From the Podcast Archives: My Conversation with Instructional Coach Mrs. Nita Creekmore

On the blog, I share my wonderful conversation with Nita Creekmore, take a read to our impactful conversation and take a listen if you want to hear it for yourself.
Jebeh Edmunds

All right. Hello, everyone. This is Jebeh Edmunds here, and welcome again to the Cultural Curriculum Chat podcast, where I teach you multicultural education and classroom strategies and best practices. So I’m here to introduce you today in the guest chair, Mrs. Nita Creekmore. I love it. I love it. I tell you, she’s my diverse book bestie in my head. I’m so excited to have her on this show.

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

I love that. Thank you.

Jebeh Edmunds

So let me give you a little background audience before we chat with Nita. Nita Creekmore is an instructional coach who lives just outside Atlanta, Georgia. In the 18 years she has been in education. She truly believes that in all aspects of the field, relationships must always come first. She’s obtained a Bachelor’s in English, Masters in Elementary Education, and also an educational specialist in supervision and leadership. Nita is married to Michael Creekmore Jr. And has four children. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family and friends, attending her kids activities, and practicing yoga and relaxing with a good book. Nita believes that building relationships is foundational. The importance of self care and the impact of diverse read alouds on students of all ages and backgrounds to transform the world. I am so excited for this transformational chat, you all. Thank you. Welcome, Nita. Welcome to the show.

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

Thank you, Jeb. I’m so excited to be here. Thank you for having me and asking me to be on and talking and chatting. All the things I love. I appreciate that. Thank you.

Jebeh Edmunds

For having me. The pleasure is all mine. So yes, give of our audience your background in multicultural education.

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

Yes. I think it began even before I started teaching when I was learning as a student, a student teacher. I started collecting lots and lots of books, the books that I could get my hands on. I say back then. I’m 43. So it was like in 1998, there really weren’t a ton of book that I began to really engulf in because I really think a lot of multicultural education is through learning history, is through that. But I think the connection is, like, literacy is the books that helps us to learn. And so even then, I was like, oh, my God, Debbie Allen wrote a book on dance and it seemed like the wings. Those are some of the beginnings. I was like, oh, it’s some of the rich, rich, rich illustrations that would go along with that, too. So even then was my journey along the way. So as I was learning to be a teacher, as I was learning to be an educator, I was also engulfing myself in children’s literature. That was one of my favorite classes that I took and really looking at and really diving into critically looking at children’s books and children’s literature.

 Mrs. Nita Creekmore

As my journey went on, I would engulf those just in my day to day as a teacher, engulf it into interdisciplinary studies, into science, into social studies. It was one of those things that I felt like, Oh, I feel like this all my kids need to be seen. Of course, I love to see myself in books because it’s not something that I grew up with. But my mom would give me the books that… It was a folk tale book and I can’t think of Virginia Hamilton. And she got me those books. And those had like this book.

Jebeh Edmunds

The People Could Fly.

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

Yeah. She would bring those home and I’d be like, Oh, engulfing myself in those. But at the time, I think I was little and there were a lot of books that I was represented in during that time. So just in that, just threading that throughout, just me being a teacher and wanting to learn about my students and their identities and where they came from and wanting to value them and celebrate them, it was one of those things that just became what I do. Just what I do each day. That was my story and into multicultural education.

Jebeh Edmunds

And just like you’re saying, too, Nita, just that spark that opened, like, wow, that representation is me on the bookshelf. But who else can I invite into my classroom that represents all the kids? Because the eyes of our students, when they see themselves, they sit up a little taller, and they can grab that book off their shelf when they’re doing their read alo ons, and they can sit up and learn more about their groups of other groups of people. That’s just awesome.

Mrs. Nita Creekmore


Jebeh Edmunds

Also, too, Anita, even being, like you said, we’re about the same age. I’m right there with you with the small minutiae of representation of African American children’s literature. What have you noticed now in this push for more multicultural literature in our classrooms? What have you noticed now?

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

So the first thing I noticed is that there’s still tons of work to be done. I feel like so much work has been done, and I collect all these books and I have books all over my house. And when the studies are shown, the data is shown, it’s still not enough. It’s still not enough. But what I’ve noticed in that, in including multicultural education and making sure that it’s not just something that we add on to the plate, this is the plate. It’s the thread. It’s the thread that builds our kids confidence. It’s the thread that allows our kids to say, Oh, me too. That’s the thing that is like, Oh, me too. When you think about… And one thing, there’s one lesson that I always think about, and it’s done in third grade here in Georgia, it’s colonialism. And it’s a lesson I see often, and I’m always thinking really critically and asking critical questions to spark this in educators is, yes, okay, I see you dressing up in your colonial this and your hat and your apron and your this and your that, and you’re having fun and you’re making better and you’re doing that, and you’re showing one aspect of what was going on during that time.

 Mrs. Nita Creekmore

What other voices, what other cultures, what was happening during that time with Native peoples, Indigenous people? What was happening? Where am I? Where are my people? Where are my ancestors? What’s happening with them during that time while you’re turning the butter? Those are things that I’m thinking of when I’m thinking of lessons. Because guess what? I was a seven year old, eight year old in that classroom learning this cologne real time period, and I’m thinking, Great, where’s my people at? What’s happening with them? Those are the tickets for multicultural education. And so the thing is, where am I seen in this? And if you teach students that are like the majority of your class, let’s say, identify as white, that’s still learning experiences for them, too. School’s voices aren’t being taught. Who’s white? Voices aren’t being heard. And go find the literature. Go find the literature, go find the book, go find… And so do that work because when you do that, it connects the kids to other cultures, other worlds, and it teaches them how to be human beings, empathetic human beings. That’s a lesson that always sticks out in my mind is where are the other voices?

Jebah Edmunds

Where are the other people? Where are the other voices? Yes. And do you also recognize, too, you, Nita. And when I was in the classroom, I felt there was this hesitation from the teachers in the majority who identify as white culture of, Well, that was such a hard time. I said, But you need to… Like you said, Nita, where am I? Where are my people at this time in history? And I always told my fifth grade students when we talked about European contact in our social studies series in Minnesota was, we need to talk about the multiple lenses and the different voices at that time to get the whole picture of what it is. Because like you said, that danger… Was it Chimamanda and Guzzleditche said the danger of a single story. And I feel like a lot of us educators, we’re scared to rock the boat, but we know that boat is there and we know the waves are there. So like you said, besides just churning butter, we have to have that conversation. And I think our students can handle it it if you have it in a compassionate, empathic way for them to understand.

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

Absolutely. And something I was going to say while you were talking and something that jog my mind, too, is that teachers have to get out of their comfort zone. It might make you a little uncomfortable to have that conversation. And so practice with other colleagues. So this is where I put leaders in the organizations as well is that this should be the work. This should be the work. And so if this is the work, unless I’m assuming positive intent, we’re all saying that this is the work, practice these conversations. Have your teachers get in groups and practice having some of these lesson studies and getting used to having the conversation with each other. And so then I’m used to having this conversation, whose voices aren’t heard, do some research together for some lessons. lessons.  Whose voices aren’t?  How do we do this research?  Where do we find this research?  How do we know this is credible?  How do we know these books are credible, right?  And so we do those types of professional learning in your staff meetings and your  professional learning. So then when your teachers go out in front of kids in front of students, they’re equipped to have these conversations.  And so I think that’s some of the issue is like get used to having these hard  conversations amongst each other in the educational community.  And then when you can when you go in front of your students, you can have these conversations and not feel I call it sweaty pits or like you feel uncomfortable. 

Your hands are off.  I mean, kids can, you know, they can sense it.  They’re like, oh, no, Miss Creeper is nervous to have this conversation.  But I think you feel more equipped to have this conversation. And then you also when you have a hard time having this conversation with these conversations, you have a buddy across the hall that you’ve done this work with.  Right.  And so you have something.  Hey, you know, I had this conversation.  This student asked this question.  I don’t know how to answer it.  Right. And you build a community there, a community of the work of the work that should be the foundation.  

Jebeh Edmunds

Yes.  And I love how you said that the practice, you know, we’re always modeling as  educators how to perform and do the content in an actionable way. But we also have to turn it in on ourselves to to do the practice. 

And I think what you said, Nita, was very important because a lot of us when we  get the sweaty pits and we get nervous is because we didn’t practice, you know,  or it’s, you know, oh, it’s Black History Month.  Let’s get out the tub. It’s like I’m still black all year. 

We can do this all year.  We can incorporate it in science and in math and, you know, and it is.  And I feel like a lot of us educators, you know, we want to have that time and  breath, but we don’t have this. We’re trying and I feel like, you know, to urge them to practice with your teammates, practice, bounce off ideas, because as educators, we want our students  to be critical thinkers.  But if we can’t do the critical thinkers.  But if we can’t do the critical thinking, how are they supposed to in turn do  that? 

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

Yeah. So, yes, I’m saying yes, yes, yes. 

Like inside, I’m like, yes.  And then I’m thinking, too, we’re learners ourselves.  I’m still learning.  There are so many cultures out there that I’m still learning about.  Right. And so modeling that learning, one, in community with other educators saying, yes, I know a lot about black folks because I’m black.  Right.  But I’m still learning about other cultures.  Right.  I’m still learning about other worlds.  And so modeling that, because then I feel like that allows everyone to see each  other as humans. Like there’s sometimes that I get it wrong, too. 

Right.  And there’s sometimes that I have to pull back and say, ooh, I didn’t get it  right that time.  And I have to relearn and unlearn and also tap into other people and their  cultures and learn from them. And I think that’s kind of what happens here. 

And, yes, I’m black, but that doesn’t mean I’m like, one, I know black people,  but we’re not a monolith.  Right.  Exactly.  We’re still learning each other.  And so I think that once we realize that we’re all learners and the work is ours together in community and collectively, then I think that then the work is threaded.  Then we’re together in this.  And I think that some of the some we’re division lines.  And, you know, I’m rooted in love.  I’m rooted in compassion.  And I just feel like once we get that together in community, we can we can  thrive together. And then when we thrive together, our students will thrive. 

Jebeh Edmunds

Definitely.  And, yes, please share with our audience your Love, Teach, Bless brand.  I mean, I love your tagline that says inspired educators inspire educators. You know, I mean, that’s how we thrive in this educational space.

It’s like, oh, I found this resource I’m always willing to share, you know.  And when you get that spark, it just you relive that enjoyment.  So please share with us.  I just love your platform of this Love, Teach, and Bless.  

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

Yes.  Yeah. So I started this when I was like still in the classroom. 

I was still in education.  I taught for 13 years and I started just sharing fun things, things that I  feel like inspired me in my journey.  And so when I came up with the tagline like inspired educators inspire educators, it really was from a community standpoint, like in a sense of 

like, because I’m inspired, I can maybe light up a spark that may have  been dim in you, right?  Because I’m so inspired.  Or sometimes when I’m dim in my journey, someone else who has a spark helps to light flare that up in me, right? 

And then it helps me to get inspired.  And I think I feel like that’s what education and educators is about is  that sometimes my light may not always be lit, right?  Sometimes I need someone else in community who’s whose light is lit. So it’d be like fire it up for me a 

And once I see that you’re inspired, I’m like, okay, let me get on this  bandwagon again.  You kind of lit something in me.  And so that kind of what started my journey of Love, Teach, Bless.  And I just feel like when I decided with the name of Love, Teach, Bless, one, I’m rooted in love always. 

I really try to root in love always.  I really try to assume like positive intent.  And when there’s times when I have to call in, I do it in love, like in  love.  And then when I teach, I’m always a teacher.  Like I always am a teacher. I’m an instructional coach, and I’m always an educator, always educating, always an educator.  I feel like I’ve been in this game.  I mean, this is what my 18th year in education.  This is a part of me.  So even though I’m a coach, I love teaching.  And I tell people this at a point where I was at a high.  So like my light was lit. And I tell people all the time, when you’re in a shift, when you’re in the shift and you’re shifting from a role to role, whether I’m shifting  from teacher to principal, teacher to vice principal, teacher to  instructional coach, do it at a time where your light is still lit. Because you’re not, you go into that space so ready. 

Because I tell people all the time, like I miss being a teacher.  I love being a coach.  But there were times when my teachers, I’d be like, oh, I need to get  in somebody’s classroom.  Let me get in your classroom.  I need this.  Because my light was already, oh, it’s lit. Or when I see an awesome lesson from a teacher, I’d be like, oh, my 

goodness.  Like it would just spark so much in me.  And that’s where the teacher comes from.  And blessed is like I hope that what I share always is a blessing to  others.  There’s so many times that people are such a blessing to me. And I feel like it’s like the flow of water. 

It’s like one of those things that’s like you’re a blessing to me.  I hope I bless you.  And so like it’s one of those things.  And that’s kind of where Love Teach Bless came from.  And then from that, it just birthed something completely incredible.  It’s something that is my passion and my joy. I’ve met so many amazing people through my social media and through 

the work that I’ve been doing through Love Teach Bless, including  you, Debbie.  And so like I just, you know, it’s one of those things that it’s been  a blessing to my life.  And so everything I do, everything I do is one of those things that’s  not calculated. People always ask me, how did you grow your account? 

How did you do this?  And I would love to say like there’s like some like magical puzzle  that I put together.  I just was my authentic self.  Like I just posted things and put things online that like meant a lot to me, meant a lot to the people that I’ve been in contact with, 

whether it’s my students or other teachers or the community that I  serve.  And yeah, that’s just, that’s been my journey.  

Jebeh Edmunds

Love that.  And yes, that’s how I found you on Instagram because you look like  me. You have this bright, energetic personality and you’re seven pages. 

I mean, you inspired me to find books for me to put on my YouTube  channel to read and share with others and record and share with my  teacher friends.  And so thank you for doing that because like you said, you’re, you are a blessing to us educators of showing and you’re welcome love.  It’s from the bottom of my heart because like I said, you are like  my book bestie.  Like you showed this reel the other day where you’ve got all these  stacks of books, step one through five.  And I’m like, that’s me.  I feel seen. Like I cannot leave a bookstore without books, you know? 

And I’m like, my husband Andy is just like, oh gosh, you know, he  knows when I buy more, where are we going to put this?  I’m like, it’s for work, you know?  Yeah.  So it’s, yeah, I just feel seen. When I saw you post that, I was like, yep, that’s my life. 

Yep.  I feel seen, you know?  Yeah.  So thank you.  Oh my gosh.  This has just been an amazing chat, Nita.  And please don’t hesitate.  I will definitely put your information in the show notes so everyone can also follow your Love Teach Bless journey as well. 

Thank you.  And just before we go, is there any other tips that you have for us  educators on this multicultural social justice and education space  that we’re in right now?  

Mrs. Nita Creekmore

I do want to share some books. I would be remiss if I didn’t share some books to help out with that. 

So one book that I’ve just been really loving so much is Literacy  is Liberation.  I don’t know if you have this book.  It’s by Kimberly Parker and it’s working toward justice through  cultural relevant teaching. And there’s some questions in there that you can ask, you know, if  you should teach this text.  And it’s just a really, really good book.  Another one that I always want to share is Street Data is another  amazing good book.  And the reason why I want to share Street Data is by Shane, Saphir and Jamila, I think it’s Dugan. I’m sorry if I say your name wrong.  But it says, you know, radically imagine, reimagine how you take data and what data u take for your student and that just sending equity. The reasoning why i share those books is because lots of time when we taking data nas were doing test. We are looking for multicultural data. There are few books i came up with i definitely say and you will learn alot and your audience will too. So these are some books that you really need to reimagine what books you need and how education can look like . This is for majority but for the world of majority

Jebeh Edmunds

That what equity all about , you know.So everyone that fits everyone needs. Thats amazing. Nita it just been a blessing to have you in the guest chair and audience follow Nita on Love , Teach , Bless on instagram and i will have more details in the show notes where you can follow her.

Alright , thanks everyone and have a wonderful day



You can find more information about Nita Creekmore below:

Nita Creekmore on Instagram @loveteachbless