Gwendolyn E. Samuel is a mom of children that attend Connecticut Public Schools. In February of 2016, she launched Equity Impact Strategies (EIS) Consulting, a place where community building and public policy intersect. In addition, she is an equity in education advocate and facilitator who founded three community-based organizations in Connecticut: CT Parents Union; the State of Black Connecticut Alliance; and, the Meriden Kids Walk Safe Coalition – Safe Routes to School Initiative. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Game On, Parents! Moving from the Sidelines into the Game of Education Reform, which is due out in 2018.
In addition, Ms. Samuel has launched the Parent led workshop series The Urban Experience in Family And Community Engagement (FACE) “Transitioning Teachers into Diverse Communities and Classrooms.”
The Urban Experience in Family And Community Engagement Workshop series provides educators, administrators, and lead school support staff with solution-oriented strategies critically needed to build sustainable relationships with parents, families, and communities who are marginalized within the educational system.
In her advocacy role, Ms. Samuel has championed two historical parent empowerment bills that became law in Connecticut.
In 2010, she successfully introduced a version of the California Parent Empowerment law, also known as the “Parent Trigger”, to Connecticut that mandates school governance councils to be implemented in every low performing school – over three hundred schools required by law to be implemented to date.
In 2011, she led the charge to stop the felony arrest of parents, mostly single parents and women of color, for school residency violations aka zip-code laws. In 2013, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed House Bill 6677 into law, which stops the felony arrest of parents who enroll their children in schools outside of their zip-code.
In 2015, she presented a workshop at the U.S. Department of Education is Washington D.C. entitled “Owning Your Parent Power – Changing the Rules of the Game”
She works tirelessly to ensure that each and every child has equitable access to safe quality educational options and life opportunities.
“Gwen,” as she is more affectionately known, is a graduate of Springfield College and has a Bachelor of Science in Human Services. Her passion and commitment is evidenced in her work that demonstrate organic, effective and sustainable practices foster the academic and social development of children and strengthens families and communities.
In recognition of her work, Parenting Magazine selected Ms. Samuel as one of 51 moms, from across the country, to represent her state at the inaugural Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. ( March 2010). Most recently, she was featured in Parade Magazine, Mother’s Day edition, Moms We Love: Four Women Doing Amazing Work to Help Others (May 2015). Additionally, Gwen is recognized in the book and documentary about public education called Waiting For Superman and she was a panelist for NBC’s 2010 Education Nation.
Ms. Samuel golden rule for parenting: “Taking responsibility for our children’s academic and life success is something we must do, not something that is done for us but with us.” – Gwen Samuel, Founder of the Connecticut Parents Union.