Illinois Staff

Brandi Watts

Educator Partnerships Director

Brandi began her career in education as a special education inclusion teacher, supporting students with profound learning and emotional challenges. During her 10 years as an educator, Brandi also taught mathematics and college preparatory courses and worked with a wide range of students, including those who would be the first in their families to graduate from high school and attend college. Drawing on her extensive classroom experience, Brandi then became an instructional coach and academic facilitator for schools undergoing critical academic and cultural transformations.

Since joining Stand in 2016, Brandi has leveraged this expertise to help build the Home Visit Project, one of the largest family engagement programs in Texas, launch Connection Conversations for educators and families in Chicago Public Schools, and design Ready for Kindness, a professional development program which serves as primer for Teach Kindness, a suite of best-in-class social-emotional learning activities and classroom content from leading providers. In Illinois, Brandi works to build strong partnerships with educators focused on positive and principled activism to support safe and secure school culture and climate, advance educational equity, and accelerate student success through policies and programming.

She is one of fewer than 1,000 professionals nationwide who hold a DiversityFIRST Certification from the National Diversity Council and she is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for Stand nationally. In this role, she reviews Stand’s internal policies through an equity lens, and she co-facilitates workshops for staff across the organization. In Illinois, Brandi leads Stand’s efforts to partner with and uplift the voices of educators.

Brandi earned a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in humanities, both from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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