Issues Now! Podcasts - Season 1

  • The purpose of this podcast is to highlight issues of equity in education by talking with experts in the field as well as teachers and administrators in the county who put equitable practices in action.  Our first episode aired July 29, 2020.  

  • Season One


    Listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, or BuzzSprout


    Episode One: Where Are We? (July 29, 2020)

    This episode features several leaders in equity from throughout Cumberland County.  We discuss where we see ourselves as a county and where we want to go.


    Episode Two: Equity Amongst the Pandemic (August 11, 2020)

    In this episode of Issues Now! we talk with Graig Meyer, a NC Representative and co-founder of Equity Collaborative about the biggest issue facing schools right now, school re-opening. Can we do this equitably? 


    Episode Three: The Role of SEL in Equitable Schools (August 26, 2020)

    On this episode, I interview two of my colleagues from Cumberland County Schools.  Kristy Newitt, the Coordinator of school counseling for the district, and Bridgett Pridgen, educator and advocate for Social Emotional Learning.  We discuss the importance of SEL in creating equitable schools and give strategies for incorporating SEL during this uncertain time in education.


    Episode Four: White Privilege- The Story Behind the Discipline Data (September 9, 2020)

    In this first episode of a three part series about where we see white privilege in schools, we talk with Jeff May, Youth Development consultant currently residing in Houston, TX and Kailey Hill, an elementary principal in Spring Lake, NC.  We take a look at some recent discipline data and discuss how it portrays the white privilege that is so apparent in the public school system and give suggestions to teachers and administrators about how to counteract the disproportionate numbers.


    Episode Five: White Privilege- Academic Outreach (September 16, 2020)

    In this second part of our White Privilege in schools series, we take a look at the disproportionate access to AIG services and AP classes for students of color and highlight a grassroots initiative to counteract this data from Chris Lucas and Elizabeth Madyun.


    Episode Six: White Privilege- Can You See Yourself in Me? (september 23, 2020)

    In part three of our series on White Privilege, I talk with three colleagues from CCS- Larry Parker, Dr. Lillian McDavid, and Jovan Denaut about the importance of having access to teachers of color for our students of color.  We talk about the difficulties of recruitment and the importance of staff development in cultural responsive teaching- no matter the race of the teacher.


    Episode Seven: Becoming an Anti-Racist ELA Teacher (September 30, 2020)

    In this episode I with three professors from NC State University on how to work towards becoming an Anti-Racist ELA Teacher; Dr. Michelle Falter, Dr. Chandra Alston, and Dr. Crystal Chen Lee.  These three ladies worked together in the summer of 2020 to write a white paper outlining the steps that teachers, specifically ELA teachers, should take towards becoming Anti-Racist teachers.


    Episode Eight: Becoming an Anti-Racist ELA Teacher: Classroom Application (October 7, 2020)

    In this episode we are dig a bit deeper into the classroom application of becoming an anti-racist ELA teacher.  Last week, I talked with three professors from NC State University about their white paper about this topic.  Today, I talk with two English  teachers from Grays Creek High School, Melissa Bishop and Joel Mayo, about how they are putting some of these practices into action in the classroom.  Melissa is also the president of the North Carolina English Teachers Association and talks briefly about what that organization is doing to promote anti-racist work through North Carolina.  


    Episode Nine: LGBTQ-Creating Welcoming Spaces for LGBTQ Students (October 14, 2020)

    On this episode we are diving into a new topic about equity in education.  We will spend the next three episodes exploring issues related to LGBTQ students and staff.  Today’s episode will focus on the importance of, and how to create welcoming spaces for our LGBTQ students.  I am thrilled to welcome three of my friends, Ashley Boles, Dustin Best, and Kandy Cox Dillion for this conversation about equity.

    For more information about this topic, please visit The Trevor Project and GLSEN.


    Episode Ten: LGBTQ-The Varied Experiences of Three Educators (October 21, 2020)

    On this episode, I welcome back Ashley Boles, Dustin Best, and Kandy Cox Dillion to discuss their personal experiences as an educator who is also a member of the LGBTQ community.  I am so grateful to these three amazing educators for sharing their personal experiences to help others learn and grow.


    Episode Eleven: LGBTQ-The Parent Perspective (October 28, 2020)

    On this episode, we will be wrapping up our series on LGBTQ issues in schools.  This was originally supposed to be a two part series, but my dear friend Kandy Cox Dillion who was on the first two episodes about this topic pushed me to do a third where we look at this issue from the parent perspective. So, today I welcome back Kandy along with two other parents of LGBTQ youth, Samantha Boyd and Heather Reisenbeck to discuss their experiences with the school system while raising a teenager that is part of the LGBTQ community.


    Episode Twelve: Equity in Early Childhood Education (November 4, 2020)

    On today’s episode, I talk with my good friend, Duncan McMillan about many aspects of equity in early childhood education.  We look at some of the disparities in the statistics that face our young students of color and really get into how we can be equitable practitioners in early childhood education.

    For more information about the NC Early Childhood Action Plan, please visit,


    Episode Thirteen: Equity from the Teacher's Perspective (November 11, 2020)

    Today we begin our final mini series of Season 1 of Issues Now! Conversations About Equity.  I will spend the next three weeks talking with leaders from around my district about what our goals should be and what ideas we have about how we can create a more equitable school system.  Today we begin with a conversation with the 20-21 Cumberland County Schools Teacher of the year- Nicole Rivers from Grays Creek High School, and first runner up-Chris Lucas from Cape Fear High School.


    Episode Fourteen: Equity from the Principal's Perspective (November 18, 2020)

    On today’s episode we will be continuing our conversation about equity with the 20-21 Cumberland County Principal of the Year- Suzanne Owen from Cliffdale Elementary School and the Assistant Principal of the Year- Tianna O’Brien from Bill Hefner Elementary School.


    Episode Fifteen: Equity from the Superintendent's Perspective (November 25, 2020)

    On today’s episode, the last of Season One, we will get a look into equity from our superintendent’s perspective, Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr.  Following my conversation with him, I will debrief some of my big takeaways from this episode as well as reflect on the season as a whole.  To provide your feedback on Season One and give ideas for Season Two, please fill out this google form.  Season Two- coming January 2021.

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  • Meet The Host

    Hannah Gray

    Hannah Gray, the creator of Issues Now!, is a product of Cumberland County Schools and has been an educator for 11 years.  She has spent 9 of those years here in Cumberland County Schools and is currently serving as the Assistant Principal at Cliffdale Elementary School.  She has a deep passion for creating equity in our school community. To learn more about Hannah, listen to this podcast where she and her husband discuss being in an interracial marriage during this time.

    Contact Information                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

    Twitter: @issues_now or @mrsgray620