September Featured Educator – Henry Turner

image Dr. Henry TurnerWe are pleased to announce Dr. Henry Turner as our Featured Educator for September, 2021. Educational leaders are often tasked with unexpected challenges that involve the ability to quickly pivot and make decisions to ensure timely and relevant support for the communities they serve. Dr. Henry Turner is no stranger to these challenges, taking the initiative wherever necessary to ensure a positive learning environment for all. This educational leader takes the time not only to react, but also to reflect on his practice. Henry is passionate about critical conversations and the need to promote social justice in schools and society. As the principal of Newton North High School, his response to the murder of George Floyd involved communication with the school-wide community with a call to action in facing the harsh realities of our world, and the need to “take action so that we can strengthen our community and set an example for others.” Dr. Turner’s blog is a wonderful example of his own reflective practice and a valuable resource. In this space, Henry shares practical advice, such as his four tips to hire diverse staff. He also shares strategies to help create a Social Justice Culture in organizations through his newsletter, “Lessons on Social Justice Leadership”. Additionally, Turner’s YouTube Channel series, Changing the Narrative, focuses on  diversity and addressing the racial crisis. “The only way to move beyond racism is to talk about race and racism,” says Turner. “When we think that we can be colorblind we harm students of color.”

Newton North High School is fortunate to have such a leader, who believes in the power of student and teacher voice, and promoting equity in the school community. He encourages his students to solve global problems and supports global leadership. The World Language department’s use the global UN Goals and the creation of a new 10th grade English course, “Action Through Literature” that focuses on developing social justice skills, are just two examples of how Newton North is helping students to solve global problems.  He has been described by others as “second to none in building the capacity of colleagues”. “I learn every time I speak with Henry, whether it is in person while we plan a conference presentation or briefly via text message just to check in. He knows how to ask great questions, and how to ensure that everyone leaves an interaction with him thinking about what comes next.” said Kerry Gallagher. 

MassCUE would like to recognize Dr. Henry Turner for his contributions to education, equity and social justice. Congratulations on a job well-done!

With 15 years of experience as a high school administrator, Dr. Henry Turner is most proud of the collaborative environment and efforts he works to establish to empower students to fight hate and bigotry within their school community. Committed to preparing his students to flourish in an increasingly digital future, Turner has led two successful 1:1 laptop programs, on the premise that technology is a means to solve real world problems, create equitable opportunities for all, and narrow economic and racial gaps. Recognized for his inclusive leadership style and dedication to student advocacy, Dr. Turner was named 2021 K12 Principal of the Year.  The award recognized his efforts to implement antiracist learning skills, incorporate culturally responsive instructional practices, and ensure sustainability of these practices by addressing necessary structural and systematic changes to combat systemic racism. He has a newsletter on social justice leadership  

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