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Dywanna Smith


Coach, Consultant, Speaker

Dr. Dywanna E. Smith received her doctorate in language and literacy from the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation interpreted how eighth grade African-American girls perceived obesity in their daily lives and analyzed what happened when opportunities were given to create counter-narratives about race, gender and size. Informed by Critical Race Theory and Black Feminist Theory, the study centered the body as a textual artifact, broadened notions of what counts as text which can be critically read and provided models for nurturing youth in tackling school and community issues.
As a scholar-educator, Dywanna’s research focuses on two related interests: 1) examining the intersections of race, literacies, and education and 2) equipping teachers with equity pedagogies to successfully teach linguistically and culturally diverse students. She has presented nationally and internationally on these subjects.
Dr. Smith’s work is grounded in ethnopoetics. She utilizes poetry to speak to the realities of Black girls and women and to resist and respond to racism, sexism, sizism and misogynoir. Her co-edited book project, African Diaspora Literacy: The Heart of Transformation in K–12 Schools and Teacher Education, alongside Drs. Lamar Johnson, Gloria Boutte, and Gwenda Greene is a 2019 American Educational Studies Association (AESA) Critics Choice Book Award Winner.
Dywanna is a Fulbright Scholar Project Participant and a graduating member of the National Council of English’s prestigious Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color (CNV) program. She will present alongside her CNV cohort on “Re)Membering: Black Women Engaging Memory Through Journaling” at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in April.
Dr. Smith’s new book entitled Transformational Sanctuaries in the Middle Level ELA Classroom: Creating Truth Spaces for Black Girls was released March 2022. Currently, Dywanna is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Claflin University. There she serves as Middle Level Education Program Coordinator and Interim Assessment Coordinator. Visit to learn more!

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