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Jeff  Duncan-Andrade

Jeff Duncan-Andrade

Co-Founder of the Community Responsive Education (CRE) Group

Jeff Duncan-Andrade

Co-Founder of the Community Responsive Education (CRE) Group


If there is one thing that Jeff Duncan-Andrade knows for sure, it’s this: If you find something that’s not working, change it. And that’s exactly what he has done. The longtime urban educator, researcher and activist felt that students in his community in East Oakland, California, who are mostly Black and Latinx, weren’t getting the education they deserved. So Duncan-Andrade, a teacher and professor of Latina/o Studies and Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University, co-founded a new school—the Roses in Concrete Community School. It’s a school that centers the wellness of its students above everything else—responding to the unique needs of the community as the pathway to social and academic rigor. Duncan-Andrade also co-founded the Community Responsive Education Group and the Teaching Excellence Network (TEN) to support schools and districts to build and support similar practices in their communities.

The result of these unique methods is nothing but triumph. Duncan-Andrade has been ranked as one of the nation’s most influential scholars by EdWeek’s Public Influence Rankings. His work and methods of teaching have been widely studied and acclaimed for producing uncommon levels of social and academic success for students.  His research interests and publications span the areas of youth wellness, trauma responsiveness, curriculum change, teacher development and retention, critical pedagogy and cultural and ethnic studies. He works closely with teachers, school site leaders, union leaders and school district officials to help them develop classroom practices and school cultures that foster self-confidence, esteem and academic success among all students.

Duncan-Andrade also lectures around the world and has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on effective practices in schools. He has written two books and his third book with Harvard Press will be released in spring 2022. In 2016, Duncan-Andrade was part of the great educators invited to the White House on National Teacher Appreciation Day by President Obama, and in 2019 he was chosen as the Laureate for the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education. In 2021, he was selected to join the board of Prevent Child Abuse America. He holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies in Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, both from the University of California–Berkeley.

Speaker Videos

Disrupting Systems of Social Reproduction

TEDx: Growing Roses in Concrete

Equality or Equity: Which One Will We Feed?

Equality or Equity? | Talks at Google

Raise Up Project | Youth Speaks

Speech Topics

Equality or Equity: Which One Will We Feed?

There has been little research and writing done by urban educators to document effective practices in urban schools. But Jeff Duncan-Andrade has committed to using his research to start to change that trend. He has been a teacher, educational leader and researcher of effective teaching practices in schools around the world for nearly 30 years. His practice and work provide insights to educators and school leaders into effective systems change, program building and daily educational practices.

In this talk, Duncan-Andrade discusses how inequality and inequity are toxic and how these conditions can be changed. He equips leaders and educators with time-honored, research-based strategies that make relationships, relevance and responsibility essential ingredients of education and youth wellness. These methods fundamentally alter the business-as-usual approach that continues to fail so many of our young people. Through the voices of students and educators, this discussion reissues license for culturally — and community — responsive practices that transform engagement and educational outcomes for all children — relieving undeserved suffering in schools and communities.

Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete

What are the material conditions that affect urban youth before they even step foot in our classrooms? What does it mean to develop educational environments that are relevant and responsive to these circumstances? How should these educational spaces define success for students and teachers? In this presentation, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, founder of the ground-breaking Roses in Concrete Community School, provides solutions for these important questions. He shares how to develop educators who are better equipped to understand and create educational environments that respond to the social toxins that emerge from racism and poverty. He closely examines the types of social stressors young people face in the broader society and discusses the impact of these conditions on student identities and school performance. Duncan-Andrade draws from nearly 30 years as an urban educator to explore the concept of hope as essential for nurturing healthy and sustainable youth development. Through the voices of young people and their teachers, and the invocation of powerful metaphor and imagery, Duncan-Andrade proclaims hope as a foundational element for an education that replaces undeserved suffering in communities with wellness.

Unconditional Love for the Hood: Redefining Success in Our Communities

Why is success defined differently depending on your zip code? What happens to communities that define winning for their young people by how far away from the neighborhood they can get? How can we redefine success, so that our children understand how important they are to the project of improving the conditions in our communities?  In this presentation, educator, researcher, author and activist Jeff Duncan-Andrade shares how critical our young people’s wellness is to the pursuit of democracy, justice and freedom for all people. Drawing from the late Tupac Shakur’s concept of “unconditional love,” this presentation tests the double standard that is frequently used to define success in this country. It challenges poor and working-class youth and their educators to redefine dominant notions of success that encourage them to “escape” their communities—distancing themselves from the struggles of their neighborhoods while simultaneously increasing resources in areas that are already well resourced. Using a range of popular cultural frameworks, the talk presents a new definition of success for young people in our country—one connected to changing the conditions of inequality that regularly crush dreams and squander the potential of this nation to be truly democratic and socially just.

Creating a Culture of Success

Is it possible to have a staff that is productive, creative and happy with their jobs? Categorically yes, says author and activist Jeff Duncan-Andrade. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, professor, researcher and leader, Duncan-Andrade discusses why getting the best out of your team is not rocket science. He argues that study after study shows that creating a company culture that actually cares about employees is the key to sustainable growth. In this talk, Duncan-Andrade shares the secrets of developing a company culture where individuals and teams are more joyful, more productive and less likely to get sick. This is only possible with the kind of intentional leadership that prioritizes people over profit and sees clearly the promise of the triple bottom line. Allowing the long view to shape the present is the future of sustainable and profitable business in the 21st Century economy.