Background: Erin Trent Johnson is a consultant, coach, professional development designer, and facilitator experienced in guiding community and education leaders to achieve their vision of racial equity and social justice. Erin believes the goal of education and community development should be to achieve Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of a beloved community — an inclusive and just society where diversity is viewed as a strength and people have the skills they need to engage and connect across lines of difference.
Prior to launching her own consulting practice and joining Bellwether, Erin spent over five years at Mastery Charter Schools, a network of high-performing charter schools based in Philadelphia. At Mastery, Erin created and implemented the strategy for racial equity in the schools through the areas of teacher and leader training, talent recruitment and retention, and family and community engagement. As senior director of cultural context, she developed a large-scale model for coaching leaders and educators to boldly interrupt bias in their schools. Erin also led Mastery’s family and community engagement and political advocacy and has received many honors and recognition for her community organizing and engagement work.
Erin’s career has been focused on empowering local leaders to disrupt the impact of generational concentrated poverty and systemic racial oppression. She has over 13 years of experience in education, organizing, and community development, and she began her career managing neighborhood-based community and economic development programs. As a native Philadelphian, Erin is deeply committed to the revitalization and empowerment of historically marginalized communities and neighborhoods.
Erin earned her master’s degree from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in politics and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hampton University.
Experience at Bellwether: Diversity, equity, and inclusion; Community engagement
Client Segments Served: Education nonprofits, school districts, charter management organizations
Sample clients: STRIVE Prep, 826 NYC
Why I do this work: My family has experienced both deep poverty and economic privilege in just one generation. Therefore, I am acutely aware of the systemic and historic patterns of oppression that created educational inequity and marginalized communities of color. As the daughter of a Philadelphia public school teacher, I spent my childhood wondering why the children in her all-black and poor school were receiving such a vastly different experience from me in my all-white public school just twenty minutes away. These questions launched my journey for equity. I believe when we have the will and skill to collectively name the thing that is lying at the heart of injustice, we have all of the weapons we need to fight it.