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Meet MAEC Staff – Mira Best

Collaboration and shared learning are key ingredients in approaching equity work at MAEC. In this blog series, we want to further this idea by introducing you to an incredible Data and Evaluation team member, Data and Evaluation Specialist Mira Best!

Read on for Mira’s book suggestions for inside and outside the office, her thoughts on the meaning of education equity, and what brings her joy!


Who is an advocate or activist that you admire, and why?

I admire Bryan Stevenson, the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), for his unwavering commitment to justice and tireless efforts to combat systemic injustices within the American criminal legal system. His efforts have resulted in policy changes, increased attention to the critical issues of racial injustice and wrongful convictions (among others), and significant legal victories—such as the 2012 Supreme Court ruling following his argument before the Court—that banned mandatory life imprisonment without parole sentences for all children and youth aged 17 or younger.

What does education equity mean to you?

To me, education equity means that every student receives what they need to learn, is seen and celebrated at school, has a voice and choice in their education, and feels empowered to pursue their goals, dreams, and aspirations. Education equity is both an action and a mindset and should be present at every point in the system: From how staff interact with school community members, to the curriculum, to how schools and districts partner with their students and families, to equitable funding and allocation of resources, and beyond.

Tell us about a book in your office that you think everyone should read.

“Just Mercy,” Bryan Stevenson’s memoir about his early career in law, lays bare how the criminal legal system routinely imparts injustice while also weaving in stories of compassion, empathy, and hope. It is one of the most infuriating, thought-provoking, and motivating books I have read; the call to seek out the true meaning of justice and the lessons on humanity are applicable in many aspects of life. 

“Black Lives Matter at School,” edited by Denisha Jones and Jesse Hagopian, is a collection of essays, interviews, and other resources from educators, students, and activists involved in the Black Lives Matter at School movement. This book serves as a guide for those looking to address anti-Blackness in schools and provides readers with concrete examples and resources (such as sample educator union endorsements, organizing principles, and strategies) they can look to and learn from. 

Tell us about a book on your bedside table that you think everyone should read.

I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks as opposed to reading books, since I can listen while doing a puzzle. If you’re looking for something to listen to that satisfies your curiosity about a wide range of topics, I highly recommend the podcast “Radiolab.” One episode may be about our connection and relationship to objects, and then the next episode will focus on the concept of colors.

What is one thing that brings you joy?

My dog, Lukka! Seeing him every day fills up my heart with happiness, and I feel so lucky that I get to share my time on earth with this lovebug.

MAEC's blog is designed to engage hearts and minds of school and district leaders across the country to engage in issues that you have identified as being essential in education. Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.

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