IREL would not be possible without our incredible community of educators who help build connections among our participants each summer and facilitate deep learning. Below are the many individuals who have helped make IREL the special experience it is. The IREL D.C. institute is also made possible through our generous partnership with D.C. Public Library Foundation.

Founders and Co-Directors

DR. SONJA CHERRY-PAUL (she/her) has adapted the #1 NYT Best Seller, Stamped (For Kids) and has written several books for educators to support reading and writing instruction. An educator with more than 20-years of classroom experience, she is currently the founder of Red Clay Educators, co-director of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy, co-director of the Teach Black History All Year Institute, and executive producer and host of The Black Creators Series. Sonja provides professional development for schools and organizations in equity and antiracism. Her forthcoming book is Antiracist Reading Revolution: A Framework for Teaching Beyond Representation Toward Liberation (Spring 2024, Corwin). 

TRICIA EBARVIA (she/her) is a co-founder of #DisruptTexts#31DaysIBPOC, and co-founder/director of the Institute for Racial Equity in Literacy (IREL), Tricia Ebarvia advocates for literacy instruction rooted in equity and liberation through critical literacy, providing professional development for schools and districts across the country. With more than 20 years of classroom experience, she is currently the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at PK-8 independent school in Philadelphia. Previously, Tricia taught high school English and served as department chairperson. Tricia is the author of the newly released Get Free: Antibias Literacy Instruction for Stronger Readers, Writers, and Thinkers (Corwin, Fall 2023).


Our facilitators are experienced educators who lead a cohort of participants and/or racial affinity groups throughout each session, meeting in small groups or individually, as they learn and grow. Below are the wonderful individuals who have led cohorts for IREL past and present.

Special Guests

Each IREL features special guests including keynote presenters, podcast guests, and author panelists. Here are some of the incredible individuals who have led our learning at previous IRELs!

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