Tanisha Bell, UNT Dallas’ program coordinator for Bilingual Educators for Communities and Schools (BECAS), recently received the honor of being selected to the Leadership ISD Dallas County Civic Voices Class of 2019.
Leadership ISD’s mission advances educational excellence and equity by informing and connecting leaders to shape policy, lead strategically and champion change. The Fellowship is a highly selective, 10-month program that provides civic leaders the information and insight to effectively influence systemic transformation.
Leadership ISD and UNT Dallas have a shared vision to ensure educational access to all regardless of socioeconomic background.
“I truly feel blessed and honored,” Bell said of her selection. “Civic Voices Fellows come from diverse walks of life. What we have in common is our core belief that all students deserve a high-quality education. Visiting school campuses and actively engaging in conversations with principals, teachers, students and school board officials reminds us that we have shared responsibility to champion change.”
At UNT Dallas, Bell’s responsibilities are many as program coordinator of BECAS, a five-year, $1.8 million professional development grant awarded by the United States Department of Education. She serves as immediate point of contact with administration, faculty, staff, students and community for all BECAS-related activities, facilitates the BECAS scholarship application and award process, and strengthens connections with BECAS partner school districts, which include Cedar Hill, Dallas, Duncanville and Grand Prairie, among a host of other duties.
“For the majority of my career in education, I have served in the southern sector of Dallas,” said Bell, who worked a total of 10 years at Dallas ISD, and has spent the past seven years at UNT Dallas, as well as the past six years at Mountain View College. “During my time as a graduate student in the Educational Administration master’s program, I became intrigued by the ray of hope and sense of opportunity that UNT Dallas could foster as a community-centered higher education institution.
“For this reason,” Bell continued, “once I graduated in 2010, I continued to keep an eye on UNT Dallas. A year later, I decided to join the staff, with the desire to play an integral role in transforming lives at a growing university.”
Leadership ISD Fellows are guided through a deep dive into the most relevant topics in public education from early childhood to governance, school choice to accountability, and much more. Monthly sessions include influential keynote speakers and panels of experts, engaging with educators, parents and students living these issues daily and exploring the intersections of race, opportunity and equity in education.
“Through my experience with Leadership ISD, I hope to intensify my efforts as a strategic leader in the pursuit of educational access and success for all,” Bell said. “The truth of the matter is that outcomes for this and future generations of students depend on how we respond to the call today.”