Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Arcadia University. Her work is centered on supporting educators and families in transforming schools into places where children and adults feel welcomed, valued, and included. Her teaching, writing, and advocacy is grounded in the recognition that the differences and gifts that each student, family, and educator offers enriches their school fabric, and that mindful, purposeful, and that intentional opportunities for celebration, reflection, and action could greatly strengthen the school culture and climate. Dr. Slesaransky-Poe is the mom of two children, one of whom is a gender non-conforming boy. Informed by her extensive national and international professional expertise in inclusive practices coupled with her personal experiences raising a culturally and linguistically diverse family, Dr. Slesaransky-Poe is becoming a prominent local, regional, and national expert on creating welcoming, inclusive, and safe schools, for gender non-conforming, transgender, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and questioning/queer students, families, and educators.
Dr. Slesaransky-Poe is the recipient of several awards and recognitions including the 2011 Patricia C. Creegan award on Excellence on Inclusive Practices.
For more than two decades, I have been building partnerships with families and schools creating successful inclusion environments for students with a variety of disabilities and diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In the past eight years, I have expanded the circle of inclusion to create welcoming schools for students who are gender nonconforming or transgender.
This area of inquiry and service felt like a natural extension of my work, and grew out of my experiences parenting my children. When my now 11 year-old son was three, he displayed a strong interest in toys, clothes, and activities typically associated with girls. He used a “blankie” pretending to have long hair and enjoyed playing with the many princess costumes his sister had, though rarely played with. His sister was interested in building things and playing sports, and not so much in princess dress-up and Barbie dolls. She was what we call a “tomboy.” I was a tomboy as a child, and so were my mother and my mother-in-law. My daughter’s interests and behaviors felt very familiar, comfortable, and natural to all of us. Read more