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Oriana Leach headshot on a yellow background

Oriana Leach

Analyst, Scholar, Educator, Advocate

Oriana (she/her) is an accomplished research scholar and educator who has devoted the last decade of her life to creating equitable education spaces through research and practice. Oriana has held roles as a program evaluator at The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and Duke University, director of programs for the gifted and talented at Duke TIP, certified K-12 educator, and university professor. In addition, she has conducted research and written several publications centered on the schooling experiences of BIPOC students and the racialized and gendered experiences of African American faculty, staff, and administrators of color in the higher education workplace using Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, and identity frameworks. Oriana is a member of the Durham Public Schools Foundation’s Equity and Innovation committee and founder of The Obsidian Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational programming to high-achieving and academically talented BIPOC, traditionally marginalized, and underserved youth.

Oriana earned her B.F.A. in Film and Television Production from New York University, M.S. in Education from St. John’s University, and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Educational Psychology from North Carolina State University. She is a wife, mother, artist, and film buff. 

Why DEI? It is not enough to simply check a box. DEI is real and should not be perceived as the new cool “thing” to do. As a woman, as a person of color, and as a parent to a child with neurodiversity, I have experienced, firsthand, the challenges presented by the lack of diverse perspectives, inclusive spaces, and equitable policies and practices in schools, in the workplace, in the healthcare system, and in my community, among others. In order to truly make the world a better place to live, work, and thrive, it is essential for us to genuinely commit ourselves to moving this work forward through education, training, and open, honest dialogue.