Today we’d like to introduce you to Tyshia Seldon.
Hi Tyshia, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My life’s journey had always been on familiar paths and amongst familiar people with similar experiences. I was born & raised in Baltimore, MD. Relocated to Daytona Beach, FL, where I attended an HBCU for college.
I was always surrounded by people that looked like me until I relocated to Denver, Colorado for graduate school.
I found myself in Colorado where no educators looked like me. It was strange to me and I struggled to cope and fit in. I was making $21,000 in my first year as a teacher. I not only needed more money but also a way to express myself.
So I started to put what I needed to say or see on a T-shirt. That was the birthing place of my dream, The Black University. I started my apparel shop, www.blackuniversity.org. An apparel shop designed for educators that looked like me. Not only was it a success to an extent, but it also became a movement.
It became a channel for expression; an expression of the repressed feelings I and others like me had. Our choice of career path is valid, irrespective of the color of our skin. Our desire to impact knowledge is valid irrespective of our backgrounds. We needed to be heard, and The Black University apparel put us out there.
Most educators of color struggle with the education field for many reasons. For me, I felt like my voice wasn’t being heard and that I was being punished for the exact reason I was hired. What did I learn from the challenges that I faced? Well, it helped me develop a resiliency I never knew I had. Oftentimes obstacles are not really obstacles but stepping stones to your true fulfillment.
I had always thought that I was meant for something greater than myself. I never knew what shape or form it would come until Black University came along. Today, the thoughts and worries in my head and heart, have become a voice that reverberates the whole of the education society in the United States. This has become my purpose, my essence; it is a movement not just for the current times but a paradigm shift setting a precedent for the future of diversity and inclusion in education.
In the process of speaking up, the project has developed my entrepreneur acumen as well. I have morphed from being just an educator to a revolutionist and an entrepreneur. When many people gravitated toward the shirts but felt they lacked community, I decided to start a separate page, “Black Educators Connect” on Instagram (Instagram.com/blackeducatorsconnect). This was where I hosted events for educators. Today, we have a trademark ConnectED; a community/place where educators can connect.
My core values are inclusion, community, self-improvement, and transparency. I represent & support BIPOC educators. I believe that if we develop ourselves professionally & personally we can do more than survive: we can thrive. Together we’re making a difference. One connection at a time.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I shared everything in the last prompt lol maybe overshared. But the journey definitely hasn’t been smooth. When I went to college in Florida; I worked 3 jobs to get through college. I originally majored in criminal justice and thought I wanted to become a lawyer until I realized that I was only financially attracted to the legal profession.
However, working with children and education has always been a passion. So I applied for Teach For America and wasn’t selected. However, they have partner companies that they’ll refer you to. I ended up going on an interview in Boston with one of their partner companies; so I thought I was moving to Boston.
But I got a call, on August 7, 2015, for Denver, Colorado. I didn’t know anything about this place but I knew someone was paying me to go to school. So within a week, on August 15, 2015, I started my first day at the first school I’d teach at in Colorado.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’m an educator, entrepreneur, and millennial simply navigating life. I’m known to be a connector.
I’ve always been a people person. I’m good at hosting events and introducing people to each other. So it’s no brainer that I’ve combined those traits within education and entrepreneurship.
What sets me apart is that I’m for BIPOC educators. Most education companies and brands aren’t BIPOC nor black-owned (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing). However, in education alone we know that representation is important; even in ownership.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I see the education system moving to more virtual opportunities. If not virtual; do 4-day school weeks or half days of instruction. I don’t believe students should be in instructional learning all day.
Additionally, more educators are standing up for inhumane treatment. The education system will have no choice but to heed the feedback from the real practitioners (teachers) and not those who’ve never taught in a classroom. Let alone, haven’t taught pre/post-Covid.
As Chris Brown once said, “How are you going hate from outside of the club? You can’t even get in!” Far too many people have opinions and make decisions for teachers who have never been a teacher and have no idea what it takes to be a teacher.
- Website: https://www.blackuniversity.org
- Instagram: Instagram.com/Blackeducatorsconnect
- Facebook: Facebook.com/Blackeducatorsconnect
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/user/SweetTee251