Mount Vernon, Iowa
Leigh Ann Erickson is a high school teacher at Mount Vernon Community Schools, Iowa. She has designed and built a curriculum for teaching cross-cultural understanding and acceptance to high school students.
After teaching in NYC and Chicago public schools, Erickson learned firsthand the unjust challenges and barriers students of color face in school. In Mt. Vernon, she works to teach her predominantly White students to use their privilege to advocate for others.
Erickson has partnered with many others to develop and teach social justice and African American literature curriculum in Mt. Vernon. She is the founder of Undone Consulting and the Connect, Absorb, Respond and Empower (CARE) conference that brings authentic and relationship-building conversations about race and bias into high schools.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree in teaching from Pace University in New York City. Erickson was recently awarded the Her Woman of Achievement Award by the eastern Iowa Gazette, was a 2019 finalist for Iowa Teacher of the Year and delivered a keynote titled “What Should We Teach White Students” at the 2019 NNSTOY Teacher Leadership Conference. Erickson is grateful to play a small part in a conversation about race and equity that has been happening in our country for centuries.