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Oriana Leach headshot on a yellow background

Oriana Leach

equity champion, entrepreneur, educational psychologist, program evaluator, filmmaker, research scientist

Oriana is an accomplished research scholar and former educator who has devoted the last decade of her life to creating equitable education spaces through research and practice. A former program evaluator at The William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and certified classroom teacher, Oriana has conducted research centered on the schooling experiences of BIPOC students and the experiences of African American faculty, staff, and administrators in the higher education workplace using Critical Race Theory, intersectionality, and identity frameworks. 

Oriana attended New York University where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television Production from Tisch School of the Arts and, later, pursued a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Educational Psychology from North Carolina State University. Following the conferral of her Ph.D., Oriana served as a project manager on several National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Institute of Education Sciences research grants, directed the weekend programs at Duke TIP, and led assessment and evaluation efforts at Duke University. Among her many activities outside of work, Oriana sits on the Durham Public Schools Foundation’s Equity and Innovation Committee and collaborates with the SynergyEd Collaborative as an Equity Specialist.  

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 who has a disability, 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.