From the Podcast Archives: A Conversation with Leadership Coach Beth Napleton

Welcome back to the Cultural Curriculum Chat. I am so excited to share with you my discussion with Beth Napleton, leadership coach, consultant and founder of Beth Napleton Consulting. Beth offers senior leaders in education and mission-driven organizations a clear path to excellence through individual executive and group coaching experiences. She is a national award-winning educator and has been in the field for over 2 decades, having trained over 1,800 teachers and leaders to success.


About Beth Napleton

Beth grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, where she experienced a mostly white and Catholic environment. In her childhood and beyond, she found herself relying on reading as a form of escapism into other cultures and histories of the world. She began to feel like there was so much more out there in the world than her current space at the time, and it became her entry into multicultural education, which she would pursue later on.


As she made her way into college, she immersed herself in American Studies, “focusing on what Dr. King called ‘the art gap,’ righting the ways things maybe are and ought to be,” she says. Beth began to feel as though it was where she belonged and that there was no better environment for this than in the classroom. So, she joined Teach for America and became an educator in the Washington Heights Community in New York City when she began her career. 

Beth’s Education Experiences

Beth happily touches on her teaching experiences, saying that when she started teaching in communities with 90% of her students being immigrants from the Dominican Republic, the largest community of Dominican students outside of the capital of DAR at that time. She started to notice how hard it was for students within the Washington Heights community versus her sister, who had a more rigorous education at the time and how the odds of being able to get into a good college, SAT scores or even medical school were a lot harder and a bigger hill to climb for those at Washington Heights and how backgrounds, family income and other factors affect education where it shouldn’t.


Since then, Beth has tried throughout her career to right the wrongs of the system, advocating for children and the education and experiences that they should be entitled to and not shooed away because of their family’s income or lack thereof. Beth recognized the tremendous gap in experiences for students based on their backgrounds alone and how problematic it has become. 


The Role of Teachers

Similar to my thoughts, Beth understands the need for more diversity within a classroom. Not every book that is read should be from a non-POC author. Dive from Dominican authors, and don’t stop there. Go to Asia, Australia, and Egypt; take your kids somewhere they’ve never been before through the literature you introduce them to and teach. Help them understand how big the world can be. 


Beth’s Advice

Beth reflects on her experience working with a charter school in rural North Carolina, where she watched her students grow as the years went on, which impacted her greatly. Her advice to young teachers, they think they’ll experience the gratification of teaching for one, two or three years when teaching but it comes after that when your students are alumni and come back from high school or college, and you find them working alongside you. Beth says, “This is really when you feel that sense of fullness or completion and the arc of development and the interconnectedness of life and all the magic of it”


If you want to learn more about Beth, her website is which includes resources, videos, blogs and more.


Thank you so much for listening to this installment of the Cultural Curriculum Chat. If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more, subscribe to my YouTube channel at Mrs. Edmunds’ Cultural Corner for more podcasts, videos, and other multicultural and educational content. 

See you next time!


Learn more about Beth Napleton here:

Take her leadership quiz:

Instagram: @beth.napleton

Listen to our Podcast interview below: