Edward DeShazer is the executive director at the Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy (GHTCA), a private Parental Choice K-8 school in Milwaukee that educates 98 percent of the economically disadvantaged population in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Pastor James DeShazer, Edward’s father, founded the school as part of his vision to make education accessible to all individuals regardless of their financial background.
Encouraged by his father’s vision, Edward paved the way for GHTCA to become one of the higher-performing schools in Milwaukee. Under his command from 2015 up to the present, GHTCA’s State Report Card score has risen by over 16 percent.
Before becoming the Executive Director, Edward was a troubled student. He was suspended for over 30 times and expelled from middle school and high school. During these trying times, he found that genuine care from his teachers gave him the confidence to do better in school. Eventually, he graduated on the honor roll and earned both an athletic and academic scholarship to St. Cloud State.
Given his personal experience with caring and passionate teachers, he firmly believed that students could change, have better behavior, and acquire academic success.
When he became a 7th-grade teacher, he used restorative practices to build meaningful relationships between himself and the students as well as among the students in his classroom improved their academic performance.
These discoveries led him to become a certified trainer for restorative practices and teacher motivation. To develop his skills, he obtained several restorative certifications and participated in training and workshops.
Restorative practice is a method used by educators to repair relationships that were damaged through bullying or other adverse events that weaken the sense of community in a school. It has been effective in bringing about remorse and restorative action on the part of the offender and forgiveness from the victim. Restorative practice programs helped reduce exclusionary and punitive discipline practices in schools. Aside from improving the school community, this strategy establishes a positive teacher-student relationship that improves academic performance while reducing the glaring racial inequality in school systems.
In sharing the knowledge he gained, he created the Teacher’s Ed Podcast to motivate educators and share his tips and techniques on restorative teaching. He releases his podcasts weekly to reignite each teacher’s passion regularly and remind them to use restorative methods. He also does motivational and keynotes speaking for students to show them their potential in earning academic achievement.
To further promote his advocacy on restorative practice, he is also a part of the Executive Committee for the Closing the Achievement Gap Consortium (CAGC). With over 35 public and private schools in southeastern Wisconsin, the CAGC brings determined school leaders together to ensure that social justice rings throughout every classroom and hallway in the 38 member-school systems. Through this community, they brainstorm and introduce diverse solutions to create more significant equity in their schools.
As a teacher, Edward DeShazer holds immense responsibility in molding the minds of children to prepare them for their respective futures. Subsequently, as a School Executive Director, he leads all teachers in his school as well as inspires other educators to adopt restorative practices in their profession.