An Interview with Vivett Dukes

In this Field Team interview, get to know Vivett Dukes, who serves as one of Collaborative Classroom’s Managers of Educational Partnerships in New York State, alongside Valerie Michaels.

Vivett, please tell us a little about your background as an educator. What did you do before you joined Collaborative Classroom?

Right before joining Collaborative Classroom in 2022, I was the Deputy Director of Organizing for an educationally-based national non-profit organization. Prior to that I taught English Language Arts to middle and high schoolers across New York City and Long Island, NY.

How did you find out about Collaborative Classroom and the Manager of Educational Partnerships role?

I was ready to make a shift in the evolution of my career, but I didn’t know where to go next. I was sharing as much while in a meeting with a dear friend of mine who, unbeknownst to me, also happened to have a professional relationship with Collaborative Classroom. 

Serendipitously, he received an email from the Northeast Regional Director at Collaborative Classroom asking if he knew anyone that he would recommend for a Manager of Educational Partnership position in New York. He told me about it, I applied, I went through the interview process, and the rest, as they say, is history!

Collaborative Classroom is a mission-driven nonprofit. What about our mission drew you to the organization? What’s your “why” for joining Collaborative Classroom?

This work is very personal to me. There is a direct correlation between opportunity gaps in access to quality literacy curriculum and poor socioeconomic, educational, and emotional outcomes.

Reading and writing are human and civil rights that have been historically denied to people from marginalized communities. Most of those people look like me. That denial of literacy acquisition continues. I work every day to stop it dead in its tracks. 

Reading and writing are human and civil rights that have been historically denied to people from marginalized communities. Most of those people look like me. That denial of literacy acquisition continues. I work every day to stop it dead in its tracks. 

What’s your favorite part of your role as a Manager of Educational Partnerships?

I am a people person and a natural born communicator so being out and about, going into classrooms and meeting students, teachers, and administrators who are seeking reading, writing, and SEL curriculum that will help their students self-actualize is, hands down, my favorite part of being a Manager of Educational Partnerships. 

What are some other projects or passions in your career? 

I am a lecturer in the English Department at one of the State Universities of New York where I teach pre-service English teachers.

I recently co-authored the book Amplify Learner Voice through Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Assessment, published by MiMi & Todd Press (shout out to VP of Dissemination here at Collaborative Classroom, Isabel Sawyer, for writing one of the endorsements of the book), and I recently was accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy in English Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University.

In your role, you get to spend time in lots of different classrooms. What is something exciting or inspiring that you’re seeing out there in schools right now?

First of all, I’m seeing our SIPPS program work! I’m seeing more of a vested interest in teaching Black and Indigenous students how to read—though still not nearly enough in the grand scheme of all things literacy in this country.

I’m seeing admin and teacher teams working together to co-collaborate school budgets and schedules to find money and time for prioritizing student reading and writing; I’m seeing more (though again, not enough) attention being paid to the social-emotional learning needs of students.  

One final question: Reflecting on your own lived experiences as a teacher or as a student, what was one experience that was particularly memorable or impactful for you?

That’s a tough one, for sure. I feel so grateful to have many positive life experiences as both a teacher and a student from which to choose. 

In light of what we’ve discussed thus far, I’d have to say my experience learning how to read in Ms. O’Brien’s first-grade class. I’m the youngest in my family and was often not allowed to go places that my siblings were. One day I shared my frustration about that fact with Ms. O’Brien and she told me that when I learn how to read, I can go anywhere I want to go and no one could stop me. Talk about the power of teachers!

My little six-year-old self believed her wholeheartedly and the rest, as they say, is history—Black history that, I’d like to say, continues to be in the making. 


Thank you so much for speaking with us, Vivett!

Read more about Vivett and visit our Field Team page to meet our other Managers of Educational Partnerships.

About Our Managers of Educational Partnerships

As a mission-driven nonprofit, Collaborative Classroom strives to bring our research-based curricula and professional learning to as many educators and students as possible. 

The Managers of Educational Partnerships who comprise our Field Team are vital in growing our impact, working with schools, districts, and community partners nationwide.  

Managers of Educational Partnerships bring a wealth of expertise to their work. Educators themselves, they have served as classroom teachers, interventionists, literacy coaches, principals, and district leaders. Many have taught at the college level, presented at state and national conferences, and authored professional books. All share a deep commitment to supporting teaching and learning.

Learn more about our Managers and the rest of our Field Team.