for Excellence in Teaching, and was awarded the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Equality and Excellence in Education, Inc. Dr. LeBlanc currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Roundabout Theatre Company, City Year New York, Inc. and the Harlem Center for Education, Inc.

About the author

Dr. Amanda Crowell is a cognitive psychologist and business coach who helps accidental entrepreneurs get more clients and have a bigger impact. She is the author of Great Work, the host of the Unleashing Your Great Work podcast, and the creator of the Great Work Journals. Amanda's TEDx talk has received almost two million views and has been featured on TED's Ideas blog and Ted Shorts. Her ideas have also been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, Quartz, and Thrive Global.