Rajni Shankar-Brown

Professor and Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education

Rajni Shankar-Brown is among the most prominent educational scholars in social justice in the United States and internationally. She has published leading works, presented around the globe, and received numerous awards for her innovative leadership and ongoing community engagement projects.

  • PhD, curriculum and instruction with specializations in urban education and literacy education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • MA, teaching with concentrations in middle level education and language arts, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • BA, communication with emphases in interpersonal communication and international conflict resolution, George Mason University


Rajni Shankar-Brown


Rajni Shankar-Brown is among the most prominent educational scholars in social justice in the United States and internationally. She is an associate professor, Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education, and a recipient of the Hand Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement at Stetson University. 

A former middle school educator and preK-12 literacy coach, she now serves as the Executive Director of the Poverty and Homelessness Conference, member of the Executive Board of Directors for the National Coalition for the Homeless, and the Co-Chair of Equity and Social Justice for the International Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education. She is a distinguished educational leader and teacher-scholar committed to advancing equity and excellence, particularly for culturally diverse, underserved children and youth. She presents and facilitates professional learning workshops around the globe, as well as publishes in leading journals and books. Her 2019 collection of poetry Tuluminous has been praised as "a marvelous and meaningful testimony of the power of language to heal and transform" by the Presidential Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco, and Dr. Shankar-Brown is described as the "Poet Laureate of the just society" by NYU's Moral Courage Project Founder, Irshad Manji. Additionally, her book Bending the Arc: Equity-Focused Practices for Educational Leaders is being published by Information Age Press (expected to come out in July 2020), along with additional civic engagement and education book projects. She is a recipient of the Engaged Scholar Award by the Campus Compact, Transformative Leadership and Equity Award by Volusia County Schools, Summer Scholar Fellowship by the National Humanities Center, and selected as the 2018-2019 Educator of the Year by FL's Chapter of PDK International. Dr. Shankar-Brown is also a passionate mother, artist, and social activist.

More About Rajni Shankar-Brown

Areas of Expertise

  • Poverty and Homelessness
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Civil and Human Rights
  • Transformative Educational Leadership
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Multi-modal Literacies
  • Culturally Relevant Arts Integration
  • Youth Advocacy and Activism
  • Community and Civic Engagement
  • Global Education and Social/Eco-justice

Course Sampling

Undergraduate Courses:

  • EDUC 245H Social Foundations of Education
  • EDUC 302 Improving Reading/Writing in the Middle/Secondary School
  • EDUC 499 Senior Research
  • EDUC 313 Applied Linguistics for Teachers of English Learners
  • EDN 352 Developing Reading and Writing Competence, 6-9
  • EDN 355 Language Arts Methods, 6-9
  • EDN 411 Middle Level Practicum in Education, 6-9
  • EDN 491 Classroom Management, 6-9
  • EDN 495 Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, K-12
  • READ 5255 Reading & Writing in the Content Areas, K-12
  • MDSK 3160 Child Development: Birth through Adolescence
  • MDLG 4430 Middle Grades Student Teaching Seminar, 6-9
  • MDLG 3130 The Early Adolescent Learner, 6-9
  • MDLG 3131 The Philosophy and Curriculum of Middle School
  • FSEM 100 Human Rights and Social Justice: Art as Activism
  • ORGL 361V Advancing Equity and Social Justice Leadership

Graduate Courses:

  • EDUC 530 Curriculum and Instructional Development
  • EDUC 544 Educational Management and Systems Planning
  • EDUC 567 Communication and Research Analysis for Educational Leaders
  • EDUC 575 Action Research – Theory to Practice 
  • EDUC 591 Educational Leadership Internship
  • EDUC 685 Curriculum & Instruction Directed Study
  • EDN 595 Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, K-12
  • EDN 595 21st Century Multiliteracies for Diverse Learners, K-12
  • EDN 595 Advanced Middle School Reading, 6-9
  • LIC 511 Middle Grades Internship, 6-9
  • LIC 552 Literacy Integration in the Middle Grades, 6-9
  • LIC 555 Advanced Language Arts Methods, 6-9
  • LIC 595 Global Perspectives on Poverty and Homelessness
  • EDUC 5100 Educational Diversity, K-12

Equity and social justice are at the heart of Rajni Shankar-Brown's research. Her research and scholarship focuses on the development of educational leaders, teachers, students and community advocates. She is committed to positively impacting education for diverse students from socially marginalized groups, particularly children experiencing poverty and homelessness. Specific areas of her research overlap and include the following:

  • Poverty, homelessness and social justice education
  • Transformative educational practices
  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Global diversity and inclusion
  • EcoJustice arts integration
  • Multiple literacies in the 21st century

  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2020). Bending the arc: Equity-focused practices for educational leaders. (book). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2019). Tuluminous (book). New York, NY and New Delhi, India: Nirala Press.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2019). Cardinal swings. Reflect, Respond, Renew. Art of Reflection and Response Teacher Institute.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2019). Reflect, respond and rise! Reflect, Respond, Renew. Art of Reflection and Response Teacher Institute.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2018). Voyaging inner and outer landscapes. Reflect, Respond, Renew. Art of Reflection and Response Teacher Institute. 
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2018). Permanent exhibition: Radical hope and transformative art. Reflect, Respond, Renew. Art of Reflection and Response Teacher Institute.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2017). Layers of Estrangement: Social-Emotional and Educational Implications of Homelessness on K-12 Students. NYAR Journal. [Invited Scholar]
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2017). Museum of Art DeLand: A Community Treasure [opinion piece]. The West Volusia Beacon.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2017). Bodhaka (Awakening). Reflect, Respond, Renew. Art of Reflection and Response Teacher Institute.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2017). EducaSHUN: Replacing iron bars with sunbeams [poem]. National Youth At-Risk Journal.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2016). Checkpoints: TSA as a microcosm of our “post-racial” society and the need for social justice education, Understanding and Dismantling Privilege Journal. [Acceptance rate = 30%]
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2016). Beyond cool garb: T-shirt literacy and social justice education for diverse adolescent learners. AMLE International Magazine. [Acceptance rate = 30%]
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2016 Spanish; 2017 English). Bilingual education and social justice: Promoting inclusion, equity and excellence. In Luz Adriana Restrepo (Ed.), Creativity in bilingual teaching. Bogota, Colombia: Fotografia Publishing.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2015). Urbanization and persistent educational inequalities: The need for collective action towards equity and social justice. National Youth At-Risk Journal, 1(1), 29-45.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2014). "Wearing language: Celebrating multi-literacies through graphic tees." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 57(5), 366.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. and Brown, B. (2014). "Today's video-cast: Sunny and clear, with an increased chance of learning." Middle School Journal, 45(3), 19-25.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2013). "Filling our jars with middle-level rocks." AMLE International Magazine, 1(1): 20-21.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2013). "Ten ways teachers can support homeless young adolescents." Middle Level iNSIDER.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2013). "Providing shelter for young adolescents: Addressing homelessness in middle-level education." Middle Ground, 16(3), 18-19.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2013). "From subject-centeredness to life-centeredness." In Dick Lipka and Kathleen Roney (Eds.), Middle-level curriculum: Voices and visions of the self-enhancing school. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2012). "Inviting multilevel commitment: Addressing homelessness in education." Association for Teacher Education Middle-Level Research Newsletter, January (1).
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2011). "Actively Engaging Middle School Students with Photo Journals." Middle School Journal, 43(2), 24-31.
  • Davies, MA and Shankar-Brown, R. (2011). "A Programmatic Approach to Teaming and Thematic Instruction." North Carolina Middle School Journal.
  • Shankar-Brown, R. (2010). "Teaching our children to embrace diversity: Globetrotting without leaving town." Childhood Education, 86(3), 175-178.
  • Yon, M. and Shankar-Brown, R. (2009). "Homelessness: A continuing concern." In Richard, S.A., Bidell, T.R., Dailey, A.C., Dixon, S.D., Miller, P.J., and Modell, J. (Eds.), The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Mickelson, R. and Shankar-Brown, R. (2008). "Educating homeless children." In Mathison, S. and Ross, W.E. (Eds.) Battleground Schools. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.