Racial Equity in Education
YWCA Lancaster “Lunch and Learn” events in 2020 will feature community dialogues on vital issues. Our first event is set for Friday, February 7 with our topic being: Racial Equity in Education
Our 2 special guests are:
- Dr. Damaris Rau, Superintendent, School District of Lancaster
- Blanding P. Watson, President, NAACP Lancaster
The event is co-sponsored by NAACP Lancaster and YWCA Lancaster and takes place on Friday February 7, 2020, at YWCA Lancaster, 110 N. Lime St., Lancaster, Pa. There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested and pizza/salad lunch will be provided.
- 11:30 – Networking and Pizza
- 12-1 p.m. – Program
About the Presenters
Dr. Damaris Rau
With over 35 years of experience in public education, Dr. Damaris Rau is a seasoned veteran when it comes to setting the standard for student achievement. Known for her passion in urban education and commitment to equity for all students, Dr. Rau has a proven track record of reducing the achievement gap, increasing graduation rates, expanding early childhood programs, implementing programs to reduce bullying behaviors, and successfully turning around low performing schools.
Dr. Rau began her career as a classroom teacher, Central Office Coordinator and Assistant Principal in the Bronx, New York before becoming an Instructional Leader and Principal in Greenwich, Connecticut. After a short time in suburban education, Dr. Rau returned to her urban roots in New Haven, Connecticut where she was the Executive Director of Schools PreK-12 before being named Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster in July 2015. Her focus areas in the SDoL include: Equity, Inclusion & Excellence; improving our curricula in ELA and Math; and developing school leaders to support effective teaching practices.
Having been a foster child, Dr. Rau understands the positive impact education has on student success. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from St. John’s University, Master’s Degree in Elementary/Early Childhood Education from Hunter College, an Administrative Certificate from the College of New Rochelle, Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her Superintendent’s Certification from the University of Connecticut.
Blanding P. Watson
Blanding P. Watson was born and raised in Southeast, Lancaster. He finds his roots grounded in civil rights, social justice, and entrepreneurship. He has served as a Labor Negotiator for the American Federation Service, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and Labor Negotiator for the United Steel Workers of America (USWA). Watson also worked in Corporate America as a manager with Combined Insurance Company (An Ace Company) and Group Sales Coordinator for former Educators Mutual Life Insurance Company.
He worked with community organizations such as Crispus Attucks Community Center, Urban League of Lancaster County as a Job Developer and also volunteered for various tasks in the church and other community organizations.
Blanding P. Watson is President of the Lancaster Branch of the NAACP and First Vice-President of Pennsylvania NAACP; Former Chair of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference Economic Committee; Former Commissioner of Lancaster City Human Relations Commission, and Central Sectional Director of the Pennsylvania NAACP. Additionally, he served on the Commission to Combat Poverty for the City of Lancaster appointed by J. Richard Gray, Mayor of Lancaster City. Currently, he serves on the Lancaster Mennonite Advisory School Board.
His education includes attending Lebanon Valley College and National Labor College with studies in Labor and Economics. Watson also continues to do social justice work throughout the city, county and state. He continues building bridges of understanding through advocacy and community empowerment in a collective effort to advance the status of African Americans, Latinos and other ethnic groups in Lancaster City and Pennsylvania.
He is married to Jaiya Green Watson, and has a daughter, Bella B. Watson.