Rachel Willis

Civic Innovation Fellow 2018-2019

Elevating Equity



Elevating Equity’s mission is to create spaces for educators and community members to examine race and ensure every child receives an equitable education.


Elevating Equity teaches educators how to create anti-racist, culturally responsive environments. The organization designs custom workshops to meet each district and school’s particular needs and conducts equity audits to assess the success of existing diversity and inclusion programming. Elevating Equity has brought over 3,500 educators together to unpack different levels of racism, how they show up in education, and how they can be mitigated personally and professionally. It has also created space for families and students to share their own perspectives on these critical issues.


Rachel Willis is an award-winning educator with over a decade of experience teaching and leading in K-12 and graduate level settings. She was the 2009 Atlanta Public Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year and the 2010 Milken Educator Award recipient. Rachel also served on Governor Nathan Deal's (R-GA) Education Advisory Board, and was appointed as a trustee to the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia. Prior to launching Elevating Equity, Rachel redesigned Teach for America's professional development program in Washington, D.C. and Maryland to center around culturally responsive teaching. She also designed and led a master's pilot program at Columbia University's Teachers College focused on preparing aspiring principals to lead racially equitable schools. Rachel received a B.A. from Smith College in Government and a Ed.M. in Education Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University. She currently resides in Atlanta.