Our 2022 Salon series, Teaching Race History and Reading Banned Books: Conversations on Intellectual Freedom, are evocative discussions from a range of viewpoints about the right of intellectual freedom, the question of whose words and voices are included in public education, and how, when, and by whom such determinations are made. Each Salon features guest speakers with diverse expertise in education, censorship, access, and civil liberties.
Salons at Stowe are 21st-century parlor conversations about contemporary social justice issues. Since 2008, Salons have provided a forum for lively discussion on topics rooted in the 19th century that remain pressing today.
Alexandra Freidus is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut. Her scholarship asks what roles educators, policymakers, families, and young people play in sustaining and interrupting these racialized patterns in K-12 schools. Alex uses lenses from Critical Race Theory, cultural sociology, and the anthropology of education to unravel these relationships, examining how community stakeholders conceptualize student diversity, how school and district administrators enact educational policy, and how these local contexts relate to schools’ central work – teaching and learning. Prior to her work as a professor, she worked in public, charter, and private schools in the Bay Area and New York City.
Paquita Jarman-Smith has been a consultant at SERC since 2006 specializing in Early Childhood leadership, administration and supervision. Her background includes curriculum design and implementation, as well as equitable program improvement and quality practices, for programs serving children birth to age 8.
Paquita provides training and technical assistance on racial equity, inclusive learning, peer mentor development, administrative support, leadership team development, standards-based instruction, diversity, early literacy, and challenging behaviors. She enjoys supporting adult learners in the design of engaging learning experiences for infants and toddlers, and also has particular interest in positive identity development in young children and anti-biased and anti-racist leadership practices.
She holds a master’s degree in education from the Bank Street College of Education in New York and is an Adjunct Instructor of Special Education and Interventions at Central Connecticut State University.
Sam Lee is a public librarian and currently the Head of Reference Services at the Enfield Public Library. She serves as the Intellectual Freedom Chair of the Connecticut Library Association and is a Privacy Advocate with Library Freedom Project. She has been recognized for her work with a 2020 Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Chapter Relations Award and a 2020 CT Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award.