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RightsWatch: Education in the Age of Trump


DHRC@FHI’S RightsWatch Series continues this Fall with “Education in the Age of Trump”

What is RightsWatch?

What do the rights to due process, health care, a clean environment, education, and living wage have in common? Over the next four years, we are likely to witness dramatic changes in how the US government sees and treats fundamental rights.  RightsWatch seeks to bring Duke scholars and activists in conversation about the rights debates that will shape the future.  These panels are designed to comment on a fast-moving political scene while at the same time engaging in civil – and deeply civic – conversation.

Watch the live stream on our Facebook page.




Mark Bailey, Principal, Maureen Joy Charter School

Alexandra Zagbayou, Executive Director of Student U

Mary Kay Delaney, Professor of Education, Meredith College

Steven Unruhe, Durham Public Schools Board of Education


Moderator: Robin Kirk, Co-Director, Duke Human Rights Center at Franklin Humanities Institute




Panelist Bios:

Mark Bailey is the Principal at Maureen Joy Charter School.  He began teaching in New Orleans as a special educator in 2001. After four years at Abramson High School, Mark was part of a cohort of educators to open O. Perry Walker Charter High School in December 2005, after Hurricane Katrina. At Walker, Mark served as a special education teacher, English teacher, and assistant principal. In 2012, Mark moved to Jefferson Parish Public Schools and served as a Network Executive Director. In this role, Mark supervised a network of 15 schools and principals. Mark moved to Durham in June of 2015 and took the role of principal and executive director at Maureen Joy Charter School. 

Maureen Joy opened in 1997 as one of the first charter schools in North Carolina. The charter application was submitted by a group of community activists who wanted a more impactful option for students from low-income communities. The school has operated on Roxboro Road and Cornwallis Road and moved to its current location in East Durham in 2013. Maureen Joy’s student population consists of 650 total students in grades K-8. Of those 650 students, 55% are Latino, 42% are African American, and 87% qualify for free/reduced lunch. Maureen Joy participates in the federal Free and Reduced lunch program and provides bus transportation throughout the city of Durham with 13 buses owned and operated by the school. Maureen Joy provides EC and ESL services to students who qualify. In the 2016-17 school year, 60% of Joy students scored proficient on the state’s End of Grade assessments. 

Alexandra Zagbayou believes education has the power to be a revolutionary agent for people and
communities and a means to create a just and equitable world. To act on those beliefs, Alexandra
has worked in partnerships with students, parents and the Durham community at Student U since
2009. She started her journey with the organization teaching 7th grade global connect, transitioned to building the high school and college programs as the inaugural high school program director, served as Chief Program Officer, overseeing Student U's entire middle school to college continuum of services and is currently Student U's Executive Director. Alexandra’s vision for the world is one where organizations like Student U no longer exist and every person is able to reach his or her full potential because our systems and institutions are just and equitable. Until that vision is reached, she is thankful to do work that is meaningful, urgent and necessary alongside an incredible personal and professional community. Outside of her Student U responsibilities, Alexandra serves on UNC’s Center for Public Service Advisory Board, the Hill Center’s Board of Directors, The Durham Living Wage Project Steering Committee, and the Beautiful Project’s Board.

Mary Kay Delaney is a professor in the Department of Education at Meredith College.  Her areas of special interest include learning in sociocultural contexts, teacher education, equity and education, special education, and qualitative research methods.

Delaney’s recent research and teaching focus on pre-service teachers’ learning of strategies to address the opportunity/achievement gap. Chosen to give the Meredith College Faculty Distinguished Lecture in 2015, Delaney included the audience in a talk called “Why Fidgeting and Doodling Matter: Reflecting on Movement in Learning and Teaching.” She has served public schools locally and at the state and federal levels including as a member of the North Carolina Think Tank on K-3 Assessment in 2013 and as an alternate federal negotiator on the U.S. Department of Education Teacher Preparation Committee in 2012. She has taught in public and private schools, has served as principal of a PK-8 parochial school and as an early board member of a charter school. She is the recipient of the Meredith College School of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Dean’s Award (2014), the EHHS Service Award (2010), and the Laura Harrill Presidential Award for Outstanding Service, Meredith College (2011). Delaney earned a B.A. from The George Washington University, a Master of Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in social foundations of education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also completed courses leading to graduate teaching licensure in special education at Boston University.

Steven Unruhe is the Vice Chair of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.  He has been actively committed to public schools in Durham for three decades.  He began his career at Northern in 1986 and helped to open Riverside in 1991. He taught every level of math and computer science, and his journalism staffs won numerous state and national awards. He retired this past July.A passionate and devoted teacher who remained in the classroom for his entire career, Steve received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching in 1997. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journalism Education Association in November, 2015. He was a National Board Certified Teacher. Steve has served as chair of both the Northern and Riverside school improvement teams, and twice chaired principal search committees. He has served as a mentor teacher in both mathematics and journalism.

Beyond the classroom, Steve served two terms as president of the Durham Association of Educators, playing a lead role in the merger of the city and county organizations in advance of the merger of the two school systems. He was co-leader for Durham in the national Leadership in Urban Mathematics Reform program. He served two terms on the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee and was a member of the district High School Reform committee. Steve was also president of the Durham Toxic Action Coalition in the early 1980’s, and co-authored a paper documenting racial discrimination in Wilson, NC, for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Robin Kirk (Moderator) is the Faculty Co-Chair of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute and is a founding member of the Pauli Murray Project, an initiative of the center that seeks to use the legacy of this Durham daughter to examine the region’s past of slavery, segregation and continuing economic inequality. An author and human rights advocate, Kirk directs the Belfast program for Duke Engage, in partnership with Healing Through Remembering, an extensive cross-community project dealing with the legacy of past conflict and human rights. She directs Undergraduate Studies for Duke’s International Comparative Studies major, where she teaches, and is a lecturer in the Department of Cultural Anthropology. Kirk has written three books, including More Terrible Than Death: Massacres, Drugs and America’s War in Colombia (Public Affairs) and The Monkey’s Paw: New Chronicles from Peru (University of Massachusetts Press). She is a co-editor of The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University) and co edits Duke University Press’s World Readers series. An essayist and award-winning poet, she has published widely on issues as diverse as the Andes, torture, the politics of memory, family life and pop culture. Her essay on Belfast, “City of Walls,” is included in the Best American Travel Writing anthology of 2012 (Mariner Books). In the Fall of 2006, she was a Fulbright lecturer at the Human Rights Center at Istanbul Bilgi University in Turkey. Kirk authored, co-authored and edited over twelve reports for Human Rights Watch, all available on-line. In the 1980s, Kirk reported for U.S. media from Peru, where she covered the war between the government and the Shining Path. She continues to write for US media, and has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Sojourners, The American Scholar, the Raleigh News and Observer, the Boston Globe and other newspapers.


September 7, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute
View Organizer Website


Smith Warehouse, Bay 4, Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall (C105)
114 S. Buchanan Blvd.
Durham, NC 27708 United States
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919 668 1911