Join Our Team

Collaborate with us to transform schooling & education in our region by supporting our research, recruitment, and/or educator development.

The Practices of Freedom Project at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education seeks a postdoctoral fellow to join a dynamic team of students and faculty affiliated with the Center for Urban Education for a 12-month appointment beginning July 1, 2024.

The Practices of Freedom Project is designed to support current and future educators in deepening Black educational thought and practice. The grant aims to shift away from ineffective inclusion models toward transformative praxes of Black education by: building out intergenerational cohorts of educators; partnering with districts and schools; designing and implementing study.

The Practices of Freedom postdoctoral fellow will: 1) support dimensions of the grant project, including coordinating a special issue of a journal based on research from the program; 2) develop their own research around Black intellectual studies anchored in radical scholarly traditions (field and/or discipline are open); 3) join in instructional capacities, such as a Freedom Seminar.  

We will begin review of applications on March 1, 2024.  


  • 12-month position, beginning July 1, 2024, possibility of renewal
  • Remote work possibilities


  • Doctorate earned by May 31, 2024
  • Scholarly work in Black/Africana Studies, discipline and/or field open


  • Letter of interest
  • Names of three references, who will be contacted only after applicant is notified
  • CV
  • Writing sample 

Questions: Sabina Vaught

Meet the Team

Elon DancyT. Elon Dancy II
T. Elon Dancy II was appointed the third Helen S. Faison Endowed Chair, Executive Director, and Chief Research Scientist of the Center for Urban Education in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education in July 2018. He holds affiliate faculty appointments in Africana Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dr. Dancy’s major fields of interest are Black intellectual thought, men and masculinities, structural oppression, and related schooling and higher education issues. This scholarly agenda largely draws upon Black knowledge traditions and critical theories to examine education settings as sites of struggle and aspiration, with a focus on Black American populations. He is highly regarded for his studies of Black masculinity and patriarchy in postsecondary contexts, antiBlackness in higher education, and political economies of education. Dr. Dancy’s projects are supported by collaborative local relationships and several foundations and agencies.

Sabina Vaught Sabina Vaught
Dr. Vaught’s research considers carcerality and liberatory knowledge movements broadly and the race-gender labor and conquest relationships among schools, prisons, and insurgent communities specifically. In her scholarly work, Dr. Vaught draws on knowledge traditions that help make sense of insurgent and counterinsurgent movements: feminisms, the Black radical tradition, Indigenous studies, and legal studies/Critical Race Theory. Her most recent book, The School-Prison Trust, co-authored with Bryan Brayboy and Jeremiah Chin (University of Minnesota Press, 2022), is an interrogation of the conquest relations between schools and prisons, and Indigenous practices of refusal and self-determination.

Christy McGuireChristy McGuire
Dr. McGuire is the Community Engagement Program Manager at the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned a Ph.D. in cognitive and experimental psychology from Georgia Tech in 2001, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2021. For over 20 years, Christy has worked and volunteered in a wide variety of education-related spaces. She is particularly interested in working with educators around discussing race and racism with their students, and more broadly exploring the ways that knowledge and beliefs inform and influence teachers’ pedagogical practices.

Chris WrightChris Wright
Chris is a PhD student in the Urban Education program at The University of Pittsburgh. His research centers Black spaces as geographic sights of political struggle and worldmaking. He engages patterns of Black displacement, Black organized struggle, antiblackness and social death.

Chris holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Oklahoma.

Martez FilesMartez Files
Dr. Martez Files is an Assistant Professor of Black Studies in Teacher Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His previous experiences include teaching high school history and social studies, serving as an adjunct professor of African American studies, and the Diversity Enhancement Program fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Recently, he completed an appointment as a Graduation Coach for a $60-million grant, GEAR UP Alabama, which worked to remove barriers to higher education for rural youth in Alabama. Before coming to Pitt, he was the Program Coordinator for African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB. Dr. Files has a Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Diverse Populations with a concentration in Metropolitan Education Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His dissertation “Mothering Ourselves to Wholeness” is a project that uncovers the myriad ways Black mothers in life and literature have forged communal wholeness, protected the most vulnerable, and healed harm outside and within communities. He holds a M.A.T. in His/SS with an emphasis on social justice from Brown University, and graduated cum laude from UAB, where he earned a B.A. in African-American Studies and B.A. in History. He is a prominent activist and organizer in Alabama, whose work focuses on mental health, politics, education, communal care, and police accountability.

Valerie KinlochValerie Kinloch (Previous PI)
Dr. Valerie Kinloch began her tenure as the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education in July 2017.  Under her leadership, the School adopted a forward-thinking mission-vision that places equity, justice, and innovation at its core. This mission-vision encourages faculty, staff, and students to work together to always ignite learning, strive for well-being for all, and disrupt and transform inequitable educational structures.  Dean Kinloch is a nationally known educator and author whose scholarship focuses on the literacy, language, culture, and community engagements of youth and adults, both inside and outside of schools. Prior to joining the Pitt School of Education, Dean Kinloch was a faculty member and Associate Dean at The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology. Before Ohio State, Dean Kinloch taught at Columbia University’s Teachers College and the University of Houston-Downtown.


A recording from the event “Practices of Freedom Symposium: A Model for Transformative Teaching and Teacher Education” held on September 11, 2021 to discuss the significance of the Practices of Freedom project.

Contact Us

For any questions about the Practices of Freedom initiative, please contact Christy McGuire at

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