Inside Education Forward DC: Annie Fullas

Annie Fullas is the Special Assistant to the CEO, Maura Marino

Ethical and philosophical traditions play an essential role in shaping the motivations of individuals and communities. At Education Forward DC, our team’s philosophy is driven by our mission to accelerate the work of visionary education leaders to foster a city of high-quality, equitable public schools for every DC student and family. Specifically, our five-year goal is to double the number of underserved students who are college and career-ready, with a focus on at-risk and special education students. While the goal is ambitious in scope and lofty in its calling, it constantly motivates our team to think flexibly and creatively in service of the communities we hope to engage and serve.

Our shared core values undergird this work. For example, we work intentionally to disrupt patterns of racial inequity, which is an action-oriented value I hold close to my heart. I grew up in a mixed-race family in a conservative pocket of northwest Iowa and was aware from an early age that people of color experience the world differently – and usually in more challenging, unjust ways – than whites. In my college literature courses, I metabolized the writings of revolutionary Black thinkers who dedicated their lives to disruption in the name of fairness and equity – from Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, to Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton, June Jordan, and so many countless others.

The Black American canon of speeches, books, and poetry that I read directed – and still direct – a distinct orientation in my moral thinking, one that both fuels my rejection of oppressive power structures and my embrace of intersectional, redemptive justice work. I feel lucky to have come after so many thought leaders who transgressed the raced and gendered limitations that forbade them from navigating the world freely and fully. They paved the way for Black women like me to enter literal and figurative spaces where I would’ve been once locked out.

At Education Forward DC, I am grateful to work with people who roll up their sleeves and engage in the kind of messy, challenging, always-worthwhile work of racial equity and justice. Whether it’s an explicit commitment to prioritize investments in people-of-color-led organizations or endeavoring to make our internal practices more equitable and inclusive, our team strives to infuse our values with successful outcomes for our schools, communities, and each other.

As Audre Lorde once said, “Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.”