Episode 49: Malika Ali

Windows and Mirrors

hosted by: Jessica Pfeiffer & Steve Graner

About our guest:

In today’s episode we sit down and connect with Malika Ali, the Chief Innovation Officer at the Highlander Institute. Malika’s transgenerational story is rooted in the pursuit of education, and she shares with us how the passion of past generations drives her own desire to empower students. She connects that curriculums need to provide both, windows and mirrors, for students so they can see themselves and better understand how they fit into the world. Malika highlights the importance of letting students “drive more” and the need to create relevant learning environments around them. 

Malika is passionate about community-driven change management to scale and sustain culturally responsive education driven by a liberatory data approach. As the Chief Innovation Officer at the Highlander Institute, she leads program visioning articulated through a comprehensive model for school change. She was a Rhode Island District Teacher of the Year, served on Governor Raimondo’s STEAM and Equity in Educator Preparation Committee, and was named one of the nation’s top emerging and inspirational Black leaders in education innovation by Learn Launch. Malika holds an M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a B.A. in Public Health from Brown University. As a daughter of strong and brilliant Eritrean refugees, Malika has spent her life critiquing the systems that perpetuate educational inequity, and she is proud to be a part of the struggle to ensure that all children have access to, and can take advantage of, an empowering education.