Black Wildflowers Fund is led by experienced Black education leaders who have worked alongside Teacher Leaders that successfully designed and launched a Wildflower School. They are raising awareness about racial and economic disparities that create barriers for Black education entrepreneurs to thrive.
Maia Blankenship is an accomplished education entrepreneur and advocate for equity leading Wildflower’s growth in the DC Metro Area. She galvanized a board and Founding staff to incubate the DC Wildflower Public Charter School which will grow to serve 225 students through intentionally small liberatory Montessori microschools over the next four years. Maia is also an advisor and connector to organizations actively working to dismantle systemic racism and oppression, including serving as Board Chair of The Equity Lab. In 2020, she was recognized in the inaugural cohort of Black Voices for Black Justice Fund. She is a Ward 5 D.C. resident and the proud mother of an independent and adventurous five year old who inspires her daily.
Dr. Erika L. McDowell
Dr. Erika L. McDowell is a former NJ governor’s award recipient and honors graduate of Howard University and New York University. Erika currently leads Wildflower School’s growth and partnerships in New Jersey and is an Equity Steward for the organization. She earned her EdD from Drexel University in Educational Leadership and Management, in May 2020. Dr. McDowell has received the Association for Positive Behavior Support’s 2020 E.G. “Ted” Carr Early Career Practitioner Award and has been elected to the APBS Board of Directors for the 2021-2024 term, serving in the inaugural Racial and Ethnic Diversity Seat. Most recently, Erika was honored as one of Drexel’s 40 under 40 in 2022. She has served as an Executive Director of Professional Development and Director of PBIS/Youth Court for The School District of Philadelphia. Other positions previously held include assistant principal and teacher. Her in-depth experience includes restorative practices, equity, positive behavioral support, conflict resolution, classroom management, coaching, leadership development, and behavioral data support. In June 2022, she began her appointment as a clinical associate professor of educational leadership and policy at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. Dr. McDowell continues to be committed to nurturing the minds and gifts of school leaders, teachers, and youth nationwide.
Featured: Montessori in Action Podcast
Listen in as Maia, and Dr. Erika discuss the vision behind Black Wildflowers Fund.